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Responsible consumption

Ordinarily, when I make charitable contributions, I do so in secret, having been raised on the attitude that the meaning of the impulse to give is cheapened if one seeks applause for it. Let us be clear that I am not seeking applause. What I am doing, here, is making a statement that I think is necessary under the circumstances.

Those circumstances would be my decision to attend a showing of Ender’s Game, based on the book of the same title by Orson Scott Card, despite his hate-fueled homophobic activism. I will not apologize for the way in which the novel entered my soul when I first read it as a child, or for the fact that I’ve been waiting to see it made into a movie ever since then. But I do feel it necessary to explain that I made the choice to view the film in spite of him, with his involvement being a major moral factor to be weighed in the decision. As in, I am not okay with him, I am not okay with the agenda he supports with his time, words, and money, and I am not okay with the idea that my decision to view his film might be seen by him or by Hollywood as tacit acceptance of the hate he promotes. If I’m seeing the film and I don’t voice these considerations, my silence equals acceptance.

Since there is no way, in the reality we inhabit, to entirely avoid exposure to problematic media or to support only artists with whom we agree on all points, I’m trying to be a conscientious consumer. It is my hope that OSC is getting no profits off the back end of this film and that he will never see a dime of my ticket sale. It is my hope that enough of a furor has been and will be raised over his involvement in the project that he will be offered no further Hollywood deals. It is my hope that we’re moving away from a world in which it is an accepted practice to actively lobby against the basic human rights of our fellow man, one  honest discourse at a time. But on the off chance that OSC does stand to see a bonus based on ticket sales, I’ve chosen to offset that with a donation to an organization that works toward better LGBTQ representation in media. (It seemed like a thematically appropriate choice. There are many worthy causes to choose from.)  I know I’m not the only one who struggled with this issue with this man and this film, and I know others have made their peace in other ways. This is my way: by being honest about the struggle, out in the open.

And for the record, post-viewing: if you love the book as I do, if it spoke to you or touched you at all, you might want to do yourself the favor of skipping the movie. It misses almost the entire point of the soul of the story, in a way that actually hurts.

5 thoughts on “Responsible consumption

  1. Various sources have reported that OSC gets no backend, so I think you’re safe on that. I have no interest in seeing the film so this wasn’t a question for me. I think you found a solution that works for you, and good for you for figuring it out for yourself and being okay with it.

    The whole “do your charity in secret” is something I was raised with as well. 🙂 That said, I would say that the way humans have applied that statement, made as a criticism in a particular context, as a general ideological principle, has worked out pretty negatively. There’s nothing wrong with doing real charity in public. Indeed, in the right context, it can be incredibly laudable.

    • I would agree that the concept of “charity in secret” has been applied negatively. I know I’ve certainly seen it in my own life.

      And I hope my comments don’t come across as judging anyone for not keeping their charitable involvement a secret. I actually think it’s probably more important for more people to know that charity happens all the time in many ways and to see it happening. I just have my own early training to overcome on that front.

      I’d read that OSC was getting no backend. That makes me happy. Still thought I’d be on the safe side.

      • On the contrary. I wish that the right people were talking more about their charity precisely because people need to see it happening in order to realize that they need to pick up some slack themselves. I’m all for rewarding charity 🙂

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