Yesterday I talked briefly about the rhetoric surrounding Orson Scott Card and gay rights. Which is a mess.
The main takeaway has to be that it doesn't matter whether or not OSC is in the right or in the wrong, public opinion is that he must be destroyed. And that opinion seems to be getting stronger and stronger with each controversy (real or manufactured) he's involved in.
I mentioned yesterday that some people are actively distancing themselves from OSC---sometimes less because they disagree with him and more because it's bad for business to be associated with him.
The question for discussion now is this:
Are Mormon writers in general in danger of being so smeared with "Cardism" that we should distance ourselves as well?
After all, Orson Scott Card has been the most out-of-the-closet Mormon in American letters for decades. No one else is quite so Mormony as Mr Card. I wager if we did a phone survey asking Americans about American Mormon writers, Card would still beat out our Sandersons and Meyers and Hales and Udalls. He is, still, THE Mormon writer.
And the word "Mormon" is important here---some writers whose fame is closely tied to their Mormonism (Elna Baker, Neil LaBute, Brian Evenson, Walter Kirn) have cut their official ties to the faith with extreme publicity. And that's certainly an option if Prop 8 gives you the willies. Screw the Mormon writer thing. Ditch Mormonism entirely. Problem solved!
But before you allow your feelings about OSC to determine your future, pause a moment.
Here's what I tell people who aren't Mormon.
I'm Mormon.And here's what I tell people who are Mormon.
Look at me.
This is what a Mormon looks like.
I'm out and I'm proud.
Hey.And I frankly don't care how other Mormons feel about that. I'm a 100% trueblue diedindawool Mormon. You can't tell me I'm not. I am.
I go around telling people I'm Mormon.
That I'm what a Mormon looks like.
If you don't like it, you'd better be as out as I am.
If you want people to think Mormons are something else, be more obvious than I am.
And that's the same thing I'm proposing to Mormon writers---and artists of all types.
Whether you like OSC's persona or not, who cares?
If you want people to think Mormon artists look like you, show them what you look like.
Get out there.
Don't fret about what other people think about other people.
Stop worrying about what being associated with Orson Scott Card will do to your career. Let Orson Scott Card worry about how being associated with you will affect his career.
Geez. Do your own thing.
Be rational, be honest, be yourself.
Don't let other people define you, whether you agree with them or not.
Let the mob stigmatize all they want. You stand true.