Is it okay to shun Orson Scott Card now?

Nob Akimoto

Nob Akimoto is a policy analyst and part-time dungeon master. When not talking endlessly about matters of public policy, he is a dungeon master on the NWN World of Avlis

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164 Responses

  1. Heisenberg says:

    The man also wrote Pastwatch, one of the most liberal works of sci-fi this side of Kim Stanley Robinson. People contain multitudes, no?Report

  2. alanstorm says:

    “But it sure sounds plausible, doesn’t it? Because, like a good fiction writer, I made sure this scenario fit the facts we already have — the way Obama already acts, the way his supporters act, and the way dictators have come to power in republics in the past.”

    What is your objection to this quote – is it the accuracy?

    Here’s the most important paragraph in his whole piece:

    “That’s what history teaches us — it can happen anywhere. And when the historians write about it after the fact, they will point out how obvious all the signs were from the start — the way they write about Hitler now. Why did so many people go along with him? ”

    Is it paranoid? I certainly hope so. Unfortunately, I am rapidly coming to believe that I am insufficiently paranoid given the current administration.Report

    • Rod Engelsman in reply to alanstorm says:

      Exactly what has he done to make you feel that way? Be specific.Report

      • Veylon in reply to Rod Engelsman says:

        What Obama’s done wrong is reflected more in what he hasn’t done than in what he has. Look, it was very fashionable to call Bush a tyrant who was destroying democracy through secret power and unjust laws. Obama was supposed to change that…but hasn’t.
        What Republicans have done is waken up to what Bush did many years ago. Their victimhood mentality has led them to realize that they could be in the crosshairs of the Patriot Act and it’s associated injustices. It’s not just for Muslims anymore.
        Of course, it’s also worth reflecting that just as Bush, for all his abuses, eventually left office, so to will Obama. But the system endures from administration to administration and that’s what’s terrible. It needs to be dismantled.
        The sin of the Republicans is to wail and gnash their teeth and do nothing. There’s a Republican-controlled House that could strip Obama of his unconstitutional war powers right now. The can repeal the Patriot Act. They could pass restrictions on the NSA right now and even defund it. Right now. Regardless of who is in office, these are things that they should do. If they truly feared Obama as a tyrant, there are meaningful acts they can take to defang him. That these acts are not taken speaks volumes about their true intentions.Report

    • Barry in reply to alanstorm says:

      “What is your objection to this quote – is it the accuracy?”

      The accuracy. It’s lie after lie after pure and simple lie.Report

  3. alanstorm says:

    In answer to your question, no. Not if you claim tolerance.Report

    • greginak in reply to alanstorm says:

      I’m unclear, are you going for “if you are tolerant then you must tolerate my intolerance by not disagreeing with it” thing. OSC has the right to say whatever crazy ass crud he wants. The rest of us have the right to say how we disagree with it.Report

    • Lee in reply to alanstorm says:

      The “to be truly tolerant, you must allow me my intolerance” argument is bullshit from beginning to end. It’s a mug’s game and the bully/abuser’s best friend. I am under no moral obligation to “tolerate” someone who wants to turn an entire swath of American society into second-class citizens. Saying that I am leaves all the power in the hands of the bullies, and their victims with no recourse.

      Tolerance is a two-way street. If you want me to tolerate you, then you need to afford me the same courtesy and respect. If you don’t, then fuck you and the unicorn you rode in on, and stop whining about how intolerant *I* am.Report

      • Nob Akimoto in reply to Lee says:


      • DavidTC in reply to Lee says:

        If you want me to tolerate you, then you need to afford me the same courtesy and respect.

        No, it’s not even that. I mean, that is true, but it’s not the problem here.

        People being ‘intolerant’ of homophobes are…publicly criticizing homophobes.

        People being ‘intolerant’ of gay people are…working to deny gay people their rights.

        I would point out that those are not the same thing, but that much is obvious. So instead I will point out that those are not even the same _class_ of things. One of those is an actual constitutional right, the other of those is the _opposite_ of a constitutional right.

        It’s an absurd strawman. The right invents what _they_ think the left has been saying ‘tolerance’ is, and pretends the left is violating it.

        I can assure people, no one on the left has even wandered around saying ‘You should be tolerance of other people, include ones that hurt people’. No one. Ever.

        It’s just so blatantly dishonest it…well, anyone who thinks it, even for a second, is a complete and utter moron who has had their brain carefully shaped by Rush Limbaugh.

        Incidentally, before anyone asks: Yes, Card has worked to deny gay people their rights. He’s on the board of the National Organization for Marriage. Or, at least, he _was_…and I’m not actually willing to give someone a pass because they quietly stopped trying to restrict people’s right a mere month ago. For all we know, he’s just dropped off the board so his movie doesn’t tank, and will join right back on afterward.

        Now, toleration is indeed a two-way street, and I argue I have the right to be ‘intolerant’ towards a person who constantly insults friends of mine. So, yes, what you are saying is correct, we don’t have to tolerate assholes…but that only takes effect after _the actual harm is stopped_. Anyone who stands there and ‘tolerates’ injustice to others is a moron. (‘Tolerates’ in the imaginary right-wing version of giving out flowers to the oppressor or whatever the hell they think it means. I’m not saying everyone has to leap forward and stop all injustice in every circumstance. They are required, however, to not stand there and encourage it.)Report

  4. greginak says:

    Not that there isn’t some competition here but i thought this was the most vile part.

    “In other words, Obama will put a thin veneer of training and military structure on urban gangs, and send them out to channel their violence against Obama’s enemies.

    Instead of doing drive-by shootings in their own neighborhoods, these young thugs will do beatings and murders of people “trying to escape” — people who all seem to be leaders and members of groups that oppose Obama. ”

    Of course he never says black or hispanic, because they might be icky, he just goes with “urban.”

    I never read any of OCS books so i have no preset desire to see EG. While can very easily see the point of separating the authors politics from their art since we all do it with someone we enjoy. There is also the time where some one is just to offensive to want to give my money to. I love me some good sci fi on the big screen, but OSC isn’t going to get a cent out of me. Maybe he was a good sci fi, writer but all he is now is a very bad sci fi writer and flaming nutbag. .Report

  5. Jaybird says:

    We should create a list of artists that have political views that we find offensive and do what we can to make sure that they never find work again.Report

    • greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

      Where was the “never work again” part. I missed that.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

        Are you ever going to read anything of his ever again? Watch any movies based on his work?

        Do you think that other people should avoid his books and/or movies too?

        For the record, I will never again read another book of his. Nor will I see any of his movies.

        I will do what I can to mock those who do. Mostly because they’re crap, but still.

        Are you one of those people who will publicly decry OSC but put on fake nose glasses and see his movie, Greg? Will you put money into his pockets? Will you stand idly by as other people do so? Or will you say “I say thee *NAY*. You should shun the work produced by this vile man!”?

        For the record: I’ve never seen a Polanski film. Not even “The Ghostwriter” which I really, really wanted to.Report

      • greginak in reply to greginak says:

        I’ve never read any of his books. I didn’t even know i was seeing a trailer for EG until the title came up on the screen. I have no connection to his work. I’ve seen Polanski films but would find it icky to do so now that i know more about what he did.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

        (For the record: my problem with the Hollywood Blacklist was that the government was involved. If private industry wants to say that they don’t want to work with people who have vile beliefs… well, they don’t want to work with people who have vile beliefs.)Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to greginak says:

        There’s also the fact that ‘vile belief” included “A decade ago, I went to a meeting of a pro-union group.” Or even “I went to some anti-segregation rallies that were sponsored by the wrong sorts of people.”Report

      • Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

        Hey, it’s not like they were neo-confederates, right?Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to greginak says:

        No, neo-confederates tended to be pro-segregation.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

        And the folks who perpetrated the holodomor were pro-union.

        That doesn’t mean that we get to focus on the merits of the 10th Amendment when we talk about Jack Hunter.

        I don’t see why we should be so soft on the folks joining the Communist Party when Stalin was in power. We should treat them the way we’d treat folks who joined up with the Nazis in the 30’s.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to greginak says:

        There are a few ways to respond to that:

        1. Many people were blacklisted who had never joined the Communist Party. Fred Fisher, who became famous when Joe McCarthy smeared him as a Communist at the Army–McCarthy hearings, had merely belonged to the National Lawyers Guild, some of whose founders had been Communists, but which was in fact a liberal alternative to the ABA. Unlike the ABA, the NLG was integrated and pro-union.
        2. Many people joined the Communist Party when it was the only group actively opposing Hitler. Obviously that changed in 1939, and many of them quite then and there, and blacklisting them was punishing them for making the same tactical decision that the country as a whole was about to make.
        3. Likewise people who allied with the CPUSA when they were the largest group actively opposing segregation.
        4. Most American Communists had no idea what Stalin was really up to and treated the truths that managed to escape from the Soviet Union as vile smears. Nazis, on the other hand, knew exactly what Hitler was up to.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

        Fred Fisher wasn’t blacklisted. He was smeared. Dalton Trumbo was blacklisted.

        The Holodomor was being reported as early as 1933. I don’t know how much credit to give those who refused to believe the reports.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to greginak says:

        Fred Fisher was smeared in a way that could have ruined his career if Joseph Welch hadn’t stood behind him. Paul Robeson was blacklisted for his affiliation with anti-fascist, pro-civil-rights, and other left-wing causes. Uta Hagen was blacklisted for her association with Paul Robeson. Arthur Miller, and many others, were blacklisted for refusing to name names in front of HUAC.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

        Hey, Robeson got the Stalin Prize! Not too many people can claim that anymore!

        Was the Holodomor still in doubt in 1952 or was Stalin like “General Tso” and you could order “General Tso’s Chicken” without feeling like you were doing something transgressive?Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to greginak says:

        It’s the settled wisdom nowadays that the Holodomor was a planned work of genocide rather than a famine combined with a completely broken economy, but that wasn’t true in 1952. Or any time before the Soviet archives were opened after the fall of the Soviet Union.

        Odd. I see this line at Wiki:

        Conquest supported the view that the famine was a planned act of genocide. However, information that became available later convinced Conquest that this view is wrong and he dismissed his concept of a terror-famine.

        But the footnote there doesn’t support it, and I can’t find any support for it. Still, “settled wisdom” may be an exaggeration. Anyway, Conquest was a Communist at university, so he shouldn’t have been allowed to write books.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

        I admit, I stopped reading when I got to: In April 1953, shortly after Stalin’s death, Robeson penned To You My Beloved Comrade, praising Stalin as dedicated to peace and a guide to the world: “Through his deep humanity, by his wise understanding, he leaves us a rich and monumental heritage.”Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to greginak says:

        It’s not like Robeson had any reason to embrace a country that didn’t lynch people who looked like him.Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to greginak says:

        If only for lack of people who looked like him to lynch. I don’t think the Nazis killed many blacks, either.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to greginak says:

        Wiki says:

        While black people in Nazi Germany were never subject to mass extermination, they were considered an inferior race and suffered discrimination, racist propaganda, and forced sterilization. Some non-Germans, such as African American and French colonial prisoners of war, were interned in concentration camps, while others were summarily executed.Report

    • Shazbot3 in reply to Jaybird says:

      A while ago on OSC, I said it was important to separate the living and the dead for the purposes of boycotts.

      If Wagner were alive, I would not pay to see his works, knowing it was adding to his fame and wealth, which he was using to futher anti-semitism. Now that he is dead, long dead, you are not fuelling his anti-semitic contributions by seeing his work.

      I would be happy to watch or read Ender’s game 20 years after OSC dies, assuming its rights aren’t owned by equally vile homophobes and racists.Report

      • Shazbot3 in reply to Shazbot3 says:

        Also, there is a spectrum of offensiveness. Boycotts should be reserved for the most offensive.

        Obviously, this is a nuanced issue, JB, and you seem in a race to oversimplify it.Report

  6. Heisenberg says:

    To continue on Orson Scott Card, he is also someone who was insightful enough to write this:

    It could have happened here. In the 1950s, with African-American soldiers returning from war to find that in their own country they were still kept from decent employment, harassed and persecuted, and occasionally lynched or mobbed, while Southern legislators, governors, and Congressmen fought for every shred of Jim Crow they could hang on to, it was only a matter of time before the angriest of America’s blacks took up arms and began fighting for independence.

    Like the Catholic Irish in Ulster. Like the Kosovars. Like the Kurds. Like angry, mistreated, oppressed, hopeless people in countries all over the world.

    But we didn’t have that civil war.

    Instead, we had the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., who embraced the nonviolent methods of Gandhi and fought his people’s war in the media, appealing to the conscience of America instead of fighting it out with bullets.

    Because he prevented that war, it’s easy to forget that tens of thousands of Americans are alive today because of him. It’s easy to ignore how black and white cultures in America have interpenetrated, how relatively safe and peaceful our lives are because of his life’s work.


    • greginak in reply to Heisenberg says:

      Yeah its odd to see a guy who wrote that postulating that Obama is going to be training “urban gangs” to go murder his opponents.Report

      • Heisenberg in reply to greginak says:

        Yeah. I think he’s definitely had a hit of the “Fox News Effect.” The Empire books were the result – just awful.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to greginak says:

        The Ender’s Shadow books were pretty awful too, after the first one. I don’t recall where I stopped reading, but it was the one with the afterward explaining that he was well-qualified to write books about worldwide conflict because he’d made a study of international relations. (And, judging by the book, promptly forgotten every bit of it.)Report

      • trumwill in reply to greginak says:

        He also talked about how he was inspired in part when he was playing the board game Risk. Which resonated bevause the geopolitics of the books started feeling like a board game after a while.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to greginak says:

        The last chapter I recall reading was the one where, right after the Indian government was taken over by the Bad Guys, its former prime minister called the president of Pakistan and said “It’s too late for us. You have to become the leader of all the Indian peoples!”

        Totally plausible, right?Report

    • Barry in reply to Heisenberg says:

      Card has an awesome lack of self-awareness.

      However, it was fun to see him beg for people not to boycott his film, after he made posts suggesting revolution. Talk about a summer soldier and sunshine patriot….Report

  7. Heisenberg says:

    At any rate, from my perspective, you shouldn’t boycott an author for a view you find odious unless the work itself expresses that view. Orson Scott Card may be homophobic, but Ender’s Game definitely isn’t.

    By contrast, George R.R. Martin is, by all accounts, a pretty liberal dude. But I won’t give him a dime of my money for Game of Thrones because it’s seriously one of the most racist pieces of fantasy literature in the modern era in its portrayal of the Dothraki and other non-white, non-Westeros nations. Game of Thrones is a problematic text, even though Martin has political opinions that supposedly agree with mine. So I won’t buy Game of Thrones or watch it.Report

    • greginak in reply to Heisenberg says:

      It seems to me like if someones work or beliefs bothers you enough that it would get in the way of enjoying the work than you are better off not going. We all have different filters for what would bug us to much to enjoy a work or feel wrong for throwing some money at that person.Report

    • Drew in reply to Heisenberg says:

      Except that OSC’s money goes to homophobic causes.Report

    • Kim in reply to Heisenberg says:

      GoT is going through tropes deliberately.
      Dany as Great White Savior is naturally problematic,
      but Martin’s never met a trope he can’t lampshade /and/ subvert.
      at least not in Game of Thrones.

      It’s well to note that in the books, there are multiple races of
      darkskinned folk (and the Dothraki are more or less multiethnic,
      pulling more off the Temujin model than anything), and many
      of them are “civilized.”

      Dany thinks she’s in a different book (maybe a different genre).
      Looking forward to seeing her chopped down to size.
      (I always hated her scenes).Report

  8. Kazzy says:

    I’m still just a few chapters in, but is it okay if my objection is based on the fact that he made his protagonist a 6-year-old and then had him act in a way that is nothing like how a 6-year-old would act? The teacher in me can’t stand when writers or film/television makers get it so, so wrong about how kids actually act. The actor portraying Ender in the movie is 16, though I assume was at least a couple years younger than that when they filmed. I assume that was done because the movie makes no sense if you see a 6-year-old doing all the shit Ender is supposed to be doing.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

      The “Demosthenes and Locke” part will have you howling when you get there. *HOWLING*.

      That said, he did pretty much foresee political blogging.Report

    • greginak in reply to Kazzy says:

      What about the part where they spoof Lord of the Rings and D and D with all the fantasy elements (like Frygo and Leegola and Greyfarn) and the bit about die roles……oh wait that was Benders Game…….nevermindReport

    • Will Truman in reply to Kazzy says:

      In one of his afterwords, OSC talked about how one of the two stumbling points for an Ender’s Game movie was the age thing. He insisted, basically, that the movies stay true to the age of the characters in the book. Which the producers couldn’t live with, ostensibly because child actors are expensive as hell (not that they’re paid much, but they slow down filming) below a certain age. The other part, I think, is that, is that seeing it on the screen would have demonstrated the ludicrousness of it. Even though it was OSC giving his side of the story, I found myself agreeing with the producers.Report

      • greginak in reply to Will Truman says:

        Hmm i wonder if there have been any other big money sci fi epics, maybe one that was prequel to a famous trilogy, that featured a child actor. To be fair to the kid, Phantom Menace was a bag full of suck regardless.Report

    • Mike Schilling in reply to Kazzy says:

      He’s a super-duper-genius, as are both of his siblings. That’s why they let his parents have a third kid, after all, because they’re all super-duper-geniuses. so, unless you’re familiar with super-duper-geniuses …

      Six, really? My memory has made them ten.Report

      • I also thought ten or so.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        Everyone I’ve talked to about it said he was 10, but the book clearly denotes that he’s 6, which Wiki confirms. I don’t believe he ages through the novel.

        Super-intelligence, I can understand. But he shows things that go beyond intelligence. He would basically need to be super advanced on all levels (emotional, social, physical, etc.), which I suppose could be described as “intelligences”, but then you’re basically making him a very short 10-year-old, at which point… just make him a 10-year-old. I also believe that his classmates are of similar age, making them all also around 6.

        Seriously, go watch a 6-year-old, even a really smart one for a few minutes. Than try to imagine that child doing all the things Ender does (at least through Chapter 6, for me!). Outside of the crying, none of it really makes sense.

        I read another book recently where the author similarly just so misgauged how a child would act a given age. I can’t remember which book, but it made the read really frustrating.

        Some authors really get kids, understand how they work and such, and can write them as characters (see: Sendak, Where the Wild Things Are*). Some do not.

        * What makes this book as classic and timeless is how perfectly it captures the anger of a young child, something most books up until that point wouldn’t or couldn’t do. Kevin Henkes has books that similarly deal with children having less-than-super-happy emotions (i.e., Lily’s Purple Plastic Purse, Julius, the Baby of he World). Another author who really gets kids is Mo Willems. He demonstrates this not necessarily through portrayals of their emotional range, but by crafting books that kids fine genuinely, uproariously funny. He’d be the uncle that’d show up at the birthday party and would literally have the kids eating out of his hands. He just gets what makes them tick and, most importantly, laugh.Report

      • Anathema in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        I think that Ender is six at the start of the book. But the book takes place over the course of several years. I think that Ender is ten by the book’s climax.Report

    • Paul Cook in reply to Kazzy says:

      Kazzy, You found my main objection to Card’s writing: his children all speak with the wisdom, articulation, and emotional maturity of 50 year old men (or women). But the novel (like most of Card’s writing) is filled with extreme, graphic violence, unlike any other in the sci-fi field. Not in Kuttner, not in Asimov, not in Sturgeon). It has no literary redeeming value–regardless what Card says.Report

    • Barry in reply to Kazzy says:

      Somebody put it that EG is a psycho fantasy for picked-upon high school nerds (as well as showing rather alarming signs of the psychologies associated with child molestation).

      That sums it up well.

      IIRC, I only read the short story, and ISTR that it came down to Ender throwing every weapon under his command at the Bug home world, wiping out the species.

      That’s not exactly the sort of incredibly different thinking that people don’t already have in time of war.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Barry says:

        it came down to Ender throwing every weapon under his command at the Bug home world, wiping out the species.

        Guvaxvat vg jnf bayl n fvzhyngvba. Bayl nsgrejneq qvq uvf pbzznaqref gryy uvz vg jnf erny, naq gur fgbel raqf jvgu uvf urnegfvpx ubeebe ng jung ur’q orra gevpxrq vagb qbvat. Gur abiry rkcnaqf ba gung, fubjvat gur rzbgvbany artyrpg naq nohfr gung gur zvyvgnel unq fhowrpgrq Raqre gb, va beqre gb ghea uvz vagb gur fbeg bs fbyqvre gurl arrqrq. Nalbar jub guvaxf RT vf n cbjre snagnfl rvgure arire ernq vg be pbzcyrgryl zvfhaqrefgbbq vg.Report

  9. Art Deco says:

    Weigel’s an ass (as indicated by the reference to George Lincoln Rockwell). This is the money quote from Orson Scott Card:

    Will these things happen? Of course not. This was an experiment in fictional thinking.

    But it sure sounds plausible, doesn’t it? Because, like a good fiction writer, I made sure this scenario fit the facts we already have — the way Obama already acts, the way his supporters act, and the way dictators have come to power in republics in the past.

    Just keep your head down, and you’ll be OK. Unless your children repeat at school things you said in the privacy of your home. Unless an Obama crony wants your house or your job. Unless you tell the wrong joke to the wrong people. Unless you have already written or said dangerous things that will come back to get you shot trying to avoid arrest …

    Just kidding. Because if I really believed this stuff, would I actually write this essay?

    What part of ‘experiment in fictional thinking’ eludes your understanding or David Weigel’s?


    The problem is that the results of the experiment are just not that good. He attempts to paint a portrait around certain fragments (“facts”), but the fragments are not enough to compel a result which resembles this.

    Certain aspects of Obama he identifies and of the political culture of certain social groups are verifiable and recognizable. It is doubtful that Obama (or, really, anyone from the subcultures he inhabits) conceives of himself as being in conversation with or argument with any sort of antagonist. This is default mode of the arts-and-sciences faculty and large chunks of the press and the appellate judiciary and the elite bar. We are all embarked on an experiment in maintaining a constitutional order without a sustaining culture. The more civilized element in society is baffled as to how to proceed when certain crucial institutions that a man such as Dwight Eisenhower could (with some justice) trust for their professionalism are deeply corrupted both intellectually and morally. Card needed to attempt to paint a portrait of escalating preposterousness and posit a crisis and climax.

