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Orson Scott Card: Thoughtcriminal

Orson Scott Card is one of the best-selling science fiction writers alive. He is also a devout Mormon who opposes same-sex marriage. A group of pro-gay comics fans is up in arms over the fact that DC has hired Card to write a new Superman series. The Guardian is making it sound like a huge deal:

“Superman stands for truth, justice and the American way. Orson Scott Card does not stand for any idea of truth, justice or the American way that I can subscribe to,” said Jono Jarrett of Geeks Out, a gay fan group. “It’s a deeply disappointing and frankly weird choice.”

A film of Ender’s Game, co-produced by Card and starring Harrison Ford, is set to be released in November. Jarrett speculated DC was hoping pre-publicity for the movie would drive sales for the comic.

“I feel like they were hoping that no one will notice. It’s a free country, and what’s important is what we do here. This is a man who wants to take away my civil rights, and I will not be giving him my money,” said Jarrett.

Actor Michael Hartney, who describes himself as “as big a Superman fan as you’ll ever meet”, has written to DC voicing his concerns about Card.

“If this was a Holocaust denier or a white supremacist, there would be no question. Hiring that writer would be an embarrassment to your company. Well, Card is an embarrassment to your company, DC,” he wrote in a letter also published on Tumblr.

Fortunately, a gay comic writer quoted in the piece understands that blacklisting Card is offensive:

Dale Lazarov, a gay comic writer, said it was counterproductive to attack Card’s appointment: “I’ve known Orson Scott Card is a raging homophobe since the early 90s. I refuse to buy or read his work. But asking that he be denied work because he is a raging homophobe is taking it too far. Asking for workplace discrimination for any reason is counterproductive for those who want to end discrimination on their own behalf.”

True enough. What does Card’s view on homosexuality have to do with Superman? This is about trying to punish Card for thoughtcrime.

Incidentally, as the reader who sent this item in points out, it’s telling and inadvertently funny that The Guardian called Card “a noted anti-gay writer” in its lede. This tells us more about the fixations of Guardian writers than it does about Card. I don’t read science fiction, but if I did, I wouldn’t care what Card’s cultural politics were, unless they showed up in his fiction and were preachy — in other words, if his politics caused him to make bad art. It is entirely possible that Card is a first-rate artist, but a political dunderhead. Only political dunderheads, though, would condemn his art because of his political views, and it takes a true McCarthyite cretin to try to convince a publisher to deny the man work because of his political views.

I did learn from this story that DC turned Batwoman into a lesbian in 2006. I had not realized that DC Comics characters were sexual. A lot has changed since I was into superhero comics back in the 1970s.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

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