Saturday, November 2, 2013

Coming to Terms with Ender's Game

I've written about this subject before.  About my conflicted emotions regarding Orson Scott Card and his books, especially Ender's Game, since the movie was released yesterday.  But I've finally come to terms with the matter, and that's what I want to talk about.

When I die, all that'll be left behind of me, aside from memories that will fade, and pictures that will sit in a shoebox somewhere, wilted, until someone drags them out to remember "the good old days" whatever that means, are my words.  The things I put to paper and send out into the world.  No one will care if I voted for Obama, flirted with socialism in my youth, if I was an anarchist or never wanted children or didn't believe in Santa Claus.  Maybe those things will be footnotes in my history, but they won't survive me the way my books will.  Those are what I leave behind.  Those are how I hope to be remembered and by which I hope to be judged.

Sometimes, I think that my books are the purest parts of me.  There are no prevarications, no lies.  They are the truths about the world as I see it.  I may tell people that I am not particularly spiritual, but my work reveals the truth.  I may put on a brave face about death and the future, but my writing shows my fear.

Though an outspoken opponent of homosexuals and homosexual marriage, Orson Scott Card managed to pen a novel that is more than the sum of its writer.  A book that speaks to the outcasts among us.  A book about acceptance and community.  About being alone.  A book that seemingly speaks directly to the very people he dismisses and claims to despise.

Maybe that says something about the man.  That his work speaks truths contrary to what he professes to believe.  I'll let history dig around for those answers.  All I know is that Ender's Game is a wonderful piece of literature that offers young people (and adults) a glimpse into the head of a scared young man who carries a burden but just wants to belong.  It has a universal timelessness to it.  It speaks to something in every person who has ever felt like they didn't belong.

I can't judge Orson Scott Card.  Nor do I care about his personal life.  It's his books I'll judge.  Because one day, Card will be gone and only his writing will remain.  His homophobia will become an academic notation akin to H.P. Lovecraft's racism and xenophobia.  People will giggle at Card's antiquated notions, and wonder how someone so small-minded could have written something as hopeful as Ender's Game.

So, I'm going to see the movie, and I'm not going to feel bad about it.  Because I'm not supporting Orson Scott Card or his beliefs, I'm supporting the idea that we do all belong.  I'm supporting the idea that maybe we all can overcome our fears and hatred and create something bigger than ourselves.  I'm supporting hope, because we all deserve a little of that in our lives.

1 comment:

  1. Lovecraft is a great example, because by all accounts he was a real POS, but I love his work too much not to read it. The art matters more than the artist.


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