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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Discussions About Orson Scott Card » Enough. (An Open Letter to the Forum)

   
Author Topic: Enough. (An Open Letter to the Forum)
BlackBlade
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I'm not sure if even I know exactly what I'd like to see happen, but perhaps by describing what I find objectionable, others can figure it out for themselves. I don't pretend to be some sort of leader in this community.

Mr. Card feels very strongly about several things. Among other things, the correctness of the democratic process, the freedom of expression, and an effective, ethical prosecution of the war on terror. His writings often wax bold, direct, emotional, and sympathetic. Whenever anybody has strong views and this is even more true for detailed ones, people find much to disagree with. Sometimes it's the fundamentals, and almost always it's the details.

Events are in motion that directly impact some of these concepts that Mr. Card feels strongly about. I am certain that as long as there is a world Mr. Card will continue to comment on various aspects of it that please and displease him.

I am grateful that this forum exists, for in it I have found many dynamic interesting good people who regularly assemble to discuss everything.

I am grateful for Mr. Card's WorldWatch essays, for in them I have found things to agree with, and things that I don't agree with but which I have been forced to consider.

There are times when his essays offend people for various reasons, some valid some otherwise. I also know having met Mr. Card that it would NEVER be his intention to hurt, molest, or otherwise harm another human being.

So where does that leave us? There are those who have posted intending to voice their disagreement with Mr. Card's statements, but also to insult and return some of those hurt feelings.

There have been some large and marvelous debates on this forum about how one may discuss their disagreement with Mr. Card's words and whether such a practice ought to take place at all here. I think Mr. Card of all people wants us to discuss ideas and to point and prod. What I don't think anyone should have to endure is personal ridicule, disrespect, and insults designed to hurt.

Mr. Card often uses the strongest possible language in discussing people, ideas, etc. But I have never gotten the impression that he wishes to simply insult somebody.

This forum already has a moderator who as far as I have seen is quite patient and slow to crack down on those expressing their opinions. So I can't very well call on hatrack to police itself, or can I? There are a few who call posters out on inappropriate behavior, and we often then discuss, "What is inappropriate?" But there are more than a few threads created every time a new WorldWatch essay comes out where Mr. Card is derided, insulted, and labeled a fool.

This bothers me, not because I think Mr. Card could never ever endeavor to be a fool, we all are capable of the label, but because there is a certain amount of disrespect that attends any criticism issued towards the owner of the forum being used as the medium.

Even if I completely disagree with something Mr. Card says, I will couch my language in such a way that I try to be polite doing it, regardless of how it is responded to. Even if Mr. Card went off on some vicious diatribe about my mother, that does not excuse my own behavior. I repeat, even if Mr. Card's words severely offended and hurt your feelings, that is not a good enough reason to respond in kind.

I am reminded of a missionary companion I had who said that I was not focusing my mind enough on being a missionary first and foremost, and that I was allowing myself to become distracted by worldly concerns. I responded, "You're a hypocrite, you have that exact same problem." He responded, "I know it, but that doesn't mean I'm wrong about you."

The maturity and intelligence of this community is what drove me to stick around. I hope that others when they flit by will be attracted by these same features and contribute to future discourse. But what does it say about us when we tolerate disrespectful behavior directed towards a host who sees what we do?

We were not forced to join hatrack, we voluntarily came. If there is something here that is not right with you, by all means discuss it, but not in such a manner that our discussion degrades into a conversation about Mr. Card's faults.

If you never wish to return, there are means provided to write Mr. Card personally, but don't contribute to the decay of this forum by posting your poison for all to become envenomed with.

I don't much like mean spirited remarks directed at anybody. Perhaps it would behoove this forum to be a place where Mr. Card feels welcome posting in again. A place where we can talk with him personally about his ideas, without talking about him personally. I miss the time where he would frequent the forums and talk with us, in that respect it was a better time. Whether it's our fault or his, this place is not welcoming anymore. The top ten threads in this part of the forum have more than enough hate.

I know I can't ask for perfection, or even near perfection. If this thread accomplishes anything I hope it persuades just one person to not stand silent while another posts vicious slanderous remarks about a man who has brought us all together. I am glad I have met Tom Davidson, Dagonee, rivka, Ketchupqueen, Javert, Lyrhawn, King of Men, Blayne, Mucus, Claudia T, dkw, Dan_Raven, Tatiana, erosonmniac, KarlEd, Bokonon, Scott R, MPH, and so many others I cannot write them all. If you have met even ONE person who brings you back to this forum it is because Mr. Card created it. We can all thank him for that much.

Please just speak about others in such a manner that you consciously attempt to withhold offense.

Thank You.

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scifibum
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I agree with your plea for civility and restraint when commenting on or responding to things that OSC writes.

