Orson Scott Card: poster-boy of the standalone art or not question

Some people are fond of bashing Orson Scott Card for his stance on traditional marriage (and the tangential issues of homosexual marriage, etc). A certain segment of those say that they will never read his books again (or see the Ender’s Game movie) due to their disagreement with his politics.

I understand the emotion behind this idea, but it makes for a very incoherent sort of life if brought to its logical conclusion. You would have to be a homesteader in Alaska, living off the grid, in order to achieve a life untouched by those you disagree with. Regardless of political persuasion, if you start digging, you’re going to find a multitude of people that espouse violently different opinions from the ones that you hold.

I disagree with the politics of Apple. I profoundly disagree, but they make an excellent computer. Shrug. Good for them. Common grace exists in the world, manifest in the creativity of Apple. It reflects something that is so much something other than Apple. I would be an idiot to deny that and ignore it. Orson Scott Card wrote some excellent books. They exist now, separate from him. I would be an idiot to not avail myself of those tales, if science-fiction is a genre I enjoy (and it is). I think Harvey Weinstein is a chump of the highest order, but his company makes some great films every now and then. I’d be a chump myself if I discounted the films simply due to Mr. Weinstein’s inane pronouncements and activism.

Common grace, poured out on reprobate and saint alike. I find many modern singers to be rather, erm… narrow in how their brains operate (I suppose that’s a somewhat polite way to put it), but I certainly enjoy a lot of their songs.

Art, what we do, a well-installed bit of plumbing, a cake, a song, a hand-crafted desk–these all exist apart from us. They can be enjoyed without such enjoyment meaning you are agreeing with the views of whomever baked that cake. We exist in slices of time. Seconds, instants, minutes, hours. Each bit of time falls away from us, complete, used up, done. In such and such an instant we have either done well or not. The things that are done well can be enjoyed for what they are. By us and by others.

Common grace. Poured out in drips and spots and bits of time that whirl away on the current, gone from us, but, perhaps, still available to others. Available and no longer “us.”

2 thoughts on “Orson Scott Card: poster-boy of the standalone art or not question”

  1. Nice bit of lyricism in that last paragraph. Put it in a song.

    I find the attitude you’re espousing here is something I’ve learned (am still learning) with age. There was a time when I sorted the world into “us” and “not-us”, and anything one of “us” did was right and good – i.e. as long as someone had the right religion, that meant they must have correct politics, make good art, bake great cakes, while anything someone “not-us” did was automatically bad (I still see a lot of people voting that way – it scares me). Now I’ve done an almost complete 180° turn on that, and there’s a lovely degree of freedom in it. I can look at what someone makes, and does, and make up my own mind on whether I like it, regardless of their opinions.

    Incidentally, have you read Orson Scott Card’s book on writing fantasy and sci-fi? One of the best how-to-write books I’ve read.

    1. Perhaps good art and artistry and workmanship is an inexorable thing, something that will manifest itself despite the apparent chumpery of the artist or workman involved? I find that a reassuring (and alarming) thought.

      No, I haven’t read that book. Though, you’re the second person in the last few weeks to mention it. I think I’ll get it. I could use some help.

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