Against Boycotting Orson Scott Card

There are a lot of boycotts I’d support. But artists shouldn’t be boycotted for their political views.

Three quick disclaimers: 1) I think it’s fine if you’re skipping the movie because you don’t want to support a vicious homophobe like Card. 2) Obviously, people have a free speech right to call for a boycott. 3) I have zero sympathy for Card, considering how much work he put into making his own hateful bed (using scorn sheets and spite pillowcases, no doubt).

But an organized boycott against an individual artist for his political views goes against a culture of free speech. If people feel their jobs or livelihoods are threatened if they state their political position, then that creates an coercive incentive for people to shut up.

Furthermore, that’s not how art should be judged. In this case, I’m not very concerned – Ender’s Game looks like it’s going to be utterly mediocre – but as a general principle, art should be judged by whether or not it’s good art, not by whether or not the creator is a good person. Alexandra Petri hits on this point:

Comb through the ranks of great artists and creators and it’s easy to find things to object to in their personal lives and beliefs. Henry Ford was anti-Semitic. So was Richard Wagner. They do things that make you sick. They believe things that are fundamentally wrong. But they are capable of creating things that take your breath away.

Oscar Wilde, no stranger to intolerance, wrote in a review that “The fact of a man being a poisoner is nothing against his prose. The domestic virtues are not the true basis of art, though they may serve as an excellent advertisement for second-rate artists.”

If you are only willing to support artists who agree with you, you wind up stuck with a lot of mediocre art.

In a society with a healthy free speech ethic, people can disagree – even about serious issues – without striking at opponents’ livelihoods.

* * *

Before any conservatives reading this get too smug and “well, of course lefties are against free speech” about this, please recall that anti-gay folks get people fired for being gay, or for being pro-gay, all the time.

* * *

Here are some recent pieces I’ve read about the Orson Scott Card thing:

I’ve Decided To Give Orson Scott Card The Benefit of the Doubt! | Popehat (The title of the post is sarcastic, and the post itself is a hilarious takedown of OSC’s recent plea for tolerance.)

Orson Scott Card Wants You to Forget How Much He Hates Gays | Epsilon Clue

Is the Debate Over Same-Sex Marriage and ‘Ender’s Game’ Just Starting? – WSJ

Joe. My. God.: Orson Scott Card Pleads For “Tolerance”. Best sentence: “Oh, how very interesting the talk must be at NOM headquarters today upon learning that a member of their board of directors has just told a national magazine that their entire campaign of hatred is now ‘moot.’”

Geeks OUT Responds to Orson Scott Card, Still Plans to Skip Ender’s Game | Geeks OUT!

Ender’s Game author Orson Scott Card issues plea for tolerance of his intolerance of gays | The A.V. Club

Orson Scott Card Boycott | The Mary Sue

This entry posted in Free speech, censorship, copyright law, etc., Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans and Queer issues. Bookmark the permalink. 

79 Responses to Against Boycotting Orson Scott Card

  1. I’d stop short of suggesting someone who holds reprehensible political views should be punished with a boycott*.

    That’s holding the views. If they treat any success they might gain as (at least in part) testimony to the correctness and/or popularity of those views, or if they use that success as a source of legitimacy when they express those views — I consider those two different things — a boycott is entirely appropriate.

    And if the product they are trying to sell is designed to advocate for those views, or intended to appeal mostly to others with the same views, I’m not sure avoiding it even counts as a boycott.

    *And well short of suggesting that a company should be punished for having a significant amount (or a plurality, or a majority, or the entirety) of equity owned by someone who holds reprehensible political views. If the company, as an entity, is using earnings to support advocacy, I don’t want to contribute to those earnings, but companies shouldn’t have opinions in any case. The owners can do what they like with their money.

  2. 2
    Copyleft says:

    Question: What was your opinion of the Chick-Fil-A boycott over their anti-gay corporate policies?

  3. 3
    Ampersand says:

    Insofar as the boycott was about trying to get Chick-Fil-A to change their policies, I approved of it.

    Insofar as it was about punishing the CEO for saying that he was opposed to SSM, I disapproved of it.

  4. 4
    Jake Squid says:

    I disagree with this position. A boycott is the one tool that I have to oppose a celebrity’s (or corporation’s) support of awful policy. Why shouldn’t an artist be ostracized for promoting awful politics? Should I not boycott the Aryan Nation run business in my neighborhood (were there one that I knew about)? Free speech doesn’t mean freedom from criticism or consequences. Free speech means that your government can’t shut you up, it doesn’t mean that your friends and neighbors and fellow citizens can’t decide not to be your friends or patronize your business or buy your product.

    Look, I really like Eminem’s work. Eminem, however, is an awful person who promotes awful attitudes. I will never pay for any of his work, though I will happily listen to it. I encourage everybody else not to pay for his work. I can appreciate his artistry without wanting to support his livelihood. And you know what? If Eminem had never been able to produce anything of artistic merit (because, in this hypothetical world, he’d been detected as the shit bag he is from day one), it’d be a minor shame. There is plenty of other great artistic work done by people who are not awful. But that minor shame would be Eminem’s fault, not the boycotter’s fault.

    You’re free to say anything you like, but you’re not free from the consequences of what you say. I don’t think that a boycott is an unreasonable consequence.

  5. 5
    Joey says:

    Hi!

    I’m glad to see the debate here. I do want to point out the following:
    1) Orson Scott Card is doing more than expressing opinions, he is actively joined with a hate group and using his money against us.
    2) OSC is a producer on this movie and will get money for every view it gets from the audience.

  6. 6
    Ampersand says:

    Hi Joey!

    I see that you’re from geeksout. If you’re involved in running the “Skip Ender’s Game” campaign, let me say congratulations on all the wonderful press your campaign has been getting. That’s really fantastic.

    It’s true that OSC is (or was, I’m not sure) on the board of NOM, but that doesn’t change things for me. Just as people’s right to free speech shouldn’t be subject to economic coercion, people’s right to participate in politics – including by volunteering for a political organization like NOM – shouldn’t be subject to economic coercion.

    Also, whatever money OSC donates to NOM is only a drop in the bucket compared to NOM’s annual spending. I don’t know OSC, but I do know a few writers and even a person who had a movie adapted from his work, and it’s not the sort of thing that makes you a millionaire unless you’re Stephen King or someone like that. So if the point of your campaign is to deprive NOM of funds, I don’t believe you’ll be able to do that to any significant degree.

  7. 7
    Chris Brennan says:

    I sincerely do not understand how it can be acceptable for large numbers of people to individually decide to boycott Card’s work, and for it to be unacceptable for those same people to choose to collectively exercise their free speech and free association rights to organize their boycott.

    As Ken White says… “Let’s be clear — the right to free speech is the right to express oneself without state retaliation. It is not a right to speak without social retaliation. Speech has consequences. Among those consequences are condemnation, vituperation, scorn, ridicule, and pariah status. Those consequences represent other people exercising their free speech rights. That’s a feature of the marketplace of ideas, not a bug.”
    http://www.popehat.com/2009/07/01/speech-is-tyranny/

  8. 8
    StraightGrandmother says:

    I’m totally for the boycott! Amp characterizes this issue as political views and I don’t think that is the correct description. It is a fight for Civil Rights, which neither Democratic or Republican Boies/Olson.

    Orson Scott Card -
    “Regardless of law, marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down, so it can be replaced with a government that will respect and support marriage, and help me raise my children in a society where they will expect to marry in their turn.”
    more…
    http://www.goodasyou.org/good_as_you/2013/07/what-is-mccarhyism-asks-gallagher-not-what-you-seem-to-think-it-is-answers-hooper.html

    Because just now that he has a movie coming out coincidentally he says basically, “Well gay marriage is inevitable. I hope people are tolerant.”

    Best line I read was, “When you take your foot off of my neck we can talk about tolerance”

    I am all in favor of making it very painful, socially and financially to deny sexual minorities Equal Civil Rights. You should have read some of the comments, I read things like, “For 5 years I have not been able to marry my partner in large part because of you OSW, you threw in with NOM, now you are asking me to ignore that, to show tolerance?”

    Decent people do not re-elect Bull Connor as Sheriff ,and they don’t go see Enders Game either. Enough is enough. I hope he never eats in this town again.

  9. 9
    Phil says:

    I think I agreed with the spirit of your post about the Card comic book kerfluffle, as I remember it, which was something like: it is wrong to try to get a person fired because of political statements they have made.

    But I’m not sure I agree that it’s inappropriate to boycott an artist who publicly expresses heinous political views, because we live in a culture where celebrities have a bigger mouthpiece to express their viewpoints than do regular people, and the degree of celebrity that a person enjoys is directly affected by how much money their work takes in.

    I’ve two other thoughts about your post.

    1) You’re making a very subtle distinction between personally choosing not to support an artist’s work and boycotting said artist’s work. What is a boycott, besides a number of individuals choosing not to support something? I suspect that not even you could draw a bright line between what is okay and not okay here, even with regard to your own views. (Can I tell my friends that I’m choosing not support a particular artist’s work? What if I know they are likely to be influenced by my decision? What if I want them to be influenced? If I write about my decision on my blog, am I crossing the line into boycotting? Etc.)

    I’m not saying there is no distinction; in fact, I feel the need to make a similar distinction. I don’t want to pay to see the film, and yet I also don’t want there to be a big, highly publicized boycott, because I think that publicity is likely to sell tickets, whether it’s good or bad.

    2) I think that labeling the things that Card has said as “political views” is a way to frame the situation so that your argument here seems reasonable, but I’m not sure that framing is entirely accurate.

