12:05 p.m. September 10, 2013

Orson Scott Card Gets Appointment From The NC Legislature

"Controversial author named to UNC-TV trustees" read the headline this morning.

I clicked, mentally narrowing down the list as the page loaded. At first, I thought it might be Asheville-area local and frequent Newt Gingrich collaborator William Forstchen, or one of our state's many other curmudgeonly conservative pen-pushers.

But no, it's Orson Scott Card.

Yes, that Card, the one who just penned a paranoid, racist column about Obama's coming street-gang militias. The one who has seen his fame for Ender's Game steadily eclipsed by his loud homophobia. The one whom I recently used as exemplar of a long-simmering sump of far-right politics in the sci-fi subculture.

While a simple honorary nod would be bad enough, given Card's extremism, this is bigger than that. UNC-TV is the public television channel for our entire state and its 9.7 million people. The board of trustees has some real say in running a major piece of public infrastructure; the point of their existence is that their perspectives (as representatives of "the public") will influence its operation.

A reminder that the far-right side of sci-fi isn't just a matter of subcultural curiosity. Despite how many of their opinions are obviously batshit bigotry or thinly-veiled societal purging fantasies, sci-fi's far-right "thinkers" are still regarded surprisingly seriously by part of the political mainstream, at worst occasionally laughed off as "eccentric." Card got this appointment from Senate president Phil Berger, and the official press release only touts his awards.

So Card can now turn his keen and watchful eye to the programming and administration of our state's public television. Bert and Ernie are on notice.