Orson Scott Card is a bigot. He uses his power and influence and money to support and preach anti-homosexual missives. Most of what fountains from his mouth is hatespeech. But Ender’s Game is a terrific book. Spectacularly written, spectacularly conceived. It is an excellent piece of art. Somehow, perhaps in a more lucid period in his life, Card managed to create something. To make something. To do something. Something that was, and actually still remains, great. Despite the fact that the creator is himself a degenerate, foul-breathing scumbag.
This summer, they finally made a film out of his book. I found the film problematic. In that they shaved all the nuance to make Baby Starship Troopers. But still, it was visually stunning, the action was terrific, and for the most part the acting was wonderful. It was a solid science-fiction effort. And yet, numerous organizations were calling for a boycott. Don’t put any more money in Card’s pockets so that he can spread hatespeech. Don’t support a film from a man who is a contemptuous bigot.
Fair enough. I don’t think Card was making back end points on the success of his film. I think all the money he was making from Ender’s Game was pretty much made when they optioned the rights. He didn’t work with the filmmakers. And no matter how successful, I don’t think they were going to suddenly option the exceedingly philosophical Speaker For the Dead. Even if they did the Ender’s Shadow series, I doubt that Card was going to suddenly have a new audience. Ender’s Game isn’t subversively homophobic. It’s not like legions of children were going to leap into starships. Card wasn’t going to go to schools and say, “Who wants to save the universe! FROM THE GAYS! You think the Buggers are bad? Let me tell you about the buggerers! Buttsex is as bad as aliens!”
In fact, when it comes to anti-homosexual rhetoric, it’s become a game of Red Rover. Where basically, we just need to whittle away at the homophobes until they’re all on the side and the game is over. As far as I know, the statistics are pretty low as to the number of people who used to support people’s basic human rights to love who they will and be left alone and then suddenly decided the queers were ruining the soil. I know one dude. One. And even he’s not anti-gay, per se, just convinced he can pray away the sickness. Like someone did to him. Ahem. I digress.
Everyone felt that Card’s personal rhetoric was enough to dissuade them from supporting a film that had nothing to do with said rhetoric, and that he should be silenced for his despicable beliefs. And I say, fine. You do what you are going to do. Frankly, I didn’t think Ender’s Game was as good as a Chik-Fil-A sandwich anyway.
Then I saw The Wolf of Wall Street. Martin Scorcese’s latest picture, starring Leonardo DiCaprio as the titular howler. It’s based on the memoirs of Jordan Belfort, a fraudlent scumbag stockbroking douchebro who drugged and drank and whored his way through the eighties like the bastard offspring of a game of Ookey Cookie where Gordon Gekko and the band Motley Crue masturbated onto the lap of Sharon Stone in Casino. Belfort proudly bilked folks out of millions of dollars, turned government rat to save his own worthless skin, and now hawks himself as a motivational speaker. Here’s a piece of shit who never created anything, who basically profited from shoveling bullshit, who never made anything but a fucking mess. And his memoirs read like Penthouse forum letters written by a flipper baby locked in a basement and forced to watch an endless loop of Wall Street and Boiler Room. It’s embarrassing. And it’s also being touted as one of the best films of the year and a possible Oscar contender.
We, as a nation, are still very much in the midst of a depression. There’re still numbers of people who are struggling to make ends meet because of the financial vulturing of Wall Street and banking conglomerates. Our government is all but a corporatocracy. Affluenza is a real fucking thing. Where a child can murder someone with their car and get a slap on the wrist because the hand’s holding hundreds. Where a substantial chunk of our reality programming is either get-rich-quick schemery, or videotaping the bad behavior of manufactured elites. I shouldn’t know what a Kardashian is.
Jordan Belfort’s going to make more money because talented people wanted to take his sad, drug-addled bro-five stories and turn it into a moderately compelling story. We’ll get pissed as a culture that Orson Scott Card actually created a decent story that has nothing to do with his crimes and dares to make a dime off it. But we’ll give accolades to Jordan Belfort for mumblefucking his bad behavior into a tape recorder. If Ender’s Game was basically Christians turning their megachurches into Death Stars and Alderaaning P-Town and San Francisco to save humanity from the scourge of homosexuality, I could appreciate the rage. But The Wolf of Wall Street is actually an inflated cataloging of affluenza where the misguided criminal has somehow spun himself into a hero. Where not only did he directly profit from being a scumbag, but now he’s going to double dip on that scumbaggery.
It’s worse than Wall Street. Because Gordon Gekko wasn’t real. Jordan Belfort is, even though the version he’s created is high bullshit. He clearly watched the stock-bro films and said, “I can do that!” Like some sort of teen boy who watches Jackass and then tries to skateboard off his roof on to a dildo. Only instead of breaking his neck and saving us the trouble, Belfort broke people’s lives and wrote books about how awesome ludes are. The entire effort spews like some balding forty-year-old former frat fuck counting the number of kegstands he used to do, pathetically explaining how he used to do bumps of coke off hooker nipples while waving off a bag of Doritos because he forgot his Prilosec.
We’ve developed a class culture in America where so long as you have money, you matter. Believe me, I’m not downplaying the importance of equality and gay rights. But we also need to fight against this goddamn cashcow aristocracy. This guy didn’t deserve a penny he made hawking penny stocks. And now we’re going to put more money directly into his pockets. And possibly give an Oscar to the dude who played the fake version of him. We’ll get mad at a fucking chicken sandwich, but not at a scumbag Wall Street phony. I think that’s a little fucked.