    Technically, you could advocate for any law to be changed, and in so doing, you’re just engaging in speech or expressing a “political view.” But in reality, I suspect we could all envision hypothetical things that a person could advocate that would be so far beyond the pale that the person in question deserves no defense, even in the abstract. (I’ll suggest that the following might need a trigger warning since I prefer for my over-the-top examples to be genuinely over-the-top.) Person X might be only engaging in speech–and not action–when s/he advocates that the government should legalize the ritual dismemberment of albino children, but that distinction is pretty meaningless to me when I am judging Person X to be a disgusting fuck who should be shunned in EVERY conceivable way.

    I suspect there are political opinions that are areas of legitimate disagreement, and then there are political opinions that are just so indefensible and repugnant that they are something other than a mere political opinion, and the box that contains the former will be different for different people.

    To be clear, I’m not saying that Card is the equivalent of a person who advocates child dismemberment, nor am I saying you’re equivalent to someone who dismisses such extreme statements as political views. I’m just kinda poking around the edges of the position you wrote about.

  10. 10
    mythago says:

    Sorry, Amp, but you are wrong.

    First, Card is not simply being boycotted for his views; he is being boycotted because he took protracted, deliberate actions – including sitting on the board of NOM and donating a great deal of his own money – in the service of opposing equal treatment for LGBT folks.

    Second, you contradict yourself when you first say that boycotts are free speech, but then that they suppress free speech. Any countervailing speech might have that effect. You’re really advocating the No Tagbacks Theory of free speech; if A says something reprehensible, then it is not OK for B to say anything that might make A hesitant to say it in the future – and if that suppresses B’s free speech, well, too bad.

    Third, Card is not simply producing art. He is selling it. He is, therefore, engaged in a business operation just like Chik-Fil-A, and people have just as much right to decide that they do not want their money to support an evil asshole, and do not want their money to get funneled into evil causes.

    Nick Mamatas, who is pretty dang lefty as well as being a professional writer, has some rather pointed things to say about the cringiness of liberals on things like this. I can’t really add to this, other than to note that if Card were on the board of the Church of Mighty Whitey and funneled a million dollars of his own money into supporting white supremacist organizations in South Africa, we wouldn’t be having this fucking conversation about whether or not it’s OK to give him money.

  11. 11
    Harlequin says:

    Furthermore, that’s not how art should be judged. In this case, I’m not very concerned – Ender’s Game looks like it’s going to be utterly mediocre – but as a general principle, art should be judged by whether or not it’s good art, not by whether or not the creator is a good person.

    Those things are not always easy to divorce, especially when we’re talking about writing. Fiction can only be as truthful as the writer’s conception of the world, and when that conception is flawed it can warp the story dynamics in all sorts of ways, many of them hard to detect without the thought-intensive post-reading processing work that most readers don’t do for pleasure reading. Ender’s Game is somewhat free of Card’s politics (though it has an insidious message about the justification of violence), but some of the later books… I mean, the third book of the Bean quartet is an extended rant about how women only become successful in order to secure a successful man to produce children with, at which point they lose all ambition to be anything but mothers, with the exception of the one chapter about how the only way for gay people to live happy lives is to marry a widow or widower of the opposite sex and celibately help them raise their children. And that is bad art because the creator is a bad person on this subject.

    Also,

    In a society with a healthy free speech ethic, people can disagree – even about serious issues – without striking at opponents’ livelihoods.

    I think there’s a difference between, say, getting someone fired from a job, and trying to recruit your friends to not patronize a business or movie. (I had much more of a problem with the outcry over the Superman comic than I do with this boycott.) In the latter case, you are attacking a single end product, with the aim of changing the business practices of the people involved; in the former case, you are trying to remove the person from the conversation entirely so that they cannot contribute any more.

    I will probably still see the movie, because Ender’s Game was very important to me as a teenager and I like virtually everyone in the cast. But I understand the reasoning of people who don’t want to see it, and support them trying to recruit me to their side anyway.

  12. 13
    rejiquar says:

    Echoing Harlequin, here.

    25-30 years ago, I read and loved Ender’s Game and Speaker for the Dead, though I detested some of Card’s other books (Wyrms was flat-out disgusting). I’ll even admit to enjoying Songmaster: I felt Card was bang-up at depicting children.

    However, I didn’t want him writing Superman (even though I’ve never read the comic in more than the most desultory of ways) because the character is supposed to be noble and loving, and I didn’t think, from what I’d heard, that Card could adequately distance himself from his unreasoning hatred of gay people.

    It’s too bad. I was *there* at one of his impassioned pleas for tolerance, back when he delivered the sermons for secular humanism. I was so inspired I bought a tape of it; I finally pitched it (long after we’d discarded all the devices it could be played on.) I think it’s sad he’s become intolerant—and it does seem that way, though I might’ve just been oblivious.

    Giving such artists money so they can spew more hate is bad enough;
    but worse, I’m chary of other artists’ intolerance infecting me through their work. I can all too easily generate that on my own, and don’t need any encouragement, thankyouverymuch!

  13. 14
    JutGory says:

    Amp, you will likely regret to learn that I agree with you.

    Art should be judged (and, I would say, consumed) on its own terms, and not by reference to the artist.

    However, if your ethos is that the “personal is political,” a boycott of anything and anyone that has views of which you disapprove is the logical course of action to take.

    -Jut

  14. 15
    lauren says:

    In a society with a healthy free speech ethic, people can disagree – even about serious issues – without striking at opponents’ livelihoods.

    But by opposin ssm, vehemently, with his fame, and his money, OSC is striking at the livelyhood of thousands of people.

    People who can not get Health insurance through their partners because their marriage is not recogniced as valid.

    People who have to earn more mony to get the same net worth, because they are refused tax benefits offered to married people.

    People who have to live in constant fear of not being able to get medical care thy want, because their partner is not allowed to make medical decision for them.

    People who struggle with depression- which can lead to suicide- because they live in a country that is telling them the way they love is wrong, inferior, disgusting.

    Orson Scott Card and the people who’s cause he joined are causing horrible pain and suffering every day. This isn’t a difference of opinion where both sides are valid. This is people fighting oppression, and the oppressors refusing to give up their power and privilege.

    But it is wrong to make him lose money for it, because the way he is causing all that suffering is with words? As if “I didn’t get as rich as I could have” is in any way equal, never mind worse than “I live in a world where people dedicate their live to making sure I am not allowed to be married to, have a family with, take care of be unashamed of, the person I love?

  15. 16
    Grace Annam says:

    I loved Ender’s Game and Speaker for the Dead, and The Worthing Saga. Card is capable of superb writing. He also holds some bigoting, damaging opinions and works to make those opinions mainstream.

    Art versus person, created versus creator, political versus personal… meh.

    I don’t know anything about his financial situation, but he has had a long and wildly successful career, so I would suspect that he is comfortable for life. This boycott, even if successful, will do nothing more than limit his income, and possibly his future prospects to make even more money than he already has.

    I’m having a hard time caring about the possible damage to a wealthy person’s income, as a response to his speech. Freedom of speech is not freedom from the consequences of speech, and the financial impact on Card is a trivial consequence.

    Also, in the interest of full disclosure, this is a no-stakes argument, for me: in my crusty old age I have mostly learned not to see movie versions of books I have loved. It is never a good experience for me, and forever taints a revisit of the book with unwanted visuals. This is true whether the adaptation was in many ways excellent (The Lord of the Rings movies) or execrable from end to end (SyFy’s Earthsea).

    Grace

  16. 17
    JutGory says:

    Grace Annam:

    Freedom of speech is not freedom from the consequences of speech

    This is a common meme (so I am not attributing this necessarily to you), but it does not seem to be analyzed much.

    What “consequences” are we talking about? Theo van Gogh made a movie; he was free to do so, but the “consequences” of that was he was killed. Salman Rushdie was free to write books, but the “consequences” of his exercise of his freedom is that he must remain in hiding. MLK and Malcolm X were free to speak, but their words had “consequences.”

    Granted, I do not think you are endorsing any sort of violence or criminal reactions when you talk about “consequences,” but to simply talk about “consequences” without drawing a line somewhere is sloppy (again, not a criticism of you, but a criticism of the unexamined platitude).

    The old way of thinking related to “the marketplace of ideas” or “the antidote to bad speech is more speech.” I think Amp is drawing the line closer to that ideal than do those who call for “boycotts.”

    -Jut

  17. 18
    Grace Annam says:

    JutGory:

    What “consequences” are we talking about?

    Yes. I was not attempting to say, “Freedom of speech is not freedom from death threats.” If I were trying to get more mathematically precise, I might re-phrase it thus: “Freedom of speech is not freedom from all consequences of speech”, which leaves intact the possibility that freedom of speech should encompass freedom from certain consequences, like death threats, actual murder, etc.

    However, if we were to order consequences bottom-to-top from least severe to most severe, “slightly reduce the income of an already wealthy person by abstaining from a small market transaction involving the intellectual property of that wealthy person” would be so close to the bottom that it would be hard to wedge anything under it.

    Grace

  18. 19
    sharon cullars says:

    I don’t believe that art should trump the artist in all cases. Case in point, Roman Polanski. I don’t care how wonderful Chinatown was, I consider him a criminal. As do I R. Kelly and many singers brought up on sexual assault charges. Humanity above all else, including art (esp. when it involves children). I will not watch a Polanski (or Allen) film nor will I listen to anything by Kelly (even though I like some of his older songs). However, this is my own personal boycott and I don’t invite anyone else to share it.

  19. 20
    StraightGrandmother says:

    Sending props to Mythago & Lauren.

    Harlequin, I hope you don’t go see the movie. Orson Scott Card was on the Board of Directors of the National Organization for Marriage. As a board member he approved the strategic plans of NOM to deny sexual minorities Equal Civil Rights.

    Did you read what he wrote about people who are gay Harlequin? His denigration of people who are gay contribute to a toxic society. They do! And this is a man you will support, support and affirm by watching his movie?

    Unless you follow gay issues you are not aware of how bad it is. Here I just read this today, just another news item in another day,

    “This Dyke Bitch ain’t gonna walk down our street” Gang of 10 men beat up Lesbian Couple

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-hate-crime-charge-20130712,0,7213554.story

    Words matter harelquin, they matter. Suppose your sister was a lesbian, just close your eyes and imagine that. Now would you still go see Enders Game? Sexual minorities are only 3% – 4% of the population, in order for them to stop the discrimination against them, we straights have to step up, and speak up.

  20. 21
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    Amp, I’m glad to see that your heart is in the right place. reading this, it’s clear as day that you want to join the People Who Place A Super High Value On Free Speech Rights Club. Welcome. When can I expect you to start posting followup commentary on the OCR letter, and quoting FIRE, and all that jazz? I can’t wait!

    Still, although your heart’s in the right place, you’re way off base here for many reasons.:

    1) There’s a speech conflict here that you don’t seem to recognize. Sure, Card wants to talk; but other people want to talk, too–about boycotting Card. You need to start by recognizing that a desire to prevent boycotting Card is substituting one kind of speech suppression (which, not incidentally, applies to many more people) for another. You’re choosing Card’s speech over the speech of thousands of his opponents.

    2) It’s invalid in any case, because social viewpoint suppression is a valid goal of free speech. In fact it’s one of the most commongoals–haven’t you ever heard the comment “the solution to bad speech is more speech?” If I walk around saying “flat earthers are stupid and you should ignore their views” that’s A-OK even if it means that the Flat Earth Society loses some/all of its membership.

    3) You are also ignoring the fact that Card used his success, fame, and fortune to deliberately and openly promulgate a specific set of views. If you want to gain the benefits of making a public statement (“hey gay-haters, y’all should buy my books!”) you also face the risks.

    Short version: If you stand on a bully pulpit, you run a higher risk of getting hit with rotten fruit.

  21. 22
    JutGory says:

    Grace Annam @18:

    However, if we were to order consequences bottom-to-top from least severe to most severe, “slightly reduce the income of an already wealthy person by abstaining from a small market transaction involving the intellectual property of that wealthy person” would be so close to the bottom that it would be hard to wedge anything under it.

    True, but that does not sound like an organized attempt to boycott. It sounds more like what sharon cullars describes as a personal decision @19. It is about as live and let live as you can get. It does not involve demonstrations, picketing, boycotts, intimidation, harassment, or vandalism, many of which are justified as the “consequences” of speech.

    -Jut

  22. 23
    StraightGrandmother says:

    Amp, it’s not Political Speech, it’s Hate Speech.
    We don’t reward Haters.

  23. 24
    Grace Annam says:

    JutGory:

    True, but that does not sound like an organized attempt to boycott.

    True, true. I would be willing to put “slightly reduce the income of an already wealthy person by abstaining from a small market transaction involving the intellectual property of that wealthy person and encourage others to do the same in an organized fashion” above “slightly reduce the income of an already wealthy person by abstaining from a small market transaction involving the intellectual property of that wealthy person”.

    But not very far above.

    Grace

  24. 25
    Robert says:

    Straight Grandmother, “hate speech” is political speech that someone finds hateful. There is no way to define them as two separate categories; if you disagree, feel free to make the attempt, and I will take thirty seconds to absolutely demolish the barrier you attempt to draw. Because there is no barrier; politics is about power, power is always going to fuck somebody over, and the over-fucked person is always going to (reasonably) view this as them being hated (and they will often be correct objectively as well as subjectively).

  25. 26
    Robert says:

    Also – who’s “we”? You got a mouse in your pocket?

  26. 27
    fanni says:

    Amp,

    I’m curious what your reasoning is to say that it’s okay for individual people to boycott a movie, but not for individuals to get together and collectively organize a boycott of a movie.

    Is it essentially because some boycotting is okay, but lots of boycotting might threaten someone’s career or enrichment?

    I also think you kind of set up a straw argument here:

    “Furthermore, that’s not how art should be judged.”

    Well, yeah. I support a boycott of the movie, but my refusal to see the film isn’t a statement on the merits of the movie. It’s a statement about my personal choice to not enrich or even tangentially support a viciously homophobic man.

    I also appreciate Lauren’s point that Card’s advocacy, and service to NOM, contributes to an attack on the livelihoods and well-being of many same-sex couples and LGB people. An organized boycott is a reaction, a defense mechanism, to Card’s offense and efforts to keep us as second-class citizens, and indeed if he had his way, by his own comments, imprisoned because of our sexual identities.

    If you don’t support an organized boycott, what acceptable alternatives would you offer to people who feel wronged and harmed by Card’s political advocacy? To what extent can and should we organize and exercise our free speech rights?

    And let’s be clear, his opinions are more than mere “personal beliefs.” Being a board member of the most prominent organization in the US opposing equality is very public political advocacy.

  27. 28
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    Boycotting a movie is not a judgment of his art.

    Ender’s Game is a good book, and it was written a while ago. He can’t retroactively make it a better book by becoming a liberal atheist tolerance guru; he can’t retroactively turn it into a worse book by becoming an illiberal homophobic intolerant asshole.

    Boycotting a movie may reflect on other people’s willingness to actively support his art, at least without heavy caveats. (Can’t resist Godwinning here: There may be people who say Hitler was a good painter. But I’m pretty sure that they usually add something like “amazingly, even though he was a sociopathic evil dictator…”) For example, they might not give him an Oscar even he might otherwise have obtained one. But there’s no right to an Oscar anyway and that doesn’t concern me.

    Also:

    StraightGrandmother says:
    July 12, 2013 at 11:12 am
    Amp, it’s not Political Speech, it’s Hate Speech.
    We don’t reward Haters.

    Hate speech is just speech which makes enough people pissed so that they ban it. “Hate” is just the label of the moment. And it’s applied fairly indiscriminately.

    Anyway, we’ve been banning speech for a long time. In retrospect, we usually think it was a shitty idea, but whatever the CLAIMED reason, the ban is always because the speech insults or offends the sensibilities of those in power. “Communism is great” used to be banned speech. So did “it is a really bad idea to go to war right now,” or “we should not let our soldiers die” or “this government policy sucks” or “the Earth orbits the Sun” or any other “traitorous” or “seditious” or “inciting” or what have you.

  28. 29
    StraightGrandmother says:

    Robert-
    “This Dyke Bitch ain’t gonna walk down our street” Gang of 10 men beat up Lesbian Couple (Hate Speech) not political speech.

  29. 30
    Harlequin says:

    StraightGrandmother:

    Words matter harelquin, they matter. Suppose your sister was a lesbian, just close your eyes and imagine that. Now would you still go see Enders Game? Sexual minorities are only 3% – 4% of the population, in order for them to stop the discrimination against them, we straights have to step up, and speak up.

    Don’t have a sister, I’m afraid. But I am queer myself, so I think I’m qualified to judge the balance between “homophobic people I don’t want to support” and “art I think I will enjoy.” (I don’t buy his books anymore, for example, and haven’t in over a decade.)

    rejiquar:

    I’ll even admit to enjoying Songmaster: I felt Card was bang-up at depicting children.

    I enjoyed the first parts of Songmaster too, although (spoilers and TW) it’s deeply disturbing that the two characters who have a gay love affair are 1) impotent for life or 2) castrated and then commit suicide. (And Card got criticism for this from some conservative readers, because the actual love affair itself is treated without judgment and with some amount of tenderness by the text.) Although that may just be his general inability to distinguish the cases “life is sometimes brutal” and “one cannot represent truth without lots and lots of gratuitous brutality.”

  30. 31
    Robert says:

    SGM, that’s an example, not a definition. And a beating is not speech, it is action.

  31. 32
    Doug S. says:

    Roughly, “freedom of speech” means “you can say what you want without fear of violence against yourself or your property being directed against you because of it.” Which would mean that you won’t be thrown in jail, fined, or robbed because of what you say, but that doesn’t mean that people can’t retaliate in other ways. Enforcing a “No fans of Rival Sports Team allowed” rule in your bar or restaurant is consistent with freedom of speech…

  32. 33
    Chris says:

    Doug S.
    No that’s not what it means, Freedom of speech is freedom from governmental influence on speech. So no you will not be jailed or fined. Being beaten or robbed however, have nothing to do with “freedom of speech”, they are separate crimes and are criminal even if the victim has never spoken or written a word.

    For those parsing the phrase “freedom of speech is not freedom from consequences”..let’s give the speaker the benefit of the doubt here and assume he or she meant legal consequences. No one should be assaulted or murdered for any reason speech or not, so trying to apply it here is just another straw man argument. Bringing in Salmon Rushdie is especially silly, because freedom of speech really doesn’t apply to an Iranian citizen, so using it as an example isn’t applicable.

    And many here are missing the point. We know that very little actual statistical difference will occur. But OSCAR donates huge amounts to anti gay groups. And I will rest easier knowing not a penny of my money ended up there. Remember, this is a man who advocated overthrow of any government that recognized gay marriage, and lobbied for laws against homosexuality to stay on the books to show gays that they were not equal members of society.

    His rhetoric is some of the most vile, if that’s where you want to put your money, go ahead. I prefer not to give my money to anyone who believes my existence is detrimental to society. Those supporting OSC should take a few minutes and actually read some of this stuff.

  33. 34
    Ampersand says:

    Mythago:

    Sorry, Amp, but you are wrong.

