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Author Topic: Empire: blue-state good guys?
Seatarsprayan
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In OSC's latest Rhino review, he says:

quote:
I was greatly amused by the mini-review of my latest novel, Empire, in the News & Record. They were very careful to warn that this novel of a future civil war between red staters and blue staters would be enjoyed more by readers with red state leanings.

This is funny for several reasons. First, the novel may start out with characters who are red staters, but in fact the whole point of the novel is the poisonousness of this polarization in America, and there are good guys and bad guys on both sides of the ideological divide.

I read Empire a few weeks ago but I'm having trouble thinking of who the good-guy blue staters would be. Rube's wife is supposedly a democrat, that married a republican, that worked as an aide to a republican... what blue-state values does she actually profess? Who else is there on the "good" side that is on the blue-state side of "the divide"?
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TommySama
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There aren't any.
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TomDavidson
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There isn't one. There also isn't a red-state bad guy, unless you count the "n-word" and "f-word"-spewing cartoon that's apparently supposed to stand in as a representative of "bad" red-staters, mainly so our heroes can be horrified by him and disappointed that someone they largely agree with can be so full of venom.
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Itsame
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Well, that is kind of dissapointing, the polarization of good guy/bad guy direcdtly correlating to red state/blue state...
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TommySama
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I don't understand how OSC can think that. I read his book from front to back and it was clearly portraying 'liberals' as bad and conservatives as good. I even agree with him a lot of the time; but how does he miss that?
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Will B
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***SPOILERS****

Actually, he portrayed moderates as good. Conservatives only showed up as that cartoon-guy who turned out to be a hoax anyway. (Unless we identify all the characters who loved America and didn't think people should shoot cops as "conservative.")

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TomDavidson
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I reject that definition of "moderate." A moderate is not just a conservative who's undecided about universal health care and thinks racial slurs are rude.
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Zotto!
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Y'know, Cecily is not some token Liberal who has been grafted on to satiate the three liberals who read Empire even after their friends told them it was an insane right-wing diatribe. She's one third of the book and absolutely central to the entire idea of reconciliation between warring social factions. Apparently she's not a "good" Liberal if she actually compromises with the "other side" and marries a Conservative or works for one. And yet this is the entire point of the book. People have become so divisive that the mere fact that she's a Liberal who talks to people on the other side is seen as evidence that she must not be a "good" member of her team. What, exactly, are we told of Cecily's political leanings? Oh, from Reuben's point of view she's not as ersatz as the academic left and she likes Pat Moynihan. Hey, Card likes ol' Moynie too, therefore Cecily is obviously a surrogate and the only thing "good" about her Liberalness is that she agrees with Card where he is "liberal". Uh-oh, Reuben likes Fox News and makes disparaging comments about the current University system and European Intellectuals! (How terribly unlike any of the Conservatives I know...) And good heavens, because Card actually treats him with respect, shows his internal logic consistently and honestly without absurd postmodern authorial intrusions reassuring the audience with comforting whispers that he doesn't really agree with the character, he obviously must be writing right-wing agit-prop! Reuben is apparently a right-wing fanatic or a stereotypical supersoldier even though he's married to a Liberal (whose only disqualifications from being a "good" one are the fact that she's married to Rube, worked for a Mormon, and likes one of the the same Democratic leaders that Card and thousands of other Democrats liked). And let's not even get started on Cole, who is apparently only conservative to the degree that he asserts he is.

The fact is, Card is writing against extremism; when Cole breaks the guard's arms near the end of the book while specifically thinking that he "almost felt sorry for him", the guard mouths the standard extreme progressive lines. The "right-wing coup" is nearly effective because the President (who is a good Mormon from Utah!) thinks that his rhetoric isn't all that excessive. These are huge points that people apparently gloss right over; Card is asserting that the groupthink of the right is as insane as the groupthink of the left, and that no matter which team does it, the fact is that if groups of people repeat lies often enough for many people to unquestionably agree with them, they're still lies. It's the divisive use of political labels that Card is against, not any particular team; the fact that people can actually accuse Cecily of being a token liberal due exclusively to the fact that she compromises with people is mind-boggling. "Conservatives" are not the enemy! "Liberals" are not the enemy! "Moderates" are not the enemy! Any of these groups could be the "enemy"! These groups are not being divided into good-guy-bad-guy unless we will it to happen; it's the small group of people who use mere ideological labeling as a euphemism for "evil" that are the problem. (And don't even get started on the whole "but that's a subtle pernicious thought-pattern that leads us merely to defining that group of people as evil in the very breath that we use to say that we're not defining anyone as evil!" thing. Clearly, there are some people who are unhelpful to civilization, and we call them extremists. They co-opt the parties; they are not inherently the parties themselves. Fine if you want to believe that there are no such things as moderates and that everyone is really just an extremist on a different axis, but jeez, that's quite a redefinition of terms for people who routinely get so down on Tresopax.

It's the same thing we see in response to OSC's political columns; he tends sometimes to use a few choice words such as "dangerous", “foolish”, “immoral”, “stupid”, or “insane”, to describe either the actions or the character of his opponents/groups of opponents, both of which are usually intrinsically relevant as support for his arguments. (He does this almost exclusively with people who are either elected representatives of their ideas or generally-defined groups; this is not an insult to individuals within those groups, as Tom usually says, because it is criticism in general; it's the same reason why, say, a pastor can condemn adulterers without calling Kathy and Fred and their spouses up to the podium and telling them they're sinners.) (And, contrary to Tom, MrSquicky, and other's constant refrains that Card bases his conclusions on unsupported assertions of motive, he actually supports these assertions with evidence nearly all the time. The times he doesn't, it's almost certain that he's using a conclusion reached in a different column to buttress the assertion of the current column. Coincidentally, Card's opponents rarely write six years of weekly political commentary in refutation to his views; apparently their sheer sincerity of belief is enough to convince them that they're correct and Card is the loon.)

People then note that his use of such words is unfair, and the conversation gets bogged down in a discussion of how and why the use of those words is offensive to a reasoned dialogue. But offensive to who? Where I work, OSC would be considered almost heart-breakingly mild by my friends who use violent obscenities every third word. To my more delicate art-school friends, OSC’s every third word is a violent obscenity. I can't even count the number of times I've heard people say (on our host's own boards!) that OSC is obviously on the fast-track to a heart attack what with how mouth-frothy his columns are. But how can you possibly say anything of importance if the only standard of refutation is whether or not it was “insulting” to some nebulously-defined group of people who somehow have a monopoly on what is and is not “insulting”? Whose “insult” should OSC pay heed to?

Plenty of Mormons and other Christians denounce him with invective-filled cant about how heretical he is; let’s not forget that he routinely describes the ideologies of many of his opponents as being “religions”, with the negative connotations associated with “religion” that imply that they are blind and rigid, with groundless doctrine unsupported by evidence. This, from the same man who holds his faith as supremely sacred and the basis of his life and family, and who is overwhelmingly criticized from the other angle as being a subversive religious fanatic, apologetically basing his political observations on pious adherence to a religious dogma or using his fiction as subtle propaganda to proselytize for his church! The "elite" criticize him as if he is a conservative, or for how "authoritarian" he has become ever since he stopped writing the kind of nifty sci-fi and fantasy books he did in the eighties. Yup, ever since Clinton came into office, Card just turned in his Democratic credentials and became a fascist.
People criticize his books on nearly the same grounds as his columns: since OSC has written many books that touched them deeply, consisting of scenes and characters whose feelings and actions they feel are realistic, they define him as a masterful writer, and because masterful writers by definition should know what is and is not offensive on an empirical scale, then when OSC offends them he meant to be nasty about it.

However, if you grant the premises he bases his arguments on, then most of the "insults" are completely "justified", in much the same way that because of my beliefs, I feel absolutely no qualms calling every member of the KKK a misguided idiot. (which is obviously NOT to say that I'm comparing Card's opponents with the KKK! Only that the principle is similar.) If you believe that there really is no such thing as people who behave "dangerously", “foolishly”, “immorally”, “stupidly”, or “insanely”, then attack the evidential basis for those terms, the interpretation of causality he has asserted as being the justification for his rhetoric, not the fact that he dared to use "offensive" terms in the first place. He has said, time and time again, that good people can disagree with any argument he makes. And I gotta say, if you think people like the right-wing general or the extremists from the left don't exist, you really just haven't met 'em yet. If your anecdotal evidence that "none of the liberals/conservatives I know just aren't like that!" is acceptable to write, then I think my anecdotal experience that Card is actually toning down the attributes of people I've met should be just as valid.

