Why I Won’t Be Playing “Ender’s Game”
October 31, 2013

Writer Orson Scott Card’s “Ender’s Game” is, by all accounts, a terrific science fiction story. As a comic store manager for a year and a half, I saw how popular the comic adaptation of the novels was to our customers. As a proud geek and lover of all things nerd, you would think I’d be lining up to see this.  The trailer looks excellent, and stars Harrison Ford and Ben Kingsley are definite pluses for any movie.

But I won’t be seeing “Ender’s Game”.  I won’t be buying the books, the comics, or any other work by Orson Scott Card.

By now, you may already know why.  There have been lots of articles already written as the film approaches about Card’s anti-gay views. But just in case you haven’t read any of them or were not aware, Orson Scott Card is as homophobic and bigoted a person as you are ever likely to find.

I’ll be linking you to a site that has several quotes and sources for his statements expressing his hate and fear, so you can familiarize yourself with just how awful a human being he is.  But let me just say that if it were ONLY his views, I might not boycott the film.  After all, everyone’s entitled to their opinion, we live in a nation where the right to free speech is cherished, and though I disagree with someone, I don’t try to silence them.

It’s more than that, though.  Card is an activist, a very wealthy and prominent activist, who has sat on the board of anti-gay lobbying groups and campaigned not only against marriage equality but for the outright CRIMINALIZATION of homosexuality across the country and the WORLD.  Every dollar he makes from the purchase of his works has the potential to fuel anti-gay campaigns literally everywhere.

There has been a post spread at the last minute by Lionsgate that Card is listed as a producer but will receive no profits from the film.  Even if this IS true (and if so why is it suddenly being said in the final hour?) the success of the film will CERTAINLY lead to greater sales of his books, and so the success of the film is directly linked to money in the coffers of hate groups. So that’s not an excuse to contribute to it.

Bottom line: I don’t want my money going to hurt people I care about. Point blank. No, thank you.

Each of us has to make their own decision. I won’t judge anyone who decides to see it. But I encourage you to avoid the movie, books, or anything by Orson Scott Card. Here’s a link to a great site that gives more information and also has a petition to sign. Please help spread the word!

Skip Ender’s Game

 

Buzzkill: How “Project X” is Killing Kids
March 15, 2012

(Warning: This article contains spoilers for the film Project X. Not that anything I could say would really spoil it.)

The movie Project X  has been getting headlines not for how good it is (it’s not) but rather for how many kids are throwing copycat parties with dangerous, and in one case, deadly consequences.

Produced by Todd Phillips (The Hangover), Project X  depicts a birthday party that spirals out of control, causing massive property damage, in a quiet suburban neighborhood in Pasadena, California. (The movie even has an apology to the Pasadena Police Department onscreen just before it begins.)

Right now, a lot more people may feel the filmmakers owe them more than just an apology. Teens inspired by the movie are throwing Project X parties trying to recapture the “fun” being had by the kids in the movie. I place fun in quotes because, while the party does indeed look fun, the police in riot gear flashbomb-grenading the kids later in the movie does not. I apparently have an ability to connect dots which these teens lack.

In the most recent development, a Houston teen was murdered at one of these parties, shot by an assailant who opened fire at the party “for no reason”, according to another partygoer. (See the link to the news article below.)

So the question becomes, as it always does, what responsibility the filmmakers of Project X  have to the people whose property is damaged or to people who have lost family or friends to the violent and out of control behavior at parties directly inspired by the content of their film.

This question is not new, it comes around every so often, just as it did several years back when a man was burned by someone emulating the criminal actions depicted in the movie The Money Train. This time, however, I think there is weight to the argument that writers Matt Drake and Michael Bacall and director Nima Nourizadeh, as well as Phillips, do bear some responsibility for these damages. Not because they’ve chosen to depict this scenario of the party spiraling out of control; movies depict stories, and sometimes stories are about things we wouldn’t want to happen in the real world. That’s not something we should hold against filmmakers, or storytellers of any kind. With that attitude, we’d lose a huge amount of our ability to tell stories of any kind, but comedies would be next to impossible. No. The problem here is their choice to end the film with a lame back peddle, showing us the horrible consequences of a party gone wrong, but then giving us reactions that sell the idea of how good the outcome is for those involved.

Party-promoting teen Costa is seen being interviewed on TV dressed like a suburban pimp. Birthday boy Thomas has a scene with his father, fishing out dad’s Mercedes from the pool no less, where dad can barely contain his glee that his loser son did something “cool”. There’s the walk of triumph through the school halls, being cheered like heroes for nearly getting everyone burned to death. And of course, in the end, Thomas gets the girl.

Yes, of course the movie has some little print captions that say the kids are up on charges or dealing with minor problems resulting from their foray into absolute bedlam. But still…that ending. It’s no wonder kids keep trying to recreate that legendary party, to give themselves that makeover into coolness that will get them the hottest girl in school and keep bullies from picking on them for all time. Who wouldn’t want that? And Project X gives it to them, despite the fact that’s the most unlikely scenario of all time.

Perhaps that’s the thing kids are most imitating: the irresponsibility of Phillips and company. Where the kids in the movie hand out alcohol and pills, the filmmakers themselves are the ultimate enablers, handing out an irresistible fantasy. And in this case, a deadly one.

As the neighbor in the film says, it’s time to shut this party down.

Read the article and watch video here.