Panzer Crush: In the defense of James Gunn

And why I’m starting to hate my generation.

Today, as I scrolled through twitter, I came across a bit of a conversation between a few of my online compadres mentioning something about James Gunn, and a slight comparison to Roman Polanski.  When I inquired as to what the hell they were talking about, I was directed to this site, the MarySue and this piece.  The author of the piece, one Susana Polo, decided that it was in her best interest to get up on her soapbox and proclaim that James Gunn is pretty much a piece of shit.  Did she use those words?  No, but from reading her thoroughly worded article, that’s the passive aggressive message I got.

If you’re going to wait to read the piece, here’s the gist:  James Gunn- former writer for the production company Troma, who has written both Scooby Doo films, the Dawn of the Dead remake, and directed the films Slither and Super.  The man has a rather lively online presence and a following as well.  He’s genuinely regarded as a crude, but nice guy.  If you’ve ever followed his work, you know that the man is a bit deranged and slightly outspoken.  He has a dark sense of humor as well, and considered by many people (including myself) to be funny & a talented guy.  He was recently appointed to the writing and directing gig for Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, his first real big studio film.  It’s almost but guaranteed to give his career that boost it needs to get to the next level.

And there were a lot of people rooting for him (me being one of them).  He’s not my favorite director, but I like the guy’s work.  Super is a brilliant film that more people should see.  I’ve seen him speak publicly & I’ve listened to his interviews, and he seems to be a genuinely nice guy with dash of a fucked up sense of humor.

Unfortunately, people like Susan Polo and other bloggers like this one, or this one, have a knee jerk reaction to such humor and label a man scum for making some jokes about what?  Oh yeah, MAKE BELIEVE PEOPLE WITH SUPER POWERS HAVING SEX!  That is the core of this pig hunt.  The insanity that Polo and her friends have whipped up makes me almost sick.  I ask this question?  Is there nothing else going on in your lives that this is the most important thing in the world to make a pseudo story out of?

Here’s the thing. A year ago, this was a non issue.  No one lifted a cheek to what Gunn wrote.  The people that followed Gunn either liked it or they didn’t. If they didn’t they moved on with their lives.  But no, Ms. Solo (who found the original offending piece here) has done something that only groups like the Catholic league and their like do.  They complain over something THEY don’t like, to try to curve some sort of reaction and changes to what they don’t like. Even if no one else cared.  And if you think it’s a non issue, Mr. Gunn has had to publicly apologize because these people made it an issue.

Just as casting was under way for Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy?  How odd?

Why? Why dose James Gunn have to apologize?  Because people like Ms. Solo assume he’s a sexiest asshole?

And that’s all it is.  Here’s the thing though, she and people like her are projecting an opinion on to the man himself.  As far as we know, he’s never done anything publicly to show that he’s a woman hater and gay basher other than cut a couple of jokes.  And if Joss Whedon and