    Not for the first time. Why did I become a cartoonist, when I could have been a pool boy?

    First, Card is not simply being boycotted for his views; he is being boycotted because he took protracted, deliberate actions – including sitting on the board of NOM and donating a great deal of his own money – in the service of opposing equal treatment for LGBT folks.

    I think I already answered this. “Just as people’s right to free speech shouldn’t be subject to economic coercion, people’s right to participate in politics – including by volunteering for a political organization like NOM – shouldn’t be subject to economic coercion.”

    Second, you contradict yourself when you first say that boycotts are free speech, but then that they suppress free speech. Any countervailing speech might have that effect. You’re really advocating the No Tagbacks Theory of free speech; if A says something reprehensible, then it is not OK for B to say anything that might make A hesitant to say it in the future – and if that suppresses B’s free speech, well, too bad.

    This is a straw man argument; I’m not advocating “no tagbacks.”

    Surely you’d agree that there are some responses to speech which are wrong. For instance, if A said “I’m against the bond measure,” and B responded by saying “I’m going to shoot you with a gun,” we’d both agree that would be wrong of B.

    As a technique, targeting individuals’ livelihoods is only a step removed from physical violence. At its worse – as we saw during McCarthyism – targeting individual’s livelihoods is a real and frightening threat to people’s ability to survive. As such, I think it’s a threat that – as a matter of ethics – we should not use to compel people’s political speech, any more than we should use the threat of violence to compel people’s political speech.

    Third, Card is not simply producing art. He is selling it. He is, therefore, engaged in a business operation just like Chik-Fil-A, and people have just as much right to decide that they do not want their money to support an evil asshole, and do not want their money to get funneled into evil causes.

    Fine, then don’t buy a ticket to the movie. I’m not going to, either. I’m not questioning anyone’s right not to see the movie. I’m not questioning anyone’s right to talk about why they’re not seeing the movie.

    I am only questioning the morality of using collective action against an individual’s livelihood to punish that individual for his political opinions and activism. (Please note that just because people have the right to do something, doesn’t make it the right thing to do).

    if Card were on the board of the Church of Mighty Whitey and funneled a million dollars of his own money into supporting white supremacist organizations in South Africa, we wouldn’t be having this fucking conversation about whether or not it’s OK to give him money.

    Do we actually have any factual information on how much money Card has donated to NOW?

    I honestly think I’d be saying the same thing if the issue were racism instead of homophobia. Boycotts against individual artists for their political activism is a nasty and immoral technique, and I don’t think we should go there. (I’d feel differently about a boycott of a specific work because the work itself is homophobic or racist.)

  34. 35
    Ampersand says:

    Grace wrote:

    I don’t know anything about his financial situation, but he has had a long and wildly successful career, so I would suspect that he is comfortable for life. This boycott, even if successful, will do nothing more than limit his income, and possibly his future prospects to make even more money than he already has.

    I’m having a hard time caring about the possible damage to a wealthy person’s income, as a response to his speech. Freedom of speech is not freedom from the consequences of speech, and the financial impact on Card is a trivial consequence.

    1) I suspect you’re right, and I don’t give a fuck about Card. He’s a loathsome human being who would only be improved by some humbling.

    2) But the principle still matters. Picking on individual artists for their political activism is wrong. And doing it to OSC today makes it easier for it to be done to other, less wealthy, artists tomorrow.

  35. 36
    Ampersand says:

    Fannie:

    I’m curious what your reasoning is to say that it’s okay for individual people to boycott a movie, but not for individuals to get together and collectively organize a boycott of a movie.

    Is it essentially because some boycotting is okay, but lots of boycotting might threaten someone’s career or enrichment?

    Hi Fannie! Always nice to see you commenting.

    Essentially that’s correct. Collective organization is a powerful tool, as everyone on the left should agree. And like all powerful tools, it can be misused.

    It would obviously be ridiculous to say people should see a movie that they loathe (for whatever reason), or that they shouldn’t tell all their friends (or blogreaders, or whatever) why they loathe it. But I don’t think it’s ridiculous to ask people to think about the morality of using collective organizing to target an individual for his political activism.

    If you don’t support an organized boycott, what acceptable alternatives would you offer to people who feel wronged and harmed by Card’s political advocacy? To what extent can and should we organize and exercise our free speech rights?

    If the goal is to personally punish Card for being a bad person, I’d say that we shouldn’t do any collective organizing at all. Individual-level criticism and shunning is enough there. I’d also say that’s a petty and not worthwhile goal.

    If the goal is to achieve LGBT equality, I’d say that there are a hundred alternatives to this one particular boycott, many of which you and I have already used. Donate money to good organizations that are active on those issues. Go volunteer at a pro-LGBT campaign of some sort, doing database work, licking envelopes, making phone calls, going door to door. Talk to people about the issue. Write blogs and essays. I’ve done these things, and I’m sure you have too, and I think these are far more effective tactics than what is essentially an attempt to punish one homophobic novelist.

    Without ignoring all that there is to be done, the progress that has been made in my lifetime on LGBT issues is astounding. Compared to the 1970s, what we have today seems like an impossible dream. And that was nearly entirely achieved using positive tactics (including in-your-face tactics, like ACT UP), rather than economic coercion. There is no reason to believe that boycotting individual artists is either an effective or a necessary tactic for advancing LGBT equality.

    I want a world in which we have real LGBT equality. And I want a world in which people can disagree on issues, and participate in non-violent activism, without having to fear either violence, or losing their livelihoods. (Which is NOT the same as saying people should be free of criticism.) I’m not convinced that we can’t have, and advocate for, both these things.

  36. 37
    Doug S. says:

    @Chris: You don’t have to be a government to take away someone’s freedom. “Freedom of speech” is usually talked about in the context of a government imposing restrictions, but a bunch of hooligans going around beating up anyone who cheers for Rival Sports Team are also taking away freedom of speech, too. They’re just breaking the law when they do it.

    So allow me to rephrase:

    The moral doctrine of “freedom of speech” is that people ought to refrain from responding to words with acts of violence against people or their property. One doesn’t have to be a government to violate this precept, but it helps. (Legal doctrines may differ.)

    See also.

  37. 38
    Eytan Zweig says:

    Amp – given the distinction you draw between individual-level decisions and group boycotts, I’m a bit confused as to where the line is drawn. If the groups attempting to organise a boycott instead were just organising an awareness-raising campaign – in other words, instead of saying “In case you don’t know, this is what OSC has said and done, don’t see his movie”, they would be saying “In case you don’t know, this is what OSC has said and done, now go and make your own moral decisions” – would you also object?

  38. 39
    StraightGrandmother says:

    Laws against homosexual behavior should remain on the books, not to be indiscriminately enforced against anyone who happens to be caught violating them, but to be used when necessary to send a clear message that those who flagrantly violate society’s regulation of sexual behavior cannot be permitted to remain as acceptable, equal citizens within that society.”
    — Orson Scott Card, “The Hypocrites of Homosexuality,” Sunstone Magazine, Feb 1990 – See more at: http://skipendersgame.com/#sthash.RbojQpIf.dpuf

    This long essay is informative
    http://www.nauvoo.com/library/card-hypocrites.html

    I would call OSC a hypocrite. Because he does not follow through with what people who are NOT Mormons should do. He says, these are my beliefs for Mormons. However he as a Board Member of NOM since 2009 he worked very hard to suppress the rights of non Mormons. He didn’t walk the talk.

    I don’t know how much he gave but I highly doubt you get to be a member of the Board Of Directors of the National Organization for (Straight only) Marriage without being a big contributor. Money is funneled through 3rd Parities like the Knights of Columbus. It is more likely than not that OSC gave a lot of money to NOM or Protect Marriage.

  39. 40
    Grace Annam says:

    Ampersand:

    As a technique, targeting individuals’ livelihoods is only a step removed from physical violence. At its worse – as we saw during McCarthyism – targeting individual’s livelihoods is a real and frightening threat to people’s ability to survive. As such, I think it’s a threat that – as a matter of ethics – we should not use to compel people’s political speech, any more than we should use the threat of violence to compel people’s political speech.

    As Anatole France put it, “The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.”

    A boycott, even if it’s pretty successful, is not targeting Card’s livelihood. He’s comfortable for life. He’s in no economic danger, except the danger of not being able to accumulate more. He’s simply not very vulnerable to this attack. A water pistol attack is a different thing directed against the Wicked Witch of the West than against Dorothy. Dorothy may not like it, but in the end, all it does it get her wet.

    It would be a different matter if Card were, say, an underappreciated cartoonist, suffering in obscurity for his art. Then organizing a bunch of people against him would not be balancing the scales, it would be a pile-on. But Card already has the power of a bunch of people. This guy has money. He is networked. He serves on the board of a national organization, and probably on other boards, too. He’s going to be fine.

    In other words, the potential effect on him is so small that I would be inclined to think of a boycott as speech against him, rather than an attack on him. It sounds like you think of it as more of an attack, and I can see where you’d be coming from, on that, as an artist making a living from his art. But unless you’ve been hiding from us your vast network and financial resources, you and he are, financially and power-wise, not the same thing.

    2) But the principle still matters. Picking on individual artists for their political activism is wrong. And doing it to OSC today makes it easier for it to be done to other, less wealthy, artists tomorrow.

    Use of almost any tool makes it easier to use it more broadly next time. Any useful tool can be used wrongly. It sounds like you’re saying that because this tool can be misused it should not be used at all. But how the tool is used, and its likely effect – those matter, and we can use them to distinguish good use from bad.

    Compared to the 1970s, what we have today seems like an impossible dream. And that was nearly entirely achieved using positive tactics (including in-your-face tactics, like ACT UP), rather than economic coercion.

