So DC Comics announced that Orson Scott Card would be writing an upcoming Superman story and people all just froke out. Personally, it wouldn’t matter to me if a Superman story was written by Thomas Pynchon, Umberto Eco, or Kurt Vonnegut speaking through a medium, I couldn’t care less about modern superhero stuff.
But I do care about real human beings, and that’s why Orson Scott Card bugs me and others. Card is rabidly anti-homosexuality and has spouted at times thing like homosexuality should be illegal and stuff like, “The dark secret of homosexual society — the one that dares not speak its name — is how many homosexuals first entered into that world through a disturbing seduction or rape or molestation or abuse, and how many of them yearn to get out of the homosexual community and live normally.”
A lot of folks spoke out against Card writing Superman and have petitioned DC. Dallas comic store owner Richard Neal won’t carry the comic in his shop and a lot of folks are saying they won’t buy it.
Of course, for every person speaking out against Card there are two or three other mouthbreathers who are once again putting the lie to the idea that geek culture is so tolerant and open-minded and liberal by saying that Card is being punished for “thoughtcrime” and “having opinions” and that somehow boycotting or protesting this violates Card’s Freedom of Speech. It helps that Orson Scott Card wrote the classic sci-fi book King Nerd Saves The Earth, but honestly, they’re mostly just looking to show what cool bros they are by hating on the queers and libtards. And some are just plain stupid, not understanding Freedom of Speech, opinions, or boycotts.
Orson Scott Card isn’t being taken to task solely for his opinions, idiotic and thuggish as they are, but also for his actions. He sits on the board of the National Organization for Marriage, which lobbies and works against basic civil rights for gay people. He is not merely a tool spewing hatred and bile at gay people, though it would be enough if he were; he’s also actively working against them.
And yet, numerous troglodytes have shuffled into comment sections to accuse the people speaking against Card of “bullying” and “intolerance”. Asking people to not support homophobia is “intellectual terrorism”; working to deny a group basic civil rights is “an opinion”. (One noted Comics Internet Asshole pretended to be a real journalist by rubbing his stupid punchable British face and wondering aloud at the dangerous precedent being sent by “silencing” Card.)
This idea, that we’re supposed to take someone who says gay people are subhuman creatures created through rape and go, “hang on, let’s hear him out” is nonsense. If he were speaking against blacks or Jews I doubt he’d have as much support (though, let’s face it, we’re talking about nerds here, and he DID write Wonder Nerd Plays Videogames…Too Well???) Freedom of Speech does not include freedom from consequences of that speech. It’s right and natural that people who support gay rights wouldn’t want to do anything that might help this guy hurt them. And a boycott is the most American way to do this, given that our form of government is Capitalism. It’s called voting with your wallet and people on all sides of the political spectrum do it all the time.
What’s DC’s reaction to this? They released a statement saying that Card’s “personal views” were just that, and shouldn’t interfere with his freedom of expression. Again, downplaying Card’s vileness with a shrug and “look, that’s just his opinion.” You know, it’s just one side of a controversy in which one of the sides want to be treated like human beings and the other side wants to put them in rehabilitation camps.
When comics companies give Frank Miller work, they’re enabling a racist, reactionary asshole who at least draws pretty. I’m still told that I need to read Cerebus because Dave Sim writes amazing comics when he isn’t being a sexist shithead. I personally can do without anything those two are doing because hey, there are a lot of other good comics I can read that don’t involve supporting or even giving mental real estate to trolls. In Card’s case, though he doesn’t even have any previous comics works to really justify the defense, only They Laughed At Him About Warhammer But Who Got The Last Laugh, Huh??. For that we let him write Superman, the Champion of Justice. And admittedly, he probably won’t have Supes convincing a gay kid to go get help for his moral sickness, but still.
Do I want to silence Orson Scott Card? You bet I do, and no, I don’t feel even the slightest twinge of guilt or hypocrisy for doing so.