Should the owner put the Superman comic on the shelf?
Yes, he should.
36.3% (33)
36.3% (33)
No, he shouldn't.
63.7% (58)
63.7% (58)
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Poll: Comic Shop Pulls Anti-LGBT Writer's Work

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A comic shop (or rather, The Comic Book Shoppe) here in Ottawa is not putting Orson Scott Card's Superman comics on the shelves. Why? Because Card opposes gay rights, specifically gay marriage (in 1990, he wrote "goal of the polity is not to put homosexuals in jail. The goal is to discourage people from engaging in homosexual practices in the first place, and, when they nevertheless proceed in their homosexual behavior, to encourage them to do so discreetly.").

For context, Ottawa does not have a large number of independent places to buy comics, and The Comic Book Shoppe is certainly the best-known. As well, the owner, Rob Spittall, is making Card's work available by special order, but says he cannot in good conscience put it on the shelves.

My question is, is this right? Should the owner not sell a product because he disagrees with the author's personal views (which may or may not directly influence the work)? Or does he have a responsibility to his customers to provide these comics freely, especially given that it involves such a famous character as Superman? Are there other arguments one way or the other?

EDIT: A couple of arguments I've seen, gathered here for convenience:
Put the comic on the shelves: Karma 168 and others mentioned that if the situation was reversed (a pro-gay author had his work removed from a store because the owner disagreed with him) a large number of people would accuse him of asshattery at best and censorship at worst.

As people like Skeleon pointed out, it might not be effective; just like how that American restaurant had competing gay bans and "buy chicken for straight marriage days" (or whatever they called that event), the two sides might cancel each other out in a business sense.

Remove the comic from the shelves Most of these center around the obvious: as a private business, it's the owner's right to not sell or display a product for whatever reason, and absorb the financial loss (if any).

There is also the fact that OSC is on the board of the National Organization for Marriage, which opposes gay marriage, civil unions, gay adoption, and some members even advocate for criminalizing homosexuality. He has said that he donates money he earns from his literary works to this organization, so you could say that by pulling the comic Spittall is refusing to fund this group, even indirectly. (Thanks to Shaoken for bringing this to my attention.)

EDIT 2:About the phrasing of the poll, because a few people have suggested I change it:
I thought about it, but I'm looking for moral answers; I don't want to put the word "right" in there, as its fairly cut and dry that he is legally allowed to sell, not sell or display anything he wants. I want to know if people think it's acceptable/admirable that he did this. If anyone knows a better way of saying that in a few words, I'll gladly take suggestions.

Thunderous Cacophony:
Or does he have a responsibility to his customers to provide these comics freely, especially given that it involves such a famous character as Superman?

Er, hey? Responsibility to sell Superman comics?

...

Anyway, if he wants to not make money by selling those comics, fair enough. Not the usual kind of boycott, but close.

That's a good example of ethically sound and responsible entrepreneurship I'd say. Nobody is forced to do business with homophobic hatemongers.

Not to mention this already happens; ever saw Dawkins in a Christian bookstore? No, me neither.

He's not state funded, so he should have every right to (not) sell whatever he want.

It's not really a right he should exercise though, as it'll only encourage other stores to boycott pro-gay writers, and legitimize them doing so. Once something has been made a battlefield, you can hardly blame the enemy for fielding their forces there as well. And while a lousy human, Scott could be a great Superman writer. If he is, there's no reason to deny people access to quality material just because the one who produced it is otherwise an asshole.

His store. His rules. Shop there if you agree, don't if you don't.

Not sure why the conversation needs to move past that.

Just for some context, the "Nerd" culture which includes Comics was always based of those who were bullied for a lot of their lives.
So selling the work of a man who is publicly endorsing the bullying of the LGBT sub-culture?

Just keep that context in mind and this becomes far more understandable, as well as the owners personal feelings.

It's the same as always: He has all the right to boycott as much as he wants. Whehter it accomplishes anything is a different question. Personally, I'm surprised such stores can even still operate. People who really want to read these comics will buy them from amazon or wherever (or they'll simply ask him to get it like he said he would on request) and he'll lose customers (on the other hand, he may gain some). Honestly, I find that these boycotts never really work unless they are large and organized enough, so I'm always skeptical (no matter whether it's people boycotting that anti-gay chicken place or some pro-gay cause or giving discounts to gun-owners or whatever other issue, frankly). But should he be able to make that decision? Sure. It's a nice gesture even if I don't think it'll accomplish anything whatsoever.

Yeah, sure. He chooses to loose money out of a principle to not sell this comic book and showcase/support the author.

