That being said, I’m posting this rather lengthy warning to do two things:
1) Give you, the reader, a chance to decide if you really want to read naughty words, words which are not necessarily safe for work, and,
2) Try to ensure you understand that there are, indeed, bad words being used in this column.
This isn’t something we normally post here but, provided my editors allow this, I feel it’s my responsibility to make sure you all are fully aware that these are very naughty words. I’ll probably have to wash my keyboard with soap after this one!
There. I think this disclaimer is long enough. Just remember: Bad words. If you read them after this, you have no grounds to complain. Again, provided my editors allow them to go uncensored. (Please!)
The following commentary is my opinion and mine alone. It does not, in any way, reflect the views of ComicBooked.com, it’s other contributors or sponsors. If what’s said here makes you mad and you want to yell at someone, especially if you think I’m making light of a rather pathetic situation (which is exactly what I’m doing), then just contact me. Heck, post in the comments below, make your voice heard. Now… on with the show:
Earlier this week ‘news’ broke that Guardians Of The Galaxy director James Gunn posted a “Superheroes You Most Want to Have Sex With” poll on his blog, it has since been removed but can still be found here. Characters like Superman, Wonder Woman, Spider-Man, Nightwing and others were all listed along with comments by Gunn himself. Once ‘news’ of this came out there was a lot of reaction from people within the comics industry, including Rachel Edidin, an Associate Editor at Dark Horse Comics, who called the comments “fucked up and misogynist and homophobic” on her own blog, also adding : “If Gunn’s list is satire, it’s bad satire, because it skews incredibly close to material that’s not only already out there, but that comes from official media and in some cases industry professionals. There’s a significant slice of the comics community that is that misogynist and homophobic, and says so loudly and frequently. It’s telling, I think, that so many people took what Gunn wrote at face value: this is material we’ve seen before, again and again, presented seriously.”
Now, in the interest of fairness (and before I totally make a mockery of this rather sad example of how over-sensitive we have become), here are some of the entries Gunn had in his poll:
The entry that seems to be getting most of the attention, by people trying their hardest to say this thing is homophobic, is Gambit: “My girlfriend voted for this Cajun fruit. I think she’s looking to have a devil’s three way with the two of us. The idea of my balls slapping against Gambit’s makes me sick to my stomach, but I can’t deny the fellow’s pure HEAT, as he yet again placed so high on this list, despite being male and in the presence of so many A-listers. Wolverine and Superman may beat him in sales, but it’s who the ladies love that really matters…”
Not really ‘homophobic’ but people like to think it is. Yet, no one is paying attention to what he said about Nightwing (pictured below): “Okay, uh, yeah, I can see where you would want some of that shit.”
Then there is the Stephanie Brown Batgirl: “Being a teen mom and all, you know she’s easy. Go for it.”
Alright, now let’s look at a few facts here:
1) This was a post from February 17, 2011. That’s almost two years ago.
2) This is listed as “The SECOND Annual Poll” meaning this isn’t the first time he did this, it’s just the first time people decided to act offended by it.
Look, I’m not going to sit here and tell people what is and isn’t offensive but I will sit here and tell people that it really doesn’t matter what they find offensive. There are no laws protecting your delicate sensibilities from being offended and simply feeling offended doesn’t give you special rights. It certainly doesn’t give you the right to ruin a man’s life and destroy his career simply because he used a few naughty words and you found them ‘offensive’.
This is a problem we have in America. People think their feelings actually carry weight. Well, I’m here to tell you that they, in fact, don’t. If this thing ‘offends’ you then you simply stop looking at it. If you feel the need, post it on your Facebook or Twitter and express yourself on your personal social media platform but that is as far as you need to go. This thing has gotten way out of hand, even to the point where a group called Change.org actually is passing around an online petition to get Disney to fire him because they were also ‘offended’ by Gunn’s post from almost two years ago. This garbage needs to stop.
What else needs to stop is using words like “misogynist” and “homophobic” to try to get people to rally to your side. All due respect to the Dark Horse editor, you are way off base here and need to back off. None of the comments were either of those. And to say “If Gunn’s list is satire, it’s bad satire” kind of gives me the feeling that apparently only certain people in this county know what ‘good’ satire and ‘bad’ satire is. So, what, are we going to have ‘satire police’ now to tell us what is and isn’t funny? Just because you don’t think it’s funny doesn’t mean it isn’t. I honestly think it’s funny how, in talking about how Gunn’s words offended her, she described them as being “fucked up”, clearly a term a lot of people find offensive. The point is humor is subjective. I personally didn’t find the movie The Hangover funny in the least. I really only laughed when the car door hit the baby and it cried. But more people found it funny. Doesn’t mean anything.
As I was reading various reactions to this on Facebook and Twitter, a thought occurred to me: What would have happened if the internet was around in the early 1980′s? See, in 1982 Bob Clark wrote and directed a comedy classic called Porky’s. It was filled to the brim with sexist and racist material. Most people only remember the girls shower sequence and “Lassie” but the rest was pretty edgy. The next year, Bob Clark would write and direct A Christmas Story, a movie loved by people of all ages. Now, imagine if people were as thin-skinned back then as they are now. A Christmas Story would have had to been written and directed by someone else and wouldn’t have been the classic it is today.
There is another thing I want to talk about here because it’s been going on for far to long and someone needs to speak out against it and that’s the thought that, somehow, women are mistreated in comics. This situation is being used as another tent pole to hold up that rather flimsy argument. For a long time now we’ve been told there aren’t any strong female characters and women are not treated as equals in comics but the history simply doesn’t support that. Strangers In Paradise is pretty much all I need to say to show that there are very strong female representations in comics. If you want something more current then look no further than Fables, Fairest, Journey Into Mystery, and pretty much anything from Zenescope. On the creative side, while the industry has really been a male dominated field (it is comic books), there are more than a few great women in the industry’s history – Marie Severin, for example. Truly one of the all time greatest contributors to the continued successes of the industry.
What I’m trying to say here is there is nothing wrong with what Gunn posted almost two years ago. It was clearly a joke and, while I know people hate being told this, people need to just get over it. Gunn was making movies with Troma Studios years ago. That wasn’t a problem and anyone who’s familiar with their products (which I absolutely love) knows Troma is the furthest from political correctness that you can get. But if Gunn is actually fired, if the PC-Police and the supposed offended win the day, what does this mean? Will every director of a comic book movie be at risk of losing the gig because they might have posted something on a blog or on Twitter two years ago that one old woman in Idaho found offensive? Why stop there? Why not look at everything written by anyone on any level of the comics industry?
I guess I should expect Comic Booked to tell me they ‘wish me luck on my future endeavors’ any day now because of the colorful things I say on my Facebook, Twitter, and blogs. Sound ridiculous? Well, so does this whole thing about a blog post from almost two years ago. If you don’t get the joke you move on. If you are offended by something, say something about it but know that you really don’t have the right to silence the person saying it and you certainly don’t have the right to put the man’s livelihood at risk because your ‘widdle feewings’ were hurt. If you silence him because you didn’t like his nearly two-year old joke… wouldn’t you, in fact, be in support of censorship, something the comics industry purports to be opposed to? Quick answer: YES.
Grow up. Get over it. Move along. that’s all you need to do.