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Orson Scott Card - The Homophobic Bigot ups his ante

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Orson Scott Card, for those of you who might now know, is a popular and talented science fiction writer. He has written many excellent books, including the groundbreaking, "Ender's Game" and its sequels. Unfortunately, he is very mormon, very homophobic, and very bigoted, and has been upping his hateful speech for the past few years. This article is his latest offering on gay marriage:

http://greensboro.rhinotimes.com/hc.e.211703.lasso

Just some more background, for those of you who don't know the backstory. OSC's books, especially his earlier ones, were some of the most interesting, fascinating, and groundbreaking SF books in the past few decades. They examined issues other books didn't go near, and shed light on topics in ways that really made a reader think. This is why his politics and morality are so strikingly bewildering. To this day, it's very common to be talking about OSC to a fan of his work, and when learning about his politics and attitude for the first time, you can just see the shock, the cognitive dissonance, the complete weirdness of it all on their face. His books, especially his earlier ones, simply do not mesh, at all, with his public politics. In many of his books, the young male characters are written in an overtly sexual manner with erotic overtones spilling out all over the place.

This has led to many speculating that he is a very closeted individual.

As a teenager I absolutely loved his work. Ender's Game was amazing. I considered him one of my favorite authors, and figured he was definitely, "a hoopy frood who really knows where his towel is." (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy reference) So, upon learning that he was adamantly anti-gay, bigoted, very conservative, etc, at the time it was like learning your favorite sweet old grandmother who makes you delicious apple pies is a secret serial killer in the Bingo Palace restroom. It just doesn't compute. It still doesn't.

The man can write. I'll give him that. But, seriously as for the rest of it he can go f... ahem. Public forum. Right.

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God, that is awful. Orson Scott Card's books on writing were really helpful to me in the late 1990s. I was horrified to find out that he was so twisted and homophobic.

On the other hand: Chick-fil-a makes great chicken sandwiches. I hate their anti-gay agenda, and I despise any corporations that use their money to fund intolerant religious agendas... but I gotta eat. I'll try to avoid spending my money there, but I won't refuse if somebody wants to buy me a sandwich. And I'll read Card's books, as long as I don't have to pay for them.

I have yet to hear a single argument as to how gay marriage hurts straight marriage. People have to grasp that marriage is a legal concept as much as it is a religious concept. The real issue at stake is that Mormons (of which Card is a member) are terrified that if gay marriage is legalized, somebody will sue them and force them to conduct a gay marriage in their church.

Me personally, I would have no problem with a law that legalizes gay marriage but adds a condition that says that no church will be forced to allow the gay marriage to occur in their building if it's against their rules. As long as people can get married -- by a justice of the peace, by a city official, or in a compliant church -- I don't see a problem. Churches should have the freedom to ask people to play by the rules in their building.

By the same token, I think anything disruptive in a church that would offend the members shouldn't be allowed. Just use common sense. Don't go where you're not wanted. People's tolerance can only be pushed so far. We're not at the point where gay people have 100% freedom to do what they want wherever they want it. It's unfortunate, but it's the truth. Eventually, it'll happen in time.

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Yes, I became aware of Card's twisted politics a few years back and thought what a jerk. Not being a particular sci-fi reader anymore it took me a while to discover his authorship and like many I was stunned by the disparity and duality of his thinking. Yeah, he's still a jerk.

Remember Battlefield Earth? I remember reading that series of books in my younger days back when I though L. Ron Hubbard was cool. But the establishment of Scientology changed all that and I figured he'd lost his mind somewhere along the way. Is there a correlation between the two, I doubt it unless we are talking about severely demented people.

I guess the argument by straight people against gay marriage is a demented move on their part. It paints certain religious groups as haters and bigots, allowing their real prejudice to shine through. I call this bunch the false Christians because they have no idea that their prejudice only allows the rest of us to wonder if they ought to have so much religious freedom in the first place.

The whole argument in favor of gay marriage was never an attack on the established religions but that is the concept they have grasped. It was always about equality of gay couples, and the rights of any married person to share tax relief or property rights. If some religions are so against gay marriages I doubt if a gay couple would choose to have their wedding in such an atmosphere.

It is really a shame because I don't want to prevent people from worshiping a non-existant diety of their choice. The American constitution allows such freedom of delusional choice. I have always thought Jesus to be the original hippie, and more than a little gay in his choice of followers. But hey, I am granted my own delusions, and that is what religious freedom means to me.

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It's high time to boycott that son of a bitch.

He has benefited from having many loyal gay fans for years. It's time to stop reading someone that is just using us.

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You can't tell much about the potter by looking at his pots. In addition to the usual nonsense, he displays a remarkable misunderstanding of evolution. I can't think of a single evolutionary biologist who thinks that humans "divided off off from chimps." Chimps everywhere should be offended.

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Hmm, had heard similar reports on Orson Scott Card's views. Thankfully, although he has one sympathiser adding a comment, the rest are clearly against.

For my money, it's not a 'left' or 'right' wing issue anyway, it's quite possible to support gay marriage and be of either political standpoint.

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Some time ago, I read about half of Ender's Game before getting bogged down and stopping, in part due to the dystopian politics in the book, but mostly due to the pressures of real life. I want to read the whole thing through and see what I think. I've read short stories by him that I liked. What I'd read of Ender's Game, yes, in a few places, there was what I thought was subtext, Ender's growing awareness of others around him, sexuality included, but not in any way more overt than, say, Heinlein or several other authors who write about boy heroes. And really, that's just one thread in any of those, Ender's Game included. I thought it was handled well.

But I've also seen some of his writing and comments about homosexuality. Some has seemed like skirting around the issue. (Hmm, we'll claim I didn't make a pun there, OK?) Others of it have been directly negative.

For what it's worth, some time last year, he had a severe stroke and had profound vision and motor dexterity issues for a while. He blogged but wrote it was terribly hard to type and to get things across. Strokes and other brain events can and do sometimes cause mood swings, anger issues, and personality changes, usually, but not always, exacerbating what's there already, but sometimes doing a real course change. A sweetheart of a guy might turn into a mean s.o.b., or some other marked change. I'm saying, OSC might've gone from already opinionated to, "Whoa, there!" on the issue. This does not excuse being a bigot or a jerk.

I'm sure I'll reread Ender's Game and see the movie too. This does not mean I have to like or agree with his opinions on being gay, gay partnership/civil union/marriage, etc.

Given the subtext I did see in the book, do I think he has "unresolved sexual tension" or unacknowledged gay feelings (to some degree) ? Could be. -- Sure seems a shame to write things that seem to understand and sympathize, yet the man himself is very negative about it.

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OSC is a board member of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) who helped pass Prop 8 and the Maine Prop to stop gay marriage. It's the same organization Mitt Romney funneled $50,000 to back in 2008. By this time it should be no surprise he's written this article.

Sometimes we just have to walk away from people we respected. I've not picked up one of his books since 2008 and won't do it again, nor attend his movies. It's for the same reasons why I don't go to Wal-Mart, non-union hotels, or any number of other businesses. I gotta eat, sleep, and get things but I almost never have to go to one of those places or support businesses that work against my best interests (okay, I recently had to go to Wal-Mart but it was only after having checked every other business in the area for a specific item that Wal-Mart had and I could not get locally nor could I wait a day to get in the mail. It was the first time since early 2005 that I went to Wal-Mart).

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The Wikipedia article on OSC http://en.wikipedia....rson_Scott_Card is very interesting, especially Section 5 on Personal Life. I also find this quote very interesting and, for someone who writes science fiction, to be totally unsupported:

"The dark secret of homosexual society -- the one that dares not speak its name -- is how many homosexuals first entered into that world through a disturbing seduction or rape or molestation or abuse, and how many of them yearn to get out of the homosexual community and live normally."

None of the gay people I know had this kind of background. What I see is someone who is supposed to be intelligent yet has an irrational fear of homosexuality. It make me wonder what struggles he has with his own sexual orientation.

Colin :icon_geek:

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The total inability for rational debate on religion is largely inbuilt into the various faiths.

In nearly every quarter of our societies there are emphatic reinforcements of religious obligations to obey the religion.

Where those religions espouse the bronze age idea that homosexuality is forbidden, then we can expect to see irrational fear of homosexuality instead of acceptance and celebration of human love. It takes an identity crisis of great magnitude to enable us to make the effort to confront religious indoctrination with rational thought.

Whatever religious background we may find satisfying to our spiritual needs, limiting the natural desire to make love with another human being, regardless of gender, is a violation of human nature. Religious laws, which contribute to the violation of human rights, must be exposed, and opposed until those laws are understood as being unacceptable to us all, including whatever deity we might worship.

Escaping the Dark Ages is not easy.

.

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After reading this quote from Mr. Card (provided by BL News Service) I am more confused about this man's ideals than I was before:

"Heterosexual pair-bonding has been at the heart of human evolution from the time we divided off from the chimps. Normalizing a dysfunction will only make ours into a society that corrodes any loyalty to it. Legalizing gay marriage is about driving all contrary evidence or argument out of the public discussion. That's why the gay-marriage lobby tries to stifle discussion – they have no arguments that stand up to serious investigation. They brand their opponents' arguments as religious, and therefore illegitimate; but in fact their own arguments are just as faith-based, just as lacking in evidence, as any Bible-based argument."

Did he really attribute heterosexual bonding to evolution? I wonder what the creationists on his side of the fence will have to say about that? So humans evolved from chimps and I imagine there are some extreme right wing Christianists in convulsions about now that their trained monkey isn't following the religious script.

The last line in this quote really gets me because Mr. Card only saved his neck with the use of a comma. Remove the comma in the underlined portion and you get my point:

"They brand their opponents' arguments as religious, and therefore illegitimate; but in fact their own arguments are just as faith-based, just as lacking in evidence, as any Bible-based argument."

They have some nice mental health facilities in Greensboro, North Carolina which is Mr. Card's current home. I think he needs to check himself in for a long stay.

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Wikipedia:

"The dark secret of homosexual society -- the one that dares not speak its name -- is how many homosexuals first entered into that world through a disturbing seduction or rape or molestation or abuse, and how many of them yearn to get out of the homosexual community and live normally."

Colin

How delightful! He's showing his paranoia by lumping all gay people together in a secret cabal!

Which, very incidentally, is how many learned people lump the Mormons! Pretty ironical, huh?

Perhaps because his background is in a secretive group, he sees others living the same way. Except there is little homogeneity in the gay community. Since when do all gay men wear the same underwear, as decided by the exalted elder? No, the gay community is nothing like Mormonism!

The truth of the matter is, it’s Mormons who have a dark secret society that many young people, especially women, yearn to get out of and live normally.

C

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The Wikipedia article on OSC http://en.wikipedia....rson_Scott_Card is very interesting, especially Section 5 on Personal Life. I also find this quote very interesting and, for someone who writes science fiction, to be totally unsupported:

"The dark secret of homosexual society -- the one that dares not speak its name -- is how many homosexuals first entered into that world through a disturbing seduction or rape or molestation or abuse, and how many of them yearn to get out of the homosexual community and live normally."

None of the gay people I know had this kind of background. What I see is someone who is supposed to be intelligent yet has an irrational fear of homosexuality. It make me wonder what struggles he has with his own sexual orientation.

Colin :icon_geek:

I agree. There is simply no evidence to support this claim, and a ridiculously large amount of evidence to support the reverse. Like you, I wonder about his own background. It's hard to imagine someone who obviously has the capability to think clearly and broadly about various topics holding such a strange and prejudiced belief without some serious emotional reasons for it.

The total inability for rational debate on religion is largely inbuilt into the various faiths.

In nearly every quarter of our societies there are emphatic reinforcements of religious obligations to obey the religion.

Where those religions espouse the bronze age idea that homosexuality is forbidden, then we can expect to see irrational fear of homosexuality instead of acceptance and celebration of human love. It takes an identity crisis of great magnitude to enable us to make the effort to confront religious indoctrination with rational thought.

Whatever religious background we may find satisfying to our spiritual needs, limiting the natural desire to make love with another human being, regardless of gender, is a violation of human nature. Religious laws, which contribute to the violation of human rights, must be exposed, and opposed until those laws are understood as being unacceptable to us all, including whatever deity we might worship.

Escaping the Dark Ages is not easy.

.

Religions, without any exceptions that I'm aware of, specifically teach that some tenets of their belief simply must not be questioned, debated, argued, disrespected, or looked at in the light of day. While awfully convenient for them this goes against everything we have spent thousands of years figuring out about the universe: that to learn, we must inspect, scrutinize, debate, re-scrutinize, and think critically about everything.

After reading this quote from Mr. Card (provided by BL News Service) I am more confused about this man's ideals than I was before:

"Heterosexual pair-bonding has been at the heart of human evolution from the time we divided off from the chimps. Normalizing a dysfunction will only make ours into a society that corrodes any loyalty to it. Legalizing gay marriage is about driving all contrary evidence or argument out of the public discussion. That's why the gay-marriage lobby tries to stifle discussion – they have no arguments that stand up to serious investigation. They brand their opponents' arguments as religious, and therefore illegitimate; but in fact their own arguments are just as faith-based, just as lacking in evidence, as any Bible-based argument."

For an educated man to make so many factually incorrect statements is almost awe-inspiring. There are only two possibilities I can think of: He's deluded or he's knowingly lying for his own purposes.

We didn't divide off from chimps. We evolved in parallel with them, and share a common ancestor some million or two years ago. Pair-bonding isn't "derived" from evolution, not quite (though sexual dimorphism originally came about due to some ancient mutation) but rather the reverse (one of many variables). A classic backwards cause-effect argument. We also know that many, many species share, with us, various types of homosexual relationships, and that they, too, have an evolutionary purpose. There is simply no reason to suppose that is not the case with us, and even if it weren't, so what? The "gay-marriage lobby" most definitely does not try to stifle discussion. No, that's the purview of religions. Discussion and critical thinking is what hopefully far more people will begin doing.

I find it hard to believe he would make so many obvious errors accidentally. Therefore, the conclusion is that this is intended as a propaganda piece for relatively unaware and uneducated people to get them to jump on their bandwagon.

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Religions, without any exceptions that I'm aware of, specifically teach that some tenets of their belief simply must not be questioned, debated, argued, disrespected, or looked at in the light of day. While awfully convenient for them this goes against everything we have spent thousands of years figuring out about the universe: that to learn, we must inspect, scrutinize, debate, re-scrutinize, and think critically about everything.

It is that universal questioning that religions are hell-bent on stopping. We have spent most of our time, throughout our development as self-aware beings, making the effort to overcome the primitive and superstitious reasons we assigned to the gods for the phenomena we could not explain.

Unfortunately, religions were created based on those superstitions, and it is very difficult to convince those who are indoctrinated by them into coming to terms with the reality of our rational efforts.

(Note on religion that might be excepted: Zen Buddhism has a tenet that is translated as "nothing is sacred," which is usually treated as meaning that...'everything should be questioned, or not questioned', even Zen. The paradox is deliberate in an attempt to afford the opportunity, beyond normal cognition, for the novice to attain 'enlightenment'. Enlightenment might be considered to be consistent with our attempts to find verifiable experiences of reality without resorting to superstition or mental distortions of reality. As such, and there is a lot more to Zen than this brief examination of one extraction of its traditions, Zen is not a religion in the usual Western sense. It is however a religion if we define religion as a quest for truth, which is also rare in our what our Western religions have become.)

.

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Two points:

One, there have been (and are currently) other cultures at least as successful / longer lasting / more widespread that have other views towards sexuality, and don't view affection, love, or sex between two people of the same sex as necessarily a negative or sinful thing. This includes patriarchal and matriarchal societies, so that isn't the determining factor.

Just because our own surrounding culture and several religions are largely against being gay, does not mean that all of our culture or all of those who believe in those religions agree with a negative view of homosexuality. It also doesn't mean that the prevailing negative view in this culture or these religions is right and true, just because someone says it is. -- What someone says God said is not the same as what God said, in other words. That is meant with respect.

Two, that claim that most gay people have been seduced or molested or otherwise "recruited" or "turned" (gave in to the Dark Side of the Force, is it?) Hmm. Sorry, I'm not buying it. If two boys, friends, explore good feelings bodily together, and don't find anything wrong with it, then how did either of them commit some wrong? If, however, they are raised to believe that it's wrong for two boys to do things like that, but not wrong for a boy and a girl, and then they react out of fear and guilt, then they are reacting the way they were conditioned, not by natural responses. There is a difference between intending, planning, to cause hurt (emotional or otherwise) versus accidentally doing so, and there is again a difference between acting on nature versus on what you were taught. If both boys wanted to play and explore, did so together voluntarily, then how can someone claim it was wrong? Because the one boy suggested it and the other accepted the offer? Sorry, the argument it's inherently evil doesn't hold there. Wanting more isn't wrong either. Trying to get more of something without asking or with coercion is not right. I just don't see how OSC can claim being gay is always or largely due to some non-consensual act. If anything, the negative feelings would tend to act to prevent a repetition, you would expect.

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Anyone so convinced of the power of opinion and the threat of outside influence should recognize such behavior in himself. His argument is considerably weakened by his indulgence, and it is just one more tedious voice screaming "my way or the highway".

Tracy

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As an avid Sci-fi fan and OSC fan, I find this news to be appalling! However, let us not forget another sci-fi writer, that influenced many a young person's mind with hidden religious beliefs... C.S. Lewis. If you can believe it, he was a self-proclaimed atheist in his teens. Luckily, I never bought a book by either man.

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OK, I did it. After all the hue and cry, I had to see what it was about, and I did it. I read Ender's Game. Finished it last night.

I've mentioned several times in the past I'm not a fan of science fiction. I was in my teens, but lost my enthusiasm for it as I grew older. This is the first sci-fi book I've read in years.

I thought much of the premise of the book absurd, but that's not unusual in science fiction writing. What I found fascinating was the way he touched on what I'd call a homosexual subtext. He had the boys all nude together on several occasions. They slept nude in each other's company. The only real friend he made was another boy, and that friend kissed him. He had a naked wrestling match with another boy. He walked down the corridors of the school naked on more than one occasion.

I think Card has had problems with his own orientation, and the abhorrence of it by his religion probably created a huge dissonance in his life. That he's now so viciously against it may stem from his early struggles. What he says now is hysterical and ludicrous and irrational. There has to be some reason for that, and I don't think it's just a stroke.

Anyway, that's my opinion, that he's had homosexual feelings all his life, and he hasn't known how to deal with them. If it's true, I wish he'd found a better way than to act out against the gay community.

C

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Cole, I'd agree with your assessment. What I remember reading of it had several instances of what could be gay subtext in the book.

Now, it could be argued too that nudity itself doesn't imply being gay or a sexual context. Our culture tends to equate nudity and sexuality. Many other cultures don't; being nude is just being nude. A science fiction writer might use that to point out the oddities in our own culture and show that other people may do things and think things very differently.

But yes, in the book, Ender is a boy thrown in with a bunch of other boys in a dorm/barracks setting. One boy is very friendly and affectionate, hugging his buddies, and yes, there's a kiss. One of the scenes I noticed has Ender meeting another boy, and the boy has a transparent computer desk/screen in his lap. The screen magnifies the view...of the boy's lap. Ender notices. Heheh, subtext.

But there's nothing overly too sexual or suggestive in the book. There's plenty of violence; the boys and girls in the book are being trained as soldiers in a desperate war against incomprehensible aliens. One of the themes is the senseless futility of violence and dictatorships.

