- Radiohead, "Optimistic"
Orson Scott Card is no longer contributing to the Superman mythos, and people are very happy about that because of his stance on gay marriage and homosexuality in general (being a Mormon). This being the first I'd heard about any Card/Superman shenanigans, my reaction was "Well, of course he wants to write about Superman. Superman is probably perfect for him. He probably thinks Superman is the perfect Mormon, just like Stephanie Meyer wrote vampires as the perfect Mormons."
This blog, for instance, explains that Card should not write Superman because "I do not think that an admitted bigot, whether bigoted for religious reasons or no, is qualified to write for the comic universe’s greatest symbol of truth, justice, and equality." I don't read Superman or Card, but I'm sure - sure - that Card thinks he's got at least truth and justice on his side. Most people with strong beliefs don't think they're fighting for injustice and falsehood. Here's an example of the defunct British political party, Veritas (note their primary policy, liberals). Here is the famous USSR paper, Pravda. Islamist Justice Parties are all over the place, like Indonesia's own Prosperous Justice Party - and most Western liberals don't think of Islamic law as the foundation for justice. Truth, Justice, it just sounds like a good place to start. And a character like Superman - who to me is the boyscout superhero with an unshakable dedication to all that is good - is going to be an appealing totem for any movement that thinks it's got righteousness on its side.
I don't begrudge Chris Sprouse, the would-be illustrator, his decision not to work with Card. I don't begrudge not supporting Card. I don't begrudge liking Superman. I'm not even saying there is no absolute Truth or Justice. But Superman is a symbol anybody can claim. Card writing Superman is not like a misogynist writing Wonder Woman, because Superman's not gay. Superman is a boy from a farm in Kansas who just wants to help people with his incredible strength. Sounds like a good place to start. Boys Wanna Be Him, Girls Wanna Be Him. DBZ fandom was the same way - jam-packed with conservatives and libertarians who read totally different messages in what I thought was The Great Post-Colonial Disaster. Stephen Chow explained it very graciously: "the airy and unstrained story leaves much room for creation." The main reason I'm writing this is because I am familiar with the feeling of frustration you get when something you love is terribly "misread."
I also know that with that feeling of indignation is a little hint deep inside that maybe you're the the one misreading things all along. There was once a xenophobic facebook group, for example, that used The Lord of the Rings and Aragorn's "I Bid You Stand, Men of the West" in particular as its mascot. I love LOTR, and I love Viggo Mortensen's Aragorn, and that is not what they represent to me, but I'm not going to pretend there is no xenophobia in that story, and that the facebook group creators were totally coming out of left (right) field. l do think there's something about simple hero epics that appeals to a more conservative - and more ideological, on either side - audience overall. It's the absolutism, I'd guess, and the masculinity. So I also think Superman is a symbol someone like Orson Scott Card can easily claim. Hooray.
Also, this is why I study -isms like fascism and nationalism: because there's a reason people sign onto these things. These are words, ideas, symbols, codes that work.
This song helped me come to terms with this. Hope it helps: