Gunned Down

Mere days after my long rant about how PC culture, SJWs and the self-destructive left aren’t the enemy here, we have this delicious little clusterfuck.

So James Gunn apparently sent a bunch of “edgy” tweets several years before he worked on Guardians of the Galaxy. These came to light and Disney booted him off the Guardians of the Galaxy 3 project.

A few thoughts:

Okay, so the fact that it’s Disney pretty much throws out every other thought and opinion anyone might have here. They own the entertainment machine and if they want to fire a director or basically anyone, they will. They have bizarre, creepy guidelines and not even Gunn is arguing the point here – they said get out of here, he made like a tree.

I didn’t think his tweets were especially edgy, clever, or offensive. They were just your typical ooh-look-at-me raciness that I’ve come to expect from a hysterically prissy and puritanical culture like the US.

Shades of Cenk Uygur’s ousting from Justice Democrats here. That’s a whole different conversation but I feel the general theme is similar. Both feature publications from the past from a person who has since reformed and improved (which surely is the goal here). The fact that some words are written in electronic stone shouldn’t blind people to the years and years of words and actions since. Again, it’s Disney, so joking about kiddie-sex is pretty much the most anti-Disney thing you can do (with the possible exception of Disney Princess On Mickey And Donald Porn don’t Google that), but … well, let’s put it this way, this single paragraph of this single blog post has essentially guaranteed that I will never work with Disney – and if I do, it will only be for as long as it takes for somebody to dislike me enough to dig this up. And before anyone calls me out on the stupidity of writing the above words … look, there are worse words on this blog, going back to 2005. And before that, there are the Google Usenet archives. I don’t really go in for crass humour (what? I don’t!), but there’s always the odd rare occasion. And that line is always moving. It’s already well and truly too late, and I would argue that the same can be said for anyone over the age of about 25. If someone wants to find dirt, there’s dirt available.

Who dug this shit up? Oh, conservatives, of course. I can’t really fault that, since digging up dirt on “the enemy” is a time-honoured tradition. I just wish the progressive side did it a little bit better. Of course it doesn’t really matter if they do, because any dirt dug up on a conservative is just hand-waved away and forgotten. They do not care what we think, and we apparently hold ourselves to a higher standard. As dreameling wisely said, Gunn gets fired over poor-taste jokes from years ago, and Trump is still president of the United States. That really says it all.

Apparently Ted Cruz, US Republican politician and one of perhaps the five most grotesque little subhuman goblins to turn up and start sniffing chairs during the last US presidential race, has gone on record saying Gunn should be charged, as well as fired. Ted Cruz can absolutely and utterly go and fuck himself. He’s a whore for organised groups that actually perform heinous acts of rape on young children, so he can clean his own shit-stained house before going after Gunn’s stupid potty-mouth.

I don’t care for the “oh, today they decide X is (retroactively) unacceptable, tomorrow it will be Y and Z” argument. Because … we all kind of knew these jokes were unacceptable, didn’t we? We knew, or should have thought, that they’d hurt someone, that they were insensitive to someone’s pain? Although once you start looking at jokes, they’re usually at someone‘s expense. And it’s possible to visualise basically any of them being deemed bad. Yes, racist jokes are harmful. Yes, jokes about rape or child molestation are disgusting (nowhere near as disgusting as the actual crimes, but we want to think about whether mocking the perpetrator is a valuable enough end to justify hurting the victim). But then jokes about stupid people are mean, and sarcasm usually pokes fun at someone’s naïvete, and slapstick usually means someone’s getting hurt. So yeah, we can also take a moment to wonder where this is heading. It seems okay for now, but … worth keeping an eye on. Gunn made / allowed a joke about how Star Lord jizzed all over the inside of his spaceship in Guardians of the Galaxy, and that was alright with Disney.

On the same subject, and getting specific, what about Blazing Saddles? This was a film intentionally, consciously written and planned to mock and overturn racist tropes (unlike Gunn’s tweets, which were self-confessedly just to shock people for no real greater cause). Brooks overruled studio executives who didn’t want him to use the n-word so many times. He did it to confront, and to pull the teeth of genuine racists who wanted to perpetuate segregation and oppression. Can we now say “he made those jokes just a few decades ago, he must not be allowed to make movies again”? And okay, Mel Brooks is unlikely to work with Disney. And okay, I’ve re-watched several of his movies recently and – while still funny – they’re definitely uncomfortable. And I think he’d be delighted that they are: we don’t live in a world where that sort of humour is relevant anymore. And that’s a good thing … isn’t it? Why don’t we accept that the past was ugly, but you can’t persecute somebody in the present based on that? Not for something that wasn’t a crime then and isn’t a crime now, anyway.

For real, I get that Disney has a clean image and this was absolute poison to them. Gunn should have had less shitty jokes. But we’ve all heard stand-up comedians do worse. Mel Brooks wouldn’t make Blazing Saddles today, and Disney should probably have checked Gunn’s background more carefully if this was going to be an issue. Let’s not pretend that they didn’t act entirely because people kicked up a stink about it. They must have known a bit about his “edgy” past when they signed him on (see the jizz spraying joke), but they were okay with it as long as it remained more or less hidden in the past.

This brings us to the idea that “he said those things, so some part of his personality must still be drawn there, in word or thought or even deed”. Which … man, I don’t know. Is some part of James Gunn a child molester because he is jaded enough to make jokes about it? That sounds ridiculous on its face. You might as well say that some part of me is a fifty-foot cybernetic space shark because I’ve written about Fergunak.

Do we get this stuff down in writing as a way of exorcising it out of our brains? Sure. Would it eventually express in some physical way, turning us into murderers or rapists, if we didn’t? I don’t think so, but I’m not a psychologist. Has James Gunn ever raped a child? I don’t know, I know basically nothing about him but I’m prepared to say “no he hasn’t”, because that’s how the goddamned justice system is meant to work.

Gunn has entertained me with his movies, even if he’s nowhere near as witty and incisive as he evidently thought he was a few years ago. I am really sorry if his tweets upset some people who are more sensitive that I am (and I mean that in a genuine, non-mocking sense), and I definitely understand why Disney had to slap that shit hard. But if I’d been paying him to make my movies, I probably wouldn’t have fired him over this.

And … he’s looking for work now, right? Maybe I should tell him about my series.

– Posted from my Huawei mobile phone while sitting in the carpark after work.

This entry was posted in Astro Tramp 400, Hatboy's Movie Extravaganza, Hatboy's Nuggets of Crispy-Fried Wisdom and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Gunned Down

  1. Really nice, detailed work here, and I agree. Nicely said, too, dreameling. There is a double-standard here. Just as when neo-nazis murder people in the context of dangerous right-wing rhetoric, but we’re supposed to worry about liberals not being civil because they might get violent.

    I do have to point out something about this whole “in his head, would he ever have done it IRL” question, I agree you can’t extrapolate a joke or two to any real intent. Stephen King aside, since it’s not “one or two” but many, many, but I digress. Instead I meant to tell the tale of Louis C.K.

    If you’ve heard his stand up, which is gut-wrenchingly funny (or it was, before his #metoo moment), you would know he throws in some disturbing stuff as well. Some of it still makes you laugh, and then later feel gross. Some of it is just like “what????” He joked a few times about wanting to take his dick out in public. And once, a REALLY weird one, to also “jizz” in someone’s face on an elevator, like a marking territory sort of thing. He specifically said “not in a sexual way”. And he told it as if others among us might know what he’s talking about.

    Um, no. Never had that impulse. And then, remind yourself of what took him down.

    It doesn’t always mean there’s a problem, except when it does.

    So yeah. You’re welcome for that trip down memory lane.

    • stchucky says:

      If you’ve heard his stand up, which is gut-wrenchingly funny (or it was, before his #metoo moment), you would know he throws in some disturbing stuff as well. Some of it still makes you laugh, and then later feel gross. Some of it is just like “what????”

      Some of it I felt was really insightful and spot-on. Like his sideline about being an arsehole, and how the arsehole doesn’t get to say “no I’m not.” Or his stance on technology and how we take it for granted. “Give it time to come back from space!”

      Real shame that he turned out to be more flaw than genius, but it doesn’t delete the moments of wisdom. It’d be more comfortable if it did.

      Still, in general, meh to that guy.

      He joked a few times about wanting to take his dick out in public. And once, a REALLY weird one, to also “jizz” in someone’s face on an elevator, like a marking territory sort of thing. He specifically said “not in a sexual way”. And he told it as if others among us might know what he’s talking about.

      Um, no. Never had that impulse. And then, remind yourself of what took him down.

      Yup, and there you have it.

      It doesn’t always mean there’s a problem, except when it does.

      Exactly. And innocent until proven guilty, in the case of actual deeds.

      So yeah. You’re welcome for that trip down memory lane.

      *Reminiscent tone* What ever happened to that guy?

      Oh right, that.

  2. dreameling says:

    I don’t follow TYT on a regular basis, so I can’t say how good their reporting generally is, but this popped up in my YouTube feed and I thought it was a really good take / semi-exposé about the Gunn incident:

    Gunn getting fired over dumb jokes he made ages ago, when he was a different person no less, is bullshit. Knowing that by firing Gunn Disney effectively gave power to hard-right trolls and validated their bullshit social media butthurt tactics makes this even more, well, bullshit.

    PS. I don’t know what the deal is with Cenk’s ousting incident, so you can tell me how him reporting this plays here.

