That Movie

So, Ender’s Game is out. I’ll probably see it someday, maybe at a theater, maybe after it hits cable or networks or something. I’ll do that despite extraordinary disagreement with Card’s opinions and stances. Two reasons for that.

Let’s start with my personal relationship with the story. It was originally a short story which came out in late 1977 in Analog. I was 17, just entering my senior year in high school.

For those who don’t remember, EVERYBODY in high school has problems. Even the top of the heap and biggest Jock or Queen is spending half their time dwelling in miserable certainty that they’re different from (and worse off than) everyone else. There is a reason the leading element of popular stories for that age involves something, sometimes everything, the protagonist ‘knows’ turning out to not be so. Friends become enemies, enemies friends, and there are no guideposts.

I’m not going to amuse you with my particular tales of woe. They were important to me then, some are still, but they’re not relevant.

What’s relevant is that I ran across this story where the adults and a lot of the kids WERE against the protagonist, the protagonist wasn’t good and didn’t know everything, and he made things work anyway. It felt more real because there was a PRICE, but it seemed to say that if you paid the price you could win enough.

It was more honest seeming, to know winning some was still winning.

For what it’s worth the novel wasn’t quite so good in my opinion. It cheapened Ender in my mind, made him less an everyman and more a god-hero. It spun out more fantasies of abuse that really didn’t add anything for me. Frankly, the most it did for me was make the suspicions of Card’s being an early abuse victim plausible. (He denies it, and I’m not going there beyond this mention.)

So if for no other reason than the fact this was one of the building blocks that make me who I am, I will see the movie.

But this brings us to the second reason. As I said, many of Card’s stances are abhorrent to me. And there is no doubt that by paying to see this movie I will be funding him in those stances. But I’ve got this opinion about art.

Wagner was (probably) anti-semitic, as were Degas and T.S. Eliot. Flaubert paid for sex with boys, and J.M Barrie possibly/probably had sex with boys placed in his trust. (Peter Pan, y’all.) Byron committed incest. The list goes on.

But they did works that move people, that still move people.

In the end I know that to be human is to be mixed, both good and bad, and that to deny the good because of the bad is probably worse – at least for me. So I shall abhor and object to Card’s stance, but see the movie made of his tale that moved me once upon a time, and judge that movie on its own merits and not the merits of its creator.

For if it is how I would wish to be judged; how can I do elsewise?

Have fun.


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