August 16, 2013

Yes, Orson Scott Card is a nut

He's (at left) been in the news in recent months first because he was slated to write a Superman tale (which was delayed due to the outcry), and lately because his classic scifi novel Ender's Game will soon be out as a major film. These instances had to deal with the controversy of Card being vehemently anti-gay.

Despite my (and other comics bloggers') posts either defending Card from boycotts or (more in my own case) pointing out the hypocrisy of the boycotters, I believe it safely can be stated that Card is pretty much a nut. A big nut. If calling for a revolution if gay rights continue to expand in the US wasn't enough for you, maybe this is:

Where will he (Obama) get his "national police"? The NaPo will be recruited from "young out-of-work urban men" and it will be hailed as a cure for the economic malaise of the inner cities.

In other words, Obama will put a thin veneer of training and military structure on urban gangs, and send them out to channel their violence against Obama's enemies.

Instead of doing drive-by shootings in their own neighborhoods, these young thugs will do beatings and murders of people "trying to escape" -- people who all seem to be leaders and members of groups that oppose Obama.

Really? Really? Card thinks Boss Obama will actually be able to cull a "national police force" out of disaffected urban youth" to act as his personal ... gang? Even [ridiculously] allowing for the fact that if Obama wanted to do such -- how would he manage to do it?

This is 9/11 Truther territory, folks. But the problem with the contemporary comics world, though, is that they put out comics about the "truth" regarding 9/11, whereas views like Card's are in desperate need of Maoist re-education. Thus, I don't give much more than a shrug to the screaming and yelling from comics creators (and fans) about Card's nuttery.

UPDATE: As Nate notes in the comments, Card, in his original article, states that his is just a "silly thought experiment" and that he wasn't serious about it. But -- he also then writes

It isn't my work as a writer of science fiction and fantasy that prepares me to write about unlikely events. My job in writing sci-fi is to make impossible events seem not just possible but likely. Inevitable.

I admit this is one of the rare instances I didn't go to check out the original source material (which was linked to in critical article I linked to originally); however, while I agree that Card's "disclaimer" lessens the impact of his lengthy treatise, as noted he qualifies such enough throughout to get a reader wondering.

Posted by Hube at August 16, 2013 10:54 AM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

WAIT, no hold on. I recognize this because I read the original source.

Key quotes:
"No, no, it's just a silly thought experiment! I'm not serious about this! Nobody can predict the future! It's just a game. The game of Unlikely Events.
Will these things happen? Of course not. This was an experiment in fictional thinking.

But it sure sounds plausible, doesn't it? Because, like a good fiction writer, I made sure this scenario fit the facts we already have -- the way Obama already acts, the way his supporters act, and the way dictators have come to power in republics in the past."

Posted by: Nate Winchester at August 16, 2013 11:08 AM

Good point. Check out my update.

Posted by: Hube at August 16, 2013 11:25 AM

Read. Eh..... maybe, though it sounds more like he just accomplished what he set out to do, doesn't it?

Of course, I'm slightly biased because (for fun) I wrote a story about cyborg vampires and ninja werewolves set in the modern day and to try and make it seem as plausible as possible, I actually did research and was pulling out little "irregularities" I'd find in modern new or recent history. I do that a lot in things I write. To anyone just examining me, they might think I really believe there are wizards and fairies hiding out in today's world.

But that's just kind of the trade. A good magician convinces you that HE honestly believes he has supernatural powers. Likewise the best writers convince you that they believe their own story...

(in my opinion anyway, I'd be interested to know if any more professional authors agree)

Posted by: Nate Winchester at August 16, 2013 12:27 PM

I still think he's a good writer, and miles better than many of those comics creators who have been demonizing him. I'll continue to buy his books, such as the Ender's Game series and Pastwatch, because he is one of my favorite sci-fi authors.

Posted by: Carl at August 16, 2013 01:30 PM

I can't see the scenario he discusses playing out in the real world, but given the IRS scandal of recent, I don't think it's unheard of that Obama is more than willing to sideline his enemies.

Posted by: Carl at August 16, 2013 01:36 PM

I mean to say, "destroy his enemies" by using things like the IRS against them.

Posted by: Carl at August 16, 2013 01:37 PM
I can't see the scenario he discusses playing out in the real world,

But Carl, that's the point, to imagine a what if and sell it the best way he can. To quote Futurama: "You have to believe the impossible is merely preposterous."

Posted by: Nate Winchester at August 16, 2013 02:07 PM

True. That's what the best writers do, like you said, believe in their story no matter how far-fetched it may seem.

Posted by: Carl at August 16, 2013 02:27 PM

Actually, Obama did make the case a couple of years ago for something very much like what Card talked about.

Posted by: Rhymes With Right at August 18, 2013 05:45 PM

Thanks for the link, Rhymes. I seem to remember reading about this in 2008, now that you've brought it up.

Posted by: Carl at August 18, 2013 05:58 PM

But as noted in the Slate article:

In a July 2008 speech he used the words "civilian national security force" to describe how he'd "expand AmeriCorps to 250,000 slots," "double the size of the Peace Corps," and "grow our foreign service." That was five years ago, and he actually failed to do it.

Posted by: Hube at August 18, 2013 08:08 PM

I remember when he proposed expanding AmeriCorps, and how all the comic strips (not just the political cartoons, I mean actual humor strips) aside from Peanuts and a few others bent over backwards to promote volunteerism and what not. It was pretty pathetic, to say the least.

I'm not surprised that this was another campaign "promise" that he broke.

Posted by: Carl at August 18, 2013 08:21 PM