On boycotts

I’m writing this at home and in bed; my head has been swimming intermittently for a couple of days now, and I intend to spend as much time as humanly possible right here where I am before dragging my ancient carcass to OtherJob for a few hours tonight– mostly because, unlike RealJob, OtherJob doesn’t pay me if I don’t show up and I need money. But if this happens to get incoherent at some point do be aware that I’m not entirely in my right mind at the moment.

Ender’s Game comes out today. Or… soon? I think it’s today. I won’t be seeing it. Why I won’t be seeing it is an open question, really; I’d like to pretend that it’s because Orson Scott Card is a nasty bigoted asshole but the simple fact is the last movie I actually saw in theaters was… (draws blank)… shit, I know the answer to this… Christ, it wasn’t Iron Man 3, was it?

(Texts wife)

Holy hell, it was Iron Man 3. That’s ridiculous.

If I didn’t have a kid and a job that ate every Friday and Saturday night, I might see more movies– I haven’t seen Gravity or Riddick or the remake of Carrie or just to stick with the Chloe Moretz theme, Kick-Ass 2, and those are movies I want to see. So to say I’m boycotting Ender’s Game probably overstates the case, as I likely wouldn’t have seen it anyway. I want to see the new Thor movie next weekend; we’ll see if I make it or not.

Orson Scott Card doesn’t get any of my money anymore because 1) Orson Scott Card is a major-league asshole and 2) Orson Scott Card has made sure that I find out that he’s a major-league asshole. If he wasn’t a major-league asshole or if he hadn’t made sure that I knew about it, I’d very likely be climbing over things to get to go see his movie this weekend, because I loved the book. He’s on a fairly short list of business or people whose work I have stopped patronizing because of political/moral reasons but otherwise would, along with Dan Simmons, Tom Cruise, Mel Gibson, and Chik Fil-A. It doesn’t count if I was never interested in your shit in the first place; I’m not boycotting Rush Limbaugh because I never gave a damn about his show. I know Domino’s Pizza is run by Christianist lunatics; I wasn’t a fan of their pizza anyway so I can’t really pretend that I’m boycotting it now. For all I know, Jack-In-The-Box is run by Satanists, but I can’t boycott their food because there aren’t any of their restaurants near me.

Do I feel like my personal withdrawal of my patronage is making a difference? No, of course not. But it doesn’t have to. I don’t feel the need to drive CFA into bankruptcy; I just don’t want to help them have money any longer. Are there other artists or businesses whose work I do patronize that are as bad or worse than Orson Scott Card? I’m sure there are, which is where the You Don’t Want None, There Won’t Be None policy comes into effect. I don’t have time to submit the author of every book I read or the owners of every business I spend money with to some sort of personal Decency Commission to make sure that every penny I spend only ends up in the hands of Good People. But I feel like if you’re going to go to the trouble to make a stink about what an asshole you are, you probably ought not to whine when said assholery has some consequences.

I’m writing about this because, first, Card’s been in the news lately, for obvious reasons, and second, some of the arguments against not seeing the film (call it “boycotting” if you want) seem pretty intensively infested with stupid. This is manifestly not a free speech issue, for example. I am not the government, for starters, and perhaps more importantly Orson Scott Card is not entitled to my money. There’s always this deeply weird group of people who pop out of the woodwork whenever something like this happens to shriek about how Liberals Don’t Really Respect Free Speech because Look What They Do When They Disagree with People.

If you think that, kill yourself. You’re too fucking stupid to live.

Orson Scott Card is not entitled to my money. Neither is Chik-Fil-A. I will not give them my money based on any goddamn criteria I choose, regardless of the ridiculousness of said criteria, and there isn’t a drop of free speech involved. He has the right to be a public asshole, and I have the right to call him one, and I sure as shined shit have the right to decline to pay the man for his hatred.