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Pop Culture Conflict

Those we disagree with may have something to teach us

by Published: Nov 13, 2013

As a member of the LGBT community, I typically try to support my rights through passive protest.

I don’t shop at Urban Outfitters, I’ve committed myself to never eating Chik-fil-A and I try to avoid giving money to any anti-gay establishment in general. However, when my pop culture class required us to read the novel “Ender’s Game,” I found myself having a troublesome moral debate.

Published in 1985, “Ender’s Game” is considered to be one of the most important works of science fiction ever created. The novel was written by Orson Scott Card, widely recognized as a self-proclaimed homophobe and member of what I like to call the ‘“God hates fags” brigade. As of late, Card has caused much controversy by frequently posting his hateful, anti-gay opinions on his blog and issuing statements that berate readers for not tolerating his intolerant opinions.

Without a doubt, you could see how it could be hard for a LGBT community member to want to read anything written by Card, even if it is for a grade. But, being the good student I am, I read “Ender’s Game.”

Shockingly enough, I loved every minute of it. I found the book engaging from start to finish. I was having a hard time putting it down and ended up knocking out all 324 pages in a day and a half. After finishing “Ender’s Game,” it’s weird to think that Card holds these beliefs, considering one of the points the novel makes is that we, as humans, should try better to understand alien or opposing points of view.

Reading “Ender’s Game” left me at a crossroads. It opened my eyes to many thoughts I hadn’t given much credence to before. In the novel, a nearly century long conflict happens between Earth and a race of aliens because neither species has taken the time to learn to communicate with “the enemy,” something that has happened more than a handful of times throughout human history, as well. If the human race spent time making an effort to see from other perspectives, would it be possible to avert war? It sounds like a hokey idea, certainly, but why not try?

And yet, I have to wonder what business somebody who considers an entire sect of the population to be sub-human has to teach me about tolerance. Does myself not tolerating his intolerance make me intolerant? One could probably see the moral conundrum.

I’d like to say I had the reserve to boycott all things Card publishes, but I’ve already started on the next book in the “Ender” series and saw the movie, so there goes that idea.

What it comes down to, I suppose, is separating the artist from the art. Not all media reflects the views of the person who created it, so it stands to reason it should be judged separately and on its own merit. We should be open to the idea, even though we may vehemently disagree with someone, what they have to say may still be valid.