Monday 25 February 2013

When to Boycott a Book: the aftermath

This post was originally shared on our sister site,
by Jordan Danger

Last week, I did a post about The Comic Book Shoppe on Bank Street and the famous author Orson Scott Card--namely, that Shoppe owner Rob Spittall had taken a loud and public stand in boycotting Card's works since the discovery that Card is a big homophobe with ties to anti-gay organizations. (See the first post here.) The story got big fast, with traditional media sources also picking up the story. Rob was surprised by the outpouring of support, but also by some of the criticism he faced, as well.

When To Boycott a Book: The Aftermath

We headed down to the Shoppe and spoke with Rob directly; here's our interview (which is long, but there's an outtake treat at the end if you wait for it):

Watch the interview with Rob Spittall from The Comic Book Shoppe
Kisses and hugs to Rob Dupuis, our cameraman and videographer. 

Some folks have accused him of censorship, which he wasn't expecting...namely, because it's inaccurate. The book is still available for order at the Shoppe, just not available on the shelf. The Shoppe's decision not to use their own shelf space to promote the works of an hate-mongering artist is, in my opinion, a good balance. It allows individuals to still purchase if they feel compelled, but it allows the retailer to avoid endorsing a hater with their own community influence.

Despite hate mail and unfriending by people on Facebook, Rob has stayed true to his convictions and continues to stand behind his decision. I was happy to interview him in the aftermath and allow him a chance to respond to both the positive and negative reaction he received.

Rob keeps remarking that he's surprised this has turned into such a big news story. I think it's kind of adorable that he doesn't realize just how much his decision means to the GLBT and Straight Allies around him. The reality is, it's still a big deal when a straight person stands up for the non-straight people. I hope that Rob's example leads to more hetero allies making their support vocally known.

Wednesday 20 February 2013

When to Boycott a Book

This post was originally shared on our sister site,

by Jordan Danger


I love Orson Scott Card. Or rather, I should say I love his books. My dad gave me Ender's Game to read  when I was twelve years old, and I must have read it twenty times since then. In fact, in my third reincarnation as a derby girl, I changed my derby name to Ender, so I'd say I'm a pretty big fan. 

Recently, however, I discovered something rather heartbreaking about Orson Scott Card, and as much as I wanted to ignore it and pretend I never heard it, I couldn't. Turns out, Card is a homophobe--and not just a run-of-the-mill, doesn't-let-his-guy-friends-hug-him kinda homophobe: he's a card-carrying member of the National Organization for Marriage, an organization that steadfastly opposes the equal rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans people.


Why am I bringing this up, and what does it have to do with geekdom exactly? Well, the Comic Book Shoppe on Bank Street--the official Ottawa headquarters of Capital Geek Girls, and a generally progressive, safe space to shop--has announced recently that they will not be displaying copies of Card's newest graphic novel, Adventures of Superman, because of his very public and active role in the anti-gay work being done by the National Organization for Marriage. As is expected, the Shoppe is getting some serious flak from people who think the Shoppe is just as biased as Card himself because they're not carrying the book*.

The truth of the matter is, when I first heard Card was homophobic, it didn't really worry me. I don't believe that a celebrity or successful person must be an exemplary role model in every single aspect of his life in order for his work to be appreciated. I don't condone drug use, yet I still listen to Whitney Houston in the shower; I don't condone domestic violence, but I've watched and appreciated many Joan Crawford movies. The truth is, it's not realistic to think that a person with a particular talent is going to be a role model in every aspect of their lives. It's a slippery slope to start expecting that we have a right to pry into every lifestyle decision made by a celebrity; I fear the day that we start passing judgement on whether a presidential candidate deserves our vote because he didn't spay his cat, or whether a Governor General should be forced to resign because she kept her grandmother's old mink coat. 

But there's a not-so-fine line in the sand, once a person goes out of their way to promote their personal agenda to the world. Orson Scott Card crossed that line when he joined the National Organization for Marriage (read: "straight marriage only") and started publicly taking steps to impose his own views on others, including the publication of articles and essays on the subject. Do I think we should follow every celebrity into their homes and make sure they're using only eco-friendly kitchen cleaners? No. But when the celebrity goes out and uses his clout to promote that toxic kitchen cleaner, I'd say it's now fair game to retract my support from his career. 

We are none of us perfect. We all come with biases and prejudices, and we all have a dark side. I'm not condoning censorship, people; and I do think we need to really watch how much we expect from our celebrities in terms of acting as role models in every aspect of life. I would even go so far as to say that Orson Scott Card has a right to put his time and money into whatever cause he likes, no matter how stupid or antiquated. I just also think I have the right not to contribute my dollars to his agenda.


