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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Hateful Homophobe Orson Scott Card Thinks Hamlet Should Be More Homophobic

Posted by on Thu, Sep 8, 2011 at 1:30 PM

Orson Scott Card, who you may or may not know is a hateful homophobe and member of NOM's board of directors, has rewritten Hamlet to be more homophobic and to equate homosexuality with incest and pedophilia. RainTaxi reviews Card's new book, Hamlet's Father.

Here's the punch line: Old King Hamlet was an inadequate king because he was gay, an evil person because he was gay, and, ultimately, a demonic and ghostly father of lies who convinces young Hamlet to exact imaginary revenge on innocent people. The old king was actually murdered by Horatio, in revenge for molesting him as a young boy—along with Laertes, and Rosencrantz, and Guildenstern, thereby turning all of them gay. We learn that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are now "as fusty and peculiar as an old married couple. I pity the woman who tries to wed her way into that house."

Hamlet is damned for all the needless death he inflicts, and Dead Gay Dad will now do gay things to him for the rest of eternity: "Welcome to Hell, my beautiful son. At last we'll be together as I always longed for us to be."

In conclusion, Orson Scott Card is a hateful homophobe.

(Thanks to Slog tipper Jade .)


Comments (48) RSS

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ryanayr 1
somebody has daddy issues
Posted by ryanayr on September 8, 2011 at 1:34 PM · Report this
nicholaus 2
I guess that's the last time I read Ender's Game with any enjoyment.
Posted by nicholaus on September 8, 2011 at 1:37 PM · Report this
Akbar Fazil 3
as a friend of mine pointed out this morning..."so, how long before Card is caught in some gay sex scandal?"
Posted by Akbar Fazil on September 8, 2011 at 1:40 PM · Report this
Baconcat 4
Orson Scott Dick
Posted by Baconcat on September 8, 2011 at 1:41 PM · Report this
Hamlet was hip to the fact that dady's ghost might be lieing to him. I wonder how Card deals with that.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on September 8, 2011 at 1:45 PM · Report this
evilvolus 6
God. Fucking. Dammit.

His writing started sliding downhill around 2000, but I contented myself to ignore his newer work. Then I learned more about his politics, and I was sad, but still able to just sort of ignore it.

But that's too fucking far. Fucking appaling.
Posted by evilvolus on September 8, 2011 at 1:47 PM · Report this
It must have taken a long time to write that book while typing with one hand.
Posted by Reg on September 8, 2011 at 1:51 PM · Report this
"Orson Scott Card rewrites Hamlet to reflect his own childhood traumas," is more like it.
Posted by also on September 8, 2011 at 1:55 PM · Report this
Tracy 9
Jesus H. Christ!!

@3 Exactly!!
Posted by Tracy on September 8, 2011 at 1:55 PM · Report this
balderdash 10
Yeah, Card has been aggressively Mormon and distressingly conservative for a long time, but over the last decade or so, gradually, he's really just completely fucking lost it.

I don't know if you read Empire - I don't recommend it unless you enjoy the sensation of brains dribbling out your ears - but that was when I knew he was completely fucking batshit. Not long after, I started seeing these "gay marriage is treason, no I am not kidding" pieces he writes every so often. That was when I wrote him a breakup letter and threw away all his books that I owned.

I'm conflicted now about whether to recommend the original Ender series to young readers any more. They're still outstanding books but... you know. I compromise by getting them used if I think someone will really like them, and giving them along with a warning.
Posted by balderdash on September 8, 2011 at 1:58 PM · Report this
Shit! I had no idea! His Ender series was among my favorite reading when I was a young teen. Hell, I think I have a few of them around the house to this day. Knowing he's a hateful bigot I'll never be able to think about those books the same way. Fuck :-(
Posted by Lynx on September 8, 2011 at 1:58 PM · Report this
MacCrocodile 12
@6 - Yeah, I've tried really hard not to judge you too harshly for not judging him more harshly all these years.
Posted by MacCrocodile on September 8, 2011 at 2:02 PM · Report this
Akbar Fazil 13
@8 exactly. Seen elsewhere online:
"...Ender's Game is an anagram of greased men.

