Card and Polanski

Maybe I’m missing something.  Over the past few years, I’ve seen quite a few conversations and articles about Orson Scott Card where people are condemning him because they disagree with his opinions on political issues, predominately the legalization of same-sex marriage.  Not a few people have said that, while they’ve loved his writing, they aren’t going to read any more of his writing because they are so offended by his opinions with which they disagree.

Meanwhile, 30 years ago, film director/producer Roman Polanski admitted to drugging and molesting a thirteen year old girl, then ran away before he could be sentenced, and managed to evade arrest and extradition for all this time, until this past weekend.  During that time, he continued making films and being recognized by the film community for the quality of his work.  When he received an Academy Award, reports I’ve heard indicated that about half the audience applauded, and half refused to because they were upset about his sex crime.

I’m a little struck by the fact that so many people seem to have no problem recognizing the value of Polanski’s work despite their (presumed) disagreement with what he did, and yet so many people can’t get past Card’s disagreement with them on some political issues.  Perhaps there is little or no overlap between those groups, and, to be honest, I track news about Card all the time, and only know about Polanski’s arrest due to news coverage this weekend.  Perhaps there has been as much outrage about Polanski that I haven’t seen as I have seen about Card.  But it seems odd to me that there is comparable outrage over stating a contrasting opinion as there is over the sexual misuse of a teen-age girl.

2 thoughts on “Card and Polanski

  1. I completely agree with you. I will say that I was mostly unaware of Polanski’s background (having been around the age of 5 when things happened, so not really a big part of my life then…) As for Card, I really don’t see what his political views (or in this case moral and religious views) have to do with his writing. I am sure there are loads of popular authors who have views of one sort or another with which large chunks of the population would disagree at some point or another. In general, I really don’t even pay attention to what authors do or don’t believe except in how it comes through in their writing. Their choices are theirs, not mine, but if they can tell a good story, then cool. Gracious, there are things that Mr Card has written that can make other “Mormons” uncomfortable. Sometimes that can be a good thing (and some times some of his stuff is just plain weird.. 🙂 but that can be good, too.. )

  2. There was an attempt to get people to boycott a video game that came out a month or so ago because it was based in the same world as Card’s book Empire, and people were concerned that they would be supporting someone they disagree with about something very important to them. It didn’t work — the game topped the charts immediately on its release — and there’s been a consensus among people still talking about this that the attempted boycott was stupid. But the comment threads on blog posts about this were full of people saying “I loved Ender’s Game, but I’m never reading anything more he’s written.”

    Scott’s a bit out there. I’ve found it interesting that he considers himself not only a mainstream Mormon but “ultra-orthodox Mormon.” I think I know what he means when he says that, but I can’t keep him in mind when picturing the kind of people I would assign that label to. “Eumenides on the Fourth Floor Lavatory” creeped me out the first time I read it, and every other time after that. I don’t like it. And I’m not thrilled with everything he has to say. But (this is a theme I keep coming back to because it seems that very few people have every considered it), agreement isn’t important to me. Respect is.

    It’s sad when people unintentionally collude with SOs because they’re uncomfortable facing the realities of what they’ve done, or can’t reconcile the bad things they’ve done with the good things they’ve done and how likable they are. The secret is you don’t have to reconcile them. We are all a compound of the capacity to do good and the capacity to do bad. You talk about the good things for being good, and you talk about the bad things for being bad, and you drop the pretense that good people don’t do bad things and bad people don’t do good things.

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