Why I'm not boycotting Ender's Game

Earlier today, Mark wrote about a boycott of the Ender's Game movie; called for on the basis of Orson Scott Card's public statements opposing gay marriage. Unlike Mark, I really enjoyed Ender's Game and read it several times; later, I read John Kessel's brilliant essay about it and realized some of the ways in which it brilliantly -- and troublingly -- snuck in a message of justifiable pre-emptive violence.

I've been concerned and upset about Card's views on homosexuality since his "Hypocrites of Homosexuality" came out in 1990. But I won't be signing onto the boycott call for the Ender's Game movie, for the same reason I didn't sign onto the call for a boycott of the Superman comic Card was tapped to write. A Steven Brust essay changed my thinking on this:

So, then, the question immediately stops being, “is it morally wrong to try to convince DC to blacklist Scott Card.” It becomes, “Is it a good tactic to try to convince DC to blacklist Scott Card.” In the previous discussion, Emma pointed out, quite correctly, that it’s an ineffective way to create change. I agree, but there’s more. Just like in a good work of fiction, what we need to examine are consequences. And the consequences of creating a blacklist are simple: it opens the door for it’s use against us. And, frankly, we’re a lot more vulnerable than they are; they have the entire power of the massive machine of capital and the State; we have only what we can pull in with our voices.

Later, Brust posted an anaecdote where he quoted Oscar Brand: "We on the left do not blacklist."


Update: In the comments, Bill Morgenthien points out that a boycott isn't the same thing, precisely, as a blacklist. That's very true, and it's an important distinction.

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  1. I'm not entirely convinced that boycotts and blacklists are the same thing. Trying to get Card dropped by DC is definitely in the blacklisting category and not the way to go. Making a market choice to not support (read: reward) Card's odious public sentiments is quite another. Do I wish to see Card prevented from making a living? No. Do I personally not wish to further enrich someone I disagree with? Yes. I'm not going to encourage a picket line or protest my local AMC theater. I am simply choosing not to buy a ticket, and telling anyone I know exactly why I decided not to.

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