Wednesday, November 06, 2013


For the opening week of the Ender's Game movie, which has done pretty well so far, comics writer Marz has quite a bit to say on CBR about his refusal to even read the novel by Orson Scott Card.

But besides that, he's also made a very odd choice for an op-ed to recommend:

When I took to reading this over, I discovered quite an eyebrow raising surprise: the writer for Grantland is a practicing Muslim, and quite a bit of what he says contains some taqqiya (the Arabic word for deception, a leading component of Islam) that cannot be taken at face value. So, in all due fairness, if Marz really believes in his own positions, that's why I'm going to analyze what the Grandlander is not being very clear about.

He says he was impressed that the Alai character is a Muslim, without even mentioning that the story isn't entirely favorable towards Alai: he thinks racial humor is funny and Ender has to tell him it's not. And Ender later becomes alienated from Alai after the latter gets much better promotions than he does. It's nowhere near what the Grantlander seems to think. He goes on to say:
...in the 1980s, Muslims were portrayed in American popular culture as one of three categories, if they were portrayed at all: crazy ayatollahs, greasy lecherous oil sheikhs, or bomb-wielding hijackers.
That's not entirely true. Hollywood certainly didn't delve deep into the contents of the Koran, that's for sure. Lawrence of Arabia wasn't exactly a negative portrayal of an Islamic kingdom when it was produced in the 60s. And here's an episode of the Hunter TV series called 62 Hours of Terror that made it seem as though they were going to explore the subject of jihadism, then backed away and made it seem more like a woman eloping with her lover was faking it as a smokescreen. I thought it was pretty weak.

But even if Hollywood did have guts back in the 80s, since when was that wrong? This was a belief system they'd be taking to task, not a race, and violence against innocents in the name of religion is abominable.
Card's community had a far greater toehold in America, of course. Mormonism is an American religion at its fundamental core, while Islam was beaten out of the African slaves who practiced it centuries ago and wasn't revived in the African American community until the 20th century.
Here is a telling lie that obscures the real picture, opposite of what the Grantlander wants us to think. And here's some history of Islam, the Koran and slavery in the early times the Religion of Peace was formed, including the following Koranic verse that says:
O prophet! We have made lawful to thee thy wives to whom thou hast paid their dowers; and those whom thy right hand possesses out of the prisoners of war whom Allah has assigned to thee; and daughters of thy paternal uncles and aunts and daughters of thy maternal uncles and aunts who migrated (from Mecca) with thee; and any believing woman who dedicates her soul to the Prophet if the Prophet wishes to wed her this only for thee and not for the Believers (at large); We know what We have appointed for them as to their wives and the captives whom their right hands possess in order that there should be no diffculty for Thee. And Allah is OftForgiving Most Merciful (Qur'an 33:50, Yusef Ali)
That verse is a clear sign of how, according to the beliefs of Islam, taking slaves is considered justified. And here's more research explaining how forced conversions are also condoned under Islam.

The Grantland writer claims to be in favor of homosexuality. But what does the Koran have to say about homosexuality? For example:
Qur'an (7:80-84) - "...For ye practice your lusts on men in preference to women: ye are indeed a people transgressing beyond bounds.... And we rained down on them a shower (of brimstone)"
Qur'an (4:16) - "If two men among you are guilty of lewdness, punish them both. If they repent and amend, Leave them alone"
And also:
Qur'an (26:165-166) - "Of all the creatures in the world, will ye approach males, "And leave those whom Allah has created for you to be your mates? Nay, ye are a people transgressing"
This kind of beliefs are what led to graphic executions like the one seen in this MRC video at Vlad Tepes. None of this is mentioned in the Grantlander's article. Yet this is somebody whom Marz thinks makes for a reliable source on Orson Scott Card? The Islamist at Grantland also says:
Card's bigoted views about gay people are bad enough [...]
What about the Koran's bigoted views of gay people?
I think being a Muslim made it easier for me to come to that realization, because I knew what it felt like to have bigoted eyes watching me. I knew what it was like, even before 9/11, to hide a part of myself from strangers because I could never be quite sure how they would react. And so I was surprised when I learned that Card, as a Mormon, wasn't able to frame gay rights through the lens of his own experiences with prejudice and suspicion.
Now here's taqqiya at its worst. All this said while failing to acknowledge the most horrific verses in the Koran. But this does make me wonder: if Card were a Muslim instead of a Mormon, would there be any fuss? Would there even be remote calls for a boycott of his work? Most likely not, and even Marz and other comics writers who've been so negative towards Card would have kept quiet, even if they didn't condone his viewpoints.

Interestingly, Peter David, of all people, had quite a rebuttal to Marz's silly rant at CBR:
I'm sorry, Ron, but you're wrong.

I am so goddamn sick of boycotts. Sick of it. I wrote a video game called "Shadow Complex" that was based on a book that Card wrote. It had no relation to gays at all, and yet because of Card, I got hit with people declaring that all of my work--ALL of it--should be boycotted because I had committed the capital offense of having anything to do with him, and should be punished for that transgression. This was happening at the same time that GLAAD was giving me an award for my work on gays in comics, it should be noted.

Your inability to separate the person from the work is limiting and ridiculous. I don't care how much work you go to to rationalize it: no one connected to the film is anti-gay, nor does the film have anything to do with it. And refusing to go see the film in order to avoid Card making money that he won't, in fact, make, is a tortured string of logic that doesn't hold up to even the slightest scrutiny.

I have no dog in this hunt. See the film, don't see it, I don't care. But I completely disagree with everything you say. Whew. Good thing it won't prompt me to boycott your work.
And he also wrote a similar entry back at his site. Now David does have liberal beliefs - even some that turned up in his comics writing - that I disagree with. But on the plus side, he's right that Marz is being ridiculous to join the calls for boycotts, and there's plenty of left-wing writers whose work even I don't wish to avoid just because of how far they may have stumbled today.

That said, if Marz really believes in what he says, then let's hope he realizes what a mistake he's making to embrace the propaganda of that Grantlander. If I were in Marz's position and knew just how dishonest such a real life J. Jonah Jameson was being, I'd be pretty embarrassed. Especially after it looks like the boycott calls only helped Card, who's going to write a few more novels following the success of the movie so far.

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