    Thirty-five years ago, Phylis Schlafly was ridiculed for her musings about the likely direction of law and social policy under certain circumstances, but what has happened in intervening years is in the rough territory of the sort of things she anticipated. Maybe we should ask her.Report

    • Mike Schilling in reply to Art Deco says:

      But it sure sounds plausible, doesn’t it?

      No, it doesn’t. His yarn-spinning is based on premises even the dumbest Fox News junkie would have to doubt. These are some of the things Card lists as facts before he starts to speculate:

      * Iran and North Korea are led by dictators who don’t care about the survival of their own people

      Actually, they’re both run by very unpleasant people who pursue their own self-interest above all else.

      * From Benghazi to Boston, [Obama’s] policy is to pretend that Muslims never do anything bad.

      If you’re paying any attention, you know that what Obama’s been accused of regarding Benghazi is blaming the wrong set of Muslims.

      * Obama would certainly respond to a nuclear strike on Tel Aviv and Haifa with a call for negotiations and a complete abandonment of whatever part of Israel survived.

      Remember, this isn’t Card being a fiction writer. This is where his speculations start from.Report

      • Jim Heffman in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        ” His yarn-spinning is based on premises even the dumbest Fox News junkie would have to doubt.”

        I dunno. George Takei was just on TV talking about how what’s going on in Russia is “what happened in Germany in the 1930s” and how allowing the Olympics to take place in Sochi would give Putin a veneer of legitemacy just like the Olympics in Germany did for Hitler. I haven’t seen the massive Facebook movements to boycott “Allegiance” or “Star Trek”.Report

      • DavidTC in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        If you’re paying any attention, you know that what Obama’s been accused of regarding Benghazi is blaming the wrong set of Muslims.

        Hey, now. It’s entirely possible to be paying attention and have no fucking idea what the Republicans think Benghazi is about.

        Last I checked, the Republicans were blaming Benghazi on ACORN? I’m not entirely sure.

        Remember, this isn’t Card being a fiction writer. This is where his speculations start from.

        Of course Obama would just let Israel be nuked. He’s a _Democrat_. Us Democrats, because we (Along with the Israelis, who probably would also let Israel get nuked) sometimes disagree with the behavior of Israel, want it nuked.

        It’s much the same way we’d have no problem with Mexico invading Texas.

        Seriously, the maxim ‘You can take any false premise to the logical conclusion and have a reasonable approximation of insanity’ is more and more obviously true every day.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        George Takei was just on TV talking about how what’s going on in Russia is “what happened in Germany in the 1930s”

        An elected (more or less) official taking on dictatorial powers and building support by using an unpopular minority as scapegoats? It’s crazy to compare that to Germany.Report

      • Remember, if you advance policies for the elimination of Jewish people, you’ll win every argument about it because people won’t stop comparing you to Hitler.Report

      • DavidTC in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        Even if it is ‘crazy’, it’s not actively working to deny people their rights like Card was.

        The idea we’d boycott someone because they suggested that some political activity rises to Hilterism and we disagree that it is quite that bad is, uh, silly.

        Although I personally think he’s entirely right. Russia is acting like Germany in the 1930s, and has been for some time. And, frankly, it’s for exactly the same reason…it’s a non-working state that sorta collapsed about two decades ago and has been flopping along like a fish out of water since then.

        It’s not that hard to imagine them slipping into some sort of pogroms against gays and, replacing the Jews this time, Muslims.

        It’s getting a little worrying. Especially since they are still a nuclear power, _and_ feel comfortable with asserting all sorts of claims over their neighbors.Report

      • Glyph in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        @will-truman -Ah, the subtle “Godwin Gambit”.Report

    • Barry in reply to Art Deco says:

      I only sounds plausible to liars and some ‘honest’ people who are seriously deluded. As I said above, the article is just a list of lies.Report

  10. I’m very conflicted. Mr. Card seems like a pretty horrible person, at least from what I learned in this post and from some of the anti-gay statements I’ve heard attributed to him. I’ve also never gotten into Ender’s Game and other than knowing it exists, I don’t know much about it. Also, I’ve read one novel by him (about a guy who moves into a house haunted by a librarian) and it was really blah. Not overtly offensive (but with more knowledge one might interpret it that way in his portrayal of some black characters), but blah.

    Still, I like his short stories, or at least the handful (about 10 or so) that I’ve read. In fact, I recently bought an anthology of his short stories. I admit I bought the anthology after I heard of his anti-gay statements, and I feel a little ashamed about that (when I’m reading it on the L, I try to hide the book so the fellow passengers won’t see).

    There’s probably a point here where we can debate whether and how much an author’s extracurricular activities affect whether we should read his or her work or whether we should spend money that will ultimately enrich him or her. And I’m personally not prepared to do that (it’s Friday, and I’m tired, and I’ve got thin skin). But those are some observations, and my confession, I suppose.Report

    • Good observation: Card is, alas, a second-rate novelist. Some of his short stories, though, are beautiful enough to draw tears.

      Ender’s Game (I read it when it first came out) is a fascinating take on the impact and uses of video games (not surprising, given the popularity of video games at the time). It’s surprisingly prescient in some respects, and really stupid in others. Not surprisingly, the movie has received the same treatment (necessary for believability) as Logan’s Run.

      It’s not a great novel. It’s good idea for a movie, though.Report

  11. Mad Rocket Scientist says:

    I have no problem separating the political person from the producer of entertainment. If I did, I may not be able to enjoy the works of John Scalzi either, a man who wears his liberalism on his sleeve (& who I strongly disagree with from time to time).

    Now Polanski is a different critter, since his sin is not one of mere offensive opinion, but of rape & assault of a minor. Had he faced the consequences of his actions, I may carry a different opinion of him, but alas, he is a coward & he fled. I will not knowingly give him a dime.Report

    • MRS,

      I’m with you on Polanski. He’s a different class by himself.Report

      • Glyph in reply to Pierre Corneille says:

        I don’t know that even if Polanski had faced the consequences that I’d ever forgive him.

        What Polanski did goes so far beyond any miniscule shade of a possibility of a he said/she said, “hey, it was the 70’s, it was a different time then, everybody was crazy, just a misunderstanding, plus she looked eighteen” situation that it’s, IMO, despicable.

        I have relatives who have expressed opinions not unlike some of Card’s. I disagree with them – vehemently – but we’ll still break Thanksgiving bread together, with the understanding that those topics won’t be broached with me, unless they want an argument.

        Polanski would never have a place at any table I am at. Even if he’d served his time.Report

      • Yes. Even if the woman was of age, it would still be reprehensible because he drugged her, if my understanding of the situation and what he’s stipulated to is correct. There’s no consent there.Report

    • Kim in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

      Yeah. It’s one thing to read works of art from people who are into XYZ (including pedophilia), but when it goes from thoughts to action, that’s a whole different ballgame.

      How many of you boycott Michael Jackson? (or did, while he was alive?)Report

      • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Kim says:

        I do not currently own anything by MJ. I may have purchased stuff by him back in the 80s.Report

      • Kim in reply to Kim says:

        You might as well boycott Pournelle as well. He was the one saying racist, bigoted things about immigrants (suggesting that in times of crisis, we ought to terrorize them in order to get them to not use our hospitals — yes, I’m mildly pressing the point with my words here).Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Kim says:

        There’s no need to boycott Pournelle, when you get almost the same effect by reading only his worthwhile books.Report

      • Kim in reply to Kim says:

        oh, that’s not nearly as awesome a burn as this…
        “What about Ray Bradbury?”
        “I’m aware of his work…”Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Kim says:

        Comparing him to Alfred Bester, I’d have to agree with Martin.Report

    • NotMe in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:


      So we have one guy, OSC, who is guilty of a thought crime and liberals want to boycott him and another, Polanski, who committed a real crime and is still a liberal darling. I’ll get upset about this when the liberals have something real.Report

      • Herb in reply to NotMe says:

        Polanski is a liberal darling?Report

      • greginak in reply to NotMe says:

        “Thought crime” oh cripes…he said something lots of us disagree with strongly. So we disagree using our voices. That isn’t a thought crime, its called free speech. Boycott? WTF…hell if not going to see EG is a boycott then i am literally boycotting hundreds of restaurants, stores, every fricking tv station and every movie that has come out in the last year except for pacific rim. In fact you are clearly boycotting literally dozens of movie and shows at this very minute. Polanski??? huhReport

      • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to NotMe says:

        Thought Crime is a stretch, since no one is attempting to use the force of government to silence Card. As greginak says below, this is good, clean, everyday disagreement of political viewpoints.

        As for liberal darling, I don’t know that, although a lot of big name liberals in Hollywood have gone on record defending Polanski & lobbying for a pardon.Report

      • Will Truman in reply to NotMe says:

        As for liberal darling, I don’t know that, although a lot of big name liberals in Hollywood have gone on record defending Polanski & lobbying for a pardon.

        Which I honestly think has to do with Hollywood tribalism more than politics.Report

      • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to NotMe says:


        Quite true, tribalism probably has more to do with his defenders than politics. It’s always interesting how easily tribalism can subvert moral values.Report

  12. BlaiseP says:

    Sturgeon’s Law seems to be somewhat optimistic when it comes to sci-fi: within a vanishingly small percentage, it’s all bullshit. Weak dreams and bad preaching. Let’s not harsh on preachy bullshit from OSC just because we don’t like his sermons, though I don’t like them and see no reason why anyone should. Instead, as an improvement, let’s harp on how utterly derivative and preachy all sci-fi has become.Report

  13. Stillwater says:

    It’s good to have you back Nob.

    Orson is an ass. No doubt about it. Worse than an ass. I’m gonna see Ender’s Game anyway.Report

  14. Kazzy says:

    Alright, this meme REALLY needs to stop…

    “In his years as president, the national media have never challenged Obama on anything. His lies and mistakes are unreported or quickly forgotten or explicitly denied; his critics are demonized.

    It’s hard to imagine how American press coverage would be different if Obama were a Hitler- or Stalin-style dictator, except of course that everyone at Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, and the Rhinoceros Times would be in jail. Or dead.”

    So which is it? No one in the national media has ever challenged Obama? Or fictional-super-evil-Obama would kill all the employees of these national media sources (at least FNC and WSJ… I don’t know what RT is) that dare challenge him? Seriously. It can’t be both. You can’t simultaneously tout that FNC is the most watched cable news show and deride a complete dearth of conservative voices in mainstream, national news. Maybe they are overwhelmed by more numerous and/or louder liberal voices, but they exist. Their problem is that instead of doing their job as a news agency and reporting on the news they wish was reported on, they report on what other news outlets are not reporting on. Ugh… I really just can’t stand that sort of nonsense.Report

  15. NewDealer says:

    My general view is that this should be left to individuals.

    People have a right to view whatever media they please. They also have a right to boycott any artist or any product for whatever reason they want.

    I’m not so keen on hectoring others for making different decisions though. This is where my free speech/free belief civil libertarianism seems to conflict with social justice liberalism. Plus hectoring and lecturing are not great rhetorical tools for convincing people that your position is a good one.

    Artists tend to be very weird people and hold all sorts of unconventional views. TS Eliot was a world-class anti-Semite but the Wasteland and Love Song of J.Alfred Prufrock are two of the best works of modern poetry. Same with Ezra Pound and his cantos. e.e. cummings also hated Jews and the Irish, he refused to attend Kennedy’s inauguration. Virigina Woolf had the classic anti-Semitism of the British Upper Class but she married a Jewish man.

    I think if you need artists (or any other person) to be a saint, there will be very little art you can view, read, watch, etc.

    I have never read Ender’s Game and have no desire to or see the movie. Orson Scott Card’s far-right rants don’t make me inclined towards curiosity either.Report

    • As a former and sometime current fan of T. S. Eliot, I agree.

      Changing topics a little bit, what do you think of Hemingway’s Sun Also Rises? On the one hand, it’s one of my favorite novels. On the other hand, it seems very antisemitic, although I have a hard time deciding for myself if he’s just writing characters who are antisemitic (sort of a, “don’t trust the narrator and don’t assume the narrator is the author” thing), or if the work itself can be called antisemitic.Report

      • NewDealer in reply to Pierre Corneille says:

        I’ve always been more of a fan of Fitzgerald than Hemmingway. I never liked Hemmingway’s writing styles and I did pick up on his anti-Semitism.

        The issue is that I think an artist can write a racist or anti-Semitic or homophobic character but not be bigoted themselves. People are complicated and artists need to be able to portray humanity in a full panorama and full contradictory and paradoxical glory.Report

      • That’s what I struggle with with Sun Also Rises, because the characters are so antisemitic, that it’s hard for me to not see the novel as antisemitic, in part because the target of their bigotry seems based on an anti-Jewish caricature. That said, I really do link Hemingway and that book in particular.Report

      • BlaiseP in reply to Pierre Corneille says:

        All such prejudices must be seen in context. Was there anyone in the past, however distant, who didn’t entertain some distasteful position, as seen in the light of modern times? It’s rather like looking back on old photographs of yourself and feeling that strange emotion of tender embarrassment, remembering yourself as you were? Or encountered something you wrote, years ago, thought so fine at the time, filed it away — only to return to it years later and find it’s juvenile and charmless?

        We must take our authors and artists and film makers as we find them. Their lives are only important because their works were more important. I’ve been profoundly shaped by TS Eliot, Ezra Pound, Walt Whitman, Seamus Heaney, none of whom were perfect men, though Whitman was an almost-perfect human being, so in tune with his world, so prescient, so kindly and his poetic sensibility so vast and magnificent.

        Hemingway’s fame as a human being damned near eclipsed his fame as a writer. I believe fame ate Ernest Hemingway alive, slowly, one terrible bite at a time and he just couldn’t take it any more.Report

      • NewDealer in reply to Pierre Corneille says:


        My taste for Fitzgerald also goes more for subject matter. I will take The Great Gatsby and Tender is the Night over The Sun Also Rises and For Whom the Bell Tolls anyway. Though the character of Wolfsheim from The Great Gatsby is pretty anti-semitic.

        I prefer Orwell to Hemmingway when it comes to writing about the Spanish Civil War and other stuff anyway. Homage to Catalonia being one of the best books written on the Spanish Civil War.

        Orwell had an observation about anti-Semitism not being a very grown-up philosophy but I can’t find it right now.Report

      • Chris in reply to Pierre Corneille says:

        For Whom the Bell Tolls is a pretty bad novel, really. I mean, it’s just a piece of crap. It’s the sort of book that reads like it was written with the movie deal in mind.

        In fact, The Sun Also Rises is the only great novel he wrote, with A Farewell to Arms being very good. The Old Man and the Sea is a masterpiece, of course, but it’s really just a long short story, and he was a much better short story writer than novelist.Report

      • ND,

        I haven’t read Homage, but I’ve read quite a bit of Orwell’s non-fiction and really enjoyed it. I probably also read that writing on antisemitism, although I don’t remember that particular observation.


        I know that Old Man and the Sea is supposed to be good, but for some reason, it just didn’t do it for me. Maybe I should read it again. I really liked For Whom the Bell Tolls when I first read it. Maybe I’d think of it differently now.

