Michael: Two Faces of Orson Scott CardThose of you have only read Orson Scott Card's books would be very surprised to read his political punditry. OSC is one very small step short of Ann Coulter: anti-intellectual, jingoistic, insulting, denigrating toward all who disagree with his views, chauvinist, bigoted, self-righteous, and down-right stupid at times. It is almost as if OSC the writer and OSC the pundit are two different people.
Now, I think it's possible for a writer to get so inside his characters that the words he writes are not his personal views bleeding through the scenery, but rather thoughts and actions that do not reflect any bias of the artist at all, but which solely serve the needs of the story. It's easy to presume that OSC's books are the products of such a submergence of the artist's ego. It's easy to presume that the real thoughts and beliefs of OSC are those expressed in his callow political work. But what if the easy answer is wrong?
What if just the opposite is true? What if the books reflect the real views OSC and the jingoistic political rants are the careful artifice? Perhaps it an interesting artistic challenge to a writer to create a public personna who is so biliously over-the-top that he makes Rush look a like a bit of a swish.
What's the pay-off? Well, you would have a chance to steer the enemy camp's rhetoric closer and closer to the cliff of absurdity. OSC seems intent on doing that. Judge for yourself whether OSC is serious or planting conceptual IEDs in the opposition's base camp.
Re the Newsweek Qu'ran flap:
"Too many people in the "American" media have lost any concept of loyalty to their country"
"They are loyal to a community -- but it's not America. It's Smartland. The nation of the newsmedia people. That's where they live. Not in America."
"And yet the irony is that the reason the radical Islamists hate the West so much is primarily because of the unchecked and uncheckable excesses of the Smartish. From Hollywood to newspeople to the soft-subject professors in our universities, the culture that makes people like Osama bin Laden want to blow us up or crush us into dust is the culture of the R-rated movie, the anti-religion intellectual, the glorified abortionist, the babies-without-marriage crowd, and the what-me-worry media elite"
"Muslims in Muslim countries can dish it out, but they can't take it. They had no problem expelling all the Jews from their countries in an ethnic cleansing every bit as vicious as anything the Spaniards did in 1492. They desecrated Torahs left and right. Nowadays they blow up babies and call it a heroic act, because they were Jewish babies. But let somebody start a rumor that somebody dunked a Quran in the toilet, and they go insane and riot and kill people. "
"The greatest asset that Osama and his tribe have going for them is not the tantrumlike behavior of their supporters. It's the fact that the West is deeply divided, as a new religious movement -- politically correct puritanism -- is perilously close to seizing control of the governments of most of the major nations of the West. These citizens of Smartland disingenuously claim that they are neither organized nor a religion -- organized religions are the bogeyman they invoke to frighten their opponents into silence."
I read these passages and many others (these gems are from only a single article) and I hear a false note. A true believer, a member of OSC choir, as it were, would likely not be able detect this false note. I may be wrong, but I can't help noticing what sounds like a tone of parody. Perhaps it is just wishful thinking, but sometimes in reading OSC's polemic I perceive a charactature of an arch-conservative bomb-thrower, not a genuine voice.
If I'm right, OSC is gleefully pulling the legs of the conservative movement like a child with a cockroach. Why? Who knows? Perhaps he's just having fun. If my fancy is wrong, and I'll admit that it is vastly more likely that it is, then OSC is just a conservative cretin and bit of an idiot. He won't be the first artist to cherish dispicable political convictions while somehow still managing to produce high-quality art.