Wednesday, February 13, 2013

yes, free speech includes the right to oppose other people's speech, but.... (on Orson Scott Card and Superman)

Orson Scott Card's getting attention again for his opposition to gay marriage, and one manifestation of that is a petition to get him fired from writing Superman.

I've supported gay marriage for decades. I heard this song when I was in my teens and recognized my philosophy about the rights of adults:

I've also supported free speech since I was a boy in the '60s, when rightwingers were busily trying to silence their opponents, just as too many leftwingers do today.

In Orson Scott Card, Homophobia, and Superman | Sequart Research & Literacy Organization, a point is made that's loved by censors:
...private boycotts and petitions are in fact an expression of free speech, not a violation of it.
Ignore the word "private" there, because there's nothing private about trying to get people to join in a boycott. The rest of the statement is 100% true.

And 100% irrelevant.

Where democracy does not protect the rights of the minority, there's no democracy; there's only mob rule. Where people are not free to say things I despise, I am not free to speak—where someone can be silenced, anyone can be silenced. Remember the centuries of people who suffered because they were gay, and reject the tactics of their oppressors.

In this case, I agree with Dale Lazarov: "I've known Orson Scott Card is a raging homophobe since the early 90s. I refuse to buy or read his work. But asking that he be denied work because he is a raging homophobe is taking it too far. Asking for workplace discrimination for any reason is counterproductive for those who want to end discrimination on their own behalf."

ETA: Here's Taj Mahal's take on the same subject:

ETA: I was tiny bit amused that I just got email from the ACLU about other people who believe in silencing others: Stand With Bayli As She Stands Up To Bullies | American Civil Liberties Union: "Bayli Silberstein, an 8th grade student in Florida, has been trying for a year to create a Gay-Straight Alliance, a student-led club to combat the name-calling and bullying she and her friends face at school. But in an underhanded attempt to stop Bayli from forming the Gay-Straight Alliance, the school board is considering banning ALL extracurricular clubs."

ETA: Steve Brust blogged about this at Orson Scott Card, DC Comics, and Censorship | The Dream Café, and I joined in the discussion there.

ETA: A fine version recommended in the comments: