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Orson Scott Card interviewed by Salon, then derided in their pages.

By delmoi in MLP
Mon Aug 20, 2001 at 11:14:25 AM EST
Tags: Books (all tags)

I came across this interesting interview on salon.com today. An interview with Orson Scott Card, writer of Ender's Game (you can read the original short story here) and Ender's shadow among others.

What separates this interview from most author interviews is the unbridled animosity the interviewer seems to feel for the Card's ideas. Especially his perceived homophobia (the interviewer is a lesbian). If nothing else, an interesting read.

This article also submitted to lit.hatori42.com

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Orson Scott Card interviewed by Salon, then derided in their pages. | 84 comments (72 topical, 12 editorial, 0 hidden)
Worst....Review....Ever.... (3.42 / 14) (#3)
by ti dave on Sun Aug 19, 2001 at 02:52:01 AM EST

Donna Minkowitz cannot decide if she's interviewing an author for enlightenment about his works, or if she's harping about her pet causes loudly enough...

Utter Crap.
Apparently, she's the Queen of Mixed Emotions.

I've never read any or Card's works, and after wasting the last 15 minutes on that drivel, I doubt I ever will. Her line of questioning was so slanted, that I don't know what to make about "Ender's Game".


ti dave
"If you dial," Iran said, eyes open and watching, "for greater venom, then I'll dial the same."

Card (4.00 / 8) (#5)
by sigwinch on Sun Aug 19, 2001 at 03:10:30 AM EST

I've never read any or Card's works, and after wasting the last 15 minutes on that drivel, I doubt I ever will.
Don't let that idiotic 'journalist' (even in ironic quotes the term is generous) put you off of Card. Ender's Game is one of the greatest stories ever written: interesting ethical issues, great action scenes, good characters, a cool fictional doomsday weapon, and the best space battle scenes I've ever read. You can find the first chaper of Ender's Games at Card's website, http://www.hatrack.com/. And here's a link to the first chapter of Red Prophet of the Alvin Maker series.

I don't want the world, I just want your half.
[ Parent ]

Norman Spinrad's Criticism (4.00 / 12) (#4)
by sigwinch on Sun Aug 19, 2001 at 02:52:31 AM EST

Norman Spinrad said some harsh things about that interview:
It is well known that Orson Scott Card and I have had our critical disagreements in public over various matters. But this is the single most unethical interview I have ever read, and I've been trashed often enough myself. The interviewer lied to Card throughout. And interjecting her own extensive post-facto screeds is beyond the pale of journalistic ethics. As interviewer and interviewee, I've often been at odds with my opposite number. The ethical thing to do is have the disagreements out in the interview. It also makes for as more interesting interview than this kind of self-indulgent narcissistic wank.

I don't want the world, I just want your half.

both of them living in bubbles. (4.56 / 16) (#8)
by nevauene on Sun Aug 19, 2001 at 04:43:27 AM EST

"Narcissistic wank" is an understatement. The whole interview reads as a surreal trip through the interviewer's neurotic psyche. It's amazing how insulated and reactionary contemporary liberals can be - her 'bonding' with Card because his older brother slapped him around, thus making him a fellow 'victim of violence', is, to be blunt, pathetic. Imagine, an older sibling beating his little brother up. Shocking.

Calling him a 'disgustingly outspoken homophobe' is quite a stretch. That he's a homophobe is pretty much undeniable, but she blows this far the fuck out of proportion (and lied outright to Card about not making it the focus of her piece - she did as far as I can see). More disturbing is that apparently she seems to believe that he should not be allowed to hold such opinions or speak them freely. They are clearly wrong, after all....

This is the first time I've ever seen an interviewer refer to her subject as 'disgustingly outspoken' - oh the irony. Guess he shoulda just sat there and nodded so she could keep on believing in a Card who doesn't exist. Would have been more room for her internal monologues that way...

About the only thing positive you can say about Ms. Donna Minkowitz is that at least she is painfully honest about her extreme political biases - admitting to hanging off his words, desperately wanting to hear things she agrees with, being disappointed by each non-kosher opinion expressed, etc. Most neoliberals hide their culturally fascistic tendencies quite well in their writings, it's a nice change to see them out in the open with all the contradictions and neurosises laid bare.

Ultimately though, Card's a shallow moron too, almost as intellectually sheltered and reactionary as his interviewer. His homophobia isn't shocking, it's just typically banal middle-american Mormon bullshit. His perspective on war in Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, etc, is hilariously naive to say the least - I really wasn't aware that anyone was left alive who bought that whole line about America's motives in these wars being 'altruistic'; Card proved me wrong. He's also about as well-versed in Marxism as most self-styled Libertarians are, and just as eager to share his profound insights on the topic.

His perspective on Christianity is quite sad, and doesn't appear to have anything to do with Christ's teachings whatsoever - rather the church is a political action club through which the activism of 'deviants' is countered. The doctrine of "Love and forgiveness" as a weapon used by the left against the true Christians? Whoa, how daft of me, here I was thinking that love and forgiveness and brotherhood of man was essentially what Jesus taught, when all this time it was really the persecution and denunciation of minority groups we find personally offensive and unnatural. Incredible.

To sum up my own rambling commentary, they're both idiots. That they should have come together for this is just too perfect, it makes for an interview that's much like a car wreck - you can't help but look, it's sickly fascinating.

There is no K5 Cabal.
[ Parent ]
Orson Scott Card is LDS (4.57 / 7) (#17)
by Anonymous 242 on Sun Aug 19, 2001 at 01:34:07 PM EST

IIRC, Card is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (popularly known as the Mormons). His books reflect LDS theology. Ender's Game was written in his spare time while he was on his two year mission of going door to door to spread the Mormon faith. As such, Ender's Game reflects a very young man's understanding of LDS theology. I understand that Card would like to go back and edit Ender's Game to make it more orthodox LDS, but would have to change such large parts of the plot that doing so would be untenable.


Lee Malatesta

[ Parent ]

Altruistic... (3.83 / 6) (#20)
by ti dave on Sun Aug 19, 2001 at 02:23:28 PM EST

"Unselfish concern for the welfare of others; selflessness."

I believe that you aren't using the definition correctly to define Card's statement.

Viet Nam wasn't a massive "give the guy with a dead battery a jump-start", nor a massive "give the guy a lift to the gas station" operation. "Altruistic" is not a word I'd use to describe our involovement in Viet Nam.


While "selflessness" is accurate in describing the individual acts of young men and women going to Viet Nam, possibly to die, "Unselfish concern" clearly doesn't apply.
The response of the U.S. leadership was a display of a "Selfish Concern" over our collective fear of the "Expansion of Communism".

If you spoke with any American, not affiliated with the Communist Party, who lived through the "Red Scare" of the 1950's, you would understand why America felt *obligated* to intervene. Communism may seem laughable today, but it is difficult to understand motives from the past through modern eyes. History does indeed judge you, but not always fairly.


ti dave
"If you dial," Iran said, eyes open and watching, "for greater venom, then I'll dial the same."

[ Parent ]
the smoke and mirrors of the 'red scare' (3.75 / 8) (#28)
by nevauene on Sun Aug 19, 2001 at 05:00:44 PM EST

If you spoke with any American, not affiliated with the Communist Party, who lived through the "Red Scare" of the 1950's, you would understand why America felt *obligated* to intervene.

