Thursday, February 14, 2013

Who can create?

Recently the head of the School Board of the State of Ohio got into trouble after she used her private Twitter account to compare the current initiative at banning certain weapons to Nazi Germany disarming its citizens. This caused an uproar that lasted weeks. People insisted that she as comparing President Obama to Adolph Hitler and demanded her resignation. They felt that private anti-Obama views disqualified her from holding her job.

Think about that for a moment before I move on.

That brings me to DC Comics and Orson Scott Card. DC is coming out with a new series of comics about Superman designed to tie in with the upcoming movie and Card is the writer. This has become controversial because Card is a leader in the crusade against gay rights in general and gay marriage in particular.

I am not going to defend Card's views. His views on gays seem 50 years or more out of date. The big question is if these views disqualify him for his job. The activist group All Out thinks so and has started a petition drive to have him fired.

As far as I know, none of Card's views are included in the stories. The controversy is not over the work he is doing for DC, it is over the right of someone to hold views that some group finds offensive.

DC has taken what I consider to be the proper view:
As content creators we steadfastly support freedom of expression. However, the personal views of individuals associated with DC Comics are just that — personal views — and not those of the company itself.

This is important because as polarized as current society is, virtually everyone holds views that others find unacceptable. A writer that All Out approves of would be unacceptable to the organization that Card is on the board of. As long as writers refrain from preaching, I don't really care about their personal views.

At the same time, I don't like it a bit when they do preach. I think that does a disservice to the reader.

Even there, I will make exceptions when it is obvious going in that a certain point of view is going to be pushed. A few years ago Marvel re-imagined the Rawhide Kid as a gay cowboy. It was all tongue in cheek with lots of innuendo and in-jokes. Anyone who looked at the cover knew what the content was going to be and had no excuse for objecting. The same goes for DC's new Occupy-inspired comics.

On the other end of the spectrum, around three years ago an issue of Captain America implied that the Tea Party is unfriendly to minorities. That was uncalled for.

My point is that readers have to allow creators to have a variety of opinions and creators need to give the same respect to their readers.

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