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Has anyone else been disappointed by an author?

Discussion in 'Orson Scott Card' started by the smiling weirwood, Nov 17, 2008.

  1.  
    anhalo

    anhalo Well-Known Member

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    You can pm me the arguement if you don't want it to go to waste ;)

    I was once disappointed with a musician I had respected, I know thats not an author, but an artist nonetheless.
     
  2.  
    Vertigo

    Vertigo Mad Mountain Man

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    I've not been disappointed by many authors, or at least not ones I had been lead to believe were worth reading. However I too became disappointed by a musician and stopped listening to him. This was Cat Stevens (showing my age now); now I had no problem at all with him converting to Islam, no problem at all, but when he came out publically in favour of the Salman Rushdie fatwa, I'm afraid I took no further interest in listening to his music. It's not that I thought it had suddenly got worse, it's just that whenever I heard it I simply got angry :(
     
  3.  
    anhalo

    anhalo Well-Known Member

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    That is spooky... That is who I was talking about.

    I'm not even that old, but I enjoyed listening to his songs (under the name Yusuf Islam) and was disappointed when I heard him back that fatwa in a documentary.

    I too am a convert to Islam, but such things as those fatwa's are not made by God, only people who lead others astray by claiming to have the authority of God. It makes me sick seeing how the Islamic religion has been tainted by such people. Islam means "peace". That's hardly what they would have you believe when they want to act in such aggressive and violent ways, pretending to be under it's banner. For some people they just see religion as a way to get power.
     
  4.  
    Brian G Turner

    Brian G Turner Writing and reading Staff Member

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    This thread is one reason why many people in the public eye are advised (for marketing purposes) to speak only of positive things. :)

    However, it's important to realise that many people are likely to hold strong opinions on matters of religion and politics, and some people can object to differing ones to their own. Really, it's all about expressions of human diversity.

    Such opinions are simply that, and democracy values diversity. I should hope good art stands alone from their creators, as really many of the greatest had equally great flaws of character and morality, by modern standards.

    Additionally, most people are of their time, and as general opinions have changed, so can older attitudes seem out-dated and intolerant when taken by themselves and out of context of their time.

    Orson Scott Card, mentioned in the first post, has never shied from being quite outspoken about matters of religion and politics. And while some people may take umbrage at some of the views expressed, it's worth considering whom he is addressing these to.

    After all, I would suspect his essay on homosexuality was aimed not at the political liberal, but instead at the heart of his church community, hence why it's a discussion point in the first place.

    Interesting to see the comment on Pederasty, as while the modern democratic world tends to abhor the whole concept of man-boy relationships as being acceptable, Pederasty was in fact a social norm of the Classical period of Greece and Rome.

    In that regard, perhaps worth considering that some of our own social norms will one day be considered quite abhorrent by future generations. :)
     
  5.  
    Vertigo

    Vertigo Mad Mountain Man

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    This is very true Brian, in fact wasn't it in Haldeman's Forever war that he had the soldiers returning to Earth but so much time had passed since they had left (due to relativistic effects) that customs had changed beyond recognition. For example overpopulation had become such a problem that the social norm had switched to homosexuality and heterosexuality (at least exclusively heterosexual) and become the "aberration". Interesting idea!

    Though of course in that book it just served as the futuristic metaphor for the cultural disconnection felt by many returning vets.
     
  6.  
    Timba

    Timba Well-Known Member

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    Interesting thread, thanks to all who have contributed.

    I had a reaction to John Ringo when I read some of his comments, things he chose to include at the end of one of his books unfortunately. At first I was put off but then I decided that was silly, I had no idea what other authors thought about a host of things so the only legitimate measure was whether I enjoyed their work or not. I enjoy Ringo's stories so I simply compartmentalized whatever it was that had bugged me and since I cannot, today, remember what that was I must have buried that particular compartment pretty deep :)

    Thanks again for an interesting thread!
     
  7.  
    wonkishere

    wonkishere Well-Known Member

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    It's interesting how quickly you jump from stating that homosexuals are prone to suicide, and then state that some study indicates it's emphatically not because of intolerance because of some supposed "pro-homosexual" area. (What area is that? I know of some places where there is less intolerance, but I don't believe I've heard of a culture or state that encourages it. I find all those rapid fire conclusions you're making a bit suspect.)