    Fair enough, but “It’s the wrong tool” is a different argument from “It’s an unethical tool”. The latter requires an ethical analysis, while the former simply argues for a comparison among options. I’m inclined to agree that there are tools available which would give us more bang for the buck, and that there are tools available which are less vulnerable to mischaracterization and weaponization back against us.

    Do we actually have any factual information on how much money Card has donated to NOW?

    No, but spelling it that way I’m going to guess “none”. (!)

    Grace

  40. 41
    mythago says:

    You’re not “asking people to think”, Amp. You’re arguing that a boycott of an artist is inherently an immoral attack on that artist’s freedom of speech. In essence, you’re arguing that artists have a special right outside the context of their art to speak without countervailing speech, even if those artists use the prominence and power their art has gained them to oppress others.

    And yes, you are in fact arguing ‘no tagbacks’. If Card organizes collective action against LGBT people, then in your view it is wrong for LGBT people and their allies to organize collective action against Card. The distinction between individual and collective action you make is an anti-free speech argument. It is OK for me to say “I won’t see that movie”, but immoral and wrong to add “and won’t you do the same?” Also, really, there’s quite a good argument that the first sentence alone is just as wrong; am I not announcing my intention to boycott the movie in the hopes of persuading others to do the same? Or is collective action only OK by you if carefully phrased in a sort of who-will-rid-me-of-this-troublesome-priest fashion?

    (Also, please stop with the strawmen and rhetorical games. “Surely you’d agree that…” Was anybody arguing for the proposition that any response whatsoever to speech is OK? No.)

    The argument that ‘other techniques could be used’ is not only a distraction, but wrong. If the problem is that boycotting is immoral, then whether or not other things can be done is irrelevant; you don’t do it, any more than you would resort to murder because it ‘works’. If it’s not immoral, then why not use it? Obviously it’s effective, since you are, in essence, arguing that it works all too well.

    “As a technique, targeting individuals’ livelihoods is only a step removed from physical violence” – if you believe this, then boycotts are always wrong, no matter the target. When you boycott a company, you are not simply exerting pressure on a building; you are targeting the economic livelihoods of the people who own that company and the people who work for that company. Therefore, boycotting Chik-Fil-A or Monsanto are just as wrong as boycotting Card. The problem is not that the tool can be misused, but that, like torture, use of the tool itself is immoral regardless of its noble goal. We should not use a boycott to compel the political speech of Chik-Fil-A’s owners, or the lobbying efforts of Monsanto, because if we do we’re going to be hurting individuals, ultimately if not directly.

    So it’s wrong of me, in your estimation, to avoid skipping Ender’s Game because I object to Card. (It’s OK if I just am not interested in the movie, though.) I, personally, am exerting economic coercion on Card if I withhold my ticket money. Or, apparently, it’s grudgingly OK for me to skip the movie because of moral outrage as long as I keep my mouth shut about it. I guess if I called myself an artist, I might have the right to do so? Or are we back to no tagbacks?

    And no, I really don’t think we’d be having this conversation if Card were a flagrant racist supporting white-supremacist groups. Homophobia gets a special excuse in the US because open racism is no longer fashionable among major religious organizations. My completely unsupported recollection at the time is that Card donated $1 million to NOM out of his own pocket, but I can’t find a source for this – which doesn’t surprise me, given how dishonest NOM is and has been about its finances. Even if we assume that he didn’t personally give them a dime, Card served on NOM’s board. He did so because he is a prominent author, giving prestige to NOM, and because his public status and platform gave him a great stage for political activism against LGBTs. If he were doing so because he said his faith taught him the white race is superior, you think anybody would have given him a pass?

    Why did I become a cartoonist, when I could have been a pool boy?

    To be fair, I am pretty hard on pool boys.

  41. 42
    Robert says:

    It’s not so much that you’re hard on them, as that you don’t appreciate their unique human value as special flowers. Fascist witch.

    I tend towards a position where one ought not go after people’s livelihood, as a general thing, regardless of the people’s beliefs or the odiousness thereof. If I find out my neighboring farmer is a white-supremacist patriarch who thinks it’s OK to beat women and who enslaves any migrant workers unlucky enough to show up looking for work, it’s OK for me to call the sheriff, or tell the guy that he’s an asshole, or to decline to go in with him on the costs of a joint land improvement. But I don’t think it’s OK for me to dynamite his tractor or sow his land with nettle seed.

    If the asshole farmer comes around and starts blowing up MY tractors and sowing MY land with nettles, however, then that particular glove should come off. You come at me with a knife, I can come at you with a knife.

    Has Orson Scott Card attempted to strike at the livelihoods of gay people, to organize boycotts of gay artists, to tell people that someone’s homosexuality is sufficient cause to not patronize their work or go to their shows or listen to their music or what have you?

    (And no, working for laws to not give gay partners health benefits or things of that nature is not the same thing. OSC-boycotters aren’t saying “don’t let OSC get health insurance for his wife.” I’m talking direct action.)

    If he has, then I think it totally acceptable to bust his ass with every boycott tactic in the book.

    If he hasn’t, then I don’t think it is. Not because he is great or right or a decent human being, but because nobody is entitled to being treated better than they treat others. I don’t go around smacking people when I think they’re stupid, not because smacking is inherently evil, but because I don’t want to be smacked by people who think I’m being stupid. The principle of karmic balance holds for all human relationships, even if one of the people in the relationship is a total douche canoe. Don’t do anything to another person that you wouldn’t want them to do to you.

  42. 43
    mythago says:

    But I don’t think it’s OK for me to dynamite his tractor or sow his land with nettle seed.

    Sure. And if people were shoplifting his books so that others couldn’t buy them, or threatening theaters that carried Ender’s Game with never ever patronizing them again, then I’d be right there with Amp, nervously wringing my hands like a good bleeding-heart liberal. But they’re not; they’re simply saying that they will decline to spend money on a particular work.

    To quote the Mamatas essay I linked to above:

    Boycotts serve the dual purpose: it’s an economic weapon, and also an intervention into changing the public consciousness. This is why boycotts are necessarily collective endeavors. There is no such thing as an individual boycotting anything; you’re either part of a boycott or just failing to consume.

  43. 44
    Kate says:

    I think the key question for me, as to whether a boycott is free speech or economic coercion is -are you kicking up or down?
    McCarthyism was kicking down. It destroyed peoples lives. It was economic coercion. In this case, I agree with Amp that it is only marginally less problematic than physical violence.
    The boycott against Card is kicking up. This movement is probably not going to do more than dent him economically, if that. Therefore, it is not economic coercion. It doesn’t have that power.
    What the boycott is doing is getting the organizers a platform that is more comparable to the one Card already has. With people who have platforms, regular people can only get their speech recognized on a comparative level through collective action.

  44. 45
    Robert says:

    “But they’re not; they’re simply saying that they will decline to spend money on a particular work.”

    And urging others to do the same regardless of their opinion of the artistic merit of the work in question.

    Has OSC advocated that people not purchase the art of gay people, because they are gay?

  45. 46
    Grace Annam says:

    Robert, it seems to me that in essence you are making a self-defense argument. I’m going to think out loud a bit, here.

    In self-defense against unlawful aggression, it’s okay not only to match the incoming force, but to somewhat exceed it (which use of force, absent the aggression would be illegal). Issues of evidence and testimonial disagreements aside, when someone walks toward you, baseball bat in hand, with murder in their eyes and the stated intention of bashing your head like a ripe melon because he doesn’t like your shoes, it is perfectly legal to draw your handgun and say, “Come closer and I will shoot you”, or, if the aggressor is close enough to be an actual threat, to shoot.

    In other words, your response cannot be too out-of-proportion (you may not shoot someone who wants to slap you), but it can be of different kind; you just may not exceed the incoming force by a very great deal.

    Against lawful aggression, it is lawful to reply in kind, or even ramp up, as long as your response is also essentially lawful. However, you may get social censure if your response is out of proportion.

    In this case, Card has turned his considerable skill as a professional writer toward advocating that my wife and I* should operate at a financial disadvantage to him, that we should not be able to make medical decisions for each other, etc., all that. In addition, he has donated lots of money (more than many people earn in their entire working lives, according to Mythago’s memory) toward that cause. He has helped lead organizations which leverage the power of other people and their money toward that same end. And he has done these things in an environment when we are already, currently, suffering this second-class citizenship; he is not merely proposing it.

    In return, we propose to not line his pockets, and we propose that others do the same.

    Viewed through that lens, we are nowhere near a proportionate response. Our response is, by comparison, exceedingly mild.

    We are wringing our hands about Card’s free speech on matters of politics? I know some people who would like to be able to speak freely on the matter of their loved one’s medical care in the intensive care unit.

    Grace

    * Note use of rhetorical device: my wife and I are actually probably okay in all this because the government assumed that our genitals were heterosexual when we wed, and because where we live same-sex marriage is legal. We don’t travel to (for instance) Florida, in case one of us ends up in a hospital. However, in such cases as my wife’s and mine, Card would almost certainly argue against our rights for other reasons.

  46. 47
    Robert says:

    Has he been active in suggesting restrictions on transfolk and their spouses or partners? (I have no idea.)

    If he has, then I agree you are not disproportionate in making similar efforts against him.

    If he hasn’t, and you become Grace the Ruler of Boycotts, then it seems to me that he is entitled to turn around and deploy those talents towards going after your livelihood and not just your relative economic privileges from the state.

    But you’re the one to make such determinations, frankly, not me.

    I like the characterization of the Golden Rule as self-defense. It is. Similarly, “judge not” – the J-man came right out and said “if you go around judging you will end up being judged, and I promise, you’ll fail, so maybe stfu, dumbass”. (Well, he didn’t say dumbass.)