OSC wrote the Ender books when he was much younger, in the early 1970's, I think. Times were different and he was a young man. Attitudes towards sex and nudity, the establishment, the Vietnam War, were very different then, conservative or liberal either one. I suspect OSC is trying to engage in self-revisionist-history. ("What? Oh, no, I never would've written about boys having homosexual thoughts! Oh my stars, whyever would you think such a thing!") (Much sputtering by the now much more conservative and older fellow.) Uh-huh.

Never mind that for some of us, the idea of growing up with other boys being naked together on a starship and friendly hugs, or maybe some kisses or fooling around, sounds like a great idea to some boys; perhaps especially if we didn't get much opportunity at that age in real life, or if (like me) we grow up body-shy with nudity and sex almost taboo subjects, and the idea of a boy being gay is even more so...which makes it tough if you are beginning to realize you might be that gay boy.

Does that mean I'm for mass public nudity? Not particularly, no. But it's summer here, the days are getting above the mid-90's and the nights are getting above the mid-70's into the 80's, and that's normal for our summers. At some point, even the most conservative guy has to wonder if perhaps nudity is a viable option. And even conservative boys grow up wearing just shorts in summer, plus a tee or other shirt. But no, I don't necessarily want to see certain things or be seen, you know? But maybe I'm too uptight.

Does that mean I'm for kids fooling around together a lot? Well, not really. But if a friend and his buddy like each other, it might be nice if they could express that, at least together in private, in what ways seem natural and comfortable for them. I'd prefer liking and loving to be open to expression, instead of subjects for fear and hate or ridicule or being left out. (And yes, I'm clear that not every boy has sexual feelings for every other boy, gay or otherwise. I didn't feel that way toward most of my friends.)

The book seems, to me, to have some gay subtext and to be more open and understanding of the possibility of people having and expressing gay feelings, and to the idea that a boy growing up might become aware of that in himself or his friends and be OK with it. -- But it's plain that as time went on, OSC has had trouble with himself over ideas like that. and yes, I think it indicates an internal conflict, suppressed feelings he's not dealing with, and is instead demonizing. What a shame that is.

Yes, I'd much rather have a book about a boy coming to understand himself and his friends, including any gay feelings, as simply natural and comfortable and just as ordinary as his friends who have straight feelings. Good for them. And if they run around nude in the book occasionally, well, fine, I hope they feel good.

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Cole, your review and summary leaves me feeling I know exactly why I would feel cheated had I read the book.

I think that your opinion that he doesn't know how to deal with his homosexual feelings is valid and accurate.

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When I was in the 8th grade a friend of mine loaded me his copy of Ender's Game. I couldn't get through it; I found it boring, and it didn't make sense to me. I gave it back to him. I am a SF fan, and own about 120 SF books and have about 15 more on my Kindle. I don't own any books by Owen Scott Card and don't see any reason to buy any. Because I didn't like the book version of Ender's Game, I doubt that I would go see the movie.

Colin :icon_geek:

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Ender's Game was initially a little bit of a struggle for me to read as well, but I stuck with it and ultimately enjoyed it. Ender's Shadow -- which is the exact same story, told from a different character's point of view -- is a far better book. Card also had the benefit of another decade's worth of technology, so he could incorporate email, the internet, and other developments that were almost nonexistent in 1985.

I just had this conversation on another forum, where I said I separate my feelings for an artist as a human being -- in that case, a musician -- from his or her work as an artist. There are plenty of musicians, filmmakers, and writers who are horrible human beings but do great work. For example, I strongly dislike Axl Rose, but I have no problem listening to Guns 'N' Roses. I have no problem reading Card's work, even though he's a schmuck, and the stories really are good -- albeit a little too political, as the series progresses.

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I find it an issue if I know I'm supporting people that either work against me as a person, for that reason I cannot separate thing like OSC from his works, even if my purchase amounts to no more than a cup of coffee for the man. Not a penny, not now, not ever.

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