        For me at least, the appeal of For Whom the Bell Tolls and Farewell to Arms are the occasions in each book where Hemingway goes into what in my opinion are really good descriptions of characters’ mental states or actions. There’s one scene in Tolls that I remember only dimly, but it’s where Robert Jordan seems to feel the anxiety of the coming bridge bombing pressing itself upon him (again, I remember it only dimly, and my description isn’t helpful). In Farewell, some of the dialogue scenes between the protoganist and his lover (I forget the names) are to me really striking and vivid, as are the opening two or three chapters, and the very end of the novel.

        But Sun is really, for me, a good overall novel.

        (I realize all this is subjective, and vague, but that’s how those works affect me.)Report

      • Chris in reply to Pierre Corneille says:

        The major criticism of Hemingway, during his lifetime, was that he only wrote novels about himself. When you combined that with his obsession with heroes, you get Robert Jordan. I don’t mean to say there aren’t moments in For Whom the Bell Tolls in which the great writer in Hemingway comes out. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough of them, and they’re overwhelmed by a story that feels forced and way, way too self-conscious.

        I had a phase, 4 or 5 years ago, when I became obsessed with classic war novels, and I reread both A Farewell to Arms and For Whom the Bell Tolls. I don’t think I’d put A Farewell to Arms in my top 10, though it’d make the top 20. For Whom the Bell Tolls probably wouldn’t make the list at all.Report

      • Chris,

        Other than Sun Also Rises, which I’ve read several, several times, and maybe a few of my favorite shorter stories, most everything else I’ve read of Hemingway I read only once, and about 15 years ago or so. I imagine if I reread For Whom the Bell Tolls and Farewell To Arms now, I might have a very different view of them.


        Part of my issue, at least when it comes to Sun Also Rises, isn’t so much whether Hemingway was admirable or subject to his own vices, it’s whether that particular work is antisemtic or only has antisemitic characters. (My tentative answer, by the way, is that it’s probably both, but that I like the novel anyway.)

        I admit that with Pound, I’m inclined to dislike his work in part because of who he was and what his sympathies were. I think it’s easier for me to do that because what I’ve read of his poetry didn’t really appeal to me in the first place. But overall, I agree with your point.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Pierre Corneille says:

        The major criticism of Hemingway, during his lifetime, was that he only wrote novels about himself.

        You misspelled “Heinlein”.Report

      • BlaiseP in reply to Pierre Corneille says:

        The Sun Also Rises is a novel populated with thoroughly disagreeable characters. Are there any decent people in that novel? None come to mind. Even the matador Romero is a betrayer. They’re a bunch of drunk fuck-ups in Spain, each fucked up in his or her own unique way. The Jewish guy, Cohn is taunted — by disgusting people — who make disgusting, anti-semitic remarks to a disgusting little man who just happens to be a Jew — and that’s all they can think to do to taunt him, to say such things to Cohn. Hemingway doesn’t pull his punches, nor does Cohn, if memory serves. Even Jake, the impotent, knows he can’t have Brett. None of them get the girl and the one who does get her — abandons her. Even the supposed hero, Jake, he’s no prize. He buys his way into these disgusting people’s company, by paying their bills.

        Cohn was apparently based on a real life feud over a woman.Report

      • Chris in reply to Pierre Corneille says:

        I’m going to lose my nerd card for this, but I’ve never read a word of Heinlein.

        Many years ago, when I had a summer job at Taco Bell during college, there was this older guy who worked there who’d been a high school English teacher, retired, and then gone broke (drugs), so he’d come out of retirement to work the drive through at a fast food restaurant (apparently schools were not eager to hire recovering addicts in their 60s). Anyway, he and I used to sit outside during our breaks and talk about the life, the universe, and everything (nerd card back!), but especially books and music. He would frequently lecture me on how great Heinlein was, and even gave me a copy of one of his books (I don’t remember which one). I swore I’d read that book and all of the others, but somehow never got around to it. I feel more than a little guilty about this, especially when I’m pretty damn sure that dude’s dead now, and I lost his copy of whatever book it was 4 or 5 moves ago. Not guilty enough to actually bother to read any Heinlein though, apparently.

        I can picture his gray pony-tailed hippie ass now, telling me about how he’s going to move to Hawaii because the land’s cheap, and just smoke weed and read classic sci fi until he’s senile or dead.Report

      • I read his “Door Into Summer” and “Citizen of the Galaxy” when I was around 14 or 15 and fell in love with him.

        Looking back now, I can’t help but notice that his sub-plots worked a lot better in a time period where people said stuff like “my parents got married when my mom was 14” rather than “my great-grandparents got married when my great-grandma was 14.” If you can swallow that gnat, you’ll have a grand old time enjoying some “Here’s How It’s Done” old skooly sci-fi plotting.Report

      • I read “Stranger in a Strange Land” because I wanted to grok what the word grok meant. I wasn’t impressed, especially with the last 3/4th’s of the novel.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Pierre Corneille says:

        The Door into Summer approaches pedophilia, even if it does use time travel to eventually make the ages match better.Report

    • Stillwater in reply to NewDealer says:

      I have never read Ender’s Game and have no desire to or see the movie. Orson Scott Card’s far-right rants don’t make me inclined towards curiosity either.

      Eh, no biggie. There’re tons of really great books written by people who hold the correct views. I imagine there are, anyway.

      Hey, has anyone looked into this?Report

  16. NewDealer says:

    I tend to have a very unorthodox way of viewing a lot stories in the news or other situations.

    Every now and then, this gets people angry and I get a lot of accusations about missing the point along with a handful of people saying that I raised a good point.

    While I think Orson Scott Card is balls-off-the-wall nuts. I am rather sensitive of people getting in hot water for not viewing things in a status quo/acceptable way.

    Orson Scott Card is a straight out bigot in my view but I’ve seen other artists and intellectuals get in hot water for presenting not-bigoted but certainly non-standard hypos.

    What do you think is the line between an eccentric and non-standard worldview that deserves defense and when someone is speaking beyond the pale? Orson Scott Card is an easy case of beyond the pale. But there have been other times when people have been viewed as beyond the pale and I think they are being merely eccentric or philosophical instead of glibly accepting something as a proper line of thought.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to NewDealer says:

      There are two kinds of defense:

      He has every right to say what he is saying.
      I have every right to not give him a damn cent and to tell other people that they shouldn’t give him money either.

      There are a lot of authors out there and a lot of movies out there. No shortage of good stories to be found… why put your money in *HIS* pocket?Report

      • NewDealer in reply to Jaybird says:

        And as I said this is a personal choice and people have every right to see or view and spend their entertainment and cultural money as they please.

        I don’t spend money on Adam Sandler movies because I think is a vulgar, juvenile, and very unfunny. However, he can be a good actor when out of his element. Example: He is brilliant in Punch Drunk Love.

        But a few months ago, Jeremy Irons got in a small bit of hot water for letting his mind wander out loud. I don’t think he was being homophobic. I think he was being weird. But a lot of my friends thought he might as well be in Orson Scott Card territory even though he was very far from it.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird says:

        I think [Jeremy Irons] was being weird.

        You have no idea.Report

      • NewDealer in reply to Jaybird says:


        Very good. Alpha plus. You win a cookie from Specialty’s.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird says:

        That’s a quote from two different movies. Which were you thinking of?Report

      • greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

        Reversal of Fortune is the flick i thought ofReport

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird says:

        Also, The Lion King:

        Simba: (laughs) You’re so weird.
        Scar: You have no ideaReport

    • I’m not sure how I’d go about drawing the line, although my impression is that Mr. Card has crossed it.