But the Red Scare was itself merely a convenient pretext. For the most part, American intelligence knew that the Soviets were not at all as expansionist and threatening as the media dutifully portrayed them - the USSR was downright passive throughout the cold war compared to the US' numerous bloody adventures, particularly in South America and Asia. Many communist insurgencies, including Vietnam, were mostly homegrown - it was merely the idea taking root amongst the peoples of the colonies, having little to do with Soviet aggression or support. Indeed the USSR often discouraged such homegrown insurgents when it was politically expedient, wishing instead to have their own local Communist Parties run the show for them. In most cases those CP's were pitifully small groupings of effete intellectuals arguing over whether Stalin or Mao had the right idea - without true people's movements springing up independant of them, Soviet designs on manufactured revolution were mostly pipe dreams. However the grossly exaggerated pretext of the 'Evil Empire' handily justified all manner of 'democratic' police states being installed throughout the world by the benevolent United States, in the name of 'stability'. (read: colonial status quo)

It may well be that fear of the 'Expansion of Communism' was the underlying motivation behind many of the US' 20th century bloodbaths, but only so that 'Expansion of US Interests' might replace it. The US and the USSR wrestled for control of countless backwards countries, with no regard whatsoever for their peoples' "right to self-determination". To believe that either side was more benign in motivation, wishing for their colonial holdings to have any degree of meaningful autonomy, is to be utterly blind to the facts. The manufactured hysteria of the US public at the time is irrelevant, and has little bearing on what actually happened, or the real reasons why.

Card, like the 1950's American public at large, seems to prefers the trite, easy-to-swallow morality play of Soviet Aggression to the complicated geopolitical power-jockeying that was actually going on.

There is no K5 Cabal.
[ Parent ]
Relevant in the sense that... (3.66 / 3) (#33)
by ti dave on Sun Aug 19, 2001 at 08:17:05 PM EST

"The manufactured hysteria of the US public at the time is irrelevant, and has little bearing on what actually happened, or the real reasons why."

Relevant in the sense that politicians who supported and fanned the flames of this hysteria were re-elected. That was my original point.

I do realize that the most of the rank-and-file bureaucrats running the Intelligence Agencies were able to retain their positions from one Presidency to the next.


ti dave
"If you dial," Iran said, eyes open and watching, "for greater venom, then I'll dial the same."

[ Parent ]
USSR was downright passive (4.66 / 3) (#43)
by wiredog on Mon Aug 20, 2001 at 08:51:04 AM EST

Except in Berlin in 49, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, and a few other places. The Red Scare was, in some part, a result of the Berlin Blockade. Most people these days have never heard of the blockade, or the airlift. The only popular fiction book on it I've ever seen was Armageddon by Leon Uris. The story of the airlift is fascinating, especially the political consequences.

If there's a choice between performance and ease of use, Linux will go for performance every time. -- Jerry Pournelle
[ Parent ]
Card living in a bubble? (4.33 / 6) (#31)
by sigwinch on Sun Aug 19, 2001 at 07:02:01 PM EST

That he's a homophobe is pretty much undeniable, but she blows this far the fuck out of proportion (and lied outright to Card about not making it the focus of her piece - she did as far as I can see).
Homophobe is maybe too strong a word. I don't want to speak for the man, but it seems like homosexuality just doesn't float his boat, and in lieu of any real opinion he just sticks to the LDS party line. It's not like he is going around villifying homosexuals and trying to 'cure' them.
Ultimately though, Card's a shallow moron too, almost as intellectually sheltered and reactionary as his interviewer. ... His perspective on war in Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, etc, is hilariously naive to say the least - I really wasn't aware that anyone was left alive who bought that whole line about America's motives in these wars being 'altruistic'; Card proved me wrong.
Card is sort of the polar opposite of Tom Clancy or Jerry Pournelle. I've read quite a few of his books, and it seems like politics, large organizations, and intrigue don't have much attraction to him.
His perspective on Christianity is quite sad, and doesn't appear to have anything to do with Christ's teachings whatsoever - rather the church is a political action club through which the activism of 'deviants' is countered.
OTOH, he is an LDS member living amongst Southern Baptists. SBs aren't exactly known for putting Christianity's best foot forward, especially on the forgiveness and magnamity fronts. In case you'r not aware, in some places it is Baptist doctrine that Mormons are servants of the anti-christ and sacrifice babies on their dark altars. No, I'm not making that up. So I can forgive Card somewhat for being suspicious and bitter about them.

I don't want the world, I just want your half.
[ Parent ]

Card naive? (3.50 / 2) (#59)
by Big Dave Diode on Mon Aug 20, 2001 at 05:57:30 PM EST

Card did come across as being "hilariously" naive about American intentions in Vietnam, but I have a difficult time believing that he actually is. In "Shadow of the Hegemon" Card demonstrated a reasonably thorough knowledge of South Asian military and political history. I prefer to assume that the interviewer misquoted him or quoted out of context. It isn't like she had a great deal of credibility anyway.

[ Parent ]
This woman has read & loves Card's work? (3.60 / 10) (#7)
by ZanThrax on Sun Aug 19, 2001 at 04:20:04 AM EST

She sure doesn't seem to know it very well.
  • Ender's Shadow is not the sequel to Ender's Game. Speaker for the Dead is.
  • "The least possible amount of violence? Ender commits genocide" Yes he does, and that was the least possible amount of violence to protect the human race from the buggers, based on what Ender knew at that time. Just like hospitalizing the other boy at the school near the beginning of the book was the least amount of violence neccessary to ensure that he'd never again have to deal with bullies, and killing the other captain (forgive me if that's the wrong term, its been a few years since the last time I read Game) was the least amount of violence that would keep him safe at the battle school.
  • I also take issue with her idea that '"Ender's Game" is also about loving your enemies.' I've never taken that message from the book; I always felt that it was about doing what's neccessary, about self-sacrifice, and about the ethics of violence.
Of course, that's not the real problem with this interview. This woman makes me feel much like she says Card made her feel. My reasons are different though - I'm not revolted by the idea of someone who has strong opinions and beliefs that don't perfectly synch with my own - I'm revolted by the idea of someone who expects tolerance but offers none. I bring back an old sig to reflect my opinion of her and those like her.

Intolerant people should be shot.

Bllrrpp (4.42 / 7) (#9)
by kaatunut on Sun Aug 19, 2001 at 08:57:02 AM EST

nder's Shadow is not the sequel to Ender's Game. Speaker for the Dead is.

It's a parallel sequel.

I also take issue with her idea that '"Ender's Game" is also about loving your enemies.' I've never taken that message from the book; I always felt that it was about doing what's neccessary, about self-sacrifice, and about the ethics of violence.

Pardon, but I remember things quite differently. I recall Ender's trainers talking about how Ender is more suitable than other, more brutal, jerks because Ender is able to emphatize with the Buggers so well [that his soul finds a connection to them over those fricken doodads] that he can understand them enough to figure out a counter-tactic against them. And what about Ender's reaction after they were destroyed?

there's hole up in the sky from where the angels fall to sire children that grow up too tall, there's hole down in the ground where all the dead men go down purgatory's highways that gun their souls
[ Parent ]

Mostly right... (3.50 / 4) (#36)
by johnjtrammell on Sun Aug 19, 2001 at 10:48:52 PM EST

Just like hospitalizing the other boy at the school near the beginning of the book was the least amount of violence neccessary to ensure that he'd never again have to deal with bullies, and killing the other captain (forgive me if that's the wrong term, its been a few years since the last time I read Game) was the least amount of violence that would keep him safe at the battle school.
Bah. He killed the boy in the beginning of the book, and he killed Madrid. Hardly the "least amount of violence".

You're right though -- the interviewer was totally whacked.

[ Parent ]

Did the kid die? (4.50 / 4) (#38)
by ZanThrax on Mon Aug 20, 2001 at 12:55:15 AM EST

I don't really remember clearly... Anyhow, yes, it was the least amount of violence. (I'm just going to assume that there was no intent to kill the first time, as I'm pretty sure I remember hospitalisation; as I recall it, Ender wasn't intending to kill the bully.) By ensuring that no other bullies would ever bother him in the school again, he avoided a great deal of future violence against himself and against those future bullies. The same principle applies to the later events as well.