I'm sure that's not an accident."
Posted by Akbar Fazil on September 8, 2011 at 2:02 PM · Report this
Jason Eckelman 14
@10 - The Ender series is still good, and I'd still recommend them. I think the issue is, he was a different person then; I don't know that he was ever liberal or whatever, but he wasn't an evil little bitch like he clearly is now. I prefer to remember him as he was, before the botched personality bypass.
Posted by Jason Eckelman on September 8, 2011 at 2:03 PM · Report this
Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In 15
You know, if you take out the whole gay angle & replace it with, say, religious extremism, that rewrite.... is still a horrible bowl of pus & vomit with poop chunks. Making Old Hamlet evil, and Claudius the hero? That's like making the Ring the greatest hope for love & happiness, and Frodo is a turd for destroying it. Yeah, let's see how that works....

@14 I've never been attracted to his work, and now there is no reason whatsoever. I don't care if it's "good," it's not a work of genius that will enthrall audiences for centuries. It's under the "optional" list, and I for one will opt for other good, non-genius authors.
Posted by Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In on September 8, 2011 at 2:20 PM · Report this
Another reason I won't see an Ender's Game movie if its ever made. Loved the book, but goddamn that guy is an asshole.
Posted by Erich on September 8, 2011 at 2:31 PM · Report this
seatackled 17
If anyone can improve upon Shakespeare's work, I'm sure it's Card.
Posted by seatackled on September 8, 2011 at 2:37 PM · Report this
zachd 18
@14 In fairness, the characterization even there goes through the floor later on, especially with the Mormon cardboard cutout parents and relationships. And that's even before the terrible Shadow series.

I picked him up via a couple of the less terrible novels (Prentice Alvin and Ender's Game), but as you keep digging into his work it'll keep going downhill. The complete (hardcover) Maps in the Mirror collection shows that as well: you get several good stories but also a variety of shallow Sunday School characterizations.
Posted by zachd on September 8, 2011 at 2:38 PM · Report this
My brother is Mormon. He tells me that -- wait for it -- Ender's Game is basically the plot of some of the Mormon mythology. I forget what exactly. I gave it to him to read and he laughed and laughed as he recognized the Mormon stories embedded in the novel.

I had been a huge fan of Card. He used to steal time to write -- has a big family, one child disabled, full time job. When he got popular, he quit his day job and wrote full time.

That is when his writing really hit the skids. Big time. Unreadable.

I concluded that when he was stealing the time, he wrote from passion and the need to tell a story. His story. Once he had all the time to write, he started to write from his head.

There are some pretty ugly thoughts going on underneath that Mormon niceness -- a rage at welfare recipients for being lazy, anger at their money being wasted on gov'mint programs. blah blah. Racism lurks.

And they are nice people too. It's confusing to me, to be related to these super conservative people and watch up close the Jekyll and Hyde nature.

Bottom line -- Orson is a crappy, unreadable, overly controlling head case. Sad.
Posted by bareboards on September 8, 2011 at 2:52 PM · Report this
kim in portland 20
Here I thought Hamlet was based King Horwendil, his brother Fengo, and Horwendil's son Amled. According to Saxo's (a twelfth-century Danish historian), Fengo murdered Horwendil and seized both his throne and his wife, Gerutha. And Amled (whose name is derived from the Old Norse word "amlod," which means a simpleton), being afraid of his uncle, feigned madness, which provided him the opportunity to avenge his father's death. Maybe Card finds something different in Saxo's History of Denmark (Gesta Danorum), a secret code in latter half of Book 3 or in Book 4 that he uses for his re-write? Or maybe he has a personal agenda?
Posted by kim in portland on September 8, 2011 at 2:57 PM · Report this
Sorry, but if you love an author/painter/sculptor don't look too much into them as a real human being. Their work is good or it isn't, and who and what they are as a person really won't help your enjoyment of that work. More likely it will diminish your enjoyment.

