Just recently, freelancer Glen Weldon wrote an honest explanation about why he is not going to be reading the upcoming Superman comic by Orson Scott Card.
For those who don’t know, Card has been public about his opposition of same-sex marriage to the distaste of many.
As far as I’m concerned, it’s legitimate to use your power as a consumer and fan to voice your displeasure of the plot, the direction a character is being taken, and even the writer or artists whose working on it.
So yes, if you don’t want your money to help pay a writer in royalties whose views you don’t like, whose views you feels is personally attacking you and the people you love, don’t buy their work. Voice your opinion to the relevant company & other fans not only through emails, blog posts, and forums but by withholding your money.
But I do have some fears of this kind of argument against Card becoming fanatical, disregarding reality, spiralling into finger pointing of bigotry towards fans of his work & abandoning good critical analysis.
First of all Weldon’s argument of Superman represents our best self for example is a bit off in my opinion.
Do I have to talk about his not so feminist-approved language in his early adventures? He actually used the words “Papa smack.”
Post 52-revamp & Pre-Crisis Superman kills. Post-Crisis Superman allowed Doctor Light to be mindwiped.
And from a journalistic standpoint, it’s a bit unethical to be reporting on yourself secretly. It’s also a jerk move scooping your colleagues out of a story because you are the story.
All kidding aside, it’s important to keep our facts straight about how our superhero characters have been portrayed even if it’s not to our liking. I’ll accept self-inflicted amnesia to keep the illusion of continuity alive, but not in pop-culture commentary or scholarly analysis.
Second, let’s try to keep fandom of Card’s work separate from support of Card’s political positions. With talks of an Ender’s Game movie in the works, this reaction may come up again on a larger scale and I fear that the division may become blurred.
Liking Card’s work, does not mean you like or support the writer’s personal positions on anything. You know how much of literature I am stuck not reading if I was only to read people I agreed with.
Kipling wrote the “The Jungle Book” but also “White Man’s Burden.” Carlos Bulosan’s “America is the Heart” is beautifully moving but it’s short passage of Islam is a bit ignorant.
And within geekdom: Lovecraft was notably anti-semitic, Robert Howard depictions of black characters can be insensitive, and Tolkien letters showed a very conservative view of male & female relationships.
Ursula le Guin’s article in the New Yorker suggest that our most beloved writers looking into the future may not have most progressive personal views.
A writer’s view may spill into the work, but that doesn’t necessarily make the work propaganda for the writer’s view. And as has been reported before a piece of art can take a life of it’s own beyond the writer’s control.
I know it’s hard to separate the artist from the art but when it comes to good criticism you have to to some degree.
And when it comes to judging fans, you should.