    Amp’s a crypto-Christian!

  47. 48
    mythago says:

    McCarthyism was kicking down.

    McCarthyism was also government action. It was not simply a lot of anti-Communist individuals boycotting movies.

  48. 49
    Grace Annam says:

    Robert:

    Has he been active in suggesting restrictions on transfolk and their spouses or partners? (I have no idea.)

    I think you, Robert, know, but for the sake of explicit clarity with everyone: “Transfolk and their spouses or partners” is not a distinct group from “GLB people and their spouses or partners”. Some of us trans people are straight, some of us are gay, some of us are bi. Likewise our partners. A Venn diagram with areas for “trans” and “lesbian”, for instance, has an intersection.

    Lioness and I married before I transitioned, and at the time the government assumed that I was male (no one ever asked), so in every jurisdiction I’m aware of we would still be considered married, even if we had to fight a legal battle to prove it, and even though a situation involving a legal battle would keep me from her bedside and keep me from making medical decisions for her when it actually mattered. However, trans people who get married post-transition, may or may not be married, depending on what state they happen to drive into (or in Texas, what county).

    With my footnote, I was simply trying to negotiate this terrain before someone called me out on it and said, “But you’re not really in a same-sex marriage”. And I suppose, the end result is that I ended up calling myself out. Sigh.

    Card likes to talk about “appropriate gender roles”, so I’m going to guess that he’d simply view me as deranged. Oh, what the hell, I’ve been relaxing all day, might as well add some stress to my life my googling “orson scott card” and “transsexual”… well, here’s an article which talks about it, referencing an Op-Ed which Card wrote. Oh, look, he talks about “gender confusion”. That phrase is used only by people who think transsexual people are mentally ill, so that’s really all we need to know.

    If he would accept that I am a woman, then by his lights Lioness and I are in a same-sex marriage, and his advocacy would be directly against my marriage. More probably, he would assert that mine is a heterosexual marriage involving an insane person, and would advocate to make me use the men’s room (etc; I’m not in the mood to try to summarize the ways trans folk get told we are second-class).

    Bottom line in answer to your question: he would regard many marriages which involve trans people as same-sex, yes. Which ones he would select for censure on that particular point is a matter of whether he would think that trans people are what we say we are. But either way, he’d be able to find some marriages to invalidate.

    Grace

  49. 50
    ashley says:

    of course boycotting people with terrible views is okay. i care deeply about many LGBT people i love. my right to do not do business with those who fight to have my loved ones’ rights taken away and who claim they will destroy any government who allows them rights, is far greater than OSC’s right to be a famous wealthy novelist.

    if his personality is so vile people won’t buy from him, he can get a fucking job at walmart. nobody there will care about his views and he will still be able to put food in his mouth.

    but when it comes to not boycotting people with bad political views, where do people who support this idea draw the line? would we be allowed to boycott neo-nazis? the KKK? hitler? or would that be “economic coercion”?

  50. 51
    Robert says:

    Those are fair questions, ashley. Also fair question: if there is a chunk of people who think some view of yours is terrible, is it OK for them to boycott you?

    How about if it’s a near-unanimous majority of the population?

  51. 52
    StraightGrandmother says:

    I think it is as simple as this, “If you hit me, I’m going to hit you back.”

    Orson Scott Card used his stature & money to “hit” at the gay community and their straight supporters, and we are hitting him back.

    Mythago is on fire, making the best arguments. She’s right, there isn’t any other minority group in the US where the words and actions against them would be permitted in polite company. The distant second I suppose would be immigrants, but even against immigrants people would never get away with saying this,

    “Laws against immigrants should remain on the books, not to be indiscriminately enforced against anyone who happens to be caught violating them, but to be used when necessary to send a clear message that those who flagrantly violate society’s regulation of immigration cannot be permitted to remain as acceptable, equal citizens within that society.”

    Do you see where OSC is playing the man in the above statement? Individually sexual minorities (or immigrants) are not acceptable nor equal.

    I tweeted the hell out of the protests yesterday hoping to gain support, because if you hit me, I’m going to hit you back. OSC is a “big” guy, stature, wealth, success, he enjoys every right under the Constitution. Yet he, from his position of privilege, is hitting at sexual minorities, he, by virtue of his actions made himself a big target. If you hit me I’m going to hit you back.

  52. 53
    Lila says:

    My reason for not buying any of Card’s books, or tickets to movies based on his books, is not to punish or pressure Card.

    It’s not really about him. It’s about me. It’s about reducing (not eliminating, that’s impossible) my own complicity in horrible things. Money that flows from me to him will go to reprehensible causes. This could be true of anyone I enter into financial transactions with, of course, but only in certain cases do I: 1) actually know about what the person’s doing, and 2) not need the product that much, or I have a better alternative for where to get it.

    And encouraging other people to do the same is not a way of amassing enough power to actually affect him. I don’t think his wallet will be negatively impacted in any noticeable way. Again, it’s not about him, it’s about those other people, and encouraging them to be a little less complicit.

    If it was a situation where someone might actually lose their livelihood and starve to death or something due to people boycotting them, I’d hold off. Really. Just like I weigh my own need for the product against wanting not to be complicit in horrible things, I also would weigh that.

  53. 54
    Renee says:

    It’s my money. I’ll spend it (or not) as I please. In this case, I refuse to spend a single dime on any works connected to that absolutely vile waste of air OSC. Also, I will tell whoever I damn well please about my personal boycott and why I’m doing it. They, in turn, will make THEIR OWN individual decisions regarding whether or not to see the movie, or buy his books. You know why? Because I do not have mind control powers and just because I say I’m doing something does not mean anybody else is going to do it. This seems painfully obvious. All the argument, debate, and virtual pearl-clutching puzzles me.

  54. 55
    Keith Kipple says:

    1st: Big props to Mythago for getting the picture.

    A good discussion. Ampersand is wrong here – why should artists get ‘special’ treatment? If we can boycott other people – ahem, corporations, sorry, I get them confused these days – such as BP, Chik-Fil-A and so on – then why do people who make claims to creating ‘art’ get a pass? Is not a chicken sandwich art?

    To put it another way, the Supreme Court has ruled that money = speech. Why should I give my hard-earned voice to people like Orson Scott Card who will turn around and echo it in ways I despise?

  55. 56
    Robert says:

    “why [should] people who make claims to creating ‘art’ get a pass?”

    Because there are a lot of people with views you like who make art for a living, and a lot more people with views you dislike whose money keeps artists from starving to death, and people with the foresight of a tin of anchovies can see that your side of things has a fuck-ton more to lose from a culture that embraces artist-boycotts than the other side does.

    TL;DR: I’ll see your Orson Scott Card and raise you 75% of the artists of the 20th and 21st centuries.

  56. 57
    Ampersand says:

    Although I tended to use the “individual artist” language in this post (although not all my comments) because in this case it IS an artist being targeted, I don’t think it matters if the person is an artist or not.

    I don’t think that any individual’s livelihood should be targeted as a reprisal for their political activism. Every argument I’ve made here (except for the one argument about how art should be judged) applies just as much to a shoemaker as to a novelist.

    (I can think of exceptions, of course – cases in which a person’s political activism means that they can no longer do their job.)

  57. 58
    keith kipple says:

    Thanks for the clarification and for an interesting discussion. We must agree to disagree, I suppose. I think ‘livelihoods’ are absolutely a fair target for boycotts. How else is change supposed to be effected – perhaps picketing outside OSC’s home? Maybe sending him a nasty postcard will do the trick? No, it helps to speak the universal language – money (or lack thereof).

    Perhaps if individuals realize there are real-world consequences in your wallet for holding reprehensible views (with real-world consequences, like preventing two people from getting married) they will be apt to abandon those views, or at least have the decency to keep their mouths shut, as to not poison the minds of the impressionable.

    Finally, it’s terribly tragic that a man like OSC who writes things like “Laws against homosexual behavior should remain on the books… to send a clear message that those who flagrantly violate society’s regulation of sexual behavior cannot be permitted to remain as acceptable, equal citizens within that society.” suddenly scream for tolerance when faced with the prospect of taking home fewer greenbacks.

  58. 59
    Robert says:

    “Perhaps if individuals realize there are real-world consequences in your wallet for holding reprehensible views (with real-world consequences, like preventing two people from getting married) they will be apt to abandon those views, or at least have the decency to keep their mouths shut, as to not poison the minds of the impressionable.”

    Keith, where do you live that you think this attitude, universalized and generalized and taken to the logical extreme, doesn’t end up with most of the people you like being burned to death? I’m wagering some kind of commune in Berkeley where communication with the outside world is forbidden by the Leader, and that you’re dropping in to a web cafe on a whim.

    Progressives and liberals, very broadly speaking, have *just* gotten to the point, after a century of hard work and trying and good faith efforts on all sides, to get the largely conservative American populace to stop murdering gay people for the crime of being gay and to stop stripping livelihoods, if not lives, away from people with ‘reprehensible’ views. And now it’s time for mob justice again, because you have, what, a 52% majority in some places for your general worldview?

    Kick yourself in the head and consider the implications of what you’re saying, as applied to a gay artist writing about transgressive sexuality in a small town in Mississippi. Then reflect that the small town in Mississippi is on the right-hand side of the tolerance bell curve if you look at the whole world.

    To quote the best character in the best superhero movie, “You’re missing the point! There’s no throne, there is no version of this where you come out on top.”

  59. 60
    JutGory says:

    Keith Kipple @58:

    Perhaps if individuals realize there are real-world consequences in your wallet for holding reprehensible views (with real-world consequences, like preventing two people from getting married) they will be apt to abandon those views, or at least have the decency to keep their mouths shut, as to not poison the minds of the impressionable.

