Oh Orson, how you annoy me

Orson Scott Card has a well deserved reputation as being controversial, and I’m in a quandary… as a person I greatly dislike him but I really enjoyed ‘Ender’s Game’ and looking forward to reading the rest of the saga. I came to some sort of internal peace when I decided to only buy copies of his books as second hand, but then I made a mistake of reading an interview with him and now I’m back in my quandary. I know, I know – never find out about writers you like, it’ll only annoy you.

So, this interview (issue 17 Feb/March 2009 of ‘Death Ray’, pretty good mag, 180pages of sci-fi/horror fun) had me ranting at my poor co-workers who couldn’t escape as they were attached to their followspots (actually, pretty good time to rant at people – when they can’t escape you)… since I still feel like ranting, you guys get to suffer to (except you can escape).

Why, if I think gay marriage confers no rational benefit to homosexuals while causing serious deficiencies in the whole society’s ability to channel our children towards healthy adulthood, does that mean I want people to beat and kill homosexuals?

The rational benefits is equality, to be able to share your life as straight couples are able to, to formally declare your love to the world, to make a dedicated commitment… you get the idea.

I’m not even going to touch the children thing.

They always seem to agree that WWII was necessary to defend against great horrors, but don’t seem to understand that WWII’s worst horrors could have been completely prevented if Britain and France had acted, in 1937 or 1938 as George W. Bush acted in 2002 and 2003.

I know that the US entered into the second world war at the later stages but I find it very hard to believe that you don’t at least study the events that led up to the start of it all. I don’t know them as well as I should do as my interest lies in the later part of the war with the Blitz but with the stuff I do know and with the help of a very handy WWII timeline I find myself a little better informed than Mr Scott Card it seems.

Britain (and France) had only recently emerged from a very costly (finically and in terms of life) war, Britain was almost a broken country and could not afford nor wanted to enter into an armed conflict. People were working with German ambassadors in order to put together some sort of aid plan to help Germany recover from the war and also to try to alter the terms of the treaty to allow for re-armament.

After the re-occupation of the Rhineland a 25yr non-aggression pact was entered into by all the countries bordering Germany (1936), and the following year the Germans pledged to essentially leave Belgium alone. Pacts were entered into and treaties signed (notably an anti-communism one between Italy, Germany and Japan), the Austrian Chancellor agreed to Hitler’s demand that Austria should be governed by him, a public vote was taken, and Germany announced a union with Austria… and so on… now we can say with hindsight that all these events were preludes to full scale war, but at the time they certainly weren’t. The British PM (Neville Chamberline), the French PM, the Italian PM signed an agreement ALLOWING Germany to annexe part of Czechoslovakia (that was when Chamberline famously declared: “This is the second time that there has come back from Germany to Downing Street peace with honour. I believe it is peace for our time.” )

I’ve often wondered if this was a bit of a naive period of political history, politics was run by ‘gentlemen’ and the often taken view was that politics was for gentlemen and if you weren’t a gentleman it wasn’t any of your concern… what I find a bit hard to understand is that the people who weren’t considered to be gentlemen often took the same view! Chances are a lot of people didn’t really know what was going on and it’s even more likely that those that knew what was going on considered it to be anything more than Germany trying to rebuild itself.

The Treaty of Versailles we made the Germans sign at the end of WW1 was restrictive and really was destined to push us into another conflict. Marching in there for no reason in 37/38 would have put Britain into a very isolated conflict and given Germany many more allies (which may have included the Americans, and as it’s often pointed out to us in pretty much every single WW2 ever made, we really needed their help and benefit of fresh supplies and soldiers).

A strong American military is and must be the policeman of the world, if only because we really *are* the good guys. Leaving countries we defeat in war *far* better off than they were before, and only we have the power to intervene where intervention is possible. When people say, ‘we can’t be the policeman of the world,’ I ask them to extend that metaphor to their own neighbourhood. If *nobody* is the policeman of your neighbourhood, how long do you think it will remain a good place to live? The fact that even in countries where public opinion is anti-American, there are many who harbour the secret hope that someday they might have the freedom and prosperity that America offers.

It does seem that the attitude that American is superior than any other country and therefore has a duty to protect everyone else in the world is (I think) why there is anti-American feeling in the world. We Brits once thought we should control the world and make it conform to our values and our way of thinking, look what happened there – the Empire collapsed and there are many countries to this day that still harbour hatred for what happened during our occupations of these countries (no matter what state we left it upon leaving). I do agree that there are countries hankering after the freedom and prosperity that American offers but I don’t think that they want everything that America comes with.

This bit however annoyed me the most, the interviewer asked him about his involved in theatre and this was the response:

Because I actually believe that gay and straight society should be able to coexist without either side trying to destroy the legitimate concerns and desires of the other, I am regarded as an evil monster by the New Puritans of the Left. Since that group absolutely rules in the American theatrical community, I confine my efforts to community and educational theatre in sympathetic communities. And since there is no money to be made in those venues, I can only indulge it as a hobby from time to time, rather than making it a serious part of my career.

I’m not even going to dignify this with a proper response other than to shout GET OUT OF MY INDUSTRY!

Orson Scott Card continues to piss me off with his uninformed, bigoted views… which he is absolutely entitled to have and to express. He’s also a really good author, but every author tends to insert part of themselves or their views into the stories so by continuing to read his books am I allowing myself to simply accept his opinions, no matter how much they bother me… I suppose what I’m asking is can you separate the man from the fiction or are they always going to be entwined?

Oh, this is one more quote that I couldn’t pretend to answer but based on the blogs I read and the opinions of many of my online friends, I think you’ll find plenty to reply to.

The fact is that by watching only Fox News, I will hear strong advocacy of Left and Right – and accurate information about news. Whereas if I watched the ‘mainsteam’ media, I would not believe the that the basic conservatism of the majority of Americans even existed except as a lunatic fringe.


One comment

  1. Marius

    Sorry I don’t have time to read the entirety of this very well thought out post, but I made the mistake of reading an interview with Card many years ago, and now I can’t read his books. I enjoyed the Ender books, and several others, but now I can’t bear the thought of supporting such a right-wing whack job. Actually this is a topic we’ll be covering in the next Starbase 66 episode. I look forward to reading all of your commentary asap. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s