I don't care for the genre in which Card writes, so don't know him as an author. If accurately summed up (and this IS the stranger, so I won't be putting any high stakes bets on that,) his re-write of Hamlet sounds stupid though.

The only thing that could improve Hamlet that I haven't already seen at some point is an alteration of the end. The perfect ending line 'the rest is silence' is followed by many more blathering lines about succession. When written this was important. In a royalist society the audience would naturally want to know who will take over with the entire royal family weltering in their own blood. It isn't for us.

I'd love to see a director with the imagination to remove Fortinbras and Norway from the play as an irrelevant distraction, and end the play on those wonderful lines, the rest is silence.
Posted by Seattleblues on September 8, 2011 at 3:13 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 23
@ 22, in the case of Card that's kind of hard because he's used his fame as a platform to spout this stuff. It's not like he's just sitting there in his home in Utah, telling his thoughts only to people invited into his home.

BTW, have you found any, you know, scientific evidence supporting the idea that homophobia is a mental disease? Not just your emotional response, which is a result of conditioning and not natural in the slightest?
Posted by Matt from Denver on September 8, 2011 at 3:18 PM · Report this
Considering the plotline of this Hamlet book (Daddy gets his "beautiful son" forever in Hell) and things like the creepy "naked boys have a fight" scenes in the Ender books, I sure as heck hope people don't let Orson Scott Card anywhere near their kids.
Posted by bobbyjoe on September 8, 2011 at 3:21 PM · Report this
Did he end the book with a couple of pre-teens getting elected the new king and queen of Denmark because they were such awesome bloggers?
Posted by Karla on September 8, 2011 at 3:22 PM · Report this
Reverse Polarity 26
Ender's Game deserved all of the awards it won. I read it when it was first published and recommended it to lots of people over the years. But Card has turned into a monumental asshole, and his writing has gone completely in the toilet. He's so loathsome that I now only recommend buying a used copy of Ender, or borrowing it from the library. Nothing he has written since Speaker for the Dead is worth reading.
Posted by Reverse Polarity on September 8, 2011 at 3:32 PM · Report this
YakHerder 28
@17: Conservatives will call for both versions to be taught in high schools. Let the kids decide which is better!
Posted by YakHerder on September 8, 2011 at 4:01 PM · Report this

'Treason' and 'Ender/Speaker for the Dead' are among my favorite novels. Next time I read them (if I do), I may be in too critical of a mode to enjoy the stories.

There is so much empathy for humanity in Card's books. It is a crying shame the same cannot be said of Card himself.
Posted by hjermsted on September 8, 2011 at 4:18 PM · Report this
Bobby Fischer was nuts, but that didn't mean he wasn't a chess genius. So it is with Card and Ender's Game.
Posted by NMSpaz on September 8, 2011 at 4:20 PM · Report this
Hamlet was homophobic? Will somebody toss me a footnote?
Posted by RonK, Seattle on September 8, 2011 at 4:42 PM · Report this
Hmmm...sounds like someone has a terminal case of Scott Adams Syndrome.
Posted by Mr. Happy Sunshine on September 8, 2011 at 4:44 PM · Report this
I used to enjoy his books. Then I went to a talk he did here, where he went off on non-Mormons and displayed his hateful, intolerant, religious side. I walked out (loudly), went home, and promptly threw away all of his books that I owned.
Posted by StuckInUtah on September 8, 2011 at 4:44 PM · Report this
mike in oly 34
He used to be my favorite author. It broke my heart when he turned into a raging asshole bigot. I couldn't read his books anymore and sent them all to Goodwill. I should have composted them. What a complete and utter waste of a human he turned into.
Posted by mike in oly on September 8, 2011 at 4:57 PM · Report this
merry 35
@ 17 - Word.

Well, Thomas Bowdler gave us 'bowdlerized'... I guess Orson Scott Card has given us 'carded'....

Amusing that it rhymes with 'leotarded'... There are no coincidences, people!
Posted by merry on September 8, 2011 at 4:57 PM · Report this
scary tyler moore 36
is he one of them white, fat, bearded, bespectacled, complaining middle aged mens? he is? thought so.
Posted by scary tyler moore on September 8, 2011 at 5:16 PM · Report this
Knat 37
I loved Ender's Game series (especially the titular novel), but read the series before I was old enough to understand everything going on. For instance, I didn't pronounce Libido's name properly because I didn't recognize the word. That's how young I was. I may reread the series again, but as Reverse Polarity said, I'll get them from the library or buy them used.

I loved The Dig and Shadow Complex as well, and I would still recommend both, but buying those games is the last of the money I will see that he gets from me.

And that Salon writer is somewhat lacking, IMHO. But the interview was enlightening.
Posted by Knat on September 8, 2011 at 7:40 PM · Report this
samktg 38
@SB, You don't know what the fuck you're talking about; to suggest that people should not learn as much as they can about their favorite subjects because they might be disappointed is bullshit.
Posted by samktg on September 8, 2011 at 9:28 PM · Report this
Doctor Memory 39
bobbyjoe@24: THANK YOU. Everyone I know has been raving about "Ender's Game" for nearly as long as I've been alive, and when I read it... yes, it's a very good book, but fucking hello, not-even-slightly-disguised sexual fixation on pubescent boys. It's not even a little bit subtle, but everyone just kinda blithely ignores it, and it puts Card's hilarious political obsessions in disturbingly sharp relief.
Posted by Doctor Memory on September 8, 2011 at 10:58 PM · Report this
mm. almost every one here is slamming some one I know next to nothing about, but- as a writer, I have to point out. When you put something to print, you are usually (excepting self-serving bios like Cheney did) not writing about yourself! I haven't even read the damn book yet, and know I want to. And lest we forget, the original Hamlet was a thinly veiled incest story- who the hell cares if Card changed who the intercourse concentrated on? You are all shouting out your own personal agendas, without even talking much about the actual book.
Posted by piercedadept on September 9, 2011 at 2:36 AM · Report this
@ 40 Orson Scott Card is a prominent member of the anti-gay organization NOM and never misses an opportunity to go off on hateful rants against gay people, in essays, interviews, and public appearances. Yet we're the ones shouting about OUR "personal agenda"? F*ck that, we're shouting BACK.
Posted by bobbyjoe on September 9, 2011 at 4:25 AM · Report this
@15 Rewriting a classic piece of literature to make the villains more sympathetic and/or the heroes less so is a not-uncommon trend with some well-regarded examples, such as Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea and Gregory Maguire's Wicked. I wouldn't object out of hand to such a treatment of Hamlet, which after all is full of ambiguities that a writer who knew what they were doing could exploit to make the old King Hamlet seem like not such a great guy and Claudius's murder of him seem at least understandable, if not justified.

To do this well, though, requires a certain amount of skill and subtlety and thorough knowledge of the original text you're working with. The problem with Card's version (besides, you know, the blatant bigotry) is that it seems to display none of these things. I mean,
Posted by xenoglossy on September 9, 2011 at 12:31 PM · Report this
... aaand I failed to notice that I left a sentence hanging at the end of my comment above. I was going to say:

I mean, I haven't read it, but the excerpts in the linked review are not really examples of scintillating prose.
Posted by xenoglossy on September 9, 2011 at 12:34 PM · Report this
KittenKoder 44
@40 Writing, even fiction, is a personal agenda. Just because it's not an auto-biography doesn't mean you don't put yourself in there. Every true writer will agree, that you can only write well when you use what you know.
Posted by KittenKoder on September 10, 2011 at 12:29 AM · Report this
@39, you're right on, not only is there that obsession with adolescent boys in Enders Game, it's a regular feature of Card's writing. One of the reasons I was obsessed with that book was because when I read it I was a gay boy the same age as those in the book, and frankly, it was kinda hot, the idea of living together in this super-cool secret base with a bunch of tough, frequently naked, other boys. In addition, in his short story series "Folk of the Fringe" (which I adored as well) one of the main series features a 14-year-old boy overcome with a divine-sent lust for a middle-aged woman. He, against his own will, is drawn through the jungle to impregnate her. Essentially, God made him do it. It excellently captured the power of adolescent lust, which, as an adolescent myself when I read it, I certainly understood. But then you remember that it was written by a (at hte time) middle-aged man.

That's nothing compared to the brutal psychological trouble and toil on display in "Lost Boys". It's one of the creepiest books I've ever read, a novel about a violent child molester and a boy whose imaginary friends are murdered boys from the neighborhood. I remember reading the book and thinking to myself that Orson Scott Card had some serious fucking demons.

In the end you get the feeling that, with the obsession with religious purity and adolescent sexuality that is such a theme in this work, this is a dude who makes the mistake of thinking that everyone out there is as scary and nasty inside as he is. Like a lot of homophobes, what he maybe fears most is a society that lets the things inside him get out. He needs social repression for his own sake. He beats up on gays because we're acting on our once-repressed and hated sexuality, and that new-found freedom is like untouchable water to a parched man. Card is terrified; whatever is inside of him is so hideous that it must never get out. Gay rights is a slippery slope right into the maw of his own, far scarier, sexuality.

Anyway, that's my armchair psychologist guess, based on reading and loving his earlier books. Meh on the later stuff. It's no longer interesting because it feels fake in the way the earlier books never did.
Posted by Sa-Spence on September 10, 2011 at 1:34 AM · Report this
"Old King Hamlet was an inadequate person because he was gay, an evil person because he was gay ..."

If King Hamlet molested Horatio, Laertes, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern as children, that makes him a pedophile, not a gay man. Even if Orson Scott card is demented enough to believe that gay men are attracted to little boys, we shouldn't humour him.
Posted by Amanda on September 10, 2011 at 10:48 AM · Report this
The funny thing is that in the Alvin series he wrote a set of books that are in many ways very gay friendly. They deal with how hard it is growing up different from the people around you, hated because of something you can't control. They have a villain who is a superficially righteous religious leader, but who has no love in his heart.

If all you read was his Alvin books you'd assume that he was a NALT mormon,

Apparently instead he's one of those people that thinks that all bigotry is wrong, except against gay people - then it's ok.
Posted by Cloudgazer on September 10, 2011 at 12:48 PM · Report this
Corylea 48
Orson Scott Card used to be a reasonable human being, and his book Speaker for the Dead is still one of my favorite books. Ironically, it's one of the best books about the necessity of understanding someone else's situation before you judge them that you will ever read.

I wonder what happened that turned him from a reasonable person into a flaming, hateful lunatic.

I hope that whatever it is doesn't happen to Brandon Sanderson (another Mormon science fiction/fantasy writer who writes lovely novels).

Posted by Corylea on September 10, 2011 at 1:02 PM · Report this
My understanding is that Scott Card's bisexual orgy stage was back in the 1970s and 1980s, when he also used to -- believe it or not -- lead "Secular Humanist Revival Meetings". Apparently the Mormon church took note of him when he became famous and cracked down hard, and he knuckled under.

But yeah, the whole teenage boys getting naked, molested, or beaten up thing he's got going in a lot of his books does not spell flaming heterosexual to me.
Posted by Susan on September 10, 2011 at 11:13 PM · Report this
Thanks for the laughs. An author says that his religion dictates that homosexuals and heterosexuals should try to resist having sex outside of traditional marriage if they want to remain in that religion. He also says that they should be treated equally with respect and compassion. But he's against same-sex marriage. And the postings here call him (I'm using some actual quotes) a raging homophobe, bigotted asshole, closet homosexual, white, middle-aged, hateful, flaming lunatic, etc.
Posted by on April 29, 2012 at 12:09 PM · Report this

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