Intolerant people should be shot.

[ Parent ]
Yes he did (3.66 / 3) (#48)
by dasunt on Mon Aug 20, 2001 at 12:08:04 PM EST

Sorry for the spoiler, but yes, he did.

However, in the book, Ender's brother (Peter, IIRC), was the true psycopath. Ender was just trying to defend himself. Peter skinned and crucified squirrels, (again IIRC).

In the short story, which doesn't mention these incidents (yet again IIRC, its been a long time), it delved deeper in the issue of those who trained the children, and if the training was too extreme. It touches upon the issue in the book, but based on the total length of the book, and the pages devoted to that subject, it was a less important part of the book.

In both the short story and the book, its easy to see that Ender and the other children were raised as weapons. They purposely turned the other children against Ender so he wouldn't form friendships. Heck, the whole reason for Ender's birth (he was a third child) was for his potential to be a weapon against the buggers. The reason why the trainers had such leeway with the children was that the whole of the human race were afraid that the next war would lead to their extinction, since they won the last one by a lucky shot that probably wouldn't be repeated.

Read Ender's Game as a morality tale, it works well that way.

[ Parent ]

MetaIntolerance (3.50 / 2) (#41)
by snowlion on Mon Aug 20, 2001 at 06:13:40 AM EST

There's nothing hypocritical about being intolerant of people who are intolerant of gay people.

I've never subscribed to being tolerant towards everything. If you are tolerant of, say, Christianity, Islam, and any other religion, you don't necessarily have to be tolerant of murderers.

Similarly, I feel no obligation to be tolerant of ignorant homophobic beliefs.

See: "I Can't Stand You And Your Racist Friend", by They Might Be Giants.

Map Your Thoughts
[ Parent ]
Well, I'm not so much refering to intolerance of (none / 0) (#58)
by ZanThrax on Mon Aug 20, 2001 at 05:32:57 PM EST

action as to intolerance of thought and speech. I may not like what Card believes, but I have no right to act like he shouldn't be allowed to believe that, and tell people what he believes.

Intolerant people should be shot.

[ Parent ]
I rather doubt (3.75 / 16) (#10)
by CaptainZornchugger on Sun Aug 19, 2001 at 09:36:20 AM EST

that anyone who was ever actually a fan of the writer that they were interviewing would turn around and so thouroughly compromise journalistic ethics to write an article of such vitriol based on minor political quibbles. What I think happened is that they went through the interview, and the interviewer was looking for some angle to write it up from the entire time. When Card mentioned that he had been called a homophobe in the press before, a light went on in the interviewers head. "Yes! I'll write a whole article about what a bigot he is, it'll upset him, everyone will make a big deal out of it, and I'll be famous!" At that point she probably started asking more politically charged questions, looking for things to reinforce this notion, and then rearranged the order of the questions in the printed article to make it look like the homophobe thing wasn't the first politically loaded question she asked.

Bah. Whatever. Salon is a troll newspaper, like Adequacy, except its satire is written without a actual point, and is not far enough over the top to be entertaining without one. They seek controversy for the sake of page-views, and should not be taken seriously. If you haven't already, do yourself a favor and don't follow the link. You'll be disgusted.

Look at that chord structure. There's sadness in that chord structure.
Talk about two people who deserve one another (3.56 / 16) (#11)
by localroger on Sun Aug 19, 2001 at 09:37:45 AM EST

The delicious irony in this train-wreck of an interview is that Minkowitz is doing to Card exactly what Card tried to do to Hitler in the Ender series. Unfortunately, Scott was better at it than Donna.

Ender's Game was a brilliant device for eliciting sympathy, but it was just as disingenuous about its real purpose as Donna Minkowitz was about her purpose in doing the Card interview. Ender's story is peppered with literally hundreds of parallels to the life of Adolph Hitler life, yet nobody noticed. Even after he escaped to Brazil (!) in Speaker nobody noticed. Well, one person noticed, published an article in the last issue of Science Fiction Review which was later reprinted in Literary Review, after which shitstorm it took Card about 10 years to figure out how to end the trilogy. But 99.99% of his readers just thought "Oh, that poor boy." Ri-ight.

Minkowitz was part of that 99.99% who did not notice Card was constructing one of the most blatant apologias for the Holocaust ever written, until she finally got to talk to the man. Oh, the shock! It's really funny because she's still thinking "Oh, that poor liittle boy" even when confronted with the truth about Ender's creator. No wonder she's upset; she now feels complicit in Card's whacked-out right-wingnut politics. I'd be upset too if I'd been that stupid.

I hated Ender's Game on first read because I saw right through it; sorry, but being picked on as a little kid is not an excuse for killing off everybody who threatens you. I was a smart kid who was picked on and I managed to get to adulthood without leaving a pile of dead bodies in my wake. Maybe it's because instead of reading the likes of Card and Jerry Pournelle I was more impressed with Asimov's take on the subject: "Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent."

Minkowitz' problem is that she wants to rehabilitate Card so she can continue to feel warm and fuzzy about Ender's Game. But Card in person is like Ender once his real identity has been revealed; to a liberal Lesbian he is just an obnoxious creep who should be avoided. The honorable thing for Minkowitz would have been to go home, burn her copy of Ender's Game, and not publish the interview. I understand her revulsion but that doesn't justify her hatchet job on Card any more than Ender/Hitler's actions are justified within the context of Card's novels. The man may be a troglodyte, but he has the right to know going into an interview that you're hostile to his beliefs.

I can haz blog!

Hitler's Psyche (4.25 / 8) (#14)
by FloWo on Sun Aug 19, 2001 at 10:58:29 AM EST

Having read Helm Stierlin's analysis of Hitler's psyche, I disagree with you that Card tried to let Hitler appear as a human being, but instead tries to show every fascist dictaor (Stalin, Lenin, Mao, Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Pinochet, Saddam to name but a few) or ruthless politician (Putin, Nixon, Kissinger, Sharon) as basically a human being that behaves in a human way, which is quite ironic, because (at least when the historic figures are concerned) mostly everyone agrees that they did things that no human should ever do and that these crimes can never be fully pardoned and understood.

>Even after he escapes to Brazil (!) in Speaker nobody noticed.

What does that have to do with Hitler? He commited suicide together with Eva Braun in 1945 in Berlin, facing the final defeat.

Some words concerning Hitler's childhood: He was not beaten by his elder siblings but instead overly loved by his mother Klara, being the first surviving child of hers. She married Alois Schickelgruber (who later managed to change his name to Hitler) as Alois' third wife. Hitler was the her third child and she feared that he, too, would not survive. His father regularly beat him up, because Klara loved young Adolf more than she loved her husband.

[ Parent ]
Ender ain't exactly l'il Hitler (4.88 / 9) (#15)
by slaytanic killer on Sun Aug 19, 2001 at 11:00:34 AM EST

  • Here are Card's responses to Elaine Radford's "Ender and Hitler: Sympathy for the Superman" (Fantasy Review, June '87): one and two.

  • Hitler never wished he "could kiss the Jew as if the Jew and the German were human in each other's eyes." Ender felt this way about the buggers, however. I personally spend half my time in Germany, and I'm constantly inundated with Hitler's speeches against the Jöööden. Ender's sympathy and love for the buggers broke him when he realized he was being played for a fool by the military, while Hitler never hinted at a deep sensitivity for the Jews. I doubt Hitler's suicide (staged or not) was not a reaction to his deep-seated guilt about the Jews.

  • While Nietzsche may seem like he had a pro-Hitler stance, it turns out his sister framed him in that regard. He was pro-Superman, but clearly against the pathetic fearmongering of the Nazis.

