Monday, May 23, 2005

Use the Force...

I wish that I liked Orson Scott Card more, really I do. He's a darling of the sci-fi/fantasy genre. I've read some of his books, and even really liked a few of them. My particular favorite was Hart's Hope, and I read all of the Alvin Maker series. (Don't get too excited about the commitment because if they put stories on the back of my corn flakes I would read all of those, too.) I even have his autograph from when he came to our Virginia Festival of the Book. He was an entertaining speaker. But I've never been able to make it past a few pages of Ender's Game. There is a vague but insistent arrogance running under the voice of his work that irritates me.

On my first reading I found that voice very present in his essay "No Faith in This Force", a review of the religious implications of Lucas' films, "Revenge of the Sith" in particular.
Many had obviously memorized all the howlingly bad lines. They began laughing out loud just before the line was said, and applauded at the wretched “emotional” moments in the movie.

But then, walking out of the theater, they fiercely defended the movie against anyone who dared to speak against it. It might be badly written, but it’s their badly written movie.
Thanks, Orson. We love you, too. If we just replace 'movie' with 'book' then you have defined how I feel about all of your Ender's Game fans. There, how does that feel?

He does make some points about moral relativism, but he doesn't follow up with any clear logical or ethical arguments about it. Mostly he seems to be questioning why people (real people) call themselves Jedi. On their Census form, for instance. In conclusion he says:
So if a religion is known to be fictional, trains its exclusive practitioners to be killing machines, and doesn’t actually work in the real world, why do people call themselves Jedi?
Well, gosh. Could it be... no, let me think. Yes, it's true.....

Because we're BIG OLD GEEKS! It makes us laugh! We are entertained! In a time where there are so many disappointments with organized religion it is a way of poking fun! Are there seriously disturbed people who take it more seriously than they should? NO DOUBT! That's true about anything! There are just as many nutball Christians as there are role players or Jedis or Department Store Santas. Every group has it's nuts.

The only positive thing I have to say about Mr. Card's essay is that it is a also a bit of a poke at Scientology. "It’s one thing to put your faith in a religion founded by a real person who claimed divine revelation, but it’s something else entirely to have, as the scripture of your religion, a storyline that you know was made up by a very nonprophetic human being." Take that, Tom Cruise.

Oh, and remind me to claim divine revelation later this week. I'll pencil it in. I didn't realize that I just had to claim divine revelation to be taken seriously as a religious leader. That is different from artistic inspiration how? Wait, no, don't confuse me with the facts.

Mostly, though, I just hope that Kevin Smith (aka Silent Bob) writes a retort. Wise in the ways of the Force, he is.


  1. While I can't quite match your prolific wood working hobby friend...

    My respect for Card begins and ends within the pages of his SF books. There was a time I tried to read his non-fiction articles... opinions... rants but then I realised the deep arrogance he has you mention above. It is like enjoying a Marilyn Manson track. Love the music, ignore the musician.

  2. Hi Sue

    I found your page while searching for held my throbbing wood. Obviously I did not find the porn I was looking for, but I would still appreciate any photos/videos you may have.

    Oh and I answered the question you left in my comments section.

  3. Paul and Newsblogs jokes don't make quite as much sense now that I've finally deleted the four woodworking comments that spammed this post. Alas, do I miss you woodworking spam?