(c) by Mary Griggs
I was asked the following question in a thread on Facebook about DC Comic’s decision to shelve the controversial story written by Orson Scott Card: “What does Card’s view on homosexuality have to do with Superman? This is about trying to punish Card for thoughtcrime.”
The ‘thoughtcrime’ allusion is to George Orwell’s book 1984 and the Party’s Thought Police who monitor and arrest anyone who attempts to challenge authority or the status quo.
The most insidious thing about those who talk about thought police and political correctness is they’ve turned it all around. My calling Orson Scott Card out for being a bigot doesn’t put me in the role of a government agent. In reality, I’m part of the resistance movement fighting against an orthodoxy that demands their narrow definition of marriage be kept the law of the land despite the fact that numerous scholars, faiths and individuals – in fact, a little over half the population of the United States – disagrees with them.
Disdain for ‘political correctness’ is often positioned as a concern that some important truth is not being spoken for fear of offending someone. Accusations of ‘thoughtcrime’ are made to supposedly warn us that someone is being silenced for having an unpopular opinion. That is nothing but smoke and mirrors.
Political correctness means acknowledging that everyone is vulnerable to emotional harm and that for many people this emotional harm comes from the attitudes of society. When I call out someone for sexist, homophobic, etc. remarks, it is not to silence them. I don’t want them to stop talking. What I want them to do is think about what they say and how it can be hurtful and, further, how it can then be used to deny other people their basic human rights.
Being politically correct means fighting for my belief in equality, standing up for my faith in democracy and staying true to my conviction that the moral arc of the universe bends towards justice. When I am being politically correct, I am upholding the very values that Superman symbolizes.
The man with the ‘S’ on his chest embodies “truth, justice and the American Way.” He lives by the moral values instilled in him by his foster parents and proves over and over, in universe after universe, that he is a true hero, capable of whatever bravery and self-sacrifice is necessary to right a wrong or save a life.
On the other hand, Orson Scott Card’s opinions about homosexuality, marriage equality and feminism are very well documented and very much out of the mainstream. On his blog, he vigorously denounces marriage equality and broadcasts his views that homosexuality is an unnatural “aberration” and “a reproductive dysfunction.” Further, Card became a board member of the National Organization of Marriage in 2009, a political non-profit that works against the legalization of same-sex marriage by using lies and fear mongering in their campaigns across the nation.
Neither me nor any of the other activists are going after Card for his thoughts but for what he has said. To have a Superman story penned by Orson Scott Card would be a betrayal of everything Superman is – Superman has strong moral compass and he stands against bigotry. Card’s advocacy against our basic human rights is the antithesis of what Superman (and America) represents.