    So, that goes for everyone who has a job, right? Anyone who has a business, right? Anyone who says anything you dislike, right? Anyone who spends a penny on a cause you do not like, right?

    I suppose you are happy that this guy was forced to resign from his job:

    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/culturemonster/2008/11/here-is-an-exce.html

    Right?

    -Jut

  60. 61
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    Ampersand says:
    July 16, 2013 at 1:42 am
    I don’t think that any individual’s livelihood should be targeted as a reprisal for their political activism.

    How do you define “activism?”

    0) Bob casts what is supposed to be an anonymous vote for the “kill More Puppies” party, and someone finds out.

    1) Bob writes an anonymous $100 check to the “Kill More Puppies” party.

    2) Bob writes a $100 check to the “Kill More Puppies” party, which is not normally reportable but which is leaked to the media by a Bob-hating puppy-lover.

    3) Bob writes a $1000 check to the “Kill More Puppies” party because he’s generally the check-writing type and he gets a call from his old college buddy. But Bob also writes checks to the MSPCA; he isn’t actually a huge puppy-hater.

    4) Bob writes a $1000 check to the “Kill More Puppies” party because he supports its mission, or at least some of its mission.

    5) Bob decides, on his own initiative, to start posting “Kill Puppies!” on his blog, and calling around on behalf of the Kill More Puppies theme, and mentioning puppy-killing in a lot of his public outings.

    Legally, those are the same. We can insult/boycott/talk about Bob no matter what he does.

    Morally they are very, very, different. They’re all technically “activism,” but not the same kind. #0 should be entirely protected. #1 isn’t really protected but folks should feel a bit slimy if they expose it; we all have some skeletons in our closet. #2 is less protected but an ethical reporter would at least try to dig deeper.

    Orson Scott Card is at #5. Under what moral scheme would you suggest that this type of activism is even vaguely worth of the protections that we grant to #0-2?

  61. 62
    Robert says:

    The moral scheme where I want my #5 activism to not make my kids go hungry.

  62. 63
    Ampersand says:

    JutGory, although I’m not “happy” that Scott Eckern resigned, I also don’t think it’s the same thing.

    The issue there seemed to be that a number of very prominent artists said that they wouldn’t work with Eckern any longer. Just as I’ve said from the beginning that no one is obligated to go see “Ender’s Game,” no one is obligated to collaborate with Scott Eckern.

    If the opponents of prop 8 had asked people to sign a pledge saying they’d never buy a ticket to a California Musical Theatre production because Eckern was general manager, I think that would be similar to the “Ender’s Game” boycott.

    But what mostly happened in Eckern’s case is that some of the most prominent artists in Eckern’s field said that they wouldn’t want to collaborate with Eckern again. That’s not an organized boycott – that’s keeping things at the level of individual choice, where they belong. Eckern was very aware that many of his most important collaborators were gay – he must have known that many of them would be too hurt by his views to continue working with him. It’s like Jewish artists finding out that the director of a museum is donating money to Stormfront – I don’t think you can reasonably expect them to keep on working with that museum director after that point.

    It’s also important to note that there is no evidence that Eckern was forced out by the people objecting to his views. From the article you linked:

    Richard Lewis, executive producer of California Musical Theatre, said there was no pressure on Eckern to resign. “The board did not even hint at the idea that I needed to suggest to Scott” that he give up his job, Lewis said Wednesday.

  63. 64
    StraightGrandmother says:

    I love you Gin & Whiskey
    KISS, Keep it Simple Stupid, works for me.

  64. 65
    JutGory says:

    Amp, fair points. I brought up the Eckern case because it was one of the more prominent ones and far less inflammatory than a lot of the harassment, hate mail, etc. that certain Prop. 8 supporters faced. Other cases crossed the line into criminality, and I was trying not to digress there again.

    But, I will rephrase my questions to keith kipple in the form of a hypothetical:

    You would support an organized boycott of a mom-and-pop store to drive it out of business if they donated $100.00 to a cause you despised, right?

    -Jut

  65. 66
    Nicole says:

    I utterly disagree with OSC on a very real personal level.

    That said, I hope everyone who supports this boycott turns in their iPhone as that is endorsing slave labor. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/26/business/ieconomy-apples-ipad-and-the-human-costs-for-workers-in-china.html?_r=3&hp=&pagewanted=all&

    “Employees work excessive overtime, in some cases seven days a week, and live in crowded dorms. Some say they stand so long that their legs swell until they can hardly walk. Under-age workers have helped build Apple’s products, and the company’s suppliers have improperly disposed of hazardous waste and falsified records, according to company reports and advocacy groups that, within China, are often considered reliable, independent monitors.”

    If you apply this level of thinking to how you spend your money, you need to apply it across the board.

  66. 67
    gin-and-whiskey says:

    JutGory says:
    July 16, 2013 at 8:35 am

    Keith Kipple @58:

    Perhaps if individuals realize there are real-world consequences in your wallet for holding reprehensible views (with real-world consequences, like preventing two people from getting married) they will be apt to abandon those views, or at least have the decency to keep their mouths shut, as to not poison the minds of the impressionable.

    So, that goes for everyone who has a job, right? Anyone who has a business, right? Anyone who says anything you dislike, right? Anyone who spends a penny on a cause you do not like, right?

    Sure, so long as the consequences have some reasonable relation to the act.

    Say that you informed me that you’d decided to go and donate $100 to the KKK. After we had the “WTF?” conversation, I would probably try not to eat at your restaurant. I would probably be pissed enough to tell some friends, and they would probably stop eating there, too.

    OTOH, if I found out that you’d donated $1000 to the KKK then I would think that a serious enough flaw that I would actively spread the word to other people I know. But I probably still wouldn’t organize a boycott of your business because if I was going to bother organizing a boycott someone, I would choose a more worthy target.

    And if you were the KKK version of Orson, I’d happily boycott your restaurant, write nasty letters to the editor impugning your political choices, shun you at parties, and generally feel A-OK about making your life miserable.

    What do you and Amp think is OK?

  67. 68
    Sebastian says:

    You guys are so complicated, and oh, so moral.

    I’m a simple guy. How hard I try to hurt your livelihood depends on three things:
    – how much your behavior threatens me
    – how much I dislike you
    – how hard you are working at whatever you are doing

    In Card’s case:
    – His behavior only slightly threatens me (unequal treatment of one category of people makes unequal treatment of other categories more likely)
    – I very much dislike him (a while ago, when I dared say something positive about Shadow of the Hegemon, my wife made me read Hidden Empire, and my best friend’s sister told me of her personal experience of him)
    – He spends an amazing amount of his time besmirching people like me (atheists) and people whom I do not want to see attacked ( professors in liberal art colleges, government workers, homosexuals)

    How hard do I try to threaten his livelihood? I will not spend any money on his stuff. I wrote reviews for every book of his that I’ve read on Amazon, and posted re-posted them in Glendora’s library computer. I never miss a chance to dump on the guy, although I do not get much of a chance for that, because my friends are ahead of me on this…

    This is me. Simple and lazy.

    But when I read how you guys try to justify your decisions, and make strict rules about what is just, democratic, etc… I have to laugh. You try to cloth your personal bias in a logically consistent argument, and frankly, you seem to fail. There is no real difference between telling your friend that he should not give money to the artist, and handing a petition signed by millions to the artist’s publisher. There is no real difference between doing it to someone whom you overheard saying that he voted for Proposition 8 and to someone who paid for the adds in support.

    The matter is of degree, and quantity has a quality all of its own. The more someone is pissing you off, the farther you are willing to go to punish him. Some will stop before they inflict real damage. Others will only go as far as they can successfully justify on a public forum.

    As for me, I know someone who has tricked people into actions that have led to them to being kicked of of college months before graduation, losing their car, or being extradited from the US, for less than what Card did. I tell myself, as long as I stay on the right side of the law, I’m OK.

  68. 69
    Kai Jones says:

    My reason for boycotting Mr. Card’s work is that all his stories depend on abuse of a child. Is that an acceptable reason, Amp?

  69. 70
    Grace Annam says:

    Nicole:

    If you apply this level of thinking to how you spend your money, you need to apply it across the board.

    Why? I’m only one human being, with a limited amount of free time. Am I not allowed to choose my battles?

    Grace

  70. 71
    JutGory says:

    gin-and-whiskey @67

    What do you and Amp think is OK?

    Won’t speak for Amp here (although it is very tempting to put words in his mouth).

    Anyway, I first remember experiencing this mindset as a freshman in college. Some classmate had his girlfriend visit from out of town (they were from Madison, Wi., if that gives you any idea where this was going). We talked about what to have for dinner. I suggested Domino’s pizza (this was back when they were the only ones who delivered). I had only had it a few times, but I knew I liked it. She looked at me with an air of disdain and said, “I would never eat Domino’s pizza because the owner donates money to pro-life groups.” I thought that was a pretty silly metric for determining one’s food decisions; after all, it tasted good. But, we did not get Domino’s pizza.

    It seems to me that this mind-set is peculiarly predominant in leftist, liberal, Democratic, or progressive (whatever adjective you pick) circles. I think it stems from the maxim that “the personal is political.” I reject that maxim.

    Whenever I visit Columbia, South Carolina, I have to eat at Maurice’s Piggy Park. Not because Maurice is racist, loves the Confederacy, or because he really think the South will rise again, but he makes REALLY good BBQ. Now, if I really thought Maurice was going to use my money to fund an attack on Fort Sumter National Park, maybe I would stop eating his BBQ. MAYBE!

