How do you send a message to a conglomerate that produces things you love alongside things you hate?
As an extremely litigious society, Americans have developed a sense of entitlement when it comes to deciding the fate of certain brands, and in no way is this more obvious than our love of the boycott. This is because America is a capitalist society, and nothing holds more sway over product solutions than the Almighty Dollar. Business is king, and though we like to call it ‘art,’ there’s a reason entertainment’s called show business.
So while outspoken, anti-LGBT author Orson Scott Card continues to dig his way to the Earth’s core by spouting vitriolic nonsense about gay people and their plot to destroy America, many in the gay community are urging movie-goers to stay away from the film adaptation of his novel Ender’s Game, which opened on November 1st. But is it anything more than an empty gesture?
Once upon a time, a boycott could actually determine the fate of a product, or even a whole company, but that was in a time when most companies only did one thing. Their focus was narrowed, which made their brand vulnerable – all their eggs, so to speak, were in the one basket. Now days multi-national conglomerates are behind everything we buy, and if one hen isn’t producing, making chicken soup is an easy choice since there are plenty of other factory hen houses on the farm. A boycott of a film doesn’t have much of an effect when we still patronize the parent company because they also produce movies not based on a books written by a bigots.
Summit Entertainment – the company behind the adaptation of Ender’s Game – has been forced into rapid damage control, insisting that Card has little involvement in the movie, and that they certainly don’t espouse his views. In other words, ‘Don’t punish us because he’s horrible.’ Which leads to the question: who are we really hurting? If it’s the little people who suffer when we pirate movies, a boycott must be a stab in the back to set designers and best boys. Because as we inch our way closer towards one, giant, quasi-evil corporation owning everything, a few thousand people taking a moral stance on one particular offering is not going to damage their bottom line.
If the boycott is a dying form of protest, what will take its place? Perhaps the answer lies with technology. I say we embrace the form of the online petition, make our voices heard, and cut these questionable creations off before they have the chance to make us choose between dedication to a cause and the desire to see a movie based on a book we all loved before we found out what an ass Card is.
Of course, while the dilemma of appearing to support Orson Scott Card in any fashion is a concern of mine, I’m equally concerned that the Hollywood adaptation of a psychological and philosophical novel will simply be crap.