    Anyway I think that people tend to get very silly very fast when people talk about these arguments. If I say that someone is a lousy author that's an opinion. If I say that I think Card is a despicable homophobe based on what he wrote, that's my opinion. I didn't say he didn't have a right to post it... and if he exercises his write to state his opinion, he should be prepared for me to state mine.

    If I tried to prevent him from speaking that would be wrong. But nobody has the write to tell me I can't call him a racist. And I decide whether or not I buy a book for all kinds of reasons. And sometimes, I decide not to buy someone's books because I dislike bigots. Sometimes I buy them anyway because the subject interests me.

    I don't think that thinking about someone's worldview when you read hteir book is a bad idea at all. Propaganda finds its way into all sorts of strange places, and if an author has sounded off in the past about how much he hates some specific group, that's something to consider when you read their work, because people advance all sorts of ideas through literature.
     
  8.  
    wonkishere

    wonkishere Well-Known Member

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    You may not be aware of it, but you are participating in spreading a lie. Cat Stevens and Salman Rushdie actually know each other and associate with one another. What happened is that a journalist with a spin to the right asked him to take a position on the fatwa, and he sarcastically stated he was all for it, and slammed his door in his face. The commentator printed it as though it were a serious response, though he probably knew it wasn't.

    Since then Stevens has again and again repeated that he doesn't want Salman Rushdie killed, and in fact doesn't want anyone killed. If you've heard him speak about his opinions in general, you'd know the whole thing is absurd. He is a very modern man who generally advocates for peace. It would be strangely out of character for him to speak in favor of assassination.

    I actually don't like his music, but whenever people print this stuff I feel like I need to correct it. You are spreading false information.
     
  9.  
    mosaix

    mosaix Shropshire, U.K.

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    Your post (#67) is excellent. :)
     
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    j d worthington

    j d worthington Moderator Staff Member

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    I don't mean to take the thread any further off course, but I'd like a bit of clarification on where you derive the above information from, if you wouldn't mind. I have by no means kept up with this, but this is the first I've heard of such, and it doesn't agree with the things which I have, from time to time, come across when the subject arose. Their accuracy isn't always reliable, but here's what Wikipedia has on the subject, with citations:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cat_Stevens'_comments_about_Salman_Rushdie#cite_note-14

    If Rushdie's own words as quoted here disagree with the information provided in the earlier post, obviously something is awry. The question is: which is the more accurate on this issue? I am honestly asking because, it having come up in this fashion, I'd really like to know....
     
  11.  
    J-WO

    J-WO Pretentious Avatar Alert.

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    Cat Stevens hasn't changed from the hippy he's always been. He still likes to see loose women get stoned.
     
  12.  
    wonkishere

    wonkishere Well-Known Member

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    It sounds like a lot of stuff has happened that I wasn't aware of. For instance, I missed that bizarre interview he gave that is quoted in the wiki article. I saw a television interview in which he denied wanted Salman Rushdie dead, but I have no idea how to interpret that bizarre interview he gave mentioned there.

    That quote by Rushdie where he mentioned him "trying to rewrite his past," is also unknown to me. I actually looked around for awhile trying to find some comment about what Rushdie thought of all this.

    At this point I have no idea what to think. What he said in the interview that I watched, and quoted material from him now, greatly differs from what he appears to have said some time ago. I don't know whether he's simply covering for himself, has changed, or he was being sarcastic in that interview, it's hard to tell now.
     
  13.  
    Southern Geologist

    Southern Geologist Well-Known Member

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    Nerds_feather

    Nerds_feather Purveyor of Nerdliness

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    FTR, Rushdie clearly does not like Cat Stevens, and does not think he was "misquoted." Perhaps he's being uncharitable, but that *might* have something to do with living under threat of assassination for so long.

    And further FTR, the whole basis for the fatwa is ridiculous. There is not a single verse in the Quran that states human beings should proscribe death/corporal punishment for someone who "blasphemes." It's supposed to be up to God, who who Quran states clearly will punish the blasphemer will never-ending hellfire. Apparently this is deemed sufficient punishment, given a fervent belief in the existence of never-ending hellfire. ;)
     
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    JoanDrake

    JoanDrake Well-Known Member

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    Robert A. Heinlein disappointed me terribly with "Farnham's Freehold". I mean, here is a guy who published two of the most opposite and yet best-argued Right and Left wing statements in political SF suddenly turning around and pushing straight fascism. And it wasn't even good. Since then I've came to the conclusion he felt he had to give all the "isms" equal time, but his heart just wasn't in that one. Thank god he gave up politics after that and moved on to sex.
     
  16.  
    Alex Mason

    Alex Mason Loremaster

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    I'm so tired of hearing about this from Card. The link article was written in a time when the law was upheld, so any hate should be equally directed to every elected representative and judge ever since, at no time, did they make those laws unconstitutional (at the time the article was written).
    Also, know your audience. Several people mention that it isn't his right to tell 'us' what is good and bad. Well, he was writing to a specific Mormon audience so it was in line to them the audience (who isn't us) what was right or wrong since they all professed a certain belief system that condemns that behavior. You are correct that he isn't the person in charge of interpreting decency to the nation, but he wasn't doing that. He was interpreting decency according to his religion to other members of his religion.
     
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    Jo Zebedee

    Jo Zebedee Come away, oh human child - Waters and the Wild

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    Card's views, whilst I find them deeply unpleasant, haven't put me off reading his work. But, learning about Marion Zimmer Bradley's background has had a somewhat different effect on me - more on this later.

    The background is here:

    Excerpts from MZB's Depositions

    And it seems fairly clear from this that MZB's husband had a series of sexual encounters with young, teenage boys, that she knew of and chose to do nothing about. Indeed, she applied to adopt a young boy without informing the authorities of her husband's earlier behaviour.

    This upset me more than Card on two levels - firstly it's about the sexual abuse of children which, perhaps because I am a parent, hits me on a deeper level than distasteful views on homosexuality. (Again, note, I am not condoning Card's views, I'm simply saying that, to me, failing to safeguard children - even her own - from a known sexual predator seems to be worse on my moral compass.)

    But it also upsets me as a reader. As well as her SFF stuff, MZB wrote a book named The Catch Trap, which is the story of a life-long love affair between two men. It's a book I like very much and have read many times (partly because of the circus element of the story but also because the central relationship and characters are strong and real). But, crucially, at the time the love affair begins, one of the two lovers is about 14, the same age MZB's husband seemed to target.

    Now, with Card, his personal intolerance does not seem to have hugely affected his writing - The Songbird, for instance, tells of a co-dependent (but non sexual) relationship between two men very sensitively, and Speaker for the Dead tells of a religion which speaks the truth of the dead and seeks to understand the person (and is presented as a model for tolerance - especially when Ender speaks for his hated older brother.) there are some books he's written which are closer to Mormon views, but generally he has been open about this being the case. (I could be being very naive, I grant, though.)

    But, with MZB I sort of feel one of my favourite books, one that I would say shaped my wrirting, with its focus on characters and its closeness, seems to have been shaped by her knowledge of her husband. In this case, I'm finding it hard to divorce the author from the writing.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2014
  18.  
    JonH

    JonH Refreshed and Renewed

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    I read two MZB books, Sharra's Exile and Two to Conquer and I recall being disturbed by her portrayal of homosexuality in one of the books (can't remember which). It was enough to put me off reading any more. I'm not normally worried by gay happenings, and I'm now wondering if that's the reason why it disturbed me as much as it did.

    I never picked up on anything like that in Orson Scott Card.
     
  19.  
    SFBookclub

    SFBookclub Member

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    I won't have anything further to do with OSC and the argument that I should separate an author from their work is paper thin to me. Any purchase I made of his works would provide him with funds to continue writing disgusting bigoted material.
     
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    zlogdan

    zlogdan Hex data reader and pawn

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    It has happened to me. It was one the greatest mistakes of my life when I have stopped reading my favorite living author - OSC - because the author was pro Iraq invasion and this single stupid narrow-minded decision made me lose around 15 years I could be reading OSC instead of relying on my preconceptions. It taught me a lesson: I can still read and love Alan Moore or China Mieville in spite of the fact they call or once called themselves "communists".

    In recent years, I was aware of the accusations to his so called "homophobia" still I do not see OSC advocating hatred or concentration camps for gay people, he has just disagreed of the PC agenda so utterly related to gay rights which - as he says - quite often turns into real hatred and preconceptions. He's merely advocating that traditional families are the basis of our society.

    Most of Card's favorite authors were atheists ( Asimov, Heinlein, Clarke , etc ) and at least one of them was openly gay ( Clarke ). He still stresses to admire many gay people without thinking to burn them all with the fires of hell. This certainly does not count as hatred.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2016
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