Comment on April 2 commentary

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Comment on April 2 commentary

Postby deepthinker on Sat Apr 02, 2005 9:55 am

Aeire,

I think we all need one of these.

In service to the dream,

Lawrence
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Postby dqbiggerfam on Sat Apr 02, 2005 10:28 am

I can't access the image. Tripod probably has a script that only displys an image if it is part of the web page hosted by tripod. Yahoo does this, I think.
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Postby communist trees on Sat Apr 02, 2005 10:30 am

Yeah, I can't see it either. Perhaps stick it on Imageshack?
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Postby HeaDCase on Sat Apr 02, 2005 11:59 am

The comments on Card kind of reminded me of a graffitti I saw once: "I hate racists and Gypsies". I'm sure you see the point - people are not rational, and condemning racism (or any other 'ism') in general while holding on to your own personal prejudices is a very human thing.

Not to defend Card, but just because he's no better than the rest, that shouldn't change the value his books hold for us.
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Postby bloodeye on Sat Apr 02, 2005 12:32 pm

I've read Card's books. Most of them I've enjoyed, some quite deeply. A few I didn't deeply care for. But I still seek and of his books I haven't read yet, knowing I'll probally enjoy them.

I haven't read the essay in question. I've heard what it's about, and I don't think I'd enjoy it.

But I still enjoy the books.
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Postby communist trees on Sat Apr 02, 2005 2:15 pm

Is this the essay in question? It seems to at least be his most famous on the subject, anyway, judging by a quick googling.

I couldn't get through it, by the way, and I have no intention of attempting to again.
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Postby Lareth on Sat Apr 02, 2005 6:48 pm

Boy. This is a pretty serious issue for me -- not homosexuality, or even Card and his beliefs, but rather an author's responsibility to his or her readers and the integrity of fiction.

I write a lot of fantasy fiction. I deal very heavily with religious themes because I think they're very powerful tools for exploring the human psyche. In my stories some people have direct visions from God or from the gods, demons and angels struggle over the fate of souls, prophecies abound and my religious-minded characters struggle constantly with tests of faith. I'm fascinated by the power some people seem to find from faith in a higher power and the incredible force they can produce from it, moving themselves and others to accomplish the impossible. Likewise the sense of shock and betrayal when faith turns out to be unjustified is a great source of angst and indecision, and consequently character development as people either move toward inner peace or self-destruction.

I am an atheist, and fairly cynical in my view of spirituality. I personally believe that basing your happiness on faith in God is as healthy as walking off a roof with a Superman cape, believing you will fly. I think blind, unquestioning belief in anything is one of the stupidest and most harmful decisions a person can possibly make. Yet in my fiction, there are inevitably characters who are rewarded for holding on to their faith even when all the evidence points to the contrary. This reward can take the form of divine assistance, or a blissful paradise in the afterlife, or just a sense of inner peace and certainty that more jaded characters can never achieve.

In my mind, the distinction is clear. One is real, the other is fantasy. I have characters who turn into monsters or cast magic spells. There are floating islands and ghostly cities that only appear by moonlight. I have dragons who eat fair maidens and vice versa. To me the gods and powers and favors they grant are just like all the other fantasy elements: a metaphor, a psychological storytelling tool and a set of nifty special effects all rolled into one. But I worry that some readers might not see it that way, especially when I deal with mythologies that resemble Christianity and other modern religions.

I was introduced to Card through Seventh Son, which I read when I was about twelve. The next two books in the Alvin Maker series also fascinated me, though I feel the story went downhilll fast after that. These books strongly influenced both my writing and the way I saw the world. Again, the message of tolerance, peace and understanding is a major theme. "Good" and "Evil" are presented as extremely complex issues, beyond the understanding of any oner person. The human characters who do the most harm tend to be those who allow themselves to be deceived, those who silence their own consciences and passively follow a bad idea, rather than those who are merely aggressive and ambitious. The only straightforward stance I can pick out from those books is that those who advocate violence are always wrong, though they may otherwise be good people. Again, all wars are caused by misunderstandings. (Sometimes deliberately induced.)

I didn't feel terribly shocked or betrayed by Card's statements about homosexuality, though I think they are founded on lunacy. For me the real blow is learning that he is a devout Christian, despite the repeated message in his books that those who allow themselves to be led blindly and fanatically inevitably end up being decieved.

I can't reconcile his personal views with the messages he portrays in his books, but I don't really feel I have to, either. To my mind, one of the things that makes a story come alive is showing not just different ways of looking at the world, but that there are different ways of being right about the world, even when they seem contradictory. Figuring out how these opposite views can both be correct, and where they might be wrong, is what growing up is all about, and all stories are, ultimately, about growing up.

Just my thoughts. Thanks for listening.

-Lareth
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Postby Casual Notice on Sat Apr 02, 2005 10:11 pm

Sorry for the link, I didn't want to retype it all. And I'm a bit of a prostitute where my site is concerned.
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Postby Ambystoma4 on Sat Apr 02, 2005 10:49 pm

First off his statement is funny in it's mean-spirited absurdity.

Secondly, I can see how that belief spawns his books. Think about it. A child is abducted to a strange land where he struggles and is utimately accepts the truth. His belief: Children are taken into this strange land,homosexuality, against their will, molestation, where they do what they think is right, homosexuality, then ultimately see the error of their ways, going back to heterosexuality. I haven't read the author that Aeire is referencing, but this looks like this would be a valid analysis of the author's themes.

This isn't the first time, and it won't be the last, that good things have come out of horribly twisted circumstances. During WW2 the Nazis used the Holocaust victims as test subjects to test all sorts of hypothesi (sp?) and find the levels of human endurance. It's an absolutely horrible situation, but there are many advances that are based on those experiments that we take for granted today.

There are books that I really like, but I really don't care about the author behind them. I've learned that finding out about the authors is a good way to get your ideas about them shattered. I take everything as it is keeping the fog of mystery intact. Like the line says, "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain." Of course fiction is just entertainment for me.

Also as a writer, everything that is written will be misinterpreted by the reader. It's not intentional they just have their own outlook on life that they will apply to what they are reading.
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Postby communist trees on Sat Apr 02, 2005 11:42 pm

Hmm. I didn't find Card's '04 essay on initial googling. Meh.
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Postby thegameiam on Mon Apr 11, 2005 3:21 am

Lareth wrote:I didn't feel terribly shocked or betrayed by Card's statements about homosexuality, though I think they are founded on lunacy. For me the real blow is learning that he is a devout Christian, despite the repeated message in his books that those who allow themselves to be led blindly and fanatically inevitably end up being decieved.


Are you equating "devout Christian" with "led blindly and fanatically" intentionally?

I'm not a Christian, but I know a lot of very devout Christians who are neither blindly led nor fanatical.

One useful thing I've run across is Sun Tzu's concept (lots of people say this, but I don't know of anyone who said it earlier) of "Know your enemy's thoughts" - it's a valuable thing to try to understand WHY people who think quite differently do so. Most people see themselves as completely logical and rational. Understanding what motivates different people gives one a powerful insight into how others will react to one's words. (the irony is of course that OSC treated this message as a central message of Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead).
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Try THE FRANCHISE - http://www.listentothefranchise.com

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Postby Ambystoma4 on Mon Apr 11, 2005 8:42 pm

I've heard the Franchise mentioned before. I think on the SonicSight HUM board.
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