Orson Scott Card is one of my favorite authors. I really enjoy his “Alvin Maker” series and I have quite of few of his books. I met him probably ten years ago at a convention and we had a nice talk.
He’s also a homophobic right-wing idiot who has absolutely hateful views about gays and gay marriage.
A movie of his most famous book (“Ender’s Game”) is being released soon, and there is a movement to boycott the film because of his politics. “Don’t give him any money!” they’re saying.
While I agree that his politics are hateful, I’m not sure we should be judging art based on the artist’s politics, and it seems like maybe that’s where this is headed.
Oh, I understand — you don’t want him to get rich off of this, and you don’t want your money going to causes you don’t agree with. Nothing wrong with that — that’s what boycotts are for. In that sense this isn’t any different from boycotting Chik-Fil-A.
But, I dunno, when dealing with creative stuff like books or art or music … should we always ask “Does this person have political views I agree with?” before enjoying their work? There are many artists who were terrible people (Picasso comes to mind) but does that diminish their work? I hope no one is refusing to read my books because they don’t like my politics …
Years ago, many conservatives boycotted the Dixie Chicks because they were mad about their politics, and liberals criticized them for doing so. I hate to think liberals are being hypocrites here. Either boycotting artists for their political views is fine or it isn’t.
And with things like movies, do we look to all the people who will profit from this film? Movies involve thousands of people, not a handful (like a band) or an individual (like an author). Do we need to know what the key grip thinks about gay marriage? Should we ask all the Foley artists to submit to a questionnaire before deciding whether we should see the film?
So while my heart says, “Yeah, I don’t want Card to think I agree with him,” at the same time I also ask “Should I boycott art that has nothing to do with the issue I am boycotting?”