I applaud the Comic Book Shoppe on Bank Street for standing behind their own safe-space values by refusing to display Card's book. The Shoppe would lose honour, in my eyes, if they continued to promote the works of a man who publicly promotes an attitude of hate towards the GLBTTQ community, when the Shoppe has promoted an attitude of GLBTTQ acceptance. I consider it a matter of ethical consumption for people like myself to choose whether we buy the book or not; but it's an even larger matter of importance for a business like the Shoppe to show ethical cultural stewardship by refusing to promote works created by those who hate and actively promote that hatred. In this era of recessions and hardships, it takes courage to maintain the power of one's convictions even if it means losing out on sales. The Shoppe has shown that there are some things more important that the bottom line.

Ethical consumption is about more than just biodegradability or eco sustainability; it's about choosing to shop from the business that makes the right choices in many other ways, too. The Comic Book Shoppe on Bank Street gets a huge thumbs-up from me today for taking a stand and weathering the backlash. I am prouder than ever that Capital Geek Girls makes our home at the Shoppe.

Tuesday 12 February 2013

Wonder Geeks Activate! Local art show promises geeky fun.

This post was originally shared on our sister site,

by Jordan Danger


Look out, Ottawa: there’s a nifty, nerdy new art show on the scene that is most definitely not your gramma’s art show. No water colour sunrises and oil paintings of sunflowers, folks; the Wonder Geeks Activate! show promises to be a very cool event to interact with some highly talented young artists. 

Girl, Crafted chatted with Adam Tupper, artist and organizer of the Wonder Geeks Activate! art show, to learn a bit more about what you can expect to see on February 25th ’13, at Zaphod Beeblebrox in Ottawa’s Byward Market. Here’s what Adam shared with us about the show and himself.


Cheetara by Adam Tupper
GC: What is your name?                         
AT: Adam Tupper. There are two middle names too, but I'm not telling. A man has to have some secrets.

GC: What do you do? (Your art, not your day job)
AT: My art is a mixture of four main styles: Super-Women (which is attractive model pinup ladies dressed as superheroes - done in a very realistic style); Fusion Art (combining characters that were never supposed to be together in both costume and art style); Say...Hello Project (Hello Kitty meets everything and anything); and horror (pretty self explanatory - monsters and blood).

GC: How long have you been doing it?
AT: Art in general? Since as long as I can remember. Art as a profession? Since Aug. 2010.

GC: Tell us about your art show: what's it called, where is it, what's it all about?
AT: Wonder Geeks Activate! is an art/music show aimed at geeks and nerds. It happens on February 25th at Zaphod Beeblebrox, 27 York Street in the Market. It's basically just an excuse to get like-minded people together and celebrate geek culture while drinking alcohol.

Curtis Tiegs
GC: Who will be in the show?
AT: Only some of the best local artists around!
Edith Chartier (AKA Silver Lotus - costuming queen and maker of a huge variety of arts and crafts)
Morgan Dunbar (AKA Geek Charming - she of t-shirts, accessories and creator of our logo)
Cherry Valance (local artist/model/awesome person)
Staja Artists Collective (Buttons, art, MAGIC!)
Curtis Tiegs (Artist, man who works with famous people on comic books)
Mirror Comics (Local comic book company, kings of industry)
Darren Bird (Creator of art, owner of awesome hair)
Lissa Huddlestone (New Artist, very eager)
Jordan Richer (Artist/Photographer/Evil Genius)
Choleena DiTullio (Mixed media artist, loves paper).
Oh and me [Adam Tupper]. I'm there too. Probably in a vest.

GC: Why did you want to put this show on?
AT:  I wanted to do an art show with my friends and other members of the geek and nerd community because I think there's a lot of talented people here who aren't getting the attention they deserve. We focus so much on so-called "high art" here in the city that it's important to showcase all artists working in all genres. I also wanted to do something for the local genre community which is just massive. There should be more local geeky/nerdy events in Ottawa and I'm hoping people get behind this event so we can do them with greater frequency.
Edith Chartier/Silver Lotus

GC: What kind of stuff do you think we'll see at the show? What'll the price range be like?
AT: I've worked with most of these artists before so you're going to see quite a wide variety of work. We have comic book style art, cartooning, hyper-realism, pixel art, paper art, mashup art, photography, jewellery, buttons, actual comics for sale, small prints, big prints, originals,'s really a mix of everything. Prices should range from $1-$2 for small items all the way into the hundreds for original artwork. All the artists will have items for sale that are in and around $5-$10 so attendees will have no problem finding some fantastic affordable art.

GC: Is there anything else happening during the show? (performances, drinks, etc)
AT: We'll be having some live videogaming happening with some professional players button-mashing on some old-school systems. We should also have cartoons and anime playing on some of the TVs at Zaphods. Maybe if we're all lucky we'll also have some costumed guests show up.

Geek Charming
GC: Where can people go to learn more?
AT: Our Facebook page:
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