Monday 23 July 2018

The Joking Gunn

We interrupt the scheduled Mubi Monday post for this, apologies in advance. Also, BE WARNED, content coming up that may cause offence/trigger.

Unless you've been living under a rock for the past 48 hours or so then you are no doubt aware that James Gunn has been "let go" by Disney. He will no longer be attached to the third Guardians Of The Galaxy movie. A lot of Marvel fans were upset by this news. Gunn himself doesn't seem too happy, but made a diplomatic statement that took it on the chin.

And what caused this. LOADS of bad jokes he had on Twitter from 6+ years ago.

They were often deliberately crafted to shock. Gunn was trying to be that kind of guy. If there was a hashtag then he would think of the most offensive line to accompany it.

One example: "Three Men and a Baby They Had Sex With #unromanticmovies"

Another example: "The Hardy Boys and The Mystery Of What It Feels Like When Uncle Bernie Fists Me #SadChildrensBooks"

Another example: "This hotel shower is the weakest ever. Felt like a three year old was peeing on my head."

At least one had a video link URL that had a title none of us would want to see, I hope, but I was informed that the URL went to a video not really in line with the description (which would make sense, otherwise he would have surely been kicked out on his ear a long time ago). And he retweeted and mentioned sex offenders and statements (real or pretend?) from people who were members of NAMBLA. I haven't screencapped them because I am just a bit crap with that stuff, and it's late, and you can find them all very easily right now.

They're all quite bad, to put it mildly. Although I like the shower tweet, which isn't in any way connected to paedophilia but resonates with any parent who has had their kid above them just at the wrong time. We parents have all been peed on at least once. It's a strange kind of reverse baptism.

Now, here's where things get weird. Gunn already apologised for many of his comments back in 2012. You can Google that easily enough. It was mainly in response to GLAAD but he gave an apology that, in the intervening years, seems to have proven sincere. He used to be a full-time Tromaville citizen, and those guys know how to shock their viewers, but now he had moved into another league. A level of the business that wouldn't want him just for his shock tactics and attempts at edgy humour (which were, for the most part, quite shite anyway).

The other weird thing. This all came about as part of a campaign orchestrated by Mike "Pizzagate" Cernovich. A man actually charged with rape in 2003. He denied the allegations, and the charge was reduced to misdemeanour battery. This was set up by someone who wanted to stir up fake outrage and put someone out of work because they were extremely vocal against the current POTUS. You can follow the lines back and easily figure that out for yourself. Easily.

And here's the worst thing. His plan worked. Not only that, he then tried to take down more figures over the past few hours. And you cannot be opposed to this plan. Because those who want these people to shut up have started to bandy around the word "paedophile". In fact, they complain about people making jokes that include paedophilia and rape, taking the lead from a man who was actually charged with rape.

Many MANY online folks have now already labelled James Gunn as a paedophile. Call them out on it and you get a comment about how there would be no other reason for all of those tweets and jokes on the subject. I have been told that he hung around with abusers, I can't find any proof of that, and have also been accused of supporting a paedophile.

I am not allowed to babysit any more
Why? Because this is an important line. This is, make no bones about it, a battle for freedom of speech to be available to all, not just those on the right or the left, or wherever you are on the political spectrum. Many are extra-smug because Gunn was also vocal about the tweet that got Roseanne fired from her show. Was that intended as a joke? I don't think so. Roseanne eventually blamed it on meds. She now states that she didn't know the race of her target. Which is odd, as the tweet mentioned a Muslim brotherhood along with the ape reference. Also, she made this tweet while currently employed with the people who were putting out her show. The two examples are very different, but don't try to argue that with someone who wants them to be exactly the same. You'll be called a "pedo-apologist" and bitter because your freedom of speech argument has bitten you on the ass.

No Daddy Day Care plans in my future
This is a really big deal. It's worrying. I get that people don't like all jokes. People don't often like sick jokes, of course, and there are many who believe that some things should be off-limits in the field of humour. I do understand people feeling that way even if I disagree. I urge them to avoid people who make those jokes, and let others pick who they want to laugh along with. The same goes for books, movies, foods, anything where taste is a factor, basically. If Gunn was ever trying to be a stand-up comic then I don't think he would do very well.

But jokes are JOKES, and what I have seen over this weekend is a seething mob of people genuinely equating jokes with the act of doing something, and some even calling it worse. Joke about paedophilia? You're a paedophile. Joke about rape? You're probably a rapist. Joke about something disease? You're heartless scum.

That's not true. I have, at some point, joked about all of those things. I know, you can roll your eyes and feel disappointed in me. I am sorry. I am not always as good or clever as I would like to be. Yet I am good enough to have never done any of those things. And I have never actually seen a chicken cross a road. I have also never told a doctor that I felt like a pair of curtains. The times when I have walked into a pub with an Englishman and Irishman alongside me hasn't resulted in a number of jokes that keep ending with the Irishman being made to look silly (okay, sometimes it has, but we've all taken our turn to look silly and they're my friends so what makes us laugh just makes us laugh). Despite the running joke with my wife whenever she calls to tell me that she is due home soon, I have never had to hide a stash of drugs or kick out a group of hookers. Because neither have been in our house. But I joke about it. A lot. And I know many others with a dark/sick sense of humour that I trust a lot more than some who may not say boo to a goose (as the saying goes, although I have also never seen ANYONE say boo to a goose).

I couldn't give a shit if Gunn gets to return to superhero movies, or if the third Guardians movie even goes ahead. I do, however, give a shit if he is labelled as a social outcast/criminal for telling lots and lots of bad jokes (allegedly thousands of the damn things). And I give a shit about conversations being shut down so quickly by one word, whatever that word might be.

According to sources over the years, certain people have recently displayed behaviour that was quite well-known behind the scenes, be it abusive attitudes or racism. According to everyone who knows James Gunn, he is a lovely and friendly and sweet guy. I'll be as disgusted as anyone else if any evidence comes up to paint him in a different light. But, for now, I can find his jokes unfunny while also not thinking that he deserves to lose his position/goodwill for bad stuff that he already apologised for. Six years ago.

I said that it was getting more and more important lately for us to not just be silent in the face of increasingly nasty and insidious tactics to keep people in check. I am sorry to those who have maybe been bored by my many comments on this over the weekend. This concerns us all, even if you don't think it does. What will you be labelled when you say something that someone with a bit of influence finds disagreeable or unpleasant? What is in your past that you think they can use to attack you?

A lie used to be able to get halfway around the world before the truth could get its pants on. Now it can get all the way around. Twice. With photoshopped pics to back it up.

Genuine poll

Marvel fans may want to sign this petition, but I doubt it will do much good - GOTG3 petition.
And people may want to buy Cards Against Humanity here.

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