On the one hand I think that the store owner is well within his right to decide what is sold in his store and he has agreed to facilitate people buying it so he hasn't outright banned people from buying it if they wish. On the other hand what would we be saying if this was someone refusing to stock a comic book written by an openly gay person/gay rights activist? 90% of the people here would have some very choice words to say about him.

As long as the work a) is not related to the controversial views and b)isn't influenced by them, then I have reservations about restricting something based on the personal views of the creator.

Plenty of great pieces of pop culture were produced by bigots and assholes. Hell, we all know Walt Disney's bad rep when it comes to that but I'm pretty sure plenty of people still watch his films.

This type of censorship is bullshit. Its a sad fact but people are allowed to not like other people. Tolerance does not mean having to think good things about other people's sexual identity, race or political beliefs, just to acknowledge that they have a right to exist and equal rights. Unless Superman is doing anything that shows hatred to any group in the comic it should stay on the stand, the creator's personal beliefs should not come into play.

However its the store owner's choice. Just think it would be stupid if he let prejudice come into play.

I think you might wanna rephrase the poll, I mean I don't think he should or shouldn't pull the comic I do think he has the right to though.

Karma168:
90% of the people here would have some very choice words to say about him.

Sure, but would we deny him the right to do it? I don't think so. I don't see where the problem would be considering it would solely be about voicing opinions on either action. Hell, we might even call people to boycott his store if he acted like that... just like anti-gay activists might call to boycott his store now because of his actions. Is there really anything objectionable in any of that? Maybe I'm inferring wrongly, but it almost sounds like you're talking about the risk of some sort of double standard here? If so, what exactly would that double standard be?

in other news Gauguin was a pedo.

what people supposedly "are" and the "worth" of the creative output they might produce...it's not actually connected y'know...

guy can sell or not sell whatever he wants.

but like Imperator_DK said "taking a stand" just means "conservative" comic book store owners now feel enabled to the same in reverse...which tbth could effect a lot more comics and writers...

the winners in this scenario ? probably the guy who can still run an advert that says "i sell everything".

Is it a private store? If yes then he has every right to do as he pleases. And it is not that he refuses to sell the authors work, you can still order the stuff from him.

dmase:
I think you might wanna rephrase the poll, I mean I don't think he should or shouldn't pull the comic I do think he has the right to though.

I thought about it, but I'm looking for moral answers; if I put the word "right" in there, it's fairly cut and dry that he is legally allowed to sell, not sell or display anything he wants. I want to know if people think it's acceptable/admirable that he did this.

Images:
Plenty of great pieces of pop culture were produced by bigots and assholes. Hell, we all know Walt Disney's bad rep when it comes to that but I'm pretty sure plenty of people still watch his films.

Okay, seriously? You see a joke on Family Guy and assume it's based in fact? Or are you talking about the poor representation of women and to a certain extent blacks in his works (which is relatively undeniable)? As the Wikipedia page shows, Disney was in no way the outspoken Racist or anti-Semite people assume he is.

This type of censorship is bullshit. Its a sad fact but people are allowed to not like other people. Tolerance does not mean having to think good things about other people's sexual identity, race or political beliefs, just to acknowledge that they have a right to exist and equal rights. Unless Superman is doing anything that shows hatred to any group in the comic it should stay on the stand, the creator's personal beliefs should not come into play.

However its the store owner's choice. Just think it would be stupid if he let prejudice come into play.

Giving money to Orson Scott Card does lead to him donating to prejudicial groups. I would understand if anyone did not want to have works by Orson in their store, just as I would understand if somebody wanted to buy them anyway if they liked the works. It isn't stupid at all, and it certainly isn't censorship.

So he's not selling an out of continuity Superman comic? This could cost he tens of dollars. Seriiously, comics don't have high national print runs, and as iconic as the charater is, he doesn't top the charts often. January didn't even have him break the top 25 (not counting Justice League). My local shop doesn't do more than 4 shelf copies of much of anything not in the top ten sellers.

OT, his store, his rules, kind of stupid at a time when comic shops are begging for business. It's enough to make me think this is more likely a publicity stunt to go "look at me and how open minded I am."

Thunderous Cacophony:
I thought about it, but I'm looking for moral answers; if I put the word "right" in there, it's fairly cut and dry that he is legally allowed to sell, not sell or display anything he wants. I want to know if people think it's acceptable/admirable that he did this.

I feel like the only businesses that shouldn't be allowed to decide what products and services they do and don't offer according to personal values is hospitals. It rather disgusts me that there are places in my country where a woman can be raped, taken to the nearest hospital, and not be given emergency contraception because the hospital happened to have been a religious one that doesn't believe in that. But that's another thing entirely.

So yes, I think it is perfectly right for him to decide what he does and doesn't sell for whatever reasons he chooses.

Revnak:
Okay, seriously? You see a joke on Family Guy and assume it's based in fact? Or are you talking about the poor representation of women and to a certain extent blacks in his works (which is relatively undeniable)? As the Wikipedia page shows, Disney was in no way the outspoken Racist or anti-Semite people assume he is.

Sorry for the double-post, but thank you. That always bothers me, too. As much as I love Disney, and there are a lot of things to criticize him and his company for, him being anti-Semitic is not one of them.

Karma168:
On the one hand I think that the store owner is well within his right to decide what is sold in his store and he has agreed to facilitate people buying it so he hasn't outright banned people from buying it if they wish. On the other hand what would we be saying if this was someone refusing to stock a comic book written by an openly gay person/gay rights activist? 90% of the people here would have some very choice words to say about him.

Yes, people would have choice words to say about a bigot. How the hell is it equivalent to support someone for boycotting the words of a bigot and to be upset about someone boycotting something because they are a bigot? Amazingly enough motivations for boycotting tend to make a difference between if someone supports what they're doing or not. Just like I'd have something to say about people who choose to raise money for some bigoted cause even though I'm not against raising money in general. It's not the idea of a boycott being criticized here.

As long as the work a) is not related to the controversial views and b)isn't influenced by them, then I have reservations about restricting something based on the personal views of the creator.

How exactly is refusing to deal with things he wrote a restriction? Is he not allowed to not want to show any kind of support to a revolting person like that author?

Images:
Plenty of great pieces of pop culture were produced by bigots and assholes. Hell, we all know Walt Disney's bad rep when it comes to that but I'm pretty sure plenty of people still watch his films.

Even ignoring how that has already been corrected, shockingly enough the zombies of dead bigots are not walking around pushing for changes in laws.

This type of censorship is bullshit.

Boycotting is not censorship.

Its a sad fact but people are allowed to not like other people.

And people are allowed to boycott. Your point? Because I don't see anyone saying it's not allowed to be a bigot, but you sure seem to be implying there's a problem with a boycott against a bigot when you mislabel it as censorship.

Tolerance does not mean having to think good things about other people's sexual identity, race or political beliefs, just to acknowledge that they have a right to exist and equal rights.

Being a decent person involves not thinking ill of someone for bigoted reasons.

Unless Superman is doing anything that shows hatred to any group in the comic it should stay on the stand, the creator's personal beliefs should not come into play.

Oh, sorry when did you get to decide what people should be allowed to boycott or not?

However its the store owner's choice. Just think it would be stupid if he let prejudice come into play.

Being against a bigot is not prejudice. There's an actual reason there that's based on personal facts about the man.

As many others have pointed out, the store owner is perfectly within his rights to choose not to sell the comics. Orson Scott Card is on the board for NOM and so by buying or stocking comics written by him you may be inadvertently funding campaigns to prevent civil rights for homosexuals. Boycotting the comic sends a message to DC that the fans do not want outspoken and actively campaigning homophobics writing stories for Superman, who is supposed to represent truth and justice and all that good stuff.

If Card was a member of the Ku Klux Klan who was currently campaigning for the reinstatement of slavery, we would not be having this conversation, because DC would not have hired him in the first place. But when someone tries to restrict the civil rights of homosexuals that's apparently OK and "just their opinion".

As someone who has championed LGBT rights for many years (my parents are lesbians), I say put the comic on the shelf. As long as the comic itself is not homophobic, attacking someone for their personal beliefs away from business comes dangerously close to fine line. While I don't think its cool to be racist, sexist, or homophobic, you should have the right to think that way, as long as those actions do not affect the rights of others. Now if there was a conclusive link that sales of the comic go towards banning gay marriage, that would be different.

NameIsRobertPaulson:
As someone who has championed LGBT rights for many years (my parents are lesbians), I say put the comic on the shelf. As long as the comic itself is not homophobic, attacking someone for their personal beliefs away from business comes dangerously close to fine line. While I don't think its cool to be racist, sexist, or homophobic, you should have the right to think that way, as long as those actions do not affect the rights of others. Now if there was a conclusive link that sales of the comic go towards banning gay marriage, that would be different.

What line? I see no reason that someone should not personally take issue with someone else's bigoted beliefs. As Boots pointed out, there would be no issue if he were a KKK member who wanted to reinstate slavery, people would just accept that decent people generally would want nothing to do with him. He has his right to be a douche, that doesn't mean he's entitled to have all stores ignore that he is a douche.

On one hand it's his right to pick what to put on his shelves, on the other it is a little bit of censorship, not stocking someone's product because he disagrees with the author. His decision isn't exactly morally right but it is his right as the shop's owner.

NameIsRobertPaulson:
As someone who has championed LGBT rights for many years (my parents are lesbians), I say put the comic on the shelf. As long as the comic itself is not homophobic, attacking someone for their personal beliefs away from business comes dangerously close to fine line. While I don't think its cool to be racist, sexist, or homophobic, you should have the right to think that way, as long as those actions do not affect the rights of others. Now if there was a conclusive link that sales of the comic go towards banning gay marriage, that would be different.

Also first I agreed with Blahb on something and now I agree with Robert Paulson, what is going on?

There is a school of belief that a piece of work should be judged entirely within itself, with no input based on the author of the work.

I happen to follow that school; I may not agree with Orson Scott Cards politics, but I will only judge his work based on the work itself.

I still buy chick-fil-e because they make good god damn chicken fingers. Their politics don't matter. This guy is choosing to make a statement with his business; that's fine, he can. If I wanted to buy the superman comic and I couldn't at his business, then oh well, big deal. I'd buy it elsewhere.

Now, that being said, if he has a distribution contract he should probably stick with that; otherwise it's his choice to pull the comic.

Bentusi16:
There is a school of belief that a piece of work should be judged entirely within itself, with no input based on the author of the work.

I happen to follow that school; I may not agree with Orson Scott Cards politics, but I will only judge his work based on the work itself.

Where has he judged the piece of work itself? There can be more factors to whether you sell something or not than whether it's good work.

I think it undermines what youre doing when its still available for sale (even though its through special order). I think as long as the comic isnt discriminatory (superman beating up a clearly homosexual characer who is portrayed as homosexual and just generally makes them you know, disgusting), and the guy isnt pushing an agenda through them (making little hidden but easily findable digs at the homoexual community) then you should say that while you dont agree with the person's personal opinions, you have read the subect matter and it does not speak discriminatorily towards the homosexual community.

Or just avoid the whole trouble and remove it all together. dont sell it through other means but say youre doing the moral thing because youre not selling on shelves.

He is welcome to do this. But it isnt' a case of "should he" or "shouldn't he". As a retailer he can decide if he wants to stock products. If he has reasons for not wanting to stock certain comics that aren't commercially motivated he is welcome.

This happened all the time with music stores - entire chains would refuse to stock albums by certain bands or artists that they didn't agree with - no one got up in arms about it. In fact a lot of people were happy and shopped their to make a point: "These stores don't sell Eminem or Marylin Manson* - therefore they are family friendly and we approve of them."

But I don't know if he is actually being smart doing this. Superman is Superman; are these comics going to promote and anti-LGBT agenda? Unlikely. The private beliefs or Scott Card aside this is a misplaced stand. If you are against his views I would think it makes sense to not stock his own personal work - but work he does on a contractual basis is a little different. I don't see this being the stand he thinks it is. For example: if I found out my favourite restaurant had a homophobic shift manager on their staff I wouldn't be happy but I wouldn't boycott it either. If I discover that restaurant sponsored anti-LGBT groups or events then I definitely would stop going.

*Those were the most common artists that wouldn't get stocked; ironically a lot of those same stores would stock stuff equally "offensive" but less high-profile.

Rephrase your poll, he has the right to do so, if he chooses so.

Revnak:

Images:
Plenty of great pieces of pop culture were produced by bigots and assholes. Hell, we all know Walt Disney's bad rep when it comes to that but I'm pretty sure plenty of people still watch his films.

Okay, seriously? You see a joke on Family Guy and assume it's based in fact? Or are you talking about the poor representation of women and to a certain extent blacks in his works (which is relatively undeniable)? As the Wikipedia page shows, Disney was in no way the outspoken Racist or anti-Semite people assume he is.

Never mentioned anti-Semitism. I was talking about his support for rabid anti-Communist groups during the era of HUAC.

But yeah, if you doubt there's anti-Semitism or racism in Disney's work puh-lease. Go check out 3 little pigs for me.

Thanks for jumping the gun though and assuming a Media & Communication grad gets his opinions from a cartoon.

Dijkstra:

Bentusi16:
There is a school of belief that a piece of work should be judged entirely within itself, with no input based on the author of the work.

I happen to follow that school; I may not agree with Orson Scott Cards politics, but I will only judge his work based on the work itself.

Where has he judged the piece of work itself? There can be more factors to whether you sell something or not than whether it's good work.

He's chosen not to shelve it based on politics, not on whats in the actual comic. And there can be; but to me there shouldn't be. To put it another way, to me personally, a work should ONLY be judged on it's own values, including the sale of; however I acknowledge that this is a rare school of thought.

Bentusi16:

Dijkstra:

Bentusi16:
There is a school of belief that a piece of work should be judged entirely within itself, with no input based on the author of the work.

I happen to follow that school; I may not agree with Orson Scott Cards politics, but I will only judge his work based on the work itself.

Where has he judged the piece of work itself? There can be more factors to whether you sell something or not than whether it's good work.

He's chosen not to shelve it based on politics, not on whats in the actual comic.

Yes, and that is not judging the piece of work.

And there can be; but to me there shouldn't be. To put it another way, to me personally, a work should ONLY be judged on it's own values, including the sale of; however I acknowledge that this is a rare school of thought.

And why exactly should we not consider anything else? It's not as if there is some particular pledge of business to be impartial. No reason they can't have ethical objections to dealing with the work of someone. Sure it has no impact on whether the work is good, the author's personal attributes won't change that outside of how he writes it. But I see no reason that that is all that should be considered in regards to whether you want to sell something or not. Businesses are about money, the only reason I could see to ignore this is if someone has a conscious and has an ethical issue with how they are making money. For instance selling the works of a bigot.

Dijkstra:

NameIsRobertPaulson:
As someone who has championed LGBT rights for many years (my parents are lesbians), I say put the comic on the shelf. As long as the comic itself is not homophobic, attacking someone for their personal beliefs away from business comes dangerously close to fine line. While I don't think its cool to be racist, sexist, or homophobic, you should have the right to think that way, as long as those actions do not affect the rights of others. Now if there was a conclusive link that sales of the comic go towards banning gay marriage, that would be different.

What line? I see no reason that someone should not personally take issue with someone else's bigoted beliefs. As Boots pointed out, there would be no issue if he were a KKK member who wanted to reinstate slavery, people would just accept that decent people generally would want nothing to do with him. He has his right to be a douche, that doesn't mean he's entitled to have all stores ignore that he is a douche.

"I may not agree with what you have to say, but I will fight to the death for your right to say it."

Attacking him for his views away from the comic comes close to thought policing. If the product itself it not indicative of a sexist, racist, or homophobic belief, then it should be given equal standing.

Believing God wants to kill all gays, believing blacks are genetically inferior, believing the Earth is flat. While these are scientifically wrong and politically incorrect, no one should be persecuted for believing them, as long as they do not affect the rights of others.

NameIsRobertPaulson:

Dijkstra:

NameIsRobertPaulson:
As someone who has championed LGBT rights for many years (my parents are lesbians), I say put the comic on the shelf. As long as the comic itself is not homophobic, attacking someone for their personal beliefs away from business comes dangerously close to fine line. While I don't think its cool to be racist, sexist, or homophobic, you should have the right to think that way, as long as those actions do not affect the rights of others. Now if there was a conclusive link that sales of the comic go towards banning gay marriage, that would be different.

What line? I see no reason that someone should not personally take issue with someone else's bigoted beliefs. As Boots pointed out, there would be no issue if he were a KKK member who wanted to reinstate slavery, people would just accept that decent people generally would want nothing to do with him. He has his right to be a douche, that doesn't mean he's entitled to have all stores ignore that he is a douche.

"I may not agree with what you have to say, but I will fight to the death for your right to say it."

Oh that is just fucking... Dude get some perspective. He still has a right to say it, don't go off sounding like so self-righteously ignorant. His right to speak has not been attacked. You know who hates free speech? People like you who take criticism to be against someone else's right to free speech.

Attacking him for his views away from the comic comes close to thought policing.

Criticizing someone isn't thought policing. You really hate free speech don't you? Thought policing would involve actual legal consequences, not people not wanting to associate with him.

If the product itself it not indicative of a sexist, racist, or homophobic belief, then it should be given equal standing.

Oh thank you God for telling me how I should feel about someone. What do you want to be the thought police for next?

Believing God wants to kill all gays, believing blacks are genetically inferior, believing the Earth is flat. While these are scientifically wrong and politically incorrect, no one should be persecuted for believing them, as long as they do not affect the rights of others.

"Gay people are persecuted they don't have equal rights"
"Oh bigots are persecuted too, people don't like them and some people violate their rights by not buying from them!"

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