There is no empirical standard of what is offensive or not. There is a vague, nebulously-defined area where we all agree on what constitutes "fairplay" or not, but at the edges, in the practical, day-to-day world, the edge is by no means clearly separated. It's where you draw the lines, and everyone has a different line. If someone passes over our idiosyncratic line...well, it's just a little silly to get terribly upset about it.
Especially if you shuffle his books in with his columns, it's obvious that Card places a huge deal of importance on politeness and civility; he stresses it over and over again. But he also values those people who speak the truth, whether it can be tolerated in "polite" society or not. Fine if you don't like the fundamental premise of op-eds or the limitations of the thriller book-format in the first place, but don't condemn them for not being referenced like a scholarly article or less subtle than an exhaustive dissertation's worth of meticulously-detailed social studies.

Tom, you've insisted on Ornery that OSC has "refused to engage in debate" (without any actual evidence that Card refused to do anything) and "refused to apologize" for things that OSC obviously doesn't agree need apologizing for. Instead of showing why the particular offense was indeed so self-refuting that it inherently merited an apology, you merely get irritated that no apology is given. I remember when on Ornery you called Card's stance on the homosexual marriage issue a "bitchslap" that took your breath away without actually explaining why you thought Card was wrong, and later went on to excoriate Card for his excessive hyperbole! It's like the people who say Card is either (1) misguided or (2) malicious because he's so "black and white". Then, of course, are the little comments here and there about how funny it is that in Empire Card is being so open about being "authoritarian". You're able to imply that you know something that others don't without actually providing a shred of evidence. But it's that kind of thing that helps people form a negative opinion of Card, meaning more of a chance that his books won't be able to support his family, meaning less of a chance that Card will suddenly remember where he left the geniusness that enabled him to write in the authorial voice that powerfully narrated the cockroach morality play in Seventh Son or whatever bit of writing from two decades ago it is that you're looking for him to rewrite over and over. And yet, it is possible for someone to appreciate all the powerful scenes in Card's past books without denouncing all his writing ever since we learned his political leanings when he started his columns as being mere shadows of his former works.

Much of the criticism I've seen is like that, focusing on the fact that OSC dared to criticize something or other, and not on substantial causal refutation. It is, in effect, condemning Card for stylistic choices and rhetorical decisions he made, even though there is no way to know exactly which rhetorical choice to make for every audience to receive the message perfectly and no way to say anything of importance without offending someone, whose sense of being insulted is apparently overlooked if it's something that we agree with Card about. How much middleground between middleground between middleground are we trying to force the guy to find? It's an impossible standard; the faults of Card's books are usually minor carelessness or the faults of every imperfect book and thus every book ever written; the considerable merits, however, far outweigh many other stories.

People might then go on to say that because he doesn't excise such "insults" from his columns, that he is preaching to the choir of people who agree with him already, even though if you come to agree with the arguments he puts forth, then the "insults" are for the most part exceedingly tame or even non-existent. Yeah, he's occasionally sarcastic, he gets a little grumpy sometimes (for things that are, in my opinion, worth getting a little het up about), I disagree with some of his conclusions and premises, he doesn't always make the exact rhetorical choices I would make to cater to my understanding of how the relatively small group of people I've been interacting with on Hatrack for the past few years would need to be persuaded, he's not as squeaky-clean a writer as he apparently is supposed to be...

...but neither is he the raving mouth-frother that people here and on Ornery claim he is. In fact, if you look at what he says and believes and compare it with what he could say and believe, he's...

...well, pretty darn moderate. Shock of shocks.

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Zotto!
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Y'know, that looked a heck of a lot smaller in the 'quick reply' box. I should probably go for an editor, huh?

Edited to add: Heh heh, yup, looks like by defending "moderation" I might come off as a little mouth-frothy; I can only beg that people understand that a long, passionate post doesn't equal a temper being unleashed. [Smile] Really, it wouldn'ta taken that long to *say* all that, but it looks intimidating all typed out and everything. My apologies!

[ December 12, 2006, 11:45 PM: Message edited by: Zotto! ]

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Steev
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[Hat]

quote:
Originally posted by Zotto!:
The "right-wing coup" is nearly effective because the President (who is a good Mormon from Utah!) thinks that his rhetoric isn't all that excessive.

Idaho, not Utah.
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Zotto!
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True dat; my bad, yo. [Smile]
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TommySama
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Um, Zotto, not sure if we read the same book or not. I read Empire, by Orson Scott Card. In this book, Orson portrays every conservative (even if slightly so) as heroic and brave and good, while every liberal he shows is cowardly, obnoxious, or childish.

We are told Cecily is a democrat, but get no reason to believe so.

The point is he seems to be saying that only liberals are radical, while conservatives are open minded, intelligent, thoughtful, and generally nobleminded.

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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by Zotto!:
Lots and lots of stuff.

Excellent post.
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Zotto!
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Thanks, Dan. I'm always worried that I come off as the "for the love of pete, get off my side!" guy; glad to know the post worked for you at least.

TommySama: Your criticism of Cecily is the same criticism that people routinely apply to Card: "Well, he says he's a Democrat, but good democrats wouldn't think that"...are we really saying that the only "good" liberal is someone with absolutely nothing in common with conservatives? We get at least as much "evidence" that Cecily "really is" a Liberal as we get for Rube or Cole.

Along with his numerous works that stress the importance of personal integrity, OSC frequently mentions "A Man For All Seasons" --one of the most brilliant defenses of the absolute necessity of honor and truthfulness in all of cinema-- as being one of his favorite movies. Based on the evidence of his character, isn't it more of a stretch to say that his "Democratic" stance is some weird rhetorical cover-up so he'll seem more palatable and unbiased to Dems than to say that, hey, maybe he's just being honest? After so many years of being noted for in-depth characterization, does it make sense that he'd just...what, forget all that in favor of some strange and obvious little deception just to get attention or win a few undecided hearts to his "side"? Doesn't make sense to me.

[ December 13, 2006, 04:27 AM: Message edited by: Zotto! ]

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pooka
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It never actually says Nielsen is Mormon, does it? If he were, that could have played a larger part in the revolt of the Progressives. But the point is he was from a red state where even the cities went red.

(More Spoilers)

And the "good" guys, in the end, just kind of toast the takeover of Torrent despite their misgivings. What does that make them? The reader sees Torrent meeting with Verus. Doesn't that establish for the reader that Torrent is behind everything?

But I'm not sure it's an anti-extremism book. I thought the book was going to be about moderation, but the villain is the one crossing the lines and bringing people together.

If it is argued that Cecily didn't do anything inherently liberal, what did Malek and Cole do that was inherently conservative?

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TomDavidson
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quote:
She's one third of the book and absolutely central to the entire idea of reconciliation between warring social factions.
But what "liberal ideal" does Cecily hold that, say, her husband does not also hold? We get the idea that she's a little more fiscally authoritarian; does this make her a liberal "moderate?"

Is Zell Miller, just to pick a name at semi-random, a "moderate?" By what conceivable standard?

------

As to my own personal issues with Card: the man owes me an apology. I don't expect him to offer one, but that's neither here nor there. I will not take up space on this board explaining why I think so, although I'd be happy to discuss it with you over email.

I've also already offered (over email) to discuss my opinion of Empire with you. I'm still more than willing to do so. I will not, however, be discussing Empire or any imagined failings of its author at any length on this board, for obvious reasons.

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pooka
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Ah well. Sorry if you saw that, Tom. But I do not believe OSC owes you an apology.

[ December 13, 2006, 08:30 AM: Message edited by: pooka ]

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Zotto!
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Fair enough, Tom; I apologize for bringing those things up if you don't feel they were appropriate. For what it's worth, while I did have your email in the back of my mind as I was writing, I wasn't trying to rebut it here; everything I've talked about was something you said on either Hatrack or Ornery. Certainly wasn't trying to get the conversation to start nit-picking you exclusively to death, the goal was refutation of a prominent member's widely-agreed-with criticism. But I agree that discussing your personal issues might cloud the debate, so I won't go farther from that angle. I'm posting this here and on Sakeriver, wherever you visit first.