    • stchucky says:

      That is a really good coverage of the story and does seem to summarise Cenk’s own attack pretty fairly. It looks like I was too permissive about this one. There’s hugely hypocritical and cowardly fuckery going on.

      Now, is it still definitely in Disney’s interest and within their philosophy to dump someone who has made jokes like that? Yes. But could they figure something out and keep Gunn on the payroll? Also yes. This was a hatchet job.

      And you’re right, it’s delivering power of professional life and death to alt-right pieces of shit who literally brag about being able to fabricate a career-ending outrage about anyone. That’s a dangerous precedent.

      I may copy-paste this and go hit that petition.

    • stchucky says:

      ~240,000 signatures on the petition this morning. Change.org makes it a real pain in the arse to sign but oh well.

    • aaronthepatriot says:

      Oh, I thought I wrote both you and Hatboy about the “Justice Democrats” and how they removed Cenk (a founder!) from the board of directors because of some old blogs from when he was a Republican (a known fact) almost 20 years ago, where he was being a bit of a frat bro about the women he was trying to fuck. It was utterly ridiculous. It shows a tendency to want only “pure” liberals, no one who has evolved from conservative to liberal. Which I think is exactly wrong. We want to encourage those on the right to become of the left, don’t we?

      • stchucky says:

        See, I signed this a few hours ago and put your e-mail address into the necessary share field. Did you get that link or is change.org broken?

        Either way, cool!

      • aaronthepatriot says:

        Broken. Pic or it didn’t happen, another alternative. XD

  3. stchucky says:

    Looks like actual sex offender Cernovich has tried to take down Rick and Morty’s Dan Harmon now, and met with only partial success.

    “Unlike Disney and Gunn, Adult Swim, which airs Rick and Morty, is standing by Harmon. The network released a statement strongly condemning Harmon’s 2009 joke but reminding everyone that “Dan recognized his mistake at the time and has apologized.””

    • aaronthepatriot says:

      It seems to be this same guy every time. I said about 4 events back that everyone needs to know his name and ignore him. Everyone meaning the executives who make hiring and firing decisions, really.

      I was about to criticize him for something like hypocrisy, but in a certain sense I get where he’s coming from. He did horrible shit and got caught and paid…some price…don’t think it was much. He just wants to make sure EVERYONE else gets caught too.

      Well, everyone on the left at least.

      • stchucky says:

        Yup. In the dystopian future towards which we are headed, one of the conditions for a lenient sentence for sexual assault crimes is going to be a sort of bounty on other sexual offenders that you help bring to justice.

        Of course it’s better if you can actually identify, track down and either citizens-arrest or kill an actual paedophile who actually rapes children. But if you’re too chickenshit to do that, then sabotaging the career of someone who is a) an outspoken enemy of the totalitarian establishment and b) tells jokes that make the totalitarian establishment feel all itchy and uncomfortably tight in the crotchal region, then that’s like community service.

      • Heh yeah, in a way that would be nice if criminals would bring in other criminals in this way. Come to think of it, we kind of already have that…. And yes I think Sam Seder might have been Cernovitch’s first case, but I’m not positive. That one ended well at least.

      • stchucky says:

        From Wikipedia:

        On December 7, 2017, MSNBC decided to reverse their decision to terminate Seder’s employment. MSNBC President Phil Griffin said in a statement, “Sometimes you just get one wrong, and that’s what happened here. We made our initial decision for the right reasons—because we don’t consider rape to be a funny topic to be joked about. But we’ve heard the feedback, and we understand the point Sam was trying to make in that tweet was actually in line with our values, even though the language was not. Sam will be welcome on our air going forward.” In response, Seder issued a statement while accepting his job back:

        I appreciate MSNBC’s thoughtful reconsideration and willingness to understand the cynical motives of those who intentionally misrepresented my tweet for their own toxic, political purposes […] We are experiencing an important and long overdue moment of empowerment for the victims of sexual assault and of reckoning for their perpetrators. I’m proud that MSNBC and its staff have set a clear example of the need to get it right.

        So at least he got ignored eventually.

  4. So GotG vol. 3 is now officially on hold, as perhaps we should have expected. Time to punch Mike Thernovich (intentional) in the face. Nice work, you cunt.

    • stchucky says:

      Yeah, last I heard they’d delayed it in favour of a couple of other movies, and they were looking at Taika Waititi. Which wouldn’t be bad, but it isn’t as good as Disney maybe going against its historical precedent and siding with the good guys against the lying authoritarians.

      • I’m sure that would work, but I finally come around to loving these movies, and now I worry the magic will be gone.

        And yeah, I’d like to suggest that AFTER they catch ALL the actual criminals and punish them, THEN we can see if we’d like to punish people who make jokes about crimes.

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