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.