    I do believe that certain people have a natural dislike against white übermensch-type leaders. Ender's Game turns many people off for that reason; quite likely Bean (who turns out to be far smarter than Ender though less charismatic) would agree.

    [ Parent ]

  • The relevant bits (3.60 / 10) (#16)
    by localroger on Sun Aug 19, 2001 at 12:02:56 PM EST

    Card sez:

    Nothing that she says makes sense. Ender is in no way modeled after Hitler. Her "parallels" are absurd. Do you have any idea how many "third children" there are in the world? I, for one, am one of them. Radford wanted to write a hate-filled attack on Ender's Game, and in that effort she succeeded. But not one of her analyses make even the tiniest bit of sense, and none of them hold up for even a moment as any kind of serious literary analysis.

    That's odd, since Literary Review thought enough of it to publish both Radford's piece and Card's original rambling, incoherent reply in their journal that year. Actually, Card is just lying; Radford found dozens of parallels and footnoted all of them. Card, in his original reply, didn't even seem to be aware of passages which Radford quoted from his own book.

    Card goes on:

    In the original publication, I published my refutation of her absurd and mean-spirited piece immediately following it. If you have your hands on her original essay, surely you also have access to the answer I gave at the time. If someone is circulating her piece alone, then you can be sure their purpose is to continue her slander, because if they were even remotely fair-minded, they would have included my refutation along with it.

    I too advise you to read Card's refutation and the original essay. Check the first printing date on Speaker for the Dead, go to the library, and check Literary Review for that or the next year. Radford makes a much more solid case than Card will admit, Card's original reply is unbelievably confused and unconvincing, and it's amazing that he is still whining about it after all these years.

    He was caught, got his pants yanked down in public, and he's still pissed. But then, he shouldn't have tried to put a trick like that over on his readers in the first place.

    As for Ender's love of the Buggers -- Ender was Hitler rewritten. This is why the novel is so particularly duplicitous; it isn't an honest assessment of whether Jesus would forgive Hitler, it's a soppy fake loaded with every trick in the book to make its hero seem more sympathetic than his real-life counterpart. We know the real Hitler didn't, like so many of his underlings, escape to Brazil so he could atone for his crimes and learn to love his former enemies. He killed himself rather than face the consequences of his actions. Nor, on the other hand, did it take pressures or trickery on the order of what was done to Ender to turn Hitler into a genocidal monster.

    But Ender falls over himself backward to trade roles with his victims even as he miraculously arranges to bring them back from the dead. Whatever lesson we are supposed to take from this clearly doesn't apply to the real world, where these things don't happen.

    I can haz blog!
    [ Parent ]

    The last refuge of the incompetent (4.44 / 9) (#19)
    by davidduncanscott on Sun Aug 19, 2001 at 02:22:50 PM EST

    Yes, Asimov said that, but he also made no attempt to claim CO status during World War II -- perhaps he felt that the last refuge was needed in that instance. Certainly others who would have preferred to avoid violence found the Axis powers an exceptional threat and responded in an exceptional (and violent) manner.

    Is Radford's article available on the net anywhere? My local library has slumped badly in recent years, and I'm not terribly confident that they'll have Science Fiction Review from '87 (BTW, was it SF Review or Fantasy Review? I'm seeing both credited in these comments As for Literary Review -- is that the full name? It seems like naming a newspaper Newspaper -- every college with a Literature dept. seems to have a Literary Review). I'd like to read the article, although frankly I'm dubious.

    It seems to me that Hitler spent much of his career attempting to persuade people of the dire threat he saw in the Jews, getting the populace whipped up to act. Hitler was, first and foremost, a politician. His attempts to act as a soldier were, thankfully for us all, incompetent.

    Ender, by contrast, was born into an ongoing war. Everybody he knew was already persuaded that the Buggers were evil, and the only issues were how to fight them. Ender didn't start the war, he fought it (and yes, finished it). Ender was, first and foremost, a soldier. He made no attempt to take -- explicitly rejected, in fact -- civilian authority (unlike his brother). He acted largely as the leader of a small unit, giving orders to an intimate group he knew well (no cheering crowds, no parade ground reviews of his troops.)

    There is a parallel, of course, in the act of genocide, but that alone hardly makes him Hitler, or at least no more than it makes him Stalin, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, or whoever it was (help me out, historians) who salted the earth of Carthage. Don't give Hitler too much credit -- he didn't invent mass murder.

    Perhaps most strikingly, of course, the Buggers really were different. Sure, Ender found points of similarity, but he had to work at it pretty hard. As an Anglo-Saxon, I don't have to seek points of similarity with the Jews around me -- it's pretty obvious that when you prick them, they bleed, etc. It requires a major and on-going effort in self-delusion to see them as other than human. The Buggers really weren't human, and in many ways beyond their appearance -- their sense of self, for instance.

    [ Parent ]

    Literary Review (4.00 / 4) (#29)
    by localroger on Sun Aug 19, 2001 at 06:11:12 PM EST

    Literary Review is a reference digest, usually found among the noncirculating periodicals. Their aim is to archive a cross-section of all the most important (by their criteria) works of literary criticism. If your library has the usual collection of reference volumes, they will have LR. Ask the librarian about it.

    I can haz blog!
    [ Parent ]

    Ender != Hitler (not even close...) (4.00 / 4) (#55)
    by Ender Ryan on Mon Aug 20, 2001 at 02:14:11 PM EST

    That is absolutely ridiculous, for many reasons. From off the top of my head, without getting into minor details, here's some huge differences.

    1. - Hitler killed Jews because he didn't like them
      - Ender killed the bugs because
      1. he thought he was playing a war game
      2. it was in large part the bugs fault, humans were defending themselves
    2. the people Ender killed he killed in self defense

    "Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent."

    Hmmm... What is that supposed to mean? Violence is often the easiest, quickest solution to a given problem, and it's sometimes the only way to defend one's self.

    I suppose everyone should have allowed Hitler to take over the world, and blacks shouldn't have fought back while being enslaved, etc....

    What a bunch of nonsense.

    Exposing vast conspiracies! Experts at everything even outside our expertise! Liberators of the world from the oppression of the evil USian Empire!

    We are Kuro5hin!

    [ Parent ]

    there is a certain logic to it (3.00 / 1) (#66)
    by kataklyst on Tue Aug 21, 2001 at 03:08:48 AM EST

    The idea is that Ender is the Hitler in the mind of a Holocaust revisionist. If you look at it that way, it makes a certain amount of sense. For reference, here's a basic revisionist biography of Hitler that lines up well with Ender's Game:

    Hitler had reason to believe that the Jews were on the verge of taking over the world and enslaving/killing every one else. He was deceived into believing this by those he trusted. He intended to use the minimum amount of force needed to prevent the destruction of his race. Tragically, others took advantage of the situation to commit masacres.

    Personally, I'm inclined to give Card the benefit of the doubt on this. Most likely Card simply wanted to explore the ethics of genocide. Obviously there is a certain amount of grey area that is interesting to think about. Just pondering what-ifs doesn't imply that one is a revisionist.

    [ Parent ]

    As a student journalist... (4.22 / 18) (#13)
    by Skwirl on Sun Aug 19, 2001 at 10:03:50 AM EST

    if I ever started an interview by asking my source a tangential and loaded question about Vietnam etc and then moved right along into drilling questions about childhood abuse, I'd be lucky to get anything quotable out of them at all. No wonder she had to base her story on the "I was abused, what about you?" angle, since Card was probably too flustered to provide any other interesting leads. If anything, this story proves that Card is quite patient and honest.