I would add to that a plea directly to OSC:

Please look past the shrillness and harshness of some of the criticisms of your political essays, and see that there is some valid, constructive criticism of your tone and style in those essays. Unless you only aim to preach to the choir, you could make the most important points without causing nearly as much offense. I understand you make you living writing fiction, not on your editorials, but I think there would be great value in crafting your editorials with the level of care and attention that goes into making your fictional characters sympathetic even when they are wrong and do harmful things. I think you are failing to persuade anyone on most topics and it's a shame - there's a lot of power in your pen, if you could find the right voice for it in the political arena.

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natural_mystic
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
I also know having met Mr. Card that it would NEVER be his intention to hurt, molest, or otherwise harm another human being.

I'm not disputing your conclusion - but your supporting evidence is on the thin side.
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Lyrhawn
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I think I know how he feels though. I've never met Card in person, but I have briefly spoken with him and I found him to be rather excellent. I didn't get the feeling that he was trying to hurt or insult anyone, and though I disagreed with him, I found him genuine and perfectly nice.

His written word and his spoken word seem to come from two totally different people. Others have observed this as well. But I agree with BlackBlade, even if it is on the thin side, it's not empirical, it's from my gut (and I suspect BB's), and it's perfectly believable, even if it's sometimes challenged by what I read.

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pooka
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Card is a columnist, he doesn't really have time for all this work to be vetted by volunteer readers and editors as his fiction is.

And actually, I believe his business is preaching to the choir, if you are aware of who his columns are written for. He's not trying to persuade people who are running the opposite direction from him. If you have realized you might be such a person, why do you keep reading the columns? Is it really so fun to be insulted fortnightly?

(Actually, I know that taking umbrage and nursing resentment are strangely addictive, so I shouldn't be so frustrated.)

P.S. I also think that if Card ever thought Meryl Streep would read his columns, he'd have to imagine she'd might be hurt.

P.P.S. Spielberg and Lucas too, but they'd deserve it. See how it is?

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Mucus
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BlackBlade:
I appreciate that you've highlighted an issue (an appropriate response, either to trolls on the other side or the posts that you're referring to here) that I've been pondering for a while.

As of yet, I have limited my direct addressing to posters that I respect and believe would be amenable to a rational and reasoned approach. Incidentally, Blayne, Lyrhawn, and yourself are among the recent examples that come to mind. [Smile]

And yet, I've intentionally limited myself to either not commenting on these "fly by night" posters in the hope that they either quietly disappear in obscurity or finding a little corner of the discussion to post a bit of humour to derail the hate or a least subvert into an interesting discussion.

I don't know in the end whether a more proactive approach would be better, both for the sake of the forum (and on a more selfish side, the sake of my cause which certainly is not helped by these clumsy provocateurs) but I am glad that you've started an open letter on the issue.

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steven
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"His written word and his spoken word seem to come from two totally different people."

Listening to him say the extreme things he says on that podcast interview last year really reminded me of my quasi-Amish friend, Pete. Pete has 5 kids, all homeschooled (the older daughter is in a Christian high school), and he is a farmer and carpenter. He's the nicest guy you'll meet, totally longsuffering and forgiving. Both he and OSC say the craziest things imaginable. They both say them in exactly that calm, reasonable tone that OSC used in that podcast.

I think it may result from isolation. If you've never actually said these things in front of people who would argue back, or even disagree mildly, you will say them in much that calm tone, perhaps. When you've been isolated, you're not even thinking about the emotional effect it will have on someone ,because you have no experience with different perspectives. Pete has his own business. It's a one man operation. He deals with maybe 3 or 4 people outside his family a day, at most, doing furniture repair. Most of his non-family interaction is at church. OSC is probably about the same, as far as how much non-family interaction he gets. OTOH, there's me. I'm a phone monkey for a major bank. I talk to probably 100 people a day on the phone, from all over the country and the world, and I deal directly with at least 12-14 different people in person at work each day as well. That 12-14 is from a pool of maybe 40-60 people that I know and talk to from time to time at work. All of these people are from different cultures/races/political beliefs. They really do vary widely. OSC has been isolated, like my friend Pete, and, as a result, compared to me, is much less aware of the possiblity that the people he's talking to simply do not share his assumptions. [Smile] Hence, the huge disconnect between what he says, and how he would say it in person.

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pooka
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It's a good thing OSC never goes out to book signings where he fields questions from fans, or if he does, all his fans are mormon mothership automatons, right?
[/sarcasm]

12 posts and I already need a break from this place again.

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Orincoro
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I wouldn't know where it comes from, but yes, I think that OSC believes, or has at least learned unconsciously, that he will be tolerated in saying the most absurd things in that calm and reasonable voice.

Again I don't know at all that the two things are related, but I recall visiting the Mormon temple in Salt Lake City when I was probably 14, on a road trip. The things coming out of people's mouths sounded absolutely, certifiably, insane- at least to this agnostic. But their voices were calm and collected, and totally reassuring. Maybe one learns how to speak to a "non-believer" in a way that is eminently approachable- something you'd be forced to learn as a missionary of any religion.

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steven
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"Maybe one learns how to speak to a "non-believer" in a way that is eminently approachable- something you'd be forced to learn as a missionary of any religion."

I think that is exactly the opposite of what I think. Utah Mormons are extremely isolated, as is OSC. So is my friend Pete. Pete has certainly not ever been a missionary. Also, I'd have to say that two years of missionary work in your late teens/early 20s does not really give you the experience of dealing directly, at work, etc. with people who really do disagree with you on many basic assumptions about politics and religion, and would be, in some cases, very happy to argue. Missionaries rarely get into point/counterpoint debates with prospective proselytees, and, even if they do, it's not all that often. Politics is almost never talked about by missionaries to proslytees. OTOH, we talk about politics a lot where I work, and a lot of customers seem to want to discuss it with me when they call in. I just don't think OSC's livelihood is predicated (like mine is) on being able to get along with people who really disagree with him politically. Not only that, he isn't even exposed, in person, to people who have very different political opinions than him on any kind of a regular basis.

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C3PO the Dragon Slayer
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Thank you for your call to civility, BlackBlade. I too have been really annoyed by the way that some have spoken so distastefully about Card's essays on his own site.

I think I've learned something very interesting about people from watching these threads develop over the past couple of weeks.

When I first became C3PO the Dragon Slayer, it was the first time I had done anything on the Internet (aside from research and gaming). I decided against giving details about my personal life and who I am, letting other members of whatever website I was on judge me solely by what I write. I figured that since I was able to think twice about what I was writing before posting anything, and since I am given a seemingly indefinite amount of time to consider what I should post, I could be a much more responsible and thoughtful person on the Internet than I could be in real life, where I was "socially challenged."

It largely worked. I earned enough respect to be appointed as an administrator of an insecure wiki, and later be elected (almost unanimously) as a bureaucrat (a wiki position that can appoint administrators) there. I found that I could get along with people, hold my own in philosophical debates, and earn the trust of many.

But now I see how communicating by the written word can be a bit dangerous. Without body language and tone helping an author express his point, the power of emotion is on the reader's side. When some read Orson Scott Card's WorldWatch essays, they find his positions disagreeable. Since Card does choose to use strong language in his essays, readers who disagree with his positions will put a disagreeable face on him. See how many leap to demonize him ("OSC vs. the Golden Rule"), as if OSC were thinking "Oh, I hate gays. I think I'll treat them the way I DON'T want to be treated!" One sees the language in the essays, and observes strong language, position contrary to one's own, and speculation of extremes. These factors can lead one to declare OSC his mortal enemy.

Honestly, people. OSC is a morally committed man as anyone. When he speculates extremes (such as civil disobedience if the Left institutionalizes gay marriage), he is proposing possible futures of America. Why is he scaring you? There are possible futures that he speculates in many of his essays that scare all of us (including OSC). Don't be so narrow-minded as to think that a person of Card's moral character and intelligence, capable of writing thoughtful novels and dynamic stories, has to share your opinions on everything. As if you were the ultimate standard for moral character and intelligence.

When OSC writes these essays, believe it or not, he's using the same capacity to analyze and rationalize a character other than himself that he uses in his novels. People just don't like his conclusions; that the liberal elite are shrouded in arrogance, that Bush is a reasonable moderate who is as brave as he is unpopular. How is it different from someone else's characterization that the religious right is a bunch of intolerant selfish fanatics and that Bush is an angry tyrannical oaf? I could show many an instance where a Hatracker says something like that. I will, if you request it.

The thing is, members of Hatrack and the site's owner, OSC, are all rational, open-minded people that hold strong positions, often disagreeing with one another. OSC has been accused of associating his critics on Hatrack with the "liberal elite" and that with arrogant groupthink. OSC has addressed this, and has said that Hatrack is a rational community that is among the best platforms for open discussion. Now it's our turn: let's stop associating OSC with the fanatical right and that with intolerant crusading. OSC is a thoughtful person who has written thought-provoking essays and believes in core values.

Here's what we need to stop doing: Stop this nonsense about OSC writing "hate speech." Stop this drivel about how you love OSC as an author, but strongly oppose him as a person, because he expresses opinions contrary to yours. (I find it very offensive that one love the work and hates the worker.) Stop this whining about how you can't understand how someone as smart and empathetic as OSC could possibly be so relentlessly intolerant. And for the love of God, stop saying that OSC can't really be a Democrat because of his support for some of Bush's policies. OSC has explained this many times; he's a moderate that holds positions from both parties, but he does feel strongly about some key issues.

See how I intentionally used some strong language in this post. But observe how I did it to present a call to moderation and end hostility. I'm defending my principles, right? I'm trying to establish mutual respect between Hatrack and OSC, which both deserve. This is what OSC does in his essays; he uses strong language to make his points significant and honest, and he writes to present his opinions and values. Yes, you are free to disagree with him and with other Hatrackers, but please don't abuse this liberty to suggest that anyone, OSC or a Hatracker, or anyone else, is an inferior person.

