Don’t let controversy stop you from seeing “Ender’s Game”

By VICTORIA HILLS, Editor in Chief

I’ve loved Orson Scott Card’s writing for a decade, and intensely disliked Orson Scott Card for nearly as long.

I was 11 when I read his best-known novel, “Ender’s Game” (1985)—a masterful and magnificent work of science fiction about a boy who’s bred to lead an army of genius children in a war against an alien species. I was enchanted, and I quickly devoured his other books and short stories, all of which are similarly superb.

At some point, however, I began reading about Card himself, who is an outspoken opponent of non-heterosexual relationships and unions. His 1990 essay in Sunstone magazine shocked me. Laws prohibiting sexual behavior should persist, he wrote, “to be used when necessary to send a clear message that those who flagrantly violate society’s regulation of sexual behavior cannot be permitted to remain as acceptable, equal citizens within that society.”

Once I became aware of Card’s position on homosexuality, I stopped buying his books unless I could find them second-hand in used book stores. Card doesn’t deserve a cent of my money. But although I’ll probably never purchase a virgin copy of any of Card’s works, I am going to see “Ender’s Game” in theaters.

I’m a proponent of thoughtful consumerism: each dollar we spend has its own power, and we should be aware of what we support when we make a purchase. This awareness is precisely why I’ll fork over the outrageous AMC ticket price to view “Ender’s Game.”

According to the New York Times, there are some 667 people with screen credits on the film. The director and producer of “Ender’s Game” are both advocates for LGBTQ rights, as is film distributor Lionsgate and lead actor Harrison Ford, who has stated that “[Card’s] views outside of those that we deal with in this film are not an issue for me to deal with.” Hollywood itself is famously inclusive of the LGBTQ community. Boycotting “Ender’s Game”—which makes no statements about homosexuality—undermines the excellent advocacy work of these people and groups, whose influence is derived from their successes with projects like this film.

Worse, efforts like those of Geek Out, a gay rights organization that proposed a boycott of the film, won’t actually accomplish anything; participating is fundamentally a waste of time and effort. A boycott of a major film may draw media attention to the cause, but boycotting “Ender’s Game” itself will not have a substantive effect on Card’s fortune or views. No arguments could possibly be levied at him that he has not heard over the past three decades of frequent disturbing discourse on the unnaturalness of homosexuality.

Ultimately, of course, the choice to view or avoid the film is yours. I encourage everyone towards thoughtful consumerism and conscious reflection on whether the film deserves your money. But if I believed that withholding any amount of money from the box office would make even a symbolic difference to LGBTQ rights, I would never consider buying a ticket.

I am not a fan of Orson Scott Card. But I am a fan of “Ender’s Game” and the cast of its film adaptation, which includes Viola Davis in the role of  a powerful and formerly male military commander—and I’m excited to see the movie.

Victoria is a senior studying history and biology. Follow her on Twitter @HillsVictoriaM.

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