      I have, or have had, some “eccentric” views and, more accurately, I “fellow travel” with eccentric views. E.g., I”m not a young earth creationist and I believe evolution should be taught in schools, but for some reason I have a hard time understanding, I have a lot of sympathy for them at an emotional level.

      I think one criterion is related to Kazzy’s comment above, where Mr. Card makes two contradictory statements about the media being obsequious to Obama and yet being hectored for criticizing Obama. To my mind, this demonstrates a certain intellectual dishonesty, an unwillingness to be oriented toward the truth, either through endorsing out and out falsehoods, or recklessly disregarding the truth. (With due caveats about truth sometimes being hard to discern or being inexorably related to one’s perspective.)Report

      • Even so, I don’t think most YEC’ advocates are particularly intellectually honest, at least when it comes to YEC. So, I’m either being inconsistent with my criterion, or something else is at play.Report

      • NewDealer in reply to Pierre Corneille says:

        I fully agree the OSC is intellectually dishonest and seemingly a member of the paranoid right.

        But like you (but probably for different people), I have sympathy for people thinking weirdly and non-standardly.

        I have my own way of questioning what most people seem to just accept as being. People tend to really appreciate this quality in me but it has also caused a lot of rage…Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Pierre Corneille says:

        I think one criterion is related to Kazzy’s comment above, where Mr. Card makes two contradictory statements about the media being obsequious to Obama and yet being hectored for criticizing Obama.

        I don’t see a contradiction there, actually. This type of conservative thinks there are two main divisions in the media: the Liebrul, lamestream media, and the Truth Telling media which boldly dares to Truthfully tell The Truth. No contradiction!Report

      • BlaiseP in reply to Pierre Corneille says:

        Speakin’ Truthiness to Power.Report

      • BlaiseP in reply to Pierre Corneille says:

        Upon reflection, here’s the synthesis. When De Shit Go Rong, as it so often do, it’s Preznit Obama’s fault for not Doin’ Something About It. For it’s a well known fact the Preznit can do anything. He just snaps his fingers and he can turn water into wine as did Our Lord at Cana.

        But let B Hussein Obama do anything about this or that, he’s Overreaching his Prezinetchal Authority.Report

      • Jim Heffman in reply to Pierre Corneille says:

        BlaiseP, that’s actually been the criticism of every President we’ve had.

        I remember when the people telling us how George W. Bush was an insane megalomaniac were upset that he didn’t violate the Posse Comitatus Act and send the National Guard to New Orleans.Report

      • Chris in reply to Pierre Corneille says:

        Jim, I’m assuming that you know that posse comitatus doesn’t apply to the National Guard, and are therefore just being silly.Report

      • I’m pretty sure the governor has to specifically invite the National Guard.Report

      • Huh, I was sure that something significant changed after the Kent State shooting but the National Guard showed up there at the behest of the governor.Report

      • Chris in reply to Pierre Corneille says:

        Right, unless they are changed to active duty status (as they were pretty often in the last decade), they are under the control of the state’s governor. There are also agreements between states that allow state’s to ask the federal government for help from other states, who then send national guard troops under the control of their governor if available. None of this has anything to do with posse comitatus.

        Bush himself did suggest, after Katrina, that posse comitatus be altered so that he could send active duty troops into disaster zones, but I don’t recall anyone criticizing him for not sending active duty troops, and the response of the National Guard in Louisiana had nothing to do with FEMA or Bush (except that a substantial portion of Louisiana’s National Guard was in Iraq at the time).Report

      • “I’m pretty sure the governor has to specifically invite the National Guard.”

        Unless the President is Grover Cleveland and the Governor is John Altgeld

      • My bad. Cleveland sent in the regular army, and not the national guard, if I remember correctly.Report

      • DavidTC in reply to Pierre Corneille says:

        Bush himself did suggest, after Katrina, that posse comitatus be altered so that he could send active duty troops into disaster zones, but I don’t recall anyone criticizing him for not sending active duty troops,

        _I_ criticize him for that. But not how people think.

        Posse comitatus applies to _law enforcement_. It doesn’t apply to, for an example of something that would have been really really fucking useful, airlifting people from the Superdome to that offshore aircraft carrier. Or to anywhere else.

        It is perfectly legal, anywhere in the entire country, for the US military to show up and say ‘Hey, do you want a ride from here to over there? Hop on this helicopter and we’ll take you there.’. It is not any sort of violation of any sort of law.

        Likewise, it is not a violation of the law for the US military to operate rescue operations, to drive around in boats looking for people. Or to put up sandbags.

        The rule is no _law enforcement_. That’s it. That’s the entire rule. The US military cannot _force_ people to do things without the consent of Congress…and, you know what? During Katrina, very few victims needed to be ‘forced’ to do anything.

        The National Guard thing was something else entirely, (They _were- law enforcement) and the US military could not have replaced them, but they sure as fuck could have been useful if Bush had bothered to give them _any_ orders.

        Likewise, it’s worth mentioning that all it takes to use the military for law enforcement under posse comitatus is a goddamn congressional vote. Congress managed to pass disaster relief funds in a special session on Sept 1, but somehow couldn’t vote to override posse comitatus at that time?Report

  17. Rufus F. says:

    Is it wrong that I thought that article had some pretty funny lines? This one, for instance: “But if we learn anything from history, it’s this: Anything can happen.” That sounds like something Homer Simpson would say.Report

  18. KatherineMW says:

    Historical lies have great persistence. There are still people who think that Winston Churchill “failed” at Gallipoli; who believe that Richard III murdered his nephews, though the only person with a motive to kill them was Henry Tudor; who believe that George W. Bush lied about WMDs in Iraq.

    The first and third are unequivocally true. The second I’m not versed enough in what we know vs. what we assume about medieval British history to comment on. Just a few paragraphs into the piece, and I feel like he’s writing from Bizarro World. At minimum, if you want to make claims like that you need to present some facts in defence of them which counter the general knowledge on the subject.

    The biggest problem with prediction is that there is almost always an underlying assumption of: “If present trends continue.” But present trends never continue.

    This, however, is an excellent point and one that always needs to be taken into account when making predictions. It’s why so many economic forecasts are useless or worse than useless, but also applies very well to political and other forecasts. If we predicted weather the way we do politics, our weather forecasts would sound like “It is currently raining, therefore we project that it will rain on November 8, 2016”.

    The rest of Card’s comments, though, are preposterous and fact-free. The statement that Obama “hates compromise” is less important than the crazy political/Islamophobic stuff, but it does a stunning job of exposing the Bizarro World that Card is living in. The guy’s done nothing but compromise since he assumed office. From that comment, things go from Bizarro World straight to Crazytown.

    I don’t understand if Card was always like this, or if something radical happened to him, because at least the first few Ender books have a strong theme of empathy for people who are not only unlike us, but appear entirely incomprehensible to us, and the moral value in finding understanding and the moral culpability in failing to do so. How he got from “we’re able to develop understanding and common ground with hordes of alien insects, and with alien pig-like beings who dismember themselves and then turn into trees” to generalized right-wing hatred and fear towards everything that’s not like him, I don’t understand.Report

    • George Turner in reply to KatherineMW says:

      Well, he could’ve pointed out that if everybody listened to Churchill about Gallipoli, the 20th century might have been far, far less bloody, depending on a variety of alternative outcomes in which the West managed to support the Russians, under the Czar, against Germany and the Ottoman Empire. Even as it played out, it still kept Turkey very distracted.

      And on the third point, he’s correct. Our intelligence was mistaken, and chiefly mistaken because Saddam was fooling the world about his WMD in an attempt to keep the Iranians intimidated, judging that the threat from the US was actually less than the one from Iran. Hillary Clinton thought the same thing Bush did.Report

      • KatherineMW in reply to George Turner says:

        Gallipoli did fail, miserably, and it wasn’t close to succeeding when they finally gave up on it. It didn’t achieve any strategic aims. On a tactical level, it was a complete mess, and whether or not it was a worthy idea in the first place, after things went wrong for the first few days it had very little chance of every achieving its goals.

        Bush claimed essential certainty that Iraq had WMD, and that it was very close to having nukes. He also had Colin Powell make a bunch of claims about uranium to the UN that turned out to be bull. He also went to great lengths to smear the weapons inspectors who observed that no, there was not convincing evidence that Iraq had WMD. And in fact, Iraq did not have WMD, meaning that Bush and his administration stated numerous untruths. How much of it was conscious deception vs. self-deception I can’t be certain, but it sure as heck wasn’t honesty, and it sure as heck wasn’t the reason the US invaded – there are witness accounts that they were looking for a rationale, any rationale, from September 12, 2001 if not earlier. There was also no connection between Iraq and Al-Qaeda, so more untruths there, and unquestionably deliberate ones in that case. Clinton was wrong, all the assholes who voted for the war were wrong, but there’s no way I believe Congress had identical information to that held by the top levels of the White House. If you want to make this a partisan thing I’ll say all the negative things you please about Johnson lying about the Gulf of Tonkin, but the facts were in years ago that Bush did lie about Iraq and practically everything he said in the run-up to war was bull.Report

      • Jim Heffman in reply to George Turner says:

        “Gallipoli did fail, miserably, and it wasn’t close to succeeding when they finally gave up on it.”

        Gallipoli failed because the British High Command didn’t take the idea seriously until it was too late to be worth doing.

        The First World War was astounding for the incompetence of the commanders of every faction. Kaiser Wilhelm was so excited about playing soldier that he didn’t stop to think what would happen if someone else wanted to play too. The British honestly believed that all they had to do was exist and everything would be fine. And Woodrow Wilson figured that the way to stop a war to was to conspicuously stay out of it, and was willing to keep on doing that no matter how long it took.Report

      • George Turner in reply to George Turner says:

        The point about Churchill was that knocking Turkey out of the war was worth doing, because it could’ve kept Russia in the war, and if his plan and gotten anything more than last-minute support and token commitment (if it had been taken seriously) then it probably would’ve worked.

        Hillary had access to the same information Bush did, as did her husband – who bombed Iraq over WMD. If Bush and his administration thought for a second that Iraq didn’t have WMD up to its eyeballs, don’t you think they’d have put a few things into the press plan about how to respond when there didn’t turn out to be any? Instead, they were as dumbfounded as anyone.

        Saddam’s deception was extremely effective. Even his own generals thought they had WMD all over the place. Some of them were the ones leaking to us.

        Scott Ritter’s about face came as little surprise. He took several hundred thousand dollars from a close associate of Saddam to make a movie, and I was apparently the first person outside of intelligence to link the two (I sent it to Glenn Reynolds). Of course about that time he also became famous as the kiddy diddler.

        And Johnson wasn’t lying about the Gulf of Tonkin. He was told there’d been a second attack, and the NSA and Navy were reluctant to piss him off with a correction of the early dubious reports.Report

      • greginak in reply to George Turner says:

        Getting Turkey out was a nice idea. Maybe they should have just pushed the Royal Navy in and the Turks would have crumbled. Right?Report

      • NoPublic in reply to George Turner says:

        Gallipoli failed because the British High Command didn’t take the idea seriously until it was too late to be worth doing.

        Now where have I heard that before? Somewhere in SE Asia perhaps?Report

      • Chris in reply to George Turner says:

        greg, right, because a military that was floundering in Western Europe, and almost entirely reliant on untested Anzac troops in Thrace, was in a position to knock out a dug in, well-armed, well-supplied enemy in their homeland with the sort of amphibious landing that had never really been tried on that scale or with that kind of fighting. Clearly, if they’d just listened to Churchill, the 20th century would have looked very different.Report

      • Chris in reply to George Turner says:

        By the way, what did the Ottomans do after Gallipoli? They sent some troops to the Eastern Front, but those troops weren’t particularly impactful. For the most part, though, they had to deal with the Middle East, which they would have had to do with or without Gallipoli, suggesting that in a war full of pointless slaughter, Gallipoli was a particularly egregious example.Report

    • Mike Schilling in reply to KatherineMW says:

      Either the princes in the Tower had a valid claim to the throne or they did not. If they did, killing them was of value to Richard III, Henry Tudor, and any other claimant to the throne; if not, it was of value to no one.Report

  19. Pyre says:

    The other thing to consider is:

    Does OSC or his charity profit from you seeing/reading/playing his work?

    As an example, there is the game Shadow Complex. Epic paid OSC a flat fee for his involvement with the game. Whether it sold one copy or a million copies, it made no difference as to what he got paid. Thusly, I would argue that it is okay to buy Shadow Complex. This is especially valid now because your buying the game will have no effect on whether Chair is going to make a sequel or now.

    With Ender’s game, he is getting the movie producer deal which may be a flat fee or it may be from net/gross. From net/gross is usually a 1-10% share. I don’t know OSC’s contract but, given his statements on tolerance and “PLEASE see the film”, I’d be willing to bet it’s a percentage. Since he isn’t George Lucas or Steven Spielberg, I’d bet net and I wouldn’t bet anything below 5%.

    As a sidenote, SUPPOSEDLY (I emphasize this because a quick google search didn’t produce rock-solid evidence) OSC made the statement that he is going to donate all his profits from the movie to the National Organization of Marriage. However, since he has stepped down as a board member, even if the statement was made, it may no longer apply.

    So, what this means is that, after expenses are covered, 5-10% of sales will go to his charity.

    Now, for me, I don’t care because I never read the book and I have no incentive to see the movie. However, for someone who does care, that person will have to balance wanting to see the movie with donating a few of their pennies to OSC.

    On the other hand, if you plan on avoiding everything made by people whose opinions you don’t like, you probably should look into local monasteries. Going with games, you might have played the Dragon Quest series and thought “Damn, that’s some good music.” Well, that music was composed by Koichi Sugiyama.

    Classicly trained conductor.

    Talented composer.

    And thinks that the Rape of Nanking never happened and that the Japanese military never coerced anyone into becoming a Comfort Woman during World War II.

    And then there’s Mel Gibson who … Y’know what? I don’t think I need to recite this.

    Now, for me, I don’t care because I never read the book and I have no incentive to see the movie. However, for someone who does care, that person will have to balance wanting to see the movie with donating a few of their pennies to OSC. There really is no right or wrong answer. My tax dollars have gone to blowing up civilians and paying the NSA to make sure that I toe the line. The only question is: “Where do you personally draw your line?”Report

  20. Jim Heffman says:

    Note that if you think you shouldn’t watch or read “Ender’s Game”, then you probably should hate “Firefly” too.Report

  21. Barry says:

    Veylon: “What Republicans have done is waken up to what Bush did many years ago. Their victimhood mentality has led them to realize that they could be in the crosshairs of the Patriot Act and it’s associated injustices. It’s not just for Muslims anymore.”

    Nope, they haven’t. If anything, they wrote him out, so that the list of presidents goes ‘Clinton – Gore – Obama’. And they don’t have a problem with things like the Patriot Act, probably because they correctly believe that the more direct police powers will always be used more against liberals, leftists and minorities.Report

  22. Barry says:

    “And the folks who perpetrated the holodomor were pro-union.”