If someone writes something on the internet and nobody notices it for almost 2 years, does it really make an impact?
This is the question we all (yes, all) find ourselves asking in the wake of the James Gunn/Superhero sex scandal that is ROCKING the internet (Am I overselling it a little?), the world (Or a lot?), and the galaxy (see what I did there?).
In case you haven’t heard, James Gunn – the director of Slither and Super and the man tabbed by Marvel to write and helm the Guardians of the Galaxy movie — has raised the ire of some with his musings about sex and superheroes.
In the post, Gunn calls Gambit a “cajun fruit”, talks about the supposed thrill of seeing oneself ejaculate into the Invisible Woman, mentions that he hopes Iron Man can “turn” the lesbian character Batwoman, and discusses a host of other graphic sex acts he’d like to perform (or not perform) on a wide array of comic book characters.
Published on February 17, 2011 on Gunn’s personal blog in response to the results of a poll on his Facebook and Twitter, Gunn’s “The 50 Superheroes You Most Want to Have Sex With” lived in near obscurity until a few Tumblr users and Mary Sue writer Susana Polo found it and called attention to some of Gunn’s remarks. Here’s her article.
What did Gunn do in response? Well, he hasn’t said anything yet, but he totally used internet magic to make the article disappear. Magic that was combated by Polo, who posted the Google cache copy of the article that Lady Geek Girl found.
Naturally, the contents of Gunn’s treatise and Polo’s article have lit a fire across the internet sky.
In an effort to get Gunn tossed from Guardians, a petition has popped up and on the other end of the spectrum, many have come to Gunn’s defense, including Bad Ass Digest chief Devin Faraci, who said on Twitter:
“We can have a discussion about ‘is that funny,’ but the Mary Sue article is coming from the assumption Gunn’s list was straight-faced.” later adding: “the article author is straight up ignorant. It’s pathetic – she didn’t do ANY research at all.” in response to someone saying that the Mary Sue writer was unfamiliar with Gunn’s “MO” and that he has a “crass sense of humor.”
Despite his last name, HitFix editor Drew McWeeny was also unafraid to enter into this debate about sex and superheroes and I am a child. Here’s what McWeeney said:
“Hey, guys, I don’t want to speak out of turn, but I have a sneaking suspicion that James Gunn, who is writing and directing “Guardians Of The Galaxy” for Marvel, likes really, really dirty jokes.” McWeeny later added: “If you’ve seen “Slither,” then I think you’ve got the basic idea, which is that there is no line James Gunn is unafraid to cross for no other reason that It amuses him.”
McWeeny’s full article can be found here, and here’s the link to the justifiably lauded Tumblr post by Dark Horse Editor Rachel Edidin on this whole mess. I swear to God I am not trying to set some sort of hyperlink world record by the way, sourcing is just my jam.
Now, I’ve seen Slither, the PG Porn shorts, Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead remake that Gunn wrote, and other things that he’s done. I’ve also read some of his blog posts and the list in question and I take three things away from it:
Number 1: This list is PAINFULLY unfunny.
Number 2: It comes off like it was written by a very sexually immature person who has some issues with how he regards women.
Number 3: For what Gunn is to us, I don’t know that his ideals matter.
James Gunn is a writer and a director. He also seems like a slight pig, but these two things don’t really have to intersect. Everyone has an ugliness within them, and maybe this is his. Frankly, we judge people in the public eye as if we are sizing them up to be our soulmates and it just isn’t necessary.
All I want out of this guy is a movie, an enjoyable and fantastic two hours that justifies the cost of admission and the expense of my time. As long as he can keep a lid on his chauvinism and keep it out of the finished product (a product that would go through many filters before getting to us), his views really don’t affect me.
I’m not going to trot out a bit of shiny new homophobia in an effort to over-compensate and get chuckles and I’m also not going to de-value women or over-sexualize them because James Gunn did so in a blog post 21 months ago. I know some fear that others may, but I’m not willing to assign that much power to the words of the artist who gave us the Scooby Doo movies.
So if it doesn’t affect us, why do we care? I assume it’s because in some cases, being offended understandably boils down to anger.
Some people don’t like the remarks that Gunn made (obviously you can put me on that list) and they want him to be punished for those remarks (not that list). They want there to be a cost for thinking in a way that is contrary to the way that they think and the way that society deems acceptable. Really, this is pig-shaming in response to “slut-shaming”.
Now, I don’t agree that Gunn should be thrown off the picture and punished like an out-of-line child, but I’m not going to grouse about it if it happens because I understand that Disney knows how to count and they know how to gauge public sentiment.
All this may seem unfair if this was just a joke or a piece of shitty satire, but this is a free market society, meaning if you supply the world with stuff like this, eventually demand for your work is bound to suffer.
That’s the reality of this situation and a reminder that one should always think before they speak or type — especially when they have the ambition to be more than a self-amused blogger.
Update: For whatever it is worth, Mr. Gunn has apologized.