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Content note: Sexism, descriptions of physical and emotional abuse, some brief strong language towards the end, and descriptions of interpersonal conflict within a family.

There's a good story somewhere in Ender's Game. A child gets taken away to a magical school In Space, and is forced to survive when both teachers and students are literally trying to kill him. In the end, he faces a moral dilemma, and how he responds after everything that he's been through defines who he is as a character.

It resonates with me, because it basically describes a Mormon upbringing.

On the one hand, you're mass produced and depersonalized, especially if you come from one of those Utah families with nine kids. On the other hand, you're told repeatedly that you are a Chosen One, part of a chosen generation of Mormon kids, and your actions and faithfulness will help bring about the second coming of Christ. (Mormons are averse to calling him "Jesus" for some reason.)

Ender spends his whole childhood training to be a soldier. Mormon kids spend their whole childhoods training to be either a mom or a missionary. I can't overstate how much these two roles are glorified, or how much the bike-riding, nametag-wearing missionaries are held up as role models to Mormon kids who are assigned the male gender. And all the while, your belief that you're one of the few people that God approves of -- and that everyone else needs to be like you -- is creating this wedge between you and the people around you, which you are encouraged to see as "they hate me because of my righteousness."

Seriously, this is the major theme in the first couple parts of the Book of Mormon. The POV character is a Mary Sue, whose brothers hate him and repeatedly try to kill him because he's so awesome and always does what God wants him to.

The problem with Ender's Game is not that Ender goes through all this. It's that Orson Scott Card did, and is apparently blind to it.

Read more... )

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Will Wildman, talking about Ender's space empathy:

[...] basically everyone loves Ender because he's so caring and smart, and he doesn't need to actually interact with people in order to maintain empathy, and he's capable of jetting into a situation that he's never heard of before, becoming an expert, and speaking with absolute truth and conviction on the matter in a couple of weeks.

THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT MORMON MISSIONARIES THINK.

Here, let me give you a quote. This is what I repeated each week at Missionary Prep class, and what they're apparently still teaching the kids today:

I am called of God. My authority is above that of kings of the earth. By revelation I have been selected as a personal representative of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is my master and He has chosen me to represent Him - to stand in His place, to say and do what He Himself would say and do if He personally were ministering to the very people to whom He has sent me. My voice is His voice, and my acts are His acts; my doctrine is His doctrine.

My Commission is to do what He wants done; To say what He wants said; to be a living modern witness in word and in deed of the divinity of his great and marvelous Latter-day work. How great is my calling!

And to make matters worse, Card went on a Mormon mission to Brazil, before writing this book (Speaker for the Dead) where Ender goes to a Brazilian space colony and apparently solves all their problems for them.

Ender is Orson Scott Card's self-insert, and he relates to the whole Enderverse the way a 19-year-old Mormon missionary relates to the non-members around him. He thinks he knows them better than they do, has perfect love for the image in his mind he's constructed of them, and wants only the best for them ... even when that means annihilating them.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Content note: Spoilers for the Ender's Game film, and a certain PC strategy game.

Click here if you cannot see the video.

5 minutes later ...

Cut for Homeworld spoilers. )

And now for our thoughts about how the story itself should have gone, inspired by Will Wildman's spectacular Ender's Game deconstruction.

Read more... )

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"Why me?"

That's the question you ask when you pity yourself. And the insidious thing about abuse is that it gives you an answer: "Because you deserve it."

Self-pity is nauseating when the privileged elite (in whatever context) are publicly feeling sorry for themselves. But I feel the biggest reason it nauseates is because it, like everything else in their lives, is just another example of taking more than their fair share. "First World Problems" aren't a meme because it doesn't suck to get the wrong kind of tablet for Christmas. They're an overreaction to facts, that many don't know how to deal with, like how comparatively no one is talking about how much it sucks for millions of people to get sold into slavery today.

But what happens if someone really internalizes that attitude, and thinks all their problems are irrelevant because they live in the first world? Or worse, that they're terrible because of it?

Content note: Abuse, suicidal depression, violence, and spoilers for Final Fantasy XIII and Ender's Game.

Read more... )

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)
One more thing today.

I've never read Mormon author Orson Scott Card's book, Ender's Game. I've read a lot about it, though, including John Kessel's essay "Creating the Innocent Killer."

Trigger warning for violence and depictions of abuse.

Read more... )

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~ Fox | Gem | Rei ~

We tell stories, paint minis, collect identity words, and share them all with our readers. If something we write helps you, let us know.

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