I Have Recently Acquired Several Opinions

Two, in fact. I have decided to share them with you, because you seem like right-thinking people.

These opinions, on airplane boarding and Orson Scott Card, may seem entirely disconnected from one another, which would be a correct assessment had I not read Ender’s Game while on a cross-country flight. And now, as with a good rug to a room, everything’s tied together.

One: Logical plane-boarding procedures should not be this difficult to institute.

Let the FIrst Class people board first, fine; otherwise, they’ll just end up being surly and no number of hot washcloths will soothe the insult to their Global Status. But for everyone else, why do we not board from window to aisle? From back to front?

As fear of checking bags reaches new heights, carry-on bags become ever larger and more elaborate, requiring upwards of 15 seconds to stow and creating aisle blockages. Personally, I would bar anyone who takes more than 15 seconds to stow a bag from ever flying on a commercial airline again, but in the absence of that strict-but-fair rule, let’s at least board in the way least likely to enhance the irritation we’re all already struggling to tamp down.

Also, we should be permitted to openly shun anyone who brings McDonald’s or Cinnabon on a plane. I mean, I already do, but I’d like other people to be comfortable doing it, too.

I have other ideas as well, like an express security scan line for people who understand how modern air travel works and do not wear knee-high lace-up boots to get on a plane or attempt to use a CostCo membership card as identification, but that’s a whole ‘nother set of opinions. Let’s get the boarding straightened out first.

Two: Ender’s Game is a terrible book, but not because Orson Scott Card hates gay people.

I read this book over the weekend, as it is (1) a science-fiction classic and (2) the cause of a brouhaha, and lord knows the only thing I like more than classic literature is a good brouhaha.

It is a terrible book. It’s not terrible because of Orson Scott Card’s opinions on gay people, or because there are hidden hateful messages in the book. It’s terrible because it’s poorly written, contains characters with only the merest whiff of humanity or complexity, and is little more than a series of this-happened-then-that-happened punctuated by Ender’s painfully unsubtle inner monologue, which sounds like no six-year-old who ever lived, ever. I was reminded of nothing as much as Ayn Rand, and I try NEVER to be reminded of Ayn Rand.

There are countless opportunities for philosophical exploration and the poking and prodding of ethical nuance in the book, and he systematically takes each one behind the barn and shoots it before it can breed.

(Also, If you didn’t want people to read your book as a homophobic screed, maybe you shouldn’t have made the bad guys “the buggers.”)

(Also also, the idea of using children to fight our battles? NOT NEW.)

It didn’t take more than a few hours to read, and I’m STILL irritated at the time I wasted. Science Fiction, you’ve gotta up your standards. But hey, I’m not the famous sci-fi writer with a reputation rapidly going down the toilet, I’m just a schmuck blogger.

Whew! I feel like I’ve restored some equanimity.


1. It has been brought to my attention that the most efficient way of boarding a plane is actually random. So I say let’s go with random boarding groups plus the 15-second-stowing rule, and I think we’ll be well on our way to cracking this nut.

2. It’s not entirely true that the crappiness of Ender’s Game has nothing at all to do with OSC’s personal beliefs, because if he’d been less intent on beating us about the head with his ideas, he might have produced a more interesting read. So his book is terrible AND counterproductive! Well played, Card.


  1. I read Ender’s Game when I was in middle school, I think. I remember absolutely loving it, but I don’t recall why. And I’m not going to bother to go back and re-read it to find out because I don’t want to encourage Orson Scott Card.

    As far as airplane boarding, it’s like breaking up or removing a Band Aid from a scab: there’s no good way to do it.


    1. I feel like I would have liked it much more had I read it as a young person — empowered kids whizzing around in zero-g, and all that.

      As for airplane boarding, you’re probably right. Until we develop teleportation, which will be a game changer.


  2. Fun post but airplane section doesn’t sufficiently terrify. Where flying is concerned I assume that’s always the point in writing. To further terrify. Haven’t read Orson since I learned he’s LDS. Any church with two ‘of’s in the title is not going to produce a readable writer.


  3. It’s a moot point ; the FAA is not ‘open’ to accept suggestions because of the gov shutdown. My concern a 15 second rule could cause plane rage…what’s next luggage police? Seat back to front is genius.

    There’s only one way to get unraveled, one is to sleep and the other is travel. Doors Soft Parade


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