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Destineer
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In another thread I made the following suggestion:

I think all Obama-supporting Hatrackers should pledge not to post about any World Watch columns written to vent about the inevitable result of the election.

I now so pledge.

I remember how I felt in '04 (I couldn't stop listening to Rage Against the Machine) and I know I posted some ill-considered crap at that time. Let's let OSC do the same without adding to his pain.

We must be magnanimous in victory, as Barack would surely want us to be.

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Destineer
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quote:
OSC has explained this many times; he's a moderate that holds positions from both parties, but he does feel strongly about some key issues.
To be fair, in his post on the financial crisis he was sounding a lot like an economic conservative, something he's always claimed to oppose.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
See how I intentionally used some strong language in this post. But observe how I did it to present a call to moderation and end hostility.
FWIW, I think it greatly reduced the effectiveness of your post. But YMMV.
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by steven:
"Maybe one learns how to speak to a "non-believer" in a way that is eminently approachable- something you'd be forced to learn as a missionary of any religion."

I think that is exactly the opposite of what I think. Utah Mormons are extremely isolated, as is OSC. So is my friend Pete. Pete has certainly not ever been a missionary. Also, I'd have to say that two years of missionary work in your late teens/early 20s does not really give you the experience of dealing directly, at work, etc. with people who really do disagree with you on many basic assumptions about politics and religion, and would be, in some cases, very happy to argue. Missionaries rarely get into point/counterpoint debates with prospective proselytees, and, even if they do, it's not all that often.

The people who staff the Mormon Temple are not, or at least were not, Utah Mormons when I was there. They were all missionaries from places like the Ukraine, or South America. And they were all beautiful, absolutely gorgeous 19 year old girls.

Recall that I was not talking about "point counter-point" argument, just the saying of absolutely absurd (to my ears) things. This is why I am also willing to believe that OSC is perfectly nice to talk to- I would just love to know how he picked up the habit of turning the world around him into something with the flat aspect of a Tom Clancy novel, in which he is the narrator.

That's probably the ultimate turn-off for me- OSC writes his punditry like he's outlining a novel, as if the words he is using are somehow significant in the other's interpretation of the events he is talking about. He uses the word "Caliph," or "Caliphate" and he slips into mimetic little turns of phrase that mirror the supposed language of the people he opposes. He says things that are not only uniquely put, but have not appeared anywhere, in any of my reading on any of the topics he is talking about. Even when I read the source material he seems to be working from, there are inferences in his work that are simply unsustainable, except as the work of a creative imagination. These are not, as I think he would fancy them, creative and intuitive leaps to the "core issue," but the product of hubris.

AS has been said before, I think the "stupidity of smart people," is a real and dangerous thing. You'll read endless accounts of how stupid everyone else in a position of power is, when compared to OSC's chosen heroes; how slow and inept and predictable the world is outside of themselves. The weirdly ironic thing about it is that he is so openly transparent in the way he identifies with that kind of narrator or hero, that it takes a while even to realize that he really is that brazen and clear about his feelings.

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la.SOMA
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i can personally say that i've grown exhausted with visiting this forum. i used to come here with the great hopes of discussing the OSC novels i love with respectful people. it has always been this way up until it has decreased more and more over the last year.

i have had enough.

i dont think there's very much that i do agree with mr. card on. i have always agreed with the way he has represented himself and other people that may agree with him. he has time and he has a place to do so.

i could have replied to many things that i disagree with but this is not my time or place to do so. there are people that post here that i agree with in a major way but i still wish their posts could just be deleted. go where your numbers are greater.. converse with those people. bounce ideas back and forth.. expand what you already know of yourself and others of the same view. arrange a debate between two opposing forums.

somehow i doubt that the greater number of people that might agree with you would say that posting on an author's forum constantly disagreeing with him is effective. supply a link to an outside resource that contains your view... i'm just tired of seeing such negative conotations in a place that i enjoy visiting frequently.

i'm not entirely sure of what my intentions are of positing this... maybe it's plea? a complaint? i dont think i really care.

take it easy.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
i used to come here with the great hopes of discussing the OSC novels i love with respectful people.
In all seriousness, I suggest this: post threads in which you discuss the OSC novels you love.
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by la.SOMA:

supply a link to an outside resource that contains your view...

Not to be overly cute about it, but links to articles and sources particularly critical of OSC have been deleted from this forum. Just a fact- just something to consider.
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Hank
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On the subject of whether OSC is unused to being disagreed with, I fell obligated to state, as a former student, that he encouraged each student to disagree, vocally, with any statement of his they felt was worth addressing. The only time he didn't do so was when time was an issue. And, honestly, the way he writes his articles sounds a lot more like him than his fiction, to me.

In conversations I've had with him, he's often make dramatic statements in a hyperbolic, often superior tone, but the point is neither to "preach to the choir" or to belittle/offend those who disagree. He is provocative because his goal is often just that--to provoke a strong reaction. If people hate him for it, well, that must just mean he's saying something important, which he knew to begin with, so what's news?