Edit: Rereading, I do come down a little harsh on Tom exclusively; this was not the point, guys, so I'm hoping this thread doesn't devolve into debating the justness of Tom's particular case. I was interested in refuting his widely-agreed-with views, not his personal integrity.

And with that, I'm officially late to work. [Smile]

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TomDavidson
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Let me point out that I have nowhere publicly expressed my opinion of Empire. Nor do I intend to do so. Any views of that book which are widely-agreed-with are, I assure you, not views I've submitted for public scrutiny.
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Jay
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
[QUOTE]
------
As to my own personal issues with Card: the man owes me an apology.

[ROFL]
Wow.... now that was funny. Osama Bin Laden thinks he deserves an apology for similar things too.

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pooka
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
Let me point out that I have nowhere publicly expressed my opinion of Empire. Nor do I intend to do so. Any views of that book which are widely-agreed-with are, I assure you, not views I've submitted for public scrutiny.

quote:
There isn't one. There also isn't a red-state bad guy, unless you count the "n-word" and "f-word"-spewing cartoon that's apparently supposed to stand in as a representative of "bad" red-staters, mainly so our heroes can be horrified by him and disappointed that someone they largely agree with can be so full of venom.
quote:
I reject that definition of "moderate." A moderate is not just a conservative who's undecided about universal health care and thinks racial slurs are rude.
I reject your definition of "opinion."

However, I will say that Cecily doesn't seem as angry about the Reds as Cole seems about the Blues. Especially after 8 years of putative Red control over congress and the white house. Though it could be due to her decision to live with a Red.

[Possible spoilers]
Also, is the bad General really on the Red side or is he working for Torrent? I don't recall anymore.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
I reject your definition of "opinion."
My opinion of the book does not hinge on whether I think the politics within it are even-handed. Nor should it, IMO.
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Destineer
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Hi Zotto,

(I haven't read the book, just the preview chapters, so this is a genuine question.)

Do you think Empire contains any characters who are to the left of Card himself, and are also good guys?

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Kent
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The other shoe will drop in the next book and the left wing conspiracy will have been set in motion by right wingers setting up the leftists to do their bidding. Layers within layers I tell you. Remember that the general was happy to have Cole "expose" him on O'Reilly's show.
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pooka
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quote:
Do you think Empire contains any characters who are to the left of Card himself, and are also good guys?
I don't know. I don't know of any specific reason that Cecily would be further left than himself. Your point of view characters were mainly Malich, Cole, and Cecily. I don't recall Cecily giving an opinion on the current war, but she was not a fan of "the president".
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El JT de Spang
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quote:
Wow.... now that was funny. Osama Bin Laden thinks he deserves an apology for similar things too.
Jay's analogizing powers are once again put on display.

Impressive.

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Bokonon
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I proclaim Osama the new Hitler vis-a-vis internet discussions.

-Bok

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Occasional
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Kent, I just realized the possibilities of what you said. Considering there are so many unfinished hints, I think the "Second U.S. Civil War" is far from over. If OSC is serious about what he said in the afterward, the next book will probably have Conservatives as the bad guys.
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pooka
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quote:
I proclaim Osama the new Hitler vis-a-vis internet discussions.

I don't think it's quite the same, since Osama has a large number of active supporters the are considered by civilized people to have a right to exert their influence on the world. (Such as saying Iraq is in a state of civil war. I'm not saying Iraq is or isn't in a civil war, but that one side definitely seems more aligned with Al-Qaeda.)
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Destineer
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quote:
Osama has a large number of active supporters the are considered by civilized people to have a right to exert their influence on the world. (Such as saying Iraq is in a state of civil war. I'm not saying Iraq is or isn't in a civil war, but that one side definitely seems more aligned with Al-Qaeda.)
I'm not super clear on what you're trying to say. If I say that Southern slave states fought in a civil war in the US in the 19th century, does that mean I'm saying that pro-slavery people have "a right to exert their influence on the world"?

quote:
I don't recall Cecily giving an opinion on the current war, but she was not a fan of "the president".
I guess that probably would put her to the left of OSC, who is very much a fan of "the president."
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pooka
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The Southerners thought they did. They had international allies at the time. For that matter, so did Nazis.