    The author eventually writes: "In journalism, silence about one's own opinion is often the only way to get the goods." But the fact is that her questions are so overtly leading that her agenda must have been pretty darn obvious. Actually, I find this journalist's style slightly intriguing, if only because it's painfully honest right down to admitting the writer's biases head on. Of course, in the long run, this style is self-defeating, since I doubt Card will ever grant Salon another interview.

    "Nothing in the world is more distasteful to a man than to take the path that leads to himself." -- Herman Hesse
    Insightful Interview (4.00 / 2) (#42)
    by snowlion on Mon Aug 20, 2001 at 06:43:25 AM EST

    I agree; the interview was totally fascinating. If she did a typical interview, we'd see not of the essential elements at play; we'd just get Yet Another Watered Down Interview that wouldn't go anywhere really deep. ("When where you born? What do you like? Favorite color? What kinds of girls do you like? Yadda yadda yadda...") This interview digs deep. Excellent.

    Similar but different article on the passive voice in Science.

    Map Your Thoughts
    [ Parent ]
    Conflicted (4.58 / 12) (#18)
    by maveness on Sun Aug 19, 2001 at 01:57:00 PM EST

    Card is one of my favorite writers. I've always felt that his view of human nature was generous, insightful, and complex.

    I was *really* surprised when I found out he was Mormon, since my knee-jerk assumption about Mormons was that they were all reactionary, right-wing dodos. So I learned a little something there about my own tendency to stereotype, and tried to wrap my brain around it.

    Now, I find myself with mixed feelings. I remember reading Songmaster quite a long time ago, and being impressed by what I though was a sensitive treatment of a tragic same-sex love relationship. Perhaps I misread, but if I did not, I can't imagine the person who wrote that being an intolerant bigot.

    On the other hand, if the quotations from Scot in the Salon article are accurate, he would seem to be both painfully ignorant ("homosexual agenda" -- oy!) and cruelly prejudiced ("I'm amused that you think it doesn't hurt anyone. The homosexuals that I've known well, I have found none who were actually made happier by performing homosexual acts."). This distresses me, as his underlying premises about human nature seem so different from my own.

    Although I'm embarassed by Donna Minkowitz's article both for stylistic and professional reasons, I do somewhat empathize with her confusion and distress in finding deep divisions between her worldview and that of someone whose work she so obviously admires and loves.

    However, it's not unusual for an artist to be less 'beautiful' than his art. Many many transcendently great works of art -- which have inspired generations to reach beyond themselves and be better and bigger souls -- were created by individuals with feet of serious clay who behaved badly and who sometimes left behind records of unsavory, unattractive, or downright appalling attitudes and actions.

    Latest fortune cookie: "The current year will bring you much happiness." As if.

    OSC Has Changed (3.00 / 1) (#68)
    by Ruidh on Tue Aug 21, 2001 at 09:51:40 AM EST

    Mormonism plays a much bigger role in what he writes now than it did in what he wrote early in his career. Perhaps it's just becuase he's hit middle age. I really can't read much of the recent stuff anymore because of this awareness of whats going on. The Homecoming series and Lovelock were blatantly Mormon. The later books of the Ender series perhaps less so.

    I still like to go back to Songmaster, Treason and Wyrms to remember why I liked him so much.

    "Laissez-faire is a French term commonly interpreted by Conservatives to mean 'lazy fairy,' which is the belief that if governments are lazy enough, the Good Fairy will come down from heaven and do all their work for them."
    [ Parent ]
    Treason (3.00 / 1) (#69)
    by kostya on Tue Aug 21, 2001 at 10:18:55 AM EST

    I read Treason. That book is just whacked. ;-)

    I read it, liked it, thought about it, didn't like it. It's like a hamburger that tastes good going down and then starts to cause all sorts of nasty stuff afterward.

    It had some intriguing concepts in it, but it was like a whacked out Uberman philosophy crossed with some evolutionary concepts that gives you, the forgone conclusion, that we will all be supergods. I mean, look at the main character: how is he anything but Uberman via evolutionary processes? The ending just sucks--they become some sort of local legend, demigods. Blah.

    Sure, some of the concepts on how they would get there were interesting (i.e. being marooned there for trying to enact some sort of genetic superengineering or ruling of the elite), but these were minor and there only to provide a background for Card's real curiosity: man's next step.

    It's like people who like Ender's Game but don't really care for the philotes stuff in Children of the Mind. Read the foreword! That was the whole point of the series: Card trying to scientifically explain God to himself.

    I agree about Homecoming. The blatant attempt to realize mormon beliefs through sci-fi conjecture (i.e. as I recall mormons believe that true believers will get to be their own Adam and Eve and populate their own planet), it just becomes kind of boring. Plus I felt the Keeper of the Earth bit made zero sense. It starts off by saying they left Earth because of some Nuclear Holocaust (i.e. the missles), but turns out that the Keeper ejected man for abusing lesser creatures or something. Very anticlimatic. Then the blatant parallels to the Book of Mormon with Nafya's golden tablets that he writes (making the writing primitive, blah, blah, blah).

    I know everyone puts their beliefs into their writings, but it is no excuse to do it so poorly :-)

    Veritas otium parit. --Terence
    [ Parent ]
    This backs up my argument against American women (1.90 / 31) (#21)
    by Jonathan Walther on Sun Aug 19, 2001 at 02:34:18 PM EST

    It is women like the one who interviewed Mr Card that turned me off North American women while I was growing up. The vicious lesbian bitches are so active and widespread that I wasn't able to notice their feminine sisters who were interested in men, and not in being offensive peices of refuse to society.

    Now that I'm older, I've found there are some decent women here in North America too. Still, I don't regret having gone elsewhere to find a Real Woman. It made my search so much quicker and easier.

    Never drink from a poisoned well, brothers.

    (Luke '22:36 '19:13) => ("Sell your coat and buy a gun." . "Occupy until I come.")

    Real Woman (3.61 / 13) (#24)
    by davidduncanscott on Sun Aug 19, 2001 at 03:26:05 PM EST

    Gee, I just love it when men define "Real Women". It's almost as enlightening as when white people decide whether or not Bill Cosby or Tiger Woods is "black enough".

    Were they lesbian before you met them?

    [ Parent ]

    who defines manhood and womanhood (2.41 / 12) (#26)
    by Jonathan Walther on Sun Aug 19, 2001 at 03:49:36 PM EST

    Men and women choose each other as mates. If the man doesn't consent, the woman can't choose the man as a mate. To let himself be chosen, a man has to decide the woman is Real Woman. Men define who women are. Conversely, to let herself be chosen, a woman has to decide the man is a Real Man. Women define manhood.

    Women and men live in a symbiotic balance; each sex defines and determines the other. I, as a man, am taking my birthright when I decide what constitutes a Real Woman, and what does not. My wife obviously decided I was a Real Man when she chose me.


    (Luke '22:36 '19:13) => ("Sell your coat and buy a gun." . "Occupy until I come.")

    [ Parent ]
    what about bisexuals... (3.75 / 8) (#62)
    by perdida on Mon Aug 20, 2001 at 11:21:59 PM EST

    etc...asexuals or celibates, etc. etc.

    dont give me an evolutionary or natural law argument either. these permutations are extant in all human cultures and in nonhuman primates.

    the definition must be somewhat individualized. also sex and gender do not converge tightly in every culture. i assume you are talking about gender, cause if you are talking about sex, the vicious lesbian bitch is as much female as your wife.. genetically, anatomically, etc.

    Oh god, have I bitten on a troll?
    The most adequate archive on the Internet.
    I can't shit a hydrogen fuel cell car. -eeee
    [ Parent ]
    To answer your question (none / 0) (#84)
    by Jonathan Walther on Mon Feb 11, 2002 at 12:07:55 AM EST

    You have a point. Gender does not strictly conform to anatomy. When you tell another man he is "your bitch", you are telling him that in your relationship, his gender is female.