    So, I do not think the personal is political. If I am donating money, then, sure, pick and choose your causes. Because, when you are donating money, you are donating to the cause. If I am buying goods or services, I do not base my decisions on what that person is going to do with the money any more than I would want them to base their decisions on what I will do with the items I purchase.

    Take Amp, for example. I have not purchased any of his Hereville graphic novels. But it is not because he and I are probably diametrically opposed on most issues. It is not because I am afraid he will use the money to support his nefarious left-wing causes. It is because, from what I can tell, Hereville is a poorly veiled rip-off of Elektra: Assassin. My decision is based upon the art, not the artist. At the same time, I would not expect that Amp would refuse to sell me 1000 copies of Hereville, even if he knew I intended to use them to make paper airplanes that I would throw at Orson Scott Card protestors in some ironic display of performance art.

    So, no, I do not boycott Rob Reiner movies, even though I might disagree with what he does with my money, because sometimes I have to have my “Tap” fix and A Few Good Men has A Few Good Scenes. I don’t go to Oliver Stone movies, but not because I probably disagree with his politics, but because I don’t like the stories he is telling. Actually, if right of center people treated Hollywood and the major media as intolerantly as the left of center crowd do to the likes of OSC, Hollywood would fall apart within a year.

    Basically, if I like what they are selling, I’ll buy it; if I don’t, I won’t. The seller rarely (if ever) factors into the decision-making process. (Okay, bring on the silly counterexamples.)

    I am just not that judgmental. You should know, g&w, when your stock in trade is greed, stupidity, and sin, you can’t be too judgmental about the people you work with. After all, if I had to spurn everybody who disagreed with me on an important issue, I would probably be a lone figure in the world. And, that’s would not be pleasant; I annoy myself sometimes real good.

    So, no, Sebastian, I think I am the “lazier” one. I don’t believe I have to evaluate every action I take on a political basis. I don’t have to be worried about what someone I might not like is going to do.

    I just remind myself that the only thing necessary for good to prevail in this world is for evil people to do nothing. So, when the urge wells up to “do something,” I try not to presume that my actions are going to have a net positive influence in the world.

    -Jut

  71. 72
    JutGory says:

    LEGAL DISCLAIMER: Apart from featuring a dark-haired female character with a sword who may or may not fight a demonic creature, there does not appear to be ANY similarities between Hereville and Elektra: Assassin.
    -Jut

  72. 73
    mythago says:

    Amp, if boycotting is one step up from physical violence, than “I won’t see Ender’s Game” is immoral and troubling, and differs from an organized boycott only in terms of the damage it does. I can’t imagine that you would argue it’s perfectly OK if I set fire to OSC’s car or smash his windows, as long as I don’t try to whip up a mob to do it with me.

    JutGory @65, I always find it amazing how anti-SSM folks ignore the harassment and violence that was directed at Prop 8 opponents.

  73. 74
    JutGory says:

    Mythago @73:

    I always find it amazing how anti-SSM folks ignore the harassment and violence that was directed at Prop 8 opponents.

    Do you have numbers comparing harassment of Prop 8 proponents to harassment of Prop 8 opponents?

    Harassment of the opponents appears to be much less publicized, for whatever reason. Ironically (perhaps), all I found in a preliminary search was this:

    http://www.nomblog.com/7078

    But, I have not seen any concrete numbers regarding either group.

    -Jut

  74. 75
    closetpuritan says:

    Perhaps if individuals realize there are real-world consequences in your wallet for holding reprehensible views (with real-world consequences, like preventing two people from getting married) they will be apt to abandon those views, or at least have the decency to keep their mouths shut, as to not poison the minds of the impressionable.

    To expand on what Robert said, “poison the minds of the impressionable”, in particular, sounds a lot like something I’d expect to hear from those who, say, want to get a gay teacher fired. For that matter, “poison the minds of the impressionable” seems like, by definition, an anti-free-speech sentiment to me. Merely being exposed to certain ideas is something so dangerous that we need to take action to stop it? (Full disclosure: I’m tentatively on Amp’s side in this issue, but I’m enough of a free speech absolutist to oppose anti-Holocaust-denial laws.)

    Or look at Card’s “any means possible or necessary” document:

    Married people attempting to raise children with the hope that they, in turn, will be reproductively successful, have every reason to oppose the normalization of homosexual unions.
    It’s about grandchildren. That’s what all life is about. It’s not enough just to spawn — your offspring must grow up in circumstances that will maximize their reproductive opportunities.
    Why should married people feel the slightest loyalty to a government or society that are conspiring to encourage reproductive and/or marital dysfunction in their children?

    OTOH, I think if you are following a general rule that you will only organize boycotts against those unlikely to be financially crippled by them because such boycotts are unlikely to have more than a negligable chilling effect on the individual, that’s a defensible distinction to make. It lacks the clarity of “don’t organize boycotts because of political views that are not directly relevant to the product”, but Amp’s individual/disorganized vs. organized boycott distinction is kind of a fine distinction, too.

    To put it another way, the Supreme Court has ruled that money = speech.
    Just because the Supreme Court made a stupid decision, that doesn’t mean I have to agree with them. You’re, what, going to pretend to agree with them because it’s politically expedient?

    @JutGory:
    It seems to me that this mind-set is peculiarly predominant in leftist, liberal, Democratic, or progressive (whatever adjective you pick) circles. I think it stems from the maxim that “the personal is political.”

    I’m not sure about the relative frequency for left vs right, but I still remember this. (And its punchline.) Lack of a more recent example may be partly because I don’t monitor right-wing media closely enough.

    Oh wait, there was also the American Muslim boycott! How could I forget that? Which led me to a more comprehensive list from Tod Kelly:

    The FFA is a singularly magnificent example of this industry at work. That its “good work” reads more like an Onion article only makes their success with All-American Muslim that much more baffling. For example, other boycotts they are currently managing include Snickers and Starburst candy (for promoting homosexuality), Marvel and Disney (again, for promoting homosexuality), Campbell’s Soup (for promoting Islam), and 7-11 (for selling Playboy and therefore promoting boobies pornography).

    Kelly’s whole piece is worth reading and considering in light of the Orson Scott Card boycott. Maybe especially this part:

    When I say “boycotts,” of course, I’m talking about today’s boycotts. Before I was old enough to have true purchasing power, I lived in Southern California and there were the occasional boycotts that made sense. A fruit grower that used toxic chemicals that made their way into the product, for example, or companies that had been caught illegally paying slave wages are the kinds of boycotts I can sympathize with. These boycotts looked to change destructive examples corporate malfeasance – usually one that put the public well-being directly at risk. For my generation, however, it seems like boycotts are all about the stifling of ideas that are different from our own.

    The OSC boycott is about stifling ideas–or at least, it’s as much about stifling ideas as the All-American Muslim boycott was. (In neither case were the ideas going to be completely silenced by the boycott.) That’s still true if the particular ideas being stifled in the case of the OSC boycott are truly hateful.

  75. 76
    mythago says:

    Harassment of the opponents appears to be much less publicized, for whatever reason.

    Probably because it’s harder to tell it’s the standard sort of harassment for being gay.

    No, there are no numbers of which I’m aware, and that’s kind of the point. If the evidence is anecdotal, then you need to acknowledge that cuts both ways, and the narrative really isn’t “but WE are the REAL victims of those danged queers”.

  76. 77
    closetpuritan says:

    Just noticed the HTML fail above.

    The Tod Kelly piece is here.

    The Forbes article about All-American Muslim that led me to the Tod Kelly piece is here.

  77. 78
    JutGory says:

    Mythago,

    You just moved the goalposts.

    You said, @ 73:

    I always find it amazing how anti-SSM folks ignore the harassment and violence that was directed at Prop 8 opponents.

    I thought, “do they?” I don’t recall incidents mentioning Prop. 8 opponents being harassed, though I remember the ferfuffle about the donor list for Prop. 8 supporters being publicized, thereby leading to incidents of harassment.

    So, instead of telling you that you needed to prove your statement about anti-SSM folks ignoring harassment of the other side, I decided to check it out on my own.

    I could find almost nothing in the first 3 pages of the google search I did, except that link to Maggie Gallagher, who is probably the Queen Bee of “anti-SSM folks,” where, not only did she not ignore the harassment, she expressed sympathy for the victims.

    So, back to your statement again, why are you amazed that the anti-SSM folks ignore the harassment of Prop. 8 opponents when: 1) Maggie Gallagher did not ignore it; and 2) it seems as if almost everybody else (anti-SSM and pro-SSM alike) ignored it too?

    -Jut

  78. 79
    mythago says:

    You just moved the goalposts.

    How so? As I said, you’re demanding a standard of evidence you yourself have zero intention of adhering to. You suggested that there was harassment of Prop 8 supporters that “crossed the line into criminality”; you have not provided links, numbers or Google searches, and yet when I offer the same standard as you – that is, my own recollection of the Prop 8 campaign – you demand proof in triplicate.

    I do, by the way, believe that there was harassment of Prop 8 supporters, just as there was harassment of Prop 8 opponents, given that it’s a highly-charged subject. But what you’ve conveniently forgotten is that “harassment!” was an excuse with little substance trotted out by Prop 8′s backers whenever, say, they were required to comply with campaign laws about donor disclosure, or when anti-gay hate crimes were discussed, or at the federal trial, when they needed an excuse better than “the other side will turn them into hamburger on cross-examination” for withdrawing certain expert witnesses. And it goes without saying that harassment – by which I mean not people disapproving, but death threats, vandalism and so on – is wrong regardless of who is doing it.

    By the way, Prop 8 supporters couldn’t even manage to offer concrete evidence of harassment in court filings – they simply argued the ‘potential’ for harassment.