Friday, July 12, 2013

Meanwhile, a Little Movie Preview

I’ve been planning, since the end of the Supreme Court session at the end of June, to look again at SCOTUS voting patterns. The first such post is April 13, 2012. We were looking at data prior to the ruling on Obamacare, to see if there was a clue about what to expect. What we found was that, while there is a liberal bloc and a conservative bloc, the early decisions of the 2011 session showed a fair amount of congeniality on the Court.  (A session starts in the fall and ends in June of the following year. So those rulings in spring 2012 were part of the 2011 session.)
The 2012 session, now complete, includes all the cases, not just the early ones of the session. So building the data base is a fair amount more work than last time (79 cases, compared to 14). So I set aside a day for it, built the data base, saved it (multiple times while working, plus a final time before closing the file for dinnertime)—and then, because of my technical challenges, the file disappeared. No amount of searching so far has yielded anything but the original few.
Such is life. Maybe I’ll be able to redo the work for Monday’s post.
In the meantime, a little movie preview.


This fall the classic science fiction book Ender’s Game comes to the big screen. I’ve been aware of this story for a long time. The novel, I think, was published in 1991, but it was a short story in a collection before that, where I first encountered it. Orson Scott Card was a graduate student at the university I attended more than a decade before this novel, but even then he was a name on campus, because so few English majors go on to make it big. The story is powerful. I don’t recommend it to young readers, but it can be good for more mature teen readers. It’s clean, but there is some raw violence and a lot of psychological struggle.
A couple of years ago I read three of the sequels: Speaker for the Dead, Children of the Mind, and Xenocide, and I’ve occasionally mentioned them. Ideas come up in his writing related to civilization; some have become among my favorite quotes. So Orson Scott Card comes up April 28, 2011; May 31,2011; June 6, 2011; October 14, 2011; and a year later October 15, 2012.
There have been rumors about an Ender’s Game movie almost since it came out, but the author wasn’t willing to lose control to Hollywood. He’s a screenwriter himself as well. So when I heard earlier this year that the movie was really going to happen, I was hopeful it would do the story justice. I’m still a little apprehensive about it (the trailer makes it look like Ender is aware of things he doesn’t know in the book). But Harrison Ford plays the commander, so that’s a possible plus. And then you add in Ben Kingsley and Viola Davis.
Card also authored a nonfiction book for fiction writers called Characters and Viewpoint. It was clearer and more useful than anything on the subject I came across in college. I have a lot of respect for him as a writer.
I think he’s a writing teacher in North Carolina. I haven’t been following closely for a while, but he used to do a regular column for the local newspaper, and it often got picked up by The Mormon Times, an online news and opinion publication. I would often see his articles linked, and several over the years have been worth saving in a file.
His writing is only occasionally political. He’s a Democrat, but I’m puzzled by that, because he feels strongly about the Constitution, and I think he warned us, both times, against the disaster that would follow an Obama election. Once in a while he has written about traditional marriage, as I do. [My Defense of Marriage collection is here]. In 2009 Card joined the board of the National Organization for Marriage, an organization I appreciate. I get their newsletters, and follow their efforts in the courts, as well as with local organizations in many states.
The other day I came across a story about a boycott of the movie—because of Card’s controversial view. Presumably that “controversial” view is the majority opinion that marriage should continue to be defined as it has for  all of the millennia up until now, by all civilizations until the decadent ones we are beginning to experience. Because he has opinions in favor of family, and in favor of children being raised by their own two parents in a committed real marriage, these people who believe they know better than us all think he should be shut down and silenced as a human being, because they deem his opinion unacceptable.
If the rest of us boycotted every movie in any way associated with anyone who has differences of opinions with us on things totally unrelated to their movies, we would simply never see movies. We conservatives tend to value actual tolerance much more than the “we order you to be tolerant” crowd, apparently.
Anyway, if you think there’s a chance the movie coming from this excellent classic book might be worth seeing, maybe you should not pay heed to (hyperlink purposely omitted). Check it out with some friends and family (preview before sharing with children, please).

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