Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Revenge of the Nerds: Geeks as Bullies

It is a common belief that geeks get picked on by other, more popular people.  And the reason that it is common is that it is true.

But just because someone is part of a bullied group, it does not, therefore, mean that they cannot in turn be bullies.

I bring this up because a group calling themselves Geek OUT is trying to get people to boycott anything related to the upcoming movie Ender's Game.  Why?  Because the author of the book upon which it was based committed the thought crime of supporting traditional marriage.  They said "The queer geek community will not subsidize his fear-mongering and religious bullying. We will not pay him to demean, insult, and oppress us."

A few thoughts:

1.  As I've said before, I have no real dog in this fight.  I'm not a fan of Card, nor am I an opponent.  

2.  Geek OUT is perfectly within their rights to encourage people not to support a piece of art.  As a movie critic, I engage in this activity all the time in order to save people from wasting their time and money.  

3.  I find it interesting that the protest surrounds Card as a person and not the movie itself. From what I understand, homosexuality does not come up in Ender's Game.  I don't believe it there are even symbolic or allegorical attacks, as there were against the Catholic Church in books like The Golden Compass.  No, the attack is against Card himself.  Nevermind the merits or detriments of the art itself.  And, again, if that is their choice, more power to them.  I know people who will never pay money to see another Sean Penn movie because they find his politics so noxious.  I tend not to think in those terms, but that is their choice. But for those who do this, I often wonder what is their sin threshold.  I mean, at what point does an artist become too evil for them to engage in their art?

4.  I found the statement "The queer geek community will not subsidize... fear mongering and religious bullying."  If "religious bullying" means bullying religion (particularly Christianity), then they are out of luck.  Geek pop culture tends to be squarely bullying against religion.  Comic books, in particular, are a bastion of anti-Christian bullying.  There are exceptions, like this year's Man of Steel.  And while sadly many homosexuals are bullied in real life, for the most part homosexuals are not bullied by popular culture.  They are celebrated.  Christians tend to be the ones who are bullied.

5.  Victimization is not immunization.  Just because an injustice has been done to me, I am not immunized from committing that same injustice.  I was bullied in high school by someone on the wrestling team.  But just because I was bullied, it doesn't mean that I couldn't also be a bully to someone else.  Sadly, I believe I was often that to my little sister as I grew up.  Victims of bullying can be just as horrible at bullying others.  

6.  This is where the next wave of attacks on the Catholic Church will come from.  The anti-Catholic bullies will call the Church the biggest bully of all.  And because the Church is a bully, all attacks on it will be seen as justified.

7.  Once again, prayer is need for all involved.  When I was being bullied, God called me to return their hatred with love.  And even if that choice did nothing to change them, it changed me.  Their hatred no longer touched me.  I was free.  For anyone who feels bullied in the pop culture, whether it is this group protesting Card or people like Card himself, let us pray that they all come to a greater love for one another.

So, see Ender's Game, don't see it... I don't care.  But are we really going to start a moral audit of artists before we judge their art?  Or should we let the art speak for itself?


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