    (Luke '22:36 '19:13) => ("Sell your coat and buy a gun." . "Occupy until I come.")

    [ Parent ]
    WTF? (3.16 / 12) (#27)
    by delmoi on Sun Aug 19, 2001 at 04:20:00 PM EST

    Man, what the hell are you talking about, I've never met anyone I could describe as a "vicious lesbian bitch." The only way I can buy your statement is to assume the only experiance you had with women was reading about them.
    "'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
    [ Parent ]
    women who would qualify as a vlb abound (4.63 / 11) (#44)
    by Anonymous 242 on Mon Aug 20, 2001 at 09:54:22 AM EST

    My mother came out of the closet when I was thirteen or fourteen. (My parents divorced when I was five.)

    In mixing and mingling with her circle of friends for several years before she packed up and moved to California from the mid-west, I've met not a few women that could correctly described as a vlb. Some of them would have also worn such a title with pride. Some of the women I met were offended at my very presence since I was male.

    That said, I would stress that such women are, by far, rare. Most lesbians I've met (and I've met quite a few at all different stages from many different walks of life) are simply people. Gays and lesbians, just like straights, have their own unique quirks and idiosynchracies are, socially speaking, not all that different from anyone else. The problem, like with any other sub-culture, is that the militant and outspoken people tend to color the popular view of the so-called 'silent majority'.


    Lee Malatesta

    [ Parent ]

    Well, obviously there are some (3.00 / 7) (#54)
    by delmoi on Mon Aug 20, 2001 at 01:34:10 PM EST

    But I mean, I just don't see how you can say that there are so many that they would obfuscate 'normal' women in the world. Like I've said, I have never met anyone who would fit that description. I've only read about them, and while it might taint my perception of lesbians there is no way It could taint my perception of women in general.
    "'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
    [ Parent ]
    uppon analasis of your website (2.33 / 21) (#32)
    by delmoi on Sun Aug 19, 2001 at 07:09:12 PM EST

    I have come to the conclusion that you're complaints about women are do to the fact that you are one goofy ass looking mofo. It isn't that they aren't interested in men, it's that they aren't interested in you.

    Oh well, I hope you're happy with your mail-order-bride, wanker.
    "'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
    [ Parent ]
    My wife will rip your nuts off (1.66 / 15) (#37)
    by Jonathan Walther on Sun Aug 19, 2001 at 11:37:03 PM EST

    for calling her a mail order bride. I wouldn't want to be in your shoes. She was the top-paid journalist in her country before she came over here. She specialized in human rights articles, including ones on the plight of mail ordered brides. Observant readers can find them at http://gina.ph

    Your knee-jerk flim-flam prose shows the lights on but no-one is home in that noggin of yours.

    (Luke '22:36 '19:13) => ("Sell your coat and buy a gun." . "Occupy until I come.")

    [ Parent ]
    Heh (2.23 / 17) (#39)
    by delmoi on Mon Aug 20, 2001 at 12:57:15 AM EST

    I guesed her ethnicity correctly (Phillipina). Good for me. But don't expect to insult my mother and sister (both north americans) and get off flame free. Of course, one paragraph is not enough data to get a full model of a person, but I still say you're a misogynistic bitch, 'vicious lesbian bitches' who are intrested in being 'offensive peices of refuse to society' indeed. You said it, not me. How many N.American women did you even know growing up? it couldn't have been many, with your looks. It isn't that the 'pool is poisoned' it's that you're unnatractive.

    But oh well, at least there will be some decent DNA in that baby of yours.
    "'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
    [ Parent ]
    your habitual misspellings (2.75 / 4) (#75)
    by Gina Mission on Wed Aug 22, 2001 at 01:15:12 PM EST

    Don't you even know how to spell the very simple word "interested?" And when you aren't sure how to spell "Phillipina" correctly (it's Filipina, stupid), you have no right hanging out here. That ignorance is, to me, unforgivable.

    [ Parent ]
    When you can't attack someone's ideas (2.87 / 8) (#77)
    by delmoi on Wed Aug 22, 2001 at 04:40:36 PM EST

    Attack their spelling. Yup, that's the way to win an argument...

    As for philipina/filipina, well the country is called the Philippines, so I figured the root would have the same spelling.

    I am not very good at spelling, and I never have been. But I do spell check most of my more substantial comments here and I did check the replies I sent you. Some words may slip through.

    you have no right hanging out here.

    I was the 135th user on the site. I've posted 1,528 comments my first one on February 19th, 2000.

    You are user 20,426. The highest user number on the site is 20,437. You've posted one comment, the one I'm replying to. And you posted it today. I can only assume that you made an account to flame me, which is incredibly childish (as is attacking someone's spelling)

    I personally have doubts that you aren't just Jonathan pretending to be his wife. I find it hard to believe two people who are so incapable of accepting criticism could have a working relationship...
    "'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
    [ Parent ]
    another delmoi blabbering (1.87 / 8) (#78)
    by Gina Mission on Wed Aug 22, 2001 at 10:04:38 PM EST

    should i announce it to the whole world? you don't know how to argue. your sense of logic is as bad as your spelling. i have no time for people like you, dickhead. i can talk with you on an intelligent level, but do you even deserve it? you deserve as bad a comment as your spelling.

    [ Parent ]
    Is your shift key broken? (3.12 / 8) (#80)
    by delmoi on Thu Aug 23, 2001 at 01:34:02 AM EST

    Because you haven't used any capital letters. That is one grammatical error per sentence. If you are going to attack someone's grammar, you had better make sure you've made no errors of your own. If you do, then you look foolish.

    That is of course, beside the point. The lack of capital letters in your post does not detract from it's meaning. So why bring it up? Only because I wanted to illustrate how pointless and petty grammar/spelling flames are in general. They won't win anyone over to your side, if that's what you are trying to do. And they certainly won't hurt my feelings... if that's what you're trying to do. Actually, what are you trying to do?

    You've done nothing but attack, attack, attack. And I have yet to see a subjective example of what I'm doing wrong. You seem to spout opinion after opinion without any backup whatsoever. You call me names and insult me (none of which I have done to you), yet you present no evidence whatsoever. How is my logic flawed? How am I Generalizing women (as you claimed in email). Hell, where are my grammatical errors?

    I'm sorry ms Mission, but it appears that you are the one who doesn't know how to argue.
    "'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
    [ Parent ]
    do you even know what flim-flam means? (2.22 / 9) (#65)
    by delmoi on Tue Aug 21, 2001 at 01:09:25 AM EST

    I guess not.

    Anyway, you're wife seems to have given up after sending me just 3 emails. Not much of a 'nut-ripping'.

    It's pretty sad the way you can't seem handle criticism while dishing out so easily. Oh well.
    "'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
    [ Parent ]
    My wife stopped emailing you because (3.50 / 6) (#73)
    by Jonathan Walther on Wed Aug 22, 2001 at 01:03:48 AM EST

    in her own words, she didn't want to waste her time on someone so stupid he couldn't even spell racism correctly. She didn't want to stoop down to your level.

    I don't blame her; you misread things to serve your own knee-jerk reflexes. Your understanding lacks depth; your sheltered life lacks experience.

    If your mother and sister were insulted, you would have my full sympathy. Instead you insulted my wife because I used certain trigger key-words, and you, fool, got so emotionally charged you lost the ability to read accurately and with precision, and fell into your own prejudices in assuming I meant something more malign than what I said.

    (Luke '22:36 '19:13) => ("Sell your coat and buy a gun." . "Occupy until I come.")

    [ Parent ]
    That's pathetic (4.20 / 5) (#76)
    by Funk Soul Hacker on Wed Aug 22, 2001 at 04:11:05 PM EST

    Lets see, You attacked a huge number of women, and then you blame the offended reader for not 'reading closely' enough?

    Yeh, whatever.

    And don't even get me started on the spelling flame...

    --- Right about now, Da Funk Soul Hacker
    [ Parent ]
    Minor nitpick: (1.00 / 1) (#82)
    by CaptainZornchugger on Sat Aug 25, 2001 at 05:03:56 PM EST

    Anyway, your wife seems to have given up after sending me just 3 emails

    In the above sentence, the word 'wife' should be in quotes.

    Thank You.

    Look at that chord structure. There's sadness in that chord structure.
    [ Parent ]
    Way to let your prejudices shine... (3.66 / 9) (#52)
    by maveness on Mon Aug 20, 2001 at 12:49:32 PM EST

    Nothing like the highly charged topic of sexual orientation to cause people to reveal the extremes of their views!

    Imagine the firestorm this comment would have elicited if equally pejorative blanket remarks had been made about, oh say, Jews or African Americans.... and then, for example, the author had extolled his success in finding a Real Aryan.

    The bitterness and pain fueling this troll-worthy comment are truly spectacular. Especially as the writer says he's found a Real Woman, and (I guess) true love. Ease up, brother, and let it go.

    Latest fortune cookie: "You will be traveling and coming into a fortune." As if.
    [ Parent ]

    chill out (none / 0) (#83)
    by turmeric on Sun Feb 10, 2002 at 11:28:40 PM EST

    cant we all just get along?

    [ Parent ]
    Posted! (1.75 / 8) (#45)
    by ana on Mon Aug 20, 2001 at 11:16:47 AM EST

    Your vote (1) was recorded. This story currently has a total score of 80.

    You're the straw that broke the camel's back! Your vote put this story over the threshold, and it should now appear on the Section page. Enjoy!

    Interesting article; one of a very few I've seen of an admittedly radical/left journalist agonizing about journalistic ethics in public.

    Years go by; will I still be waiting
    for somebody else to understand?
    --Tori Amos

    Why I rated you 0 (2.50 / 6) (#50)
    by fluffy grue on Mon Aug 20, 2001 at 12:14:50 PM EST

    "I posted the article" comments are about as useful as "first post" comments. Sorry.
    "Is not a quine" is not a quine.
    I have a master's degree in science!

    [ Hug Your Trikuare ]
    [ Parent ]

    why (2.16 / 6) (#53)
    by lucid on Mon Aug 20, 2001 at 01:16:44 PM EST

    I rated you zero because talking about why you rated someone else zero is about as useful as a solar powered flashlight. Sorry. ;)

    (now i need someone to rate my comment zero, and tell me about it.)

    [ Parent ]
    Why I rated your comment 0 (2.00 / 5) (#56)
    by Anonymous 242 on Mon Aug 20, 2001 at 02:37:12 PM EST

    You said you needed me to. ;)

    And I have that power.



    [ Parent ]

    Why I rated your comment zero (1.00 / 3) (#81)
    by CaptainZornchugger on Sat Aug 25, 2001 at 04:54:38 PM EST


    Look at that chord structure. There's sadness in that chord structure.
    [ Parent ]
    Well... (2.75 / 4) (#60)
    by fluffy grue on Mon Aug 20, 2001 at 07:17:22 PM EST

    The idea was that ana's comment would stay hidden. Also, ana is normally a very good poster and I respect her, and so it pained me to rate her 0. I didn't want any feelings to be hurt.
    "Is not a quine" is not a quine.
    I have a master's degree in science!

    [ Hug Your Trikuare ]
    [ Parent ]

    Solar powered flashlights have battires (3.00 / 3) (#64)
    by delmoi on Tue Aug 21, 2001 at 12:57:22 AM EST

    Store power during the day, light stuff up at night.
    "'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
    [ Parent ]
    Minkowitz and teen angst (4.00 / 6) (#46)
    by ipinkus on Mon Aug 20, 2001 at 11:23:00 AM EST

    On Salon there are still some letters to the editor to be found for this article. All but one of the comments take a negative view of the 'interview'

    Here's another little piece Minkowitz wrote.

    And a reply to one of her other articles yet it applies just as well the her OSC interview: '...Minkowitz's arguments tread so closely to the "gay rage" defense that she should voluntarily give up her Queer Card.'

    ... Her style illustrates the dangers of believing oneself morally superior. This is something not to be desired in a journalist.
    Disclaim: Just jibberwanking...

    The editor that let this gem through... (3.70 / 10) (#47)
    by spring on Mon Aug 20, 2001 at 11:31:08 AM EST

    ...wasn't doing his or her job. This is the most self-indulgent interview I have ever read. I can't believe that I am now more thoroughly informed about the esteemed author Donna Minkowitz than I am about the subject of the interview himself, Orson Scott Card. It stinks of editorial incompetence.

    Out of a sick fascination, I re-read the article and counted the following words and phrases. I only counted words outside of quotation marks. I tried to be fair, to include all the references to each party that made sense in context.

    • "Card", "he", "him", "the author", "his", "the man": 82
    • "I", "my", "me", "myself": 139
    This is essentially an article about Minkowitz with a Orson Scott Card theme to it.

    Salon publishes shitty article - film at eleven! (2.66 / 6) (#49)
    by trhurler on Mon Aug 20, 2001 at 12:10:58 PM EST

    I fail to see why this is surprising to anyone. People read Slashdot, and complain, read Salon, and complain, read Wired, and complain - WHY? You already know they suck. Dennis Leary had it right about walking around in the summertime saying 'how about this heat...'

    'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

    They Suck, You Know They Suck,... (4.00 / 1) (#72)
    by mkelley on Tue Aug 21, 2001 at 04:40:32 PM EST

    Drue Carey once said something in reference to the Cleveland Indians that can apply to what you just said: "They Suck, You Know They Suck, and They Know You Know they suck"

    life is like a freeway, if you don't look you could miss it.
    [ Parent ]

    Deconstructionalism on trial :-) (4.71 / 7) (#57)
    by kostya on Mon Aug 20, 2001 at 04:44:30 PM EST

    Ah, this article warms my bitter, jaded heart!

    You see, I was an English Lit major and all I ever heard was deconstructionist crap. To believe that the meaning of the text has no relation whatsoever to the author always eluded me. Sure, it's fun to dream up and discuss all sorts of possible meanings--and it is pretty much all you do when the author isn't around to refute you. Add to that a revisionist climate (can happen at any point, but it is all too common to reshape literature in our image) and most of my college career was spent arguing over points or listening to points that didn't make sense.

    Shakespeare dies a million deaths each day as colleges around the world talk about what it means :-) [1]

    As I read this author's angst over finding out that Card does not only not believe like her, but disagrees violently on the fundementals, I get a warped sense of satisfaction as she struggles over her love of his books. I feel justified for all my railing against my profs that what the author intended matters.

    Why? Because she will never read Ender's Game the same way again. The fact that Card is, as she describes him, a pig, a jerk, and a homophobe will poison the pages. Hidden themes or realities she overlooked will leap out of every page. Ender's Game will probably be ruined for her, much like a child who delighted in Santa Claus.

    And that is actually quite sad--I feel for her, as I have had my own similar experiences. But it proves why deconstructionist approaches are such crap. It's not like she is having an intellectual crisis; she states over and over again that she can handle him not agreeing with her. But she is lying to herself: she feels betrayed, let down, shocked, dismayed. It matters deeply that the author does not agree with her perception of his work. No matter how much she denies it, the fact that OSC is a homophobe has totally ruined Ender's Game for her.

    I.e. for the her (and for everyone, I would suggest), it matters a great deal what the author intended and what she thinks he intended. Especially when the author is "wrong" on the fundamentals, whatever they might be (in this case violence and homosexuality). She cannot reconcile her original reading with her new knowledge of the author.

    On a side note, when I found out that OSC was a devout mormon, it changed his books for me forever. While he does not say his books are mormonist per se, one versed in mormonism can see it through out the books (especially the Homecoming series, which is sci-fized mormonism). I still love his books, but now I can see more plainly his intentions. Whereas I originally thought, "That's an odd way of putting it," I now can see plainly it is his personal beliefs coming through. But that is true of all writers to some degree.

    [1] Note: I would give certain forms of literature more license to impact more diversely than the author intended. But I still believe that meaning or intentions should be drawn from intent. How literature impacts you or what it makes you think about is fair game: Shakespeare's use of swords can remind you of feminist critics about phalliv imagery, but that does not imply that Shakespeare intended that meaning ;-)

    Veritas otium parit. --Terence

    I hope it chokes her (2.88 / 9) (#61)
    by Kasreyn on Mon Aug 20, 2001 at 10:00:39 PM EST

    This article is pathetic. It's so biased it's ridiculous. This isn't an interview, this is character assassination. This is just a mud slinging bitch who happens to have a bully pulpit. She ought to be flung bodily from the journalistic profession, the way they fling drunks out of taverns in western movies. I personally don't mind the thought of Ender's Game being "ruined" for her.

    She is the type of idiot who should never be allowed the pretensiousness of interviewing artists or critiquing art, because she's unable to understand the difference between the creator and the creation. This is like a music critic who, upon hearing of Wagner's alleged Naziist tendencies, decides his music must suck. Non sequitir.

    Finally, the article is a total piece of crap. It's supposed to be an INTERVIEW with MR. CARD. We don't NEED to hear your opinions and mental commentary, lady, and we don't WANT to hear them. An interview is QUESTION, ANSWER. It is not QUESTION, ANSWER, CRITIQUE. What a moron.

    I submitted this to that other site a couple days ago, but apparently Lieutenant Enchilada decided it was unworthy of being held up for inspection by three hundred thousand trolls and flamers. =P


    "Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
    We never asked to be born in the first place."

    R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
    Hmmp. (4.00 / 2) (#71)
    by bored on Tue Aug 21, 2001 at 12:49:53 PM EST

    I agree with your points, the presentation is questionable. I felt after reading it that the interviewer was just an idiot trying to fit everything into little boxes of right vs wrong. "Its _WRONG_ to hurt someone." If this interview were part of a novel Card would be the protagonist struggling with ethical problems. The interviewer would be some flat character brought in to influence his views.

    For instance her stupid ideas about war. See innocent people do get hurt in war.. It seem unavoidable, to flatly deny the usefulness of fighting a war is silly, she is seriously blinded by something. She points out the atrocities committed by the nazis, but refuses to think about the millions of innocent people who were killed/injured by the bombing runs. She refuses to see the people fighting the war as people who are struggling and dying for ideals they may only partially believe in. Just because someone is a soldier doesn't mean they agree with their government, especially drafted ones. These people don't forfeited their right to life by joining the military, their suffering, and their families suffering, isn't any less painful than anyone else's. What a lode of crap. That is why war is terrible but sometimes the goals are worth the cost. Of course when the decision makers are presented with a problem they are unable to predict the future and they have to make hard decisions about whether we should join the war etc based on some unknown quantities. Sure we should all be happy and live together in peace but since that doesn't appear to be the case we cannot blind ourselves by refusing to believe that violence can have a useful purpose. People condemning others for their past actions when they are in a different situation is a really ugly.

    [ Parent ]
    I'm not surprised. (2.75 / 4) (#63)
    by Rainy on Mon Aug 20, 2001 at 11:53:57 PM EST

    I read this article about a year ago and I absolutely agreed with it. It wasn't a hard thing for me to do because both Card's works I read before that were horrible - Ender's game and one short story where the hero has to die multiple times (Soviets take over US and try to eradicate good old american values and views). Both are almost ridiculously bad. My favorite example I always give to Card's fans is the scene from Ender's game where Ender makes a Great Strategical Never Heard Of Before Trick by pretending he's done for and then "raising from the dead" to pummel his opponents (also known as the oldest trick in the book). The book is sprinkled with such examples, I just chose the most ludicrious. So, when I found out that he's a homophobic mormon, I can't say I was surprised. It was amusing, though to read about rabid fan's shock when *she* found out! I sincerely hope she reaches out into the world of sci-fi again instead of giving up on it; there's quite a few great writers who worked there. If you like his books, don't take this post as an insult. Tastes differ. OTOH, I've known some gays and they say they enjoy it. Of course, the trouble with fundies like Card here is that he won't *believe* them. No guys, you're really miserable, you just can't face it. Ugh.
    Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
    knee-jerk reactions? (none / 0) (#79)
    by Rainy on Wed Aug 22, 2001 at 11:03:18 PM EST

    People rated it down but nobody commented on the great strategical trick of Ender? Am I wrong?
    Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
    [ Parent ]
    Salon Rules! (3.25 / 4) (#67)
    by KeckOS on Tue Aug 21, 2001 at 03:33:07 AM EST

    What an engaging, entertaining, and illuminating interview. Card is a writer, an artist, whose work is deliberately and overtly political and controversial. How delightful to find out that he is even more prickly and enigmatic in person.

    One commentor suggests that Card is now unlikely to do another interview for Salon. Are they really so naïve as to think that he is averse to a little controversy and political contention from a self-proclaimed "Jewish lesbian radical"?

    Others have raised charges of journalistic misconduct or "editorial incompetence," or call the piece "character assassination." Such charges are laughable. Was the author misleading, in some way, to the audience? Did she misqoute or misrepresent Mr. Card? Did she fail to disclose some possible or actual bias in her reporting? When a journalist not only refuses to compromise her story for the sake of maintaining a [false] appearance of impartiality, but discloses so much of her personal life as to practically invite derision from even the slightest conservative or reactionary, it is in fact a testament to her integrity. And Salon, by daring to publish such pieces, makes a valuable and unequalled contribution to the public discourse.

    Overreacting (4.00 / 2) (#70)
    by Caranguejeira on Tue Aug 21, 2001 at 11:24:48 AM EST

    A lot of people credit OSC for being open minded, then find out that he doesn't really believe the same way they do. Somehow that comes as a huge shock, and they quickly recant; maybe OSC isn't so open minded after all.

    Since when does having an open mind coincide with holding the same beliefs as the academic, liberal minority? A man may empathize with a cause, yet not believe in it. Understanding doesn't always mean accepting.

    Because OSC doesn't agree with homosexuality, that doesn't automatically make him fear and loathe gays. Labeling him a homophobe is a little bit unfair.

    For those of you who seem to think that Card's work is cleverly disguised religious propaganda: get over it. I have no doubt that some of his beliefs are apparent in his writing, but he is one author who makes conscious effort to throw out his own biases or even relegating them to the antagonists in his books. Go read his lessons on writing at http://www.hatrack.com

    Haha (none / 0) (#74)
    by boxed on Wed Aug 22, 2001 at 04:42:30 AM EST

    I laughed my way through the article. Why? Because I'd answer JUST LIKE CARD! The interviewer can't stand a different opinion, it makes her, in her own words, want to "throttle" the person who disagrees. For all her talk about violence ("That hurting people is never, ever right except when minutely controlled and in immediate self-defense"), she certainly doesn't care in the least about dragging someone through the mud like he wasn't worth the matter he is made of.

    If you meet someone like this, tell them what Card told her. "Radical" in her words means "unable to accept difference", the very crime she accuses Card of.

    Orson Scott Card interviewed by Salon, then derided in their pages. | 84 comments (72 topical, 12 editorial, 0 hidden)
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