I'm saying Osama can't be cast in the same light as Hitler just yet.

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MrSquicky
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Only if you define left or right in terms of being a fan of the president, which I think is a big mistake.
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Destineer
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Good point.
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Bokonon
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pooka, isofar as invoking Osama has the same sort of effect on internet discussions as Godwin's Law, there is a similarity. That was the extent of my linking them.

-Bok

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Puppy
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quote:
My opinion of the book does not hinge on whether I think the politics within it are even-handed. Nor should it, IMO.
That is, in fact, AN opinion about the book, though. In fact, it is the one at issue in this thread.

Just saying [Smile]

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Kent
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No, it is an opinion about having an opinion on the book, Puppy.
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vonk
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I'm about a third of the way through Empire right now (I know I'm a little behind) and I gotta say it keeps getting better. There may be a huge turn in events coming up, in fact, I'm sure there is, but it seems to me that the only individual, so far, that is painted as a bad guy is General Alton. There are groups that are vilified, of course, mostly extremists, but also each party, depending on who's perspective we've got at the time.

I just don't see where the whole bias that some people are claiming is. If it happens that the blue-staters are the ones who started the hoopla in order to start a war with the right, as I have a feeling will happen, then that doesn't make them any worse than the red-staters, because the Army had been planning the same thing for years, but weren't going to start their plans for a couple of months. That doesn't make anyone better or worse, to me. It makes both sides pretty bad, and anyone trying to stop them pretty good, aka Rube, Cole and Cecily, so far.

That's just my two cents so far. Like I said, I'm just over 1/3 through it, so everything may change into liberal bashing in the next chapter, but so far it seems pretty even handed.

(also, I think it's pretty silly to expect an author to prove that his characters are of a certain political leaning by listing out their positions on any particular issue. I think we should just take his word for it when he says Cecily is a Dem.)

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Tante Shvester
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quote:
Originally posted by Jay:
Osama Bin Laden thinks he deserves an apology for similar things too.

OBL thinks OSC owes him an apology? I must have missed that episode on Al Jazeera.
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cheiros do ender
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quote:
Originally posted by Zotto!:
Y'know, that looked a heck of a lot smaller in the 'quick reply' box. I should probably go for an editor, huh?

Edited to add: Heh heh, yup, looks like by defending "moderation" I might come off as a little mouth-frothy; I can only beg that people understand that a long, passionate post doesn't equal a temper being unleashed. [Smile] Really, it wouldn'ta taken that long to *say* all that, but it looks intimidating all typed out and everything. My apologies!

You honestly beleive "it wouldn'ta taken that long to *say* all that"?
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Mazer
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Man, I should read this. I had know idea it was such a hot potato. The first few chapeters were interesting, but I wasn't sure I wanted to read a political book by someone who is my opposite in nearly every political issue. (Still my favorite author, though.)
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docmagik
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quote:
Originally posted by Zotto!:
goodstuffgoodstuff . . . [snip]

. . . he doesn't always make the exact rhetorical choices I would make to cater to my understanding of how the relatively small group of people I've been interacting with on Hatrack for the past few years would need to be persuaded . . . [snip]

. . . goodstuffgoodstuff

Right. And what some of Hatrack (and Ornrey) tends to forget sometimes is that we're not the target audience for these essays. Or this book.

The vast majority of his projects and endeavors have nothing to do with Hatack. The days where the man read and posted here every day are long done and over with. The days where the feedback on this forum heavily influenced plots and novels is also over with.

We *know*, intellectually, that he may have written the current essay a month ago, that he hardly reads either side of the forum, let alone the other side, and that he certainly doesn't need to come to us for opinions of what he needs to think about issues. We know that, when we go to a signing, the majority of his fans we meet there aren't Hatrackers, that we're just a small part of the masses who appreciate his work, and, ultimately, make him his living.

But because it's all wrapped together in our minds, we sometimes forget that it's not all wrapped together in his. We expect him to conform to our context instead of trying to translate from the context in which it was made.

We even expect him, sometimes, to show up and debate our own points, accuse him somehow being cowardly or less sincere or too something when he doesn't. Never mind that he shows enough respect to give us two whole public forums that were meant for his fans, where we can call him names and accuse him of things, let alone argue the points in his essay logically and sincerely and convincingly.

The fact is, the guy's gone above and beyond for us, given more attention and time than just about any fan could expect from an author. Twenty years ago, this kind of interaction on a worldwide level wasn't even possible. Even today, it's still rare.

I think that if some of the people would start out by giving OSC as much of the benifit of the doubt about why he holds his positions as they say they wish he would give them, and if they would read his essays to understand his points, instead of looking for places that show OSC undertands their points--in other words, reading his words the way they hope their own words are read--then they would discover something similar to what Zotto! has said.

Card's essays are not written in response to Hatrack threads. He is repsonding to essays, editorials, books, columns, pundits, and media that is far more vitriolic than anything he's written. His responses are as sincere and adamant in their certainty as the ones that made him feel the need to give another viewpoint equal time.

Here on Hatrack, that makes his voice boom down like thunder from Mount Olympus. But in the national context he was trying to play a role in, I'm sure he felt like a lone voice calling in the wilderness.

To his credit, his thoughts and ideas are begining to attract national attention. He's getting air time now that he only earned because of the passion and sincerity of those columns and this book.

Right now, he's been discovered by those who agree with the points he's raising. They are media types, though, so you know they'll drop him like an old bag of moldly tangerines when he stops being useful to them.

Or, even worse, if he does get a lot of recognition, then anyone opposed to any of his ideas will issue ad hominem attacks and try to hurt his rep and it could even potentially negatively impact his book sales. Meaning his livelyhood.

He could dodge that. He could just lie low, avoid controversial topics, try to appease people. Appeasing us would be a good start, because we probably are pretty representative of his established fan base.

But he's not doing that. Because there's some stuff he just believes in, and that he feels like he has some opportunity to sound off about, no matter how much or how little good it does. Because he really does belive in what's good and what's right more than about what's popular or appeasing.

If there's a place where respect could start, it would be right here, at the place where his fans congregate, and for him.

* * *

A couple things. First, unlike Zotto!, I'm completely aware of how long this post has become.

Second, this post is not specifically aimed at anybody or any post in this thread. It's just aimed that the general tone of so many posts here at Hatrack.

Let me be really specific here:

This post is not directed at people who take issue with OSC's ideas. Nor is it directed at people who publically post those disagreements. It's directed at those who take those disagreements issues of those posts and, on his own forum, turn them into dissaproval of him.

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Destineer
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quote:
Or, even worse, if he does get a lot of recognition, then anyone opposed to any of his ideas will issue ad hominem attacks and try to hurt his rep and it could even potentially negatively impact his book sales. Meaning his livelyhood.
I don't know about that. Any press is good press, they say, and it's usually true. Controversy sells.

Rob Sawyer recently wrote (in Writers of the Future XXII, which you should all buy, ha ha) that an author's job is not to be liked by everyone, but to be the favorite author of a group of dedicated readers.

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A Rat Named Dog
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quote:
Any press is good press, they say, and it's usually true. Controversy sells.

If you drive away your carefully-cultivated core audience, and bring in an impulsive controversy-driven audience, your sales might increase ... for that one book. Hard to maintain that over the long term, though, unless you want to just write "controversy-of-the-month" books ... which I don't think Card wants to do [Smile]

I'm hoping that people who disagree with Card's political stances don't lose sight of what they still love about Card's fiction, and will stick around for the next one that doesn't inadvertently offend them.

And I'm definitely hoping that the actual, intentional defamation campaigns don't pick up enough steam to have a real impact on the future of Card's popularity.

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Samprimary
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Whoever said "Any press is good press" never tried to sell a video game.

Actually, let's expand that a tiny, tiny bit.

Whoever said that was not of the planet Earth.

Really, though. I heartell that the Empire deal was a glossy media package complete with the video games and all of that. Let's see how that goes.

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Seatarsprayan
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quote:
I'm hoping that people who disagree with Card's political stances don't lose sight of what they still love about Card's fiction, and will stick around for the next one that doesn't inadvertently offend them.
Every book that isn't Rasputin offends me...
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