Monday, March 27, 2006

In Which Steve H. is Called a Commie Sympathizer

Steve Hockensmith: Brilliant writer or Red Menace?

Steve Hockensmith asks whether it is difficult to keep myself out of political troubles on this blog. Short answer? Easy as pie. Nobody reads this blog, therefore, nobody gets offended. Long answer? Even if someone did read this, I can't be bothered with politics - I'm getting old and, in fact, older by the minute. There's no time for politics, I've got books to write. I don't vote straight down any ticket. I tend to vote contrary to whoever is in power. There's my political statement - I think give and take is healthy. I think whoever the incumbent is at any one time in any office should have to look over his/her shoulder at the people who want that seat. I think government works best when it works slowest, when everyone has to compromise, when power does not rest with any one party. I was troubled for a while when the Presidency and the majority in House and Senate were all Republican - not because they were Republican but because they might act swiftly on things and make sweeping changes, disrupting life. Then I took a nap and felt better. Whatever they do will be watered down, fought in court and undone in the next administration.

Now the reference to Steve Hockensmith's political leanings come from the fact that he was upset by Orson Scott Card's politics. I had to look that up. He's staunchly conservative. I must therefore assume that Hockensmith is a commie pinko, let's-give-eveyone-rights, treehugging, whale-saving, composting-and-recycling kind of guy. I also like composting, so this is fine by me.

The difficulty is that Hockensmith is put off from reading anymore of Card's books. I don't think I would be. Let's go to extremes - say Joseph Mengele wrote a fine novel (something Bridget Jones-y, perhaps?). Should I boycott it because of his politics? Okay, that may have gone too far. I'd boycott that. Wouldn't even watch the movie, really. But try Ezra Pound (poster boy for fascist writers; can't think of any others; well, maybe Card). Should I boycott his poems? Don't like poetry usually. Makes my head hurt. But you get the picture. I hope.

There. Was any of that controversial?


Blogger Steve Hockensmith said...

Whoa whoa whoa! I'm not "boycotting" Orson Scott Card! I simply won't read the guy anymore.

Hmmmm. Sounds kinda like a boycott, doesn't it?

But to me there's a distinction at play here. I'm not calling on anyone to burn Card's books. I'm not demanding that Borders and Barnes & Noble stop carrying him. I'm simply saying I can't read his fiction anymore without being reminded -- in an irritating, "I can't believe what that &$@% said!" kind of way -- of something offensive he once wrote. It's like if you met a fellow writer at a party, and the guy throws a drink in your face and calls you a no-talent hack. It'd be kinda hard to pick up the guy's books and enjoy them after that, wouldn't it?

And I wouldn't have any problem with Card if he were just a garden variety conservative. (And you did your detective work well, Steven -- I'm *not* a garden variety conservative myself. But I'm not a garden variety liberal/Democrat/whatever, either.) What stuck in my craw was a particular editorial in which he attacked anyone who disagreed with his viewpoint. The word "traitor" was used. Repeatedly.

Which means Orson Scott Card thinks people like me are traitors. Which means I think Orson Scott Card's an a#$+!&e. Which means I can't read the guy's books without fuming.

But as for everyone else -- enjoy, I say! The guy's a great science fiction writer, one of the best around today!

It's his editorials that suck.

-Steve "Pinko" Hockensmith

March 27, 2006 10:35 AM  
Blogger Bill said...

I know a lot of people who refuse to watch a Jane Fonda movie. Their loss, I say. I think I'll go watch Barbarella right now.

March 27, 2006 10:50 AM  
Blogger Steve Hockensmith said...

Oh, my. So, Bill -- are you saying I'm like those folks who still insist on calling Fonda "Hanoi Jane"? Gosh. Maybe I'd better rethink my position.

How's this for a compromise: I'll read a Card book again one of these days...but only if it's a *library* copy so he doesn't get any dough out of it. Does that still make me a reactionary?


March 27, 2006 12:39 PM  
Blogger Steven Torres said...

I think that just makes you frugal.

By the way, nice that you have a craw to stick things in. I was looking for one at Pier 1.

As far as not reading Card again, I'd say that's fine, but you might be missing out on some good stuff. On the other hand, if you're a slow reader, why waste time getting annoyed if it does annoy you?

How's this for a compromise: Read a Bill Crider novel.

March 27, 2006 1:36 PM  
Blogger Steve Hockensmith said...

Actually, my craw *is* from Pier 1. It's made from wicker and pieces snap off like crazy whenever something gets stuck in it. Caveat emptor.

Good point about reading speed. I'm a reeeeallllly slow reader and I feel like I don't get to read everything I want to anyway. So swearing off an author I find personally/politically irritating isn't really a big loss, thinks I. Especially cuz I've already read the guy a few times, *and* there's a million other books I oughta be reading. Some of them by Bill Crider!


March 27, 2006 2:29 PM  
Blogger Bill said...

Truth is, Orson Scott Card was a guest at a convention I attended many years ago. He did a "secular humanist revival" performance that I thought was hilarious. I was later amazed at some of his political opinions. I was surprised that a guy who did that performance would have those opinions, which shows how much I know. Anyway, I'm just one of those guys who can easily separate the "art" from the person, and I can read a Card book or watch a Fonda movie and not think about anything from their personal lives.

March 27, 2006 4:20 PM  

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