Friday was a good day for me. I received good feedback from a very intimidating surgeon who facilitates our small group project and scored well on our first exam thus far. I typically finish exams earlier than most of the class, which gives me time to sit around, read, and just generally waste time until everyone else finishes the test.
And so there I was, sitting in the lobby outside the lecture hall after my first exam, still shaking slightly from the extra cup of coffee I drank that morning, returning to all of my normal time wasting habits (Facebook, surfing the internet, etc). That is when I saw another trailer for Ender’s Game. Click the link if you haven’t heard about it yet. The movie is based off a fantastic series of science fiction novels published in the 1980’s. There are four in the series, and each one is distinctly different from the others. I highly recommend all four of them, even if you don’t think you like science fiction. My sister read them, and she doesn’t care at all for science fiction, but she thoroughly enjoyed them.
Not only is the book amazing, the movie looks like it was done really well. It has all of the ingredients to be a hit at the box office, except for one little detail. Orson Scott Card, the author of the series, is decidedly anti-homosexual. He has gone on the record and made multiple comments regarding his views on homosexuality and politicals, and that has created controversy in the past. Of course, until recently, he has been only the author of a (relatively) obscure collection of books in science fiction. That is all about to change. His first book is about to become a major movie, and there are billions of dollars on the line, as the success of his first movie could well dictate whether or not the next three are made. Which they should. But that’s an entirely different discussion.
So here is what’s going to happen. I’m predicting the future right now. As we get closer to November, we will first begin to see articles about this upcoming movie, with little blurbs about how the author of the book is homophobic. This will morph into newspaper editorials, blog posts, and news specials about how his intolerant views just aren’t acceptable in modern society. Eventually, a boycott movement will be started, and we may even see people with signs at the theater during opening weekend. In fact, the storm is already brewing.
I can predict this months in advance because it follows a well established pattern. Do you remember the fiasco with Chick-fil-a last summer? I do, since I head there at least six times a week for delicious chicken sandwiches. The boss of CFA is Dan Cathy. His dad started the first CFA, and it remains a family business to this day. The family is openly Christian (and very generous as well). It should be no surprise that, when asked about their views on gay marriage, they were not exactly supportive of it. Not only did they support traditional marriage and Biblical beliefs, the non-profit arm of Chick-fil-a had given money to lobbying groups that fought against LGBT organizations. Several LGBT groups organized “kiss-ins” at local restaurants as a protest, but with the support of Mike Huckabee, everyone and their mom ate at Chick-fil-a on August 1st to support the company. Since I know several people who work at CFA, I also happen to know that they broke exactly every sales record ever set that day. Many places ran out of food, and still people lined up to buy waffle fries and drinks.
So I predict the same backlash against Ender’s Game later this year. What I can’t predict is the response. I don’t know if the Chick-fil-a mob will all go see the movie in a sort of counter-demonstration, or whether the controversy will generate more hype (and more profit), or whether the backlash will actually succeed in keeping people from the theaters, but either way it sucks. The CFA incident and Ender’s game both show a hilarious double standard in society today regarding homosexuality (and expressing your opinion, really).
I’m not supporting either side in this debate, either. Don’t get worked up over that. Get this. Orson Scott Card is a Mormon. It should be no surprise to anyone that he doesn’t support gay rights. Additionally, Ender’s Game really has nothing to do with homosexuality. At all. Even remotely. In fact, the major themes in the story will make those who see the movie think long and hard about the way they see the world. So when gay rights activists pick up on his beliefs and decide to organize a boycott of the film, they get coverage and support. Consider an opposite scenario, where I decide that Tom Cruise and his crazy practice of scientology is too much for me, so I organize a boycott of his film. Even if I got all of the Mormons in the state to boycott the film, I doubt I’d generate the firestorm that is surely coming this fall. That’s one half of the problem.
Now I arrive at my main point. Orson Scott Card could believe he worshiped a giant panda in outer space and I’d still see his movies, if they were good. The same first amendment rights that allow musical “artist” and general douchebag Macklemore to sing/talk his way through seven minutes of his own opinion is the same first amendment that lets Orson Scott Card or Dan Cathy express their own opinion. If you plan on skipping Ender’s Game because Orson Scott Card is “intolerant”, I hope you see the irony in refusing to acknowledge his view out of your absolute belief in your own. Tolerance, after all, is not a one way street. Get over yourself and try to enjoy a good movie.
Or don’t. Go make signs and demonstrate at your local theater. Who knows….you just might make it on the news.