Orson Scott Card 

Walt Disney was rascist, and yet he created one of the most beloved children’s franchises in the world.  J.F.K. was a notorious adulterer who led our nation through the Cuban Missile Crisis.  Babe Ruth was a drunk and a womanizer whose contributions to baseball are felt to this day.  None of these things were public knowledge in their lifetimes.

Today, unfortunately, we do know everything about our public figures.  When Tiger Woods was caught cheating public sentiment was so strong that he lost several endorsements contracts as a result.  Bill Clinton most likely cheated on his wife, while in office, got caught, and damaged the presidency while trying to remain in office.  And then there’s Orson Scott Card, whose stand on homosexuality is embarrassing and backward-looking, without any background information on the genetics behind it.  Tiger had been an icon for minorities, and being so dominant in a sport that is traditionally almost exclusively white made his participation even more important.  Clinton’s efforts in foreign affairs were so effective that we are still reaping the benefits of his efforts in China.

I watched Card’s Ender’s Game some time ago.  I was impressed with his concepts of education, leadership, morality, and ethics there.  Since then his various novels have all been highly recommended to me and I intend to follow through with them.  His ability to make social, political, and ethical statements through his characters on the screen was stunning.  I look forward to collecting everything he has written in science fiction so I can follow how he continues to develop those themes and statements.  If he has as much to say about education in the books as I saw in the movie I think that every educator on the planet could learn a great deal from him.  The same goes for leadership and generals and ethics and politicians. 

If I ever met Orson Scott Card in person I’m not certain how I would react.  Would I shake his hand, jaw slack, and stumble over some statement of awe about his farsighted vision of the future, or would I be tempted to denounce him as a man with his moral blinders on?  I don’t honestly know.  I do know that when he puts pen to paper in his stories he makes social statements that are in the best traditions of science fiction.  Orson Scott Card is a novelist, like Disney was an entertainer, Kennedy a leader, and Ruth a baseball player.  Yes, he is a flawed human being.  Yes, those flaws stem from an absolute reading of the Bible that lacks any knowledge about its history and context.  But I do not believe that all he has created should be condemned because of this.  Like a savant, his gifts should be appreciated even if his inadequacies cannot be overlooked. 

About Cian Beirdd

I live with my kitty, and encourage his tuna and catnip addictions. I have a website as well; https://cianbeirdd.wordpress.com/cian-beirdd/
This entry was posted in ComicCon, Sci Fi/Fantasy, Science Fiction and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Orson Scott Card 

  1. Loki says:

    I very much agree. I find it sad (if of course human and understandable) when people are unable to enjoy some piece of art or other because they get the author’s or creator’s personal failings mixed up with the artwork itself.

  2. I think — at least in politics — that constantly invading the personal lives of potential candidates makes a lot of people who would otherwise be great legislators unwilling to stand for office. I know Garry was offered an opportunity and said NO NO NO. In fact, the only one of us willing to run at all was me, and that was because I stood absolutely zero chance of winning.

    I’m not sure how much — or if — personal (private) morality should be a primary issue in a candidacy.

    Ted Kennedy was a great legislator, maybe the greatest of a generation. LBJ fell on his proverbial sword to get civil rights passed. Perhaps the office can make the man (or woman) greater than he/she could otherwise be. I’ve been watching this process my whole life. I don’t think we’re doing ourselves any favors by leaving no one in public life any privacy. Ultimately, I believe we lose far more than we gain.

    Really good post.

    • Cian Beirdd says:

      I think so too, and that goes for any public figure. Thanks for the nod, too, I was kind of worried about how this would be taken.

      • Actually, I’m very glad you brought it up. It is sometimes difficult for me personally. Wagner and so many racist artists. I struggle with it. I don’t always come down on the same side of the issue. I guess it depends for me on HOW bad they really are and what they did and/or said. It’s not a simple issue for any thinking person.

  3. Cian Beirdd says:

    For me there are a number of factors. How much good is the person doing? Is making any effort to respect the other side (which Card seems to be doing, now that homosexual marriage is no longer an issue he is done discussing it)? What environment was he raised in (Mormons are VERY conservative). But a difficult judgment nonetheless.

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