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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » The Death of an Idol (Page 1)

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Author Topic: The Death of an Idol
SnuggleSmacks
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It is with great sadness that I am getting rid of all my OSC books. I was disheartened to stumble across this: OSC's views on gay marriage, and gay people in general

Now I feel that I can no longer support my favorite author of all time, one that I idolized to the point that most of my books are personally autographed. I have every book, multiple copies of some, and have attended every signing and lecture in the area, and there were plenty, as I live just outside of Greensboro NC.

It's not just that he holds such backward and ill-informed views...it's that he used his influence in an attempt to alter the view of others just before the discrimantory Amendment One vote in NC. Whatever happened to the compassion and understanding of Ender and Nafai and Jason Worthing?

The lack of factual information and the blatant paranoia exhibited in this article truly makes it seem as though it was written by someone else...but alas, it wasn't. I cried when I read it.

Now I feel that I can no longer support this author who believes that humans are not equal, and that people are out to get his children. But I don't know what to do with my collection...any suggestions?

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Samprimary
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You don't have to support him anymore, doesn't mean you have to go all iconoclast 451 on your book collection, considering they've already been bought, savvy?

Yes, his articles are terrible. Yes, his personal crusade against gays and gay marriage is pretty distressingly bad and deserves to be roundly mocked and picked apart, first ridiculous claim to the last. okay, that's his legacy now. great. but at the same time see if it is possible to do that whole 'separate the art from the artist' thing. I am pretty sure Ender's Game is as okay and interesting a read now as it was before OSC became known as that N.O.M. nut, yeah? Caravaggio punched people to death in bars or something because he was a psycho jerk, and this should have little relevance to the analysis and appreciation of his paintings as cultural treasures, etc etc. Same principle with books, usually, until you can see the screed infect the work.

Barring that, I dunno, library donations?

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SnuggleSmacks
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Maybe I'll just put them in storage for a bit. I certainly can't support him by paying actual money for any of his future work, and I could not currently re-read any of my collection without filtering everything through his hate-mongering. I don't particularly want to donate, although that was my first instinct, because I don't really want to garner more fans at the moment.

I think I just feel that my entire childhood, filled with these books, has been violated. I'm not even gay, but I have friends who are, and I can't even imagine how Card's "gay friends" feel about this article.

A friend suggested that I pack up the books with a strongly worded letter regarding my feelings of violation by one of my idols, and drop the whole package off on his doorstep.

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Aros
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I gave away my Robert Jordan collection because he used tobacco and wore a cowboy hat. I don't need that kind of influence in my life, dang it!

I fought it as long as I could. But now? I'm the newest Marlboro man. <cough>

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Stone_Wolf_
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I felt similarly. When I understood Card's views I downgraded him from "personal hero" to "favorite author". I still love his books. I still disagree with his harmful views vehemently.

Keep the books, enjoy the writing. Keep the writer and his writing separate.

Be a little sad, and move on.

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Stone_Wolf_
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Or if you really can't...send your books to me!
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SteveRogers
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Or donations to me. I'll take the signed books off your hands. [Wink]
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by SnuggleSmacks:
A friend suggested that I pack up the books with a strongly worded letter regarding my feelings of violation by one of my idols, and drop the whole package off on his doorstep.

Well, my personal recommendation is to man up and quit the melodrama over the whole 'he violated my entire childhood!' level stuff. No, snugglesmacks. Orson Scott Card did not violate your entire childhood. That's George Lucas.
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TomDavidson
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I think you should write some fanfiction in which Greedo shoots Bean first, thus ensuring that Ender must beat Jar-Jar to death in the shower. Anakin Skywalker can still accidentally fly a starfighter through a massive cloud of enemy ships to blow up the hivemind that controls all the bad guys, though.
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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
quote:
Originally posted by SnuggleSmacks:
A friend suggested that I pack up the books with a strongly worded letter regarding my feelings of violation by one of my idols, and drop the whole package off on his doorstep.

