Being a bit of an online hermit, this piece of Orson Scott Card’s mind has slipped my eyes for seven years. I am surprised, because in his science-fiction sagas, which I still have to recommend to any science-fiction reader out there, he always came along as a subtle and tolerant, if religious, author.
This essay is apparently part of a series of many others in which he attacks gay marriage for the following reasons, in order of appearance (click on More… to read selected paragraphs)
Everything he says and stands for sounds so horribly intolerant, unresearched and stupid that my first instinct was to look for the punchline. It manages to rave against homosexuals, divorced parents and single-parent homes while offending the intelligence of children and trying to manipulate it for his own beliefs, insulting all the people who decide not to reproduce and attacking public education. It is amazingly close-minded and bitter, but indeed this author that advocates for intergalactic tolerance of extremely weird species wrote it, and he takes himself pretty seriously because he has repeated the same discourse over and over again.
I feel a little cheated. It is one thing to read In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust and think that his narrator, protagonist and stand-in character is very self-centered, and then discover that he spent years in bed just because – I wasn’t very surprised. But Orson? You have just broken my literary heart. I don’t think that I will ever buy any other book by you, and I really wanted to read the Alvin Maker series, only because I would be afraid that you would use the income to somehow support those groups that call themselves pro-Family but are really anti-gay and anti-abortion and anti-individual-freedom in general (unless that individual happens to believe in gun possession and the marriage of Church and State). Sigh.
That is the risk of researching the authors that you like. I was much happier, and less judgemental, when I was a child and I believed that books magically produced themselves and that the author’s name was really just an accessory (which makes sense, because I was a die-hard fan of Goosebumps and the Sweet Valley Twins at that time). Now, as an adult, I find it difficult to divorce the person that wrote the book from the message that he or she is trying to get across, and these messages are usually very easy to detect and discard or think about, depending on my personal beliefs. A good example would be Barbara Kingsolver, who deserves a whole series of articles for herself, or Stephenie Meyer, who is also a very obvious writer.
But Orson deceived me completely. Maybe I was blind with love. This article sums up the core of my problem with the author previously known as my favorite.
What do you do when you find out unpleasant facts about authors that you adore? Does it change your perception of their work, or does your love for their books stay the same?