Thanks to Geeks OUT, the bad vibes on Ender’s Game are being felt beyond the LGBT community. Tonight I went to a signing at La Luz de Jesus, our local Los Feliz art gallery/alt.culture general store (books, candy, action figures, robots, stationery, statuary, shower curtains, rugs, blankets, stuffed toys, candles, flashlights, purses, clothing, tee shirts, make-up, perfume, soap, CDs, jewelry, bones, taxidermy, Haitian sequined prayer flags–basically any thing you’d need to survive emergency gift-giving, lost luggage, a bad break up, or an earthquake) for Heavenly Bodies, Dr. Paul Koudounaris’ glorious photo book full of images of bejeweled skeletons, cult figures from a bygone time when saints were believed to have worked miracles.
Matt Kennedy, the gallery director, and I were chatting about what we were going this weekend. Matt’s really into comics (he recently scored an original panel from Gasoline Alley, one that contains a pivotal plot point), loves weird history and science fiction (he and his wife play a drinking game centering around the TV show Ancient Aliens–narrator says “alien” and you drink; narrator says “extra-terrestrial,” and you take three sips, etc.), and has an encyclopedic knowledge of movies. In the midst of our geeking out I blurted:
Please don’t go see Ender’s Game!
He replied vehemently:
No way! No way would I see that. And I gotta tell you, a guy came in from the the film company, wanting to put up a poster from the movie and said, ‘Hey, maybe we could do a promotion with you.’ I told told him, ‘No, that’s not gonna happen,’ and he shook his head and went,”I know, I get it, I get it.’
Matt went to say that he did half-joking suggest to the film company promo guy that maybe he could try Lassen’s (the Mormon-owned health food store up the road that donated to support Prop 8–I won’t shop there, even though it’s the only health food store close by). The poster guy went away unhappily aware that the word was out on Ender’s Game–that the man behind the story, Orson Scott Card is a bigot.
Geek’s OUT has been the instrumental primogenitor in raising awareness about Orson Scott Card’s nastiness, his homophobia, his anti-equality activism through their Skip Ender’s Game campaign. In the Advocate, Patrick Yacco, a Geeks OUT board member writes brilliantly and passionately about why he is skipping Ender’s Game, and explains more eloquently than I what his group of sci-fi-loving queers has done and why. Their activism has shown what motivation and determination can accomplish. Geek OUT are true superheroes.
Since Geeks OUT launched this campaign earlier this year, we’ve faced a slew of criticism, ranging from “you need to separate the art from the artist” to “this isn’t big enough to make a difference.” To the first argument, I have to draw on my experience of being a queer geek and knowing that Orson Scott Card doesn’t respect who I am as a fan of science fiction. We’re not talking about someone who at one time or another made some stupid comments and is now apologizing for them, like James Gunn, director of the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy. Card actively works to target and undermine the LGBT community’s progress, and he’s quietly begun attacking people of color as well. To me, consuming any of his products is extremely problematic, and I’m addressing that in the fashion I see fit.
On the other hand, to say that the Skip Ender’s Game campaign won’t have an impact is completely moot at this point. Geeks OUT has pushed Card’s atrocious attacks on the LGBT community to the forefront of mainstream media, with nearly every outlet that reports on Ender’s Game commenting on his radical activism. Even if people weren’t aware of his views, they’re learning about them now. Regardless of Ender’s Game’s box office tally, Geeks OUT has helped raise awareness of Orson Scott Card’s fear-mongering, and no amount of ticket sales can change that.
Matt Kennedy isn’t the only straight sci-fi fan who’s skipping Ender’s Game. On Facebook and in real life, straight sci-fans have told me they are not going to see Ender’s Game, period, not even by paying for a ticket at the megaplex and sneaking in. That’s huge. Geeks OUT are true superheroes. Their activism has shown what motivation and determination can accomplish.
Skip Ender’s Game!
Need something? La Luz de Jesus probably has it.
Left to right, Matt Kennedy, artist Christopher Ulrich, Paul Koudounaris PhD.
Koudounaris and two of his Heavenly Bodies.