One of the main reasons that Professor Card feels justified in making some of the statements that he does is that he thinks people/groups/policies are going to lead to severe damage to our society. I would imagine he feels the self-defense justifies strong language. Luckily, he is actually an intelligent man who understands that intelligent people can disagree with him--they're wrong, of course, but still...

Such people may even feel that HIS words are the ones threatening our society, in which case, by his own logic, strong words would be called for in refuting his arguments. These words will be either clearly idiotic (in which case, I'd guess he feels about them the way most of us do: they're either laughable or wearying) or they will be well-intentioned and well-thought-out (in which case, as an intelligent person he must take them into consideration and accept or reject them based on his knowledge of the subject and their own merit or lack thereof).

This is why I find it unnecessary to protect him from detractors. He's a big boy, and foolish critics won't hurt him, while wise ones may teach him. From the time I spent in his classroom, I'd guess that he enjoys the chance to see other people's point of view--even if they're boneheads.


P.S. I apologize for my punctuation. I've been reading a lot of Faulkner.

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Samprimary
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quote:
I would add to that a plea directly to OSC:

Please look past the shrillness and harshness of some of the criticisms of your political essays, and see that there is some valid, constructive criticism of your tone and style in those essays. Unless you only aim to preach to the choir, you could make the most important points without causing nearly as much offense.

(not really) emptyquotin' this

Anything I've said (to? around? about?) orson scott card that could be perceived as baiting or insulting has been probably prompted as a quite serious response to how badly I feel he is wording himself or how outright bogus his claims are.

The fastest, easiest way I could disrespect him is to treat his opinions with kid gloves because this is supposed to be some sort of haven forum or echo chamber or something. I adamantly — adamantly — claim that there is a valid point of contention behind each and every single response I have made to an OSC column. I treat everyone the same way if I think they are saying things which legitimately come off as crazy, dismissively generalizing, and even hateful.

The general response here to these world watch articles is hardly surprising to me at all given the content of these articles; they, at times, border on unreal. That ain't even a dig so much as it is a shocked appraisal. The only way that this is going to change is if the general population becomes quite certain that osc is essentially beyond reform. This essentially means that peace here will only be the result of resignation to the notion that osc's public politics are a 'lost cause.' Fancy, eh. Until then you will and should have people being in adamant disagreement with the world watch articles, because they are radical and vituperative. They really, really are. That they promote outrage is hardly surprising.

Oh, and then there's the matter of those fly-by-night posters. Those guys are pretty lol.

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The Rabbit
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quote:
Mr. Card often uses the strongest possible language in discussing people, ideas, etc. But I have never gotten the impression that he wishes to simply insult somebody.
I generally stay out of these discussions but I'm going to make an exception here. I don't presume to understand Mr. Cards motivations and desires.

I do not read his world watch columns regularly because I think they show his worst side. In those columns I have read, he has a nasty tendency to make really insulting assumptions about the motivations behind peoples actions. In incidents varying from J.K. Rowling to Climate Change scientists, he starts off with a limited understanding of the facts and then leaps to conclusions about what is going on inside these peoples hearts and minds. And more often than not those conclusions are really insulting. If he disagrees with you its inevitably because you are greedy, dishonest, have no self control, or are irrational varelse.

Quite honestly, I find it very confusing because in his fiction he shows great insight into the complexity of human behavior and motivations. He has created many characters, like Ender for example, who in really life would general be considered "monsters" (Ender kills a kid on a playground) and shows us the complexity of their motivations that allow us to empathize with these characters. One would tend to think, he had some keen insight in to human behavior. Unfortunately, that insight doesn't seem to extend to real people who disagree with him.

And frankly, I'm very disappointed by him. Making judgements about peoples motivations and character based on a very limited understanding of the facts is precisely the kind of judgement Jesus warned us never to make. Publishing your speculations about people inner thoughts and desires as though they were indisputable fact, is slander, its baring false witness against your neighbor.

I have no idea why OSC does this. I've been told he is a nice guy and am willing to presume that he doesn't do this with the intent of insulting people. But he is insulting people and often very unjustly. If this is not his intent, he needs to do some serious introspection into what he is doing and find less agressive and hurtful ways to express his opinions.

Edited to add: I don't really understand why I chose to post this as I think this forum is an inappropriate place to post attacks on OSC. I suppose that I felt it necessary to correct the implication in BB's post that Mr. Card never stooped to ad hominem attacks. The fact that his attacks are more nuanced than a simple stream of epithets does not mean they aren't attacks. If you doubt this now, wait until you end up on the wrong end of one. I guess I also think highly enough of Mr. Card to think there is at least a chance that pointing out his mistreatment of people might cause him to stop doing it, although I think the chance of a post on this forum having that effect is definitely a long shot.

[ October 27, 2008, 09:51 AM: Message edited by: The Rabbit ]

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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Hank:
On the subject of whether OSC is unused to being disagreed with, I fell obligated to state, as a former student, that he encouraged each student to disagree, vocally, with any statement of his they felt was worth addressing. The only time he didn't do so was when time was an issue. And, honestly, the way he writes his articles sounds a lot more like him than his fiction, to me.

And Osc claims to be a Democrat as well. You see, even the most prideful and arrogant ego-maniacs don't mind you disagreeing with them when it's *really* their idea that you should find something to contribute that way. IT also strokes the ego to consider that ones own opinions are so important, that challenges to your viewpoint should be especially encouraged in order to demonstrate the falsity of the counter-argument.

Is OSC the most egotistical person I've ever heard of? No. HAve I encountered the "feel free to disagree with me..." face of Janus? Many times.

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Scott R
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Saying "tell me if I'm wrong" is not necessarily an indication of egomania. Personally, I'd rather leave that insinuation out of this conversation, Orincoro.

Whether or not OSC is used to having people disagree with him, I don't know. I do know that insinuating that his calm tone of voice indicates that he's not used to having people disagree with him is ridiculous.

It's what civilization sounds like. What did you expect, spittle-flecked raving?

quote:
And they were all beautiful, absolutely gorgeous 19 year old girls.
They weren't 19. [Smile]

quote:
I'd have to say that two years of missionary work in your late teens/early 20s does not really give you the experience of dealing directly, at work, etc. with people who really do disagree with you on many basic assumptions about politics and religion, and would be, in some cases, very happy to argue. Missionaries rarely get into point/counterpoint debates with prospective proselytees, and, even if they do, it's not all that often.
Hmm... my experience as a missionary and with other missionaries contradicts this opinion. While it's true that I rarely debated religion and politics with those who I proselyted, I frequently debated religion and politics with other missionaries.

You might be surprised about all the differences of opinion between people who belong in the same religion. Understandings of even basic doctrines vary wildly from person to person-- not to mention implementation of those doctrines.

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El JT de Spang
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Yes, but debating other missionaries isn't going give you much experience defending your faith against people who don't share it.

That's like me debating my brother on who's the better parent: mom or dad. We're already sharing a pretty big assumption at the start of the argument.

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Scott R
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quote:
Yes, but debating other missionaries isn't going give you much experience defending your faith against people who don't share it.
...which wasn't steven's assertion.
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El JT de Spang
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Um, yes it was. You even quoted it. I can read the pertinent sentence without even scrolling up from the quick reply box.
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Quara
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Truth always hurts those who don't want to hear it.
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MattP
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quote:
Originally posted by Quara:
Truth always hurts those who don't want to hear it.

That doesn't mean that if something hurts it must be true.
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Scott R
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quote:
Originally posted by El JT de Spang:
Um, yes it was. You even quoted it. I can read the pertinent sentence without even scrolling up from the quick reply box.

Here's are steven's qualifications:

quote:
people who really do disagree with you on many basic assumptions about politics and religion, and would be, in some cases, very happy to argue.
Do you imagine that Mormon missionaries never disagree about the tenets of their own religion?

Not to mention politics?

And that they're somehow...resistant to the desire to communicate about that disagreement?

I mean, there were times on my mission where I thought that might have been nice...but I would have learned a lot less.

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El JT de Spang
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See, you're still missing it.

Basic assumptions. Those are assumptions such as whether there is a god, not such as whether iced tea falls under the proscription against hot drinks.

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swbarnes2
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
Do you imagine that Mormon missionaries never disagree about the tenets of their own religion?

Not to mention politics?

There is a great deal more depth in beliefs about religion and politics in the world than you will find in the tiny set of young men on LDS missions.

Now, if you'd said "I've argued politics with Israeli kibbutz workers, and talked religion extensively with Muslims in Beruit", that would be impressive. Or even if you said that you'd had lots of long talks with Jews in New York, Muslims in Chicago, and Catholics in San Fransicso, that would demonstrate a little more breadth than saying "I talk politics and religion with 19 year-olds who want to spread the same religion that I do". That alone just isn't evidence of being especially well versed on the diversity of thought on those topics.

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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by Quara:
Truth always hurts those who don't want to hear it.

Perhaps, but that is why a speaker has a strong ethical obligation to

1. Be certain that what they say is true, particularly when what they say something that is potentially hurtful.


2. Be confident that by speaking the truth they can achieve some goal that justifies hurting another person.


Not all truths need to be spoken. There is virtue in discretion. At times, there can be more virtue in a lie told to help another person than a truth told without regard to consequences.

It is not sufficient to believe you are telling the truth. If what you are saying is hurtful, you have an ethical obligation to research the facts and present them accurately. That responsibility is heightened when you put your words in print for thousands to read. As human beings we can not accurately know the thoughts, feelings and motivations of another person, particularly one we know through limited interaction or media reports. To claim that an individual or group of individuals are absolutely driven by the vilest of motives, doesn't qualify as speaking the truth. Its an insult based on pure speculation. And that's true whether its people accusing Card or arrogance and bigotry, or Card accusing J.K Rowling (or any one of his other targets) of greed and dishonesty.

I have observed Mr. Card take a situation with which I am sufficiently familiar to know far more facts than have been presented in the media, reduce the few fact he knows to the point that they no longer have any resemblance to the truth and then draw sweeping and insulting conclusions about the motivations, character and integrity of people he's never met and put it in print.

I don't presume to know why he does this. I do know that its wrong and he should be called on it.

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pooka
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I first notices a shift in Card's opinion on global warming after he reviewed State of Fear. However, I would note that decreasing oil consumption continues to be a major theme with Card. He's not a typical "Al Gore wants to take my pickup truck and my manhood away" conservative. I might suggest that in your reaction to him, you may be carrying some baggage with regard to people who normally resist the data on climate change.

I'd guess you know as little about being a popular author and having to defend copyright agains your fans as Card knows about your business. Bringin up the J.K. Rowling matter doesn't really strengthen your case, it just makes you look like a person who has become bitter and will throw any slight into the wagon.

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TomDavidson
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Well, no. He's flat-out said that those climatologists who aren't cowed sheep have been bribed to do bad science. I can understand why Rabbit, a climatologist, might be offended by that.
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pooka
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Sorry, I edited there, Tom.
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Scott R
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JT, Swbarnes:

You're arguing an issue that isn't being discussed. Steven's point wasn't about being cosmopolitan, or being widely versed in other religions.

You'll get no argument from me about whether or not Mormon missionaries are familiar with other religions-- most of the guys that I knew were not. Again, that was not the point steven was making.

I have talked about religion with AWOL soldiers and refugees from Bonsia and Croatia, I've preached in gypsy camps, I've taught in the homes of Muslims and Jews, I've attended the worship services of small, charismatic evangelical Christians in western Italy, not to mention discussing religion with numerous priests and monks.

quote:
Basic assumptions. Those are assumptions such as whether there is a god, not such as whether iced tea falls under the proscription against hot drinks.
I haven't had the iced-tea discussion, ever. The atheism/belief discussion? Quite often, though hardly ever with other missionaries.

Our disagreements were generally about things like the omnipotence/omniscience of God; the reality of agency; things like that. Pretty basic assumptions, but different understandings lead to different conclusions. Like normal human beings, we discussed and argued our points.

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Scott R
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quote:

There is a great deal more depth in beliefs about religion and politics in the world than you will find in the tiny set of young men on LDS missions.

Can you explain what you mean, here?
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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by pooka:
I first notices a shift in Card's opinion on global warming after he reviewed State of Fear. However, I would note that decreasing oil consumption continues to be a major theme with Card. He's not a typical "Al Gore wants to take my pickup truck and my manhood away" conservative. I might suggest that in your reaction to him, you may be carrying some baggage with regard to people who normally resist the data on climate change.

I'd guess you know as little about being a popular author and having to defend copyright agains your fans as Card knows about your business. Bringin up the J.K. Rowling matter doesn't really strengthen your case, it just makes you look like a person who has become bitter and will throw any slight into the wagon.

You've made at least 3 critical errors (not including the one you edited out.

1. You presume that because I am not a fiction writer I have no personal knowledge in the area. I have over 50 copyrighted scientific publications, 2 copyrighted pieces of software and a patent so I am personally quite familiar with IP issues. I probably know less than someone whose livelyhood is solely dependent on copyrighted materials but I can guarantee you that I know alot more about the issues than Card knows about my field.

2. You presume that I disagreed with Mr. Cards assessment of the merits of Rowling's lawsuit. I did not. Although I will admit that my initial assessment that the lawsuit was frivolous has been tempered since I read the courts decision. I believe that I came to a hasty conclusion based on insufficient knowledge of the case. While I still disagree with the court's decision, I think that the enormous fraction of the Lexicon which was directly quoted from the Harry Potter books made this at very least a reasonable case.

3. Even being an expert in Copyright issues and an expert on the details of this particular case doesn't make you an expert on J.K. Rowlings motives, thought and desires. My objection was to the absolutely slanderous comments Card makes about Rowling without justification. If you don't remember, read the article again.. He calls her greedy, hypocritical, ungrateful, vain, desperate for respectability, devoid of all new creative ideas and a bully. And he spends most of the article insulting her and relatively little discussion the issues.

Unless Card happens to know Rowling personally and have much better reasons than he's told us about for presuming he knows those kinds of things about her character -- he isn't speaking the truth. He is spreading unfounded lies.

And my complaint is that he does this kind of thing over and over again in his columns. He presumes that because he knows a little bit about a persons actions, he knows that they are driven by the most vile contemptible thoughts and feelings. He doesn't. He isn't a mind reader or an empath, he's just a talent writer. Making the kind of judgements of people he publishes in his columns is wrong.

Furthermore let me state that I have exactly the same complaint about those who presume to know why Card does this. Unless you happen to be a close personal friend, you are wrong to speculate that he does it out of arrogance, or malice, or fear or narrow experience or any other reason. You know only his actions and it is wrong to presume you know what is in his heart just as it is wrong for him to presume he knows what is in the hearts of those who disagree with him.

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El JT de Spang
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
JT, Swbarnes:

You're arguing an issue that isn't being discussed. Steven's point wasn't about being cosmopolitan, or being widely versed in other religions.

No, you're misinterpreting (deliberately, I assume, since I know you're not stupid) what steven said. You claim that your experience as a missionary doesn't match his opinion, when, in fact, it precisely does (based on what you've said here).
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Scott R
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Can you show why you think that's true? I'm not seeing the connection between what steven was talking about and what you're asserting.
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pooka
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quote:
You know only his actions and it is wrong to presume you know what is in his heart just as it is wrong for him to presume he knows what is in the hearts of those who disagree with him.
I only know his words, actually. I know not so much about Card's actions. I was for many years someone who thought him a poor specimen of latter-day sainthood because his books had so much filth in them. Then I started reading more of his work and eventually found his columns. I didn't know his position on abortion until about two years ago. I'm just astonished at how the man cannot win. I admire him for going on ahead regardless.

P.S. I edited this post. [Razz]

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MattP
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quote:
I only know his words, actually. I know not so much about Card's actions.
In the context of his political advocacy his words are his actions.
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steven
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"Can you show why you think that's true? I'm not seeing the connection between what steven was talking about and what you're asserting."

Scott, at some point you are going to realize that 25 years of sitting at home writing fiction and going to LDS church on the weekends with your family does not really give you a feel for the average American's take on the world. OSC is beating his head against a wall for no good reason. I don't think he'll tone it down, much, but he's not accomplishing anything. Sci-fi/fantasy fans and literary types generally skew liberal on social issues. OSC has a big LDS audience, but, besides some of them and Resh, Jay, and Occasional, he mostly will only piss people off with this stuff. Who will he piss off? Those of us who actually get out in the world every once in a while, and deal with people who aren't members of our religion and race and culture and/or subculture.

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steven
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Scott, are you afraid that you'll end up a cranky, slightly out-of-touch denouncer-of-all-things-liberal in 25 years? Well, you will, if you choose a lifestyle like our esteened host's. Count on it. We won't hate your for it, though, if you do. Not much. LOL
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TomDavidson
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steven, when you get defensive while trying to back up your over-generalizations, you wind up over-generalizing in even more offensive -- and presumptuous -- ways. Why not just let it be? The cheap shots should be beneath you.
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Scott R
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quote:
My objection was to the absolutely slanderous comments Card makes about Rowling without justification.
"Slander is spoken. In print it's libel."

[Smile]

I agree completely with this from Rabbit:

quote:
Unless you happen to be a close personal friend, you are wrong to speculate that he does it out of arrogance, or malice, or fear or narrow experience or any other reason. You know only his actions and it is wrong to presume you know what is in his heart just as it is wrong for him to presume he knows what is in the hearts of those who disagree with him.


[ October 29, 2008, 07:27 AM: Message edited by: Scott R ]

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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
[QB]
quote:
My objection was to the absolutely slanderous comments Card makes about Rowling without justification.
"Slander is spoken. In print it's libel."

[Smile]

[Razz]
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natural_mystic
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quote:
Originally posted by The Rabbit:

Unless you happen to be a close personal friend, you are wrong to speculate that he does it out of arrogance, or malice, or fear or narrow experience or any other reason. You know only his actions and it is wrong to presume you know what is in his heart just as it is wrong for him to presume he knows what is in the hearts of those who disagree with him.

I agree that it is presumptuous and somewhat pointless to try and infer specific character traits from articles, however I think it is fine to ask "Why did Mr. Card write X?" if one is looking for reasons. I will give examples:

1. Without a doubt, Mr. Card's posts are right-leaning. What many of us dislike is that this author whose work we admire has views diametrically opposed to our own, and does not acknowledge reasonable positions in opposition to his own, preferring to cast aspersions at opponents. Why does he do this? My explanation:
a community that is very important to him happens to be one of the most consistent voting blocks for the Republican party, and so he writes - Demosthenes style - with the aim of achieving the goal of his community, using his fame to reach a wider audience. Obviously not a particularly deep inference on my part.

2. One of Mr. Card's most frequent subjects is gay marriage. One explanation is corollary to the above, as this is an issue that has been used to mobilize support. Another is that Mr. Card is a huge family guy (think the conversation between Bean and Ender's mother), and he combines this with an axiom about the immutability of the roles of men and women in society (perhaps more of a stretch).

3. Mr. Card does not like "establishments". The best example of this is probably his criticism of string theory a couple of years ago. Unless I am missing something, Mr. Card does not have the background to independently reach such a conclusion, so he seems to have basically read a book and completely bought into the arguments against the 'string theory establishment'. A little more skepticism is probably appropriate before choosing to attack highly educated/smart people in a field that you know nothing about. The same comment can be made about climate science, but obviously that's a pretty hot button issue, so it could be covered under 1.

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