Recently, a few comments from veteran comic book movie writer David S. Goyer sparked a debate across the Internet. While being hosted on the Scriptnotes podcast, Goyer made more than a few crass remarks about She-Hulk and whether or not she was designed to be an adolescent reader’s version of a porn star. He then proceeded to pair off the green heroine with her better-known cousin, (He-)Hulk, in a shag-fest. Needless to say, people got more than a little upset about what Goyer had to say. And while no one can debate the short-sightedness of the writer in making such statements to a public audience, I would argue that Goyer is no different from the vast majority of comic book fans – both male and female.
I shall begin my debate with a question – How many people have sat around with their friends, talking comics (or other geek-centric books/television/movies), having a few drinks and making crude remarks while pondering over their favorite characters’ sexual proclivities? Ever debated the viability of Wolverine’s claws as sex toys? Whether the Invisible Woman voyeuristically watches other super heroes having sex? Contemplated whether or not a man’s penis would be violently uprooted if She-Hulk were to orgasm while he was having sex with her? Wonder whether or not Hermione ever figured out a spell to turn her wand into a vibrating sex toy? Does Dr. Doom’s mask stay on or come off during the act of mating? Do Plastic Man’s ladyfriends request the double-penetration treatment when they’re getting down?
Maybe you have, maybe you haven’t. I can speak only for myself when I say that my friends and I have had such conversations, discussing the crude and sometimes downright disgusting complications of what it means to be a super hero with a sex drive (or a fanboy/girl that dreams of a super-shag with their favorite character). And before you cry “sexism!”, let it be known that the ladies in my circles are just as crude as the men. I would even argue that, due to the fact that they feel no need to avoid certain subjects in the interest of not looking like a sexist, the women I know are much, much freer with their thoughts.
So, back to the subject at hand – is Goyer a raging, sexist prick for making statements about She-Hulk being a porn star or geek spank-bank material?
The answer lies not within the words that were spoken, but within the context. Does Goyer really believe that She-Hulk was designed specifically as a fuck-toy for the Hulk? I’d guess the answer is “no”. Whatever you think of him, Goyer is probably not that much of an idiot. Was he prompted by Scriptnotes host Craig Mazen into talking rude and crude? That sounds a bit more viable to me. After all, Mazen’s words to Goyer were:
The real name for She-Hulk was Slut-Hulk. That was the whole point. Let’s just make this green chick with enormous boobs. And she’s Hulk strong but not Hulk massive, right? … She’s real lean, stringy…
The whole point of She-Hulk was just to appeal sexistly to ten-year-old boys. Worked on me.
Strangely enough, none of the hate I’m seeing out there is directed at Mazen. I wonder why that is? Oh, right. He’s not famous enough to catch viewers. When you have a target like Goyer, what do you need with a little guy like Mazen? The words are not as important as the man who said them, after all.
I will say that Goyer should have known better considering his level of fame and the fact that all eyes are upon him due to his involvement in the Superman v Batman:
Friendship is Magic Dawn of Justice movie. When the media is staring at you, every little word you say will be used, abused and spun in whatever way a particular media outlet wants so that they can get people to notice. Make a joke? It has now become something you said in earnest, reflecting the deepest essence of your being. Make a crude joke? You are obviously displaying your intolerance and ignorance and must be stoned for it.
Anything to get those readers in, after all.
Naturally, a rise of tempers prompts media outlets to further fan the flames by bugging anyone they feel can add something new, no matter how irrelevant. Take the case of the recent “retaliatory” remark by Stan Lee. Lee states next to nothing and never directly responds to Goyer’s remarks, but his words are all over the Internet. Some people are even praising him for what he had to say. It must be nice to be so famous that you can say practically nothing and have people go ape-shit over it.
Don’t get me wrong – I know people want to read what everyone has to say when something gets to this level of tension. And Stan Lee, being one of She-Hulk’s creators, has a stronger voice than practically anyone. But has anyone even stopped to consider the fact that Goyer was being intentionally crude and making remarks that, at the time, he didn’t think anyone would take seriously? That he was feeling comfortable enough in the podcast interview chair to say the things that most of us reserve for the local bar and the company of close friends? That, perhaps, he had enough faith in the intellect of the general community that he wrongfully assumed people would see the joke for what it was?
Nah! That would be too simple, right? And then we wouldn’t have the umpteen-billion opinions (like this one!) flying across the Internet and giving us all something to talk about and be enraged over. Civil war in Sudan? Who cares! We’ve got She-Hulk’s reputation to defend!
But the debate doesn’t stop at whether Goyer is a sexist bastard or not. Oh no, that would never be enough. People have anger to express and by the gods they’re going to express it in every way they know how! Even if that means irrationally making statements about Goyer’s qualifications as a writer. After all, if he’s going to talk smack about She-Hulk then he must be a shit writer that’s a disgrace to the entire genre, right? Never mind the fact that he has more comic book/geek-centric credits under his belt than pretty much everyone working in the industry right now – Blade, Blade 2, Blade: Trinity, The Crow: City of Angels, Dark City, Nick Fury: Agents of Shield, Batman: Gotham Knight, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Returns, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Man of Steel, Constantine (the new one), Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Metal Gear Solid and Justice League. Say what you will, but the man is neck-deep in geek culture.
Now, if you look at the list and roll your eyes (as I am doing with many of those god-awful movies) and lose your faith in the man to produce a good story based on what you think of his past work, then you’re talking with some degree of perspective. If a couple of remarks that were most likely mocking and facetious cause you to doubt the man, then maybe you need to reevaluate the way you form your artistic judgments.
To drive even further down this crooked road – what about that remark he made about geeks not getting laid? Yeah, it’s a stereotype. We all know that. But it’s a stereotype that we all embrace in one way or another because – A) It used to be truer than we’d like to admit, and B) We recognize the ridiculousness of it these days. It’s silly and we know it so we (at least most of us) feel free to joke about it. Was Goyer really attempting to insult geeks across the world, despite the fact that he’s putting his name in the credits of the movies we love? Probably not. Again, I have faith that Goyer’s brain functions a little better than that.
Unfortunately, Goyer has made no public response to the outrage as of yet. How long he will let the pot stew before he steps up and puts in his two cents remains to be seen. With any luck, he’ll speak the words he wants to speak, censored or otherwise. Of course, Warner Bros. and DC have a vested interest in the man, so we’re likely to see little more than a carefully written press statement put together by the Warner Bros. PR guys. You know, the typical “I am sorry for what I said. I apologize to the community. Blah, blah, blah, bullshit, bullshit…” type stuff that placates the masses while carefully avoiding any further controversy. If that’s the case, we may never know what was really going on in Goyer’s head.
And so what the hell is my point with all of this ranting and raving?
If I had to sum it up to one thing, I guess I’d say – If you’re going to hate the man because his work sucks, then by all means go wild. If you’re going to latch on to the latest media hype over a statement made within an unknown context, then maybe you need to take a deep breath. The full story will never be known until Goyer speaks. Until then, stop throwing fuel on the fire and assuming you know what you’re talking about just because a thousand Internet journalists and angry people with loud voices are telling it “how it is”.
There’s a time and a place to call “sexism” and, in my opinion, this is not one of those times or places. Don’t weaken the power of the fight in an effort to slap some guy down because he was stupid enough to think the world would understand the facetiousness inherent in his sense of humor. Pay attention to the shit that actually fucking matters.
We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.
Note: This article reflects the opinion of one Nerd Bastard. If you think I’m a mindless idiot, please don’t hold it against the rest of the team. They all love puppies and their mothers and are generally wholesome people.
Source: My Caffeinated Brain, The Internet