Well, my personal recommendation is to man up and quit the melodrama over the whole 'he violated my entire childhood!' level stuff. No, snugglesmacks. Orson Scott Card did not violate your entire childhood. That's George Lucas.
I hadn't paid close attention to the poster's name and at first thought you just called him "Snugglesmacks" as a bizarre affectionate nickname.

In fact, I'm kind of disappointed that this isn't the case.

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AchillesHeel
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I can sympathize with you Snuggle, I really can but I can still appreciate the art. So rarely do my personal views align with that of artists I enjoy. Johnny Cash made a song about sending African Americans back to Africa. Frank Sinatra once said of the song Strangers in the Night "it's about two queers." Edgar Allen Poe was an alcoholic gambler who married his cousin (it is only fair to note that Poe was adopted.)

Point is that art is not proof of morality, ethical behavior or even common sense in some cases. So sing along to Motorhead despite knowing that Lemmy wrote all of his most famous songs high on acid for seven years straight, and read Ender's Game once ever few years despite certain poor choices by its author.


Edit to add.

Henry Rollins on the other hand is a great person with whom I have yet to disagree with. He has always been sober, anti-big religion and pro gay rights no matter what his own punk rock fan base think of him. All this from a guy who got famous for instigating fights on stage at his own shows with people from the crowd and even wrote a song (Henry Rollins Band, Liar) about lying to get inside a sad persons life so he could destroy them from within. He is awesome.

[ May 15, 2012, 11:25 AM: Message edited by: AchillesHeel ]

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Shanna
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I sympathize as well. I had the same reaction awhile back. I ended up giving my books to my younger brother who is constantly re-reading the Ender/Bean saga but has honestly never been interested in any of Card's other works.

I haven't bought a new OSC book in a years though I have gotten to the point where I feel comfortable recommending Ender's Game again. I work in a bookstore and its a great book to have in my tool belt when confronted with reluctant readers or pre-teens and teens who are ready to make the jump to adult science fiction. Maybe I just feel like society has begun to reach the point where OSC's views on gay marriage just make him look like one of those pitiable old guys who complain about black people to anyone they can corner for two minutes.

As for the morality of artists and idols, it does make a difference to me if a person is still alive and actively campaigning for something I find morally wrong. It doesn't have the same impact for me when I find out that some old dead writer shared a despicable view that was common in their time. Just like I'm more forgiving of hateful people who have learned to keep their mouths shut. I have acquaintances who don't agree with gay marriage for religious reasons, but they aren't out on the street corner holding signs of hate and they aren't voting against making it legal. I don't approve of alcoholism, but I'm far more forgiving of the guy who gets drunk alone on his couch than of the guy climbs behind the wheel drunk.

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Speed
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It sounds like giving up Orson Scott Card is going to leave a gaping artistic hole in your life. I suggest you fill it by deeply immersing yourself in the films of Mel Gibson and Roman Polanski.
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Scott R
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quote:
Yes, his personal crusade against gays and gay marriage is pretty distressingly bad and deserves to be roundly mocked and picked apart, first ridiculous claim to the last.
Did you link the right thing, Samprimary? It's a fairly limpid and tangential response to OSC's essay.

ETA: Wait, is the refutation in the comments? I don't usually read comments...

quote:
Just like I'm more forgiving of hateful people who have learned to keep their mouths shut. I have acquaintances who don't agree with gay marriage for religious reasons, but they aren't out on the street corner holding signs of hate and they aren't voting against making it legal.
Possibly unfair extrapolation and exaggeration of the attitude above:

I mean, if only they'd stop voicing their opinions, then we could have some peace. Just shut up, already! Seriously!

I'm fine with them holding opinions-- I mean, an opinion never really hurt anyone-- as long as they don't try to act according to their dictates of their own conscience or try to use democratic processes to change things, or announce their beliefs to anyone else.

We need a don't ask, don't tell law for opponents of same sex marriage. :giggle:

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
Did you link the right thing, Samprimary? It's a fairly limpid and tangential response to OSC's essay.

I'd like to preface your habits on this one. Have you seen or come up with anything so far that has fulfilled the nebulous scott r criteria for valid critique of his essay that you won't assert pretty automatically misunderstands him/his essay?

Per a specific angle: the article literally states "There are no laws left standing that discriminate against gay couples." How defensible is this statement? How defensible is an essay that uses this as a major basis for an argument about what the fight for gay marriage is 'really about?'

The answer is: pretty much not at all. And this is central (not tangential) to critique of an essay which is using statements like that to lay out the argument that "There's no need to legalize gay marriage" and that, conclusively, none of this is "about making it possible for gay people to become couples." — it's about other, much more insidious things. A terrible agenda. Forced on our children. To bludgeon away traditional values with leftist deception.

it's not limpid at all; it would be if the article wasn't really exactly as terrible and nonsensical as I guess you will initially not want to see, based on prior experience with you and subjects like this.

quote:
Possibly unfair extrapolation and exaggeration of the attitude above:
Well, yes, yes it is! We are all often more forgiving of hateful people who quit exclaiming their hateful attitudes. Having to deal with a hateful coworker is a great way to drive this phenomenon home.
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BBegley
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I disagree with almost all of Card's political writing, but I still buy his books.

I imagine there are plenty of people on the right who don't care for Tim Robbin's political views who still watch Shawshank and Bull Durham.

Technically, it's not that I disagree with Card that bothers me. I disagree with lots of people. What bothers me is how weak and unpersuasive his political writing is.

Reading his political work is like watching a pro linebacker fail to dribble a basketball.

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mr_porteiro_head
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If I refused to read fiction created by those who have views I think are terrible, I'd be left with almost nothing to read.
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by mr_porteiro_head:
If I refused to read fiction created by those who have views I think are terrible, I'd be left with almost nothing to read.

— all traditionalist conservatives
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Stone_Wolf_
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quote:
Originally posted by Speed:
It sounds like giving up Orson Scott Card is going to leave a gaping artistic hole in your life. I suggest you fill it by deeply immersing yourself in the films of Mel Gibson and Roman Polanski.

[ROFL]
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Scott R
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quote:
Yes, his personal crusade against gays and gay marriage is pretty distressingly bad and deserves to be roundly mocked and picked apart, first ridiculous claim to the last.
Do you assert that the article you linked to "roundly mocks, and picks apart" the claims OSC made?

If not, my apologies. NOTE: I usually think that when an author lists some attributes and embeds a link within them, the author means to imply that the link is emblematic of the attributes listed.

If you did mean to apply those attributes to the article you linked to...um... you and I have different definitions of the phrase "roundly mocks" and "picks apart".

And that's probably just the beginning!

quote:
I guess you will initially not want to see, based on prior experience with you and subjects like this.
Feel free to be persuasive.

quote:
We are all often more forgiving of hateful people who quit exclaiming their hateful attitudes. Having to deal with a hateful coworker is a great way to drive this phenomenon home.
Thankfully, outside the realm of my experience. I like the people I work with, and have never had occasion to think anyone I work with is "hateful."

I think my criticism of Shanna's criteria is valid. Can you explain-- without analogies, this time-- why it isn't, especially from the standpoint of political discourse?

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El JT de Spang
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I still have my old OSC books, but have refused to give him one cent of my hard earned money since he became a dangerously misguided crackpot.

Luckily, he's made that decision easy for me by not writing anything I care about since Crystal City. I wanted Ender in Exile, but the kindle boondoggle means I'll be passing on that one, too.

Henceforth, any OSC purchases I make will be at library sales, secondhand stores, or remaindered hardbacks.

Just like I refuse pay for a movie ticket to see a movie Tom Cruise is involved with. I'll catch it on cable, netflix, or borrow a DVD.

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
quote:
I guess you will initially not want to see, based on prior experience with you and subjects like this.
Feel free to be persuasive.
Really:

quote:
Per a specific angle: the article literally states "There are no laws left standing that discriminate against gay couples." How defensible is this statement? How defensible is an essay that uses this as a major basis for an argument about what the fight for gay marriage is 'really about?'
I'm asking you pretty straightforwardly: do you think this is a good, solid article? Do you find its premises agreeable and defensible?
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Scott R
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I think there are deficiencies in the article OSC wrote.

I do not think that the refutation you linked addresses those holes with the sort of irrefutable panache you seemed to indicate in your estimation of it.

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Sa'eed
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Mr. Card is a brave man standing by his convictions inspite of the consequences to his professional reputation. It seems many readers are incapable of seperating the man from the work.

I myself have not let Mr. Card's odious views on the I/P conflict influence my view of his work. Granted, the last time I read a book of his was in 2002. I think it was one of the Shadow books. But I swear that I own a pristine unread copy of "Pastwatch" and I have NO intention of throwing it out.

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
I think there are deficiencies in the article OSC wrote.

Do you find the article to have deficiencies but otherwise be agreeable and defensible? Do you or do you not think that the article makes a valid argument. Why or why not?

quote:
I do not think that the refutation you linked addresses those holes with the sort of irrefutable panache you seemed to indicate in your estimation of it.
Okay, so the article doesn't, to your satisfaction, address what deficiencies YOU see with the article. So I still need to know what YOU think is wrong with the article, versus what this link of convenience articulates (with or without 'irrefutable panache').

There's a point to these questions, but I have to wrest your individual position about the article out before I start trying to hunt down what individual refutations of the article you will accept as valid versus misplaced or mistranslating orson scott card, per usual.

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Scott R
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What's a "link of convenience?"
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
What's a "link of convenience?"

i stated: "Yes, his personal crusade against gays and gay marriage is pretty distressingly bad and deserves to be roundly mocked and picked apart, first ridiculous claim to the last."

His latest article contained a new ridiculous claim that deserves to be roundly mocked and picked apart. I can conveniently link to someone doing just that. And it does.

Now, as for the rest of my post?

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Scott R
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quote:
I can conveniently link to someone doing just that. And it does.
Here's what you linked to:

quote:
The context for this is Amendment 1 in NC, which is an attempt to amend the state constitution to make marriage between a man and a woman the only legally recognized domestic union in the state. It is up for vote May 8.
Amendment 1 proposes to abolish the recognition of domestic civil unions other than traditionally defined heterosexual marriage, including heterosexual civil unions. A vote against preserves the status quo. Here is an analysis of the bill by the ACLU of NC.
Same-sex marriage is currently illegal in NC (statute §51‑1.2), although individual counties and cities have policies that grant homosexual partners certain benefits. It will still be illegal in NC regardless of whether the amendment is approved or not. Heterosexual marriages (like mine and Orson's) will be unaffected either way. So the amendment isn't about what Orson claims it is about. Then he says, “there are no laws left standing that discriminate against gay couples.” Statute §51‑1.2. How bold of him to accuse other people of lying.
However, Orson is a constructive example to understand why someone would support something like Amendment 1. He sees it as just another battle in some grand “war” between liberalism and traditionalism. This is a bizarre paranoid delusion, and as such it is tough to tackle as a legitimate point of view. It isn't even internally consistent. What are the motivations of the liberals supposed to be in this fantasy? To destroy America? To destroy religion? To turn kids gay? To prevent people from having kids? How do any of these things benefit anyone at all, much less them directly? How does opposing Amendment 1 help them accomplish these things?
One practical aspect in play is that proponents are well aware that Statute §51‑1.2 will eventually be ruled unconstitutional. They are caught with their hand in the civil rights violation cookie jar, and they want to change the constitution before they get called out on it. Another practical aspect is that young people are much more liberally-minded than old people, and there is a serious age split on this vote, and so if this is a “war” then the traditionalists have already lost it.
I don't know why he mentions “science” here. He's right in that humans reproduce sexually. He is wrong that monogamous heterosexual 1:1 marriage is consistent with the human reproductive imperative, strategy, or behavior – do I really need a citation for that? Would you like divorce rates, rates on adultery, rates on multiple sexual partners, historical or modern numbers? Orson may not like those observations, maybe he thinks it is not the way things should be, but it is how they are. Furthermore, homosexual behavior is not unique to humans. There are reasonable scientific arguments for its perpetuation, despite the fact that it should, in principle, be self-limiting (e.g., “gay uncle theory”). But I don't think any of that is relevant, because I don't think that the purpose of our laws is to try to codify our basic biological drives, nor our religions, and certainly not our imaginations.

You maintain that this roundly mocks and picks apart OSC's article, right?
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Samprimary
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Yes, it is an example of someone mocking and picking apart his article. I ALREADY KNOW it does not do so to your satisfaction — that much is very clear, thank you. I'm waiting on prior questions identifying your individual position on the validity of the article before there's much point in addressing that individual satisfaction.
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Scott R
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quote:
I'm waiting on prior questions identifying your individual position on the validity of the article before there's much point in addressing that individual satisfaction.
Er...what?
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Marlozhan
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Here is an LDS person's thought-experiment on why SSM is a good idea for the LDS church to accept:

http://bradcarmack.blogspot.com/2011/05/moral-case-for-lds-same-sex-marriage-in.html

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El JT de Spang
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You can't honestly think Scott is going to put his real thoughts out there, can you? I rarely, if ever, see that happen.
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
quote:
I'm waiting on prior questions identifying your individual position on the validity of the article before there's much point in addressing that individual satisfaction.
Er...what?
Please explain your position on OSC's article.

quote:
Per a specific angle: the article literally states "There are no laws left standing that discriminate against gay couples." How defensible is this statement?
quote:
Do you find the article to have deficiencies but otherwise be agreeable and defensible? Do you or do you not think that the article makes a valid argument. Why or why not?

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Scott R
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quote:
Please explain your position on OSC's article.
Ahem:

quote:
I think there are deficiencies in the article OSC wrote.
...and that's about all that's pertinent to the conversation from this individual's point of view.

I think I've seen better refutations of OSC's main points here on Hatrack than in the article you linked to.

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
quote:
Please explain your position on OSC's article.
Ahem:

quote:
I think there are deficiencies in the article OSC wrote.
...and that's about all that's pertinent to the conversation from this individual's point of view.

Then there's no real conversation, just you vacillating and hiding your position. To the extent that you are claiming no pertinence as to the question of whether or not you think the article even makes valid, defensible claims. Since you are unwilling to actually allow your position on the article to be expressed and examined, there's no point or relevance to you expressing however much your ~secret position~ agrees or disagrees with anything.

However, I know you well enough to read between the lines on this one. You should return to the conversation if you decide you want to offer what your position on the article in question is.

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Dan_Frank
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Sam, I'm not a particular fan of OSC's position on gay marriage either, but I think you're harping on Scott unfairly here. In fairness, I don't know much about your history, so this is from a perspective unaware of whatever nuances underpin your interactions.

But anyway: You linked to a a takedown of OSC's article. Seems to me Scott's only comment was that he thought it did a lousy job doing what you asserted it did (taking apart OSC's position).

I don't see any obligation on his part to offer his own takedown of OSC's article. Seemed to me he was criticizing your article, not defending OSC's. There's an important distinction, though they can be easily confused.

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Samprimary
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I'm not confusing the two; I'm just not going to debate the critique of the article without necessarily involving positions on the article itself. Part of that analysis of a critique is finding out where we differ in terms of our analysis of the source work that the critique is addressing. And, in regards to that, I'm not going to argue with a black box.
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Dan_Frank
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Okay. That's certainly your prerogative.

From an outside perspective it looked like you guys might've been talking past each other unintentionally.

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Samprimary
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it's a GOOD prerogative, too. I just have to isolate and identify and straightforwardly state what would be lacking in any 'dialogue' about something which ultimately one party does not want to offer to the table. Which is why I asked the questions I did.
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Scott R
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[Laugh]

Vacillation? I've been pretty consistent on this topic for a while now. Maybe you mean something else, Samprimary.

In any case, my opinion on OSC's article is really not relevant to whether or not the article you linked meets the attributes you ascribed to it.

I'll give you an example-- instead of diretly addressing the discrepancy between numerous benefits given to couples who engage in a traditional marriage versus the benefits given to a same sex couple, the article you linked to merely notes:

quote:
Then he says, “there are no laws left standing that discriminate against gay couples.” Statute §51‑1.2. How bold of him to accuse other people of lying.
Limpid.

Never mind its hand-waving of the issues of science (if ever there was a moment for the opposition to 'pick apart' OSC's argument, this should have been that moment). Instead, what the author of the article chose was...

quote:
He is wrong that monogamous heterosexual 1:1 marriage is consistent with the human reproductive imperative, strategy, or behavior – do I really need a citation for that? Would you like divorce rates, rates on adultery, rates on multiple sexual partners, historical or modern numbers?
Yes! YES I WOULD! Indeed, if you're going to pick something apart, numbers and details are vital to the operation!

(I'm especially eager to evaluate the "historical" numbers-- and the methods for obtaining them!)

At best, what the author here provides isn't picking-- it's propaganda.

(BTW: a defense of 'He hit me first!' isn't much of a defense at all.)

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Rakeesh
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Oh, man. I dig Scott to pieces, even when he's being a mook, but like JT said-talking past people is sort of a hobby for the dude.
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Scott R
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Is that what JT meant?
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
[Laugh]

quote:
You should return to the conversation if you decide you want to offer what your position on the article in question is.

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GinetteB
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Hi Snuggle, I just read the article you linked to, and I agree completely with you about the 'blatant paranoia'. It's scary, to be honest. I understand you cried when you read it, it made me feel very uncomfortable too.

The only thing I can say is, that it's sad OSC is suffering like that. I have seen it happen before, people being great at some point in their lives and later sort of breaking down instead of growing. Very sad.

For me it is not a reason to throw away his books. I remember how he used to be, some 10 years ago. That guy must still be there, I guess today his brains are playing tricks on him.

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BBegley
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quote:
For me it is not a reason to throw away his books. I remember how he used to be, some 10 years ago. That guy must still be there, I guess today his brains are playing tricks on him.
This isn't a recent development. His archives for the last 10 years are available. His style of argument seems somewhat diminished to me in recent years, but I think that's a result of following the talk radio/fox news model of preaching to the choir rather than attempting to persuade.

That said, with the exception of Empire, his books and short stories are all very good, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them to anyone.*

*I sometimes advise people not to look at his website.

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Strider
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I have a very close friend who refuses to read Ender's Game because of what she knows about his social and political commentary. Two of our other friends and I are always trying to convince her to put that knowledge aside, because we know she'd love the book, but we can't break through that wall.
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Samprimary
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I give them Ender's Game and .. well, I USED to tell them just to read it quick, and not tell them anything about OSC. This hasn't been a tool available to me for a while, because his political and anti-gay rep has pretty much strung out far enough to make his infamous articles common knowledge among anyone I could have otherwise gotten to clean-slate read the thing.
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El JT de Spang
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Which, to me, is a perfectly justified response. If I'd been exposed to his dangerously misguided propaganda before his fiction, I wouldn't have used Ender's Game to wipe my ***, no matter how highly it was recommended. Luckily, I was reading the stuff before he went crazy, so I was able to have nearly two decades of enjoyment prior to him becoming a 'pundit'.
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JanitorBlade
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JT: You're going too far in insulting Mr. Card. If you want to talk about how much you disagree with his opinions fine. Speaking disparagingly of him as a person is not alright.

This thread has been teasing the line a bit, but I'm not comfortable with the tenor. Stick to ideas please.

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El JT de Spang
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You are free to edit out the part you think crosses the line. In my opinion, what I've written is orders of magnitude less offensive than what he's said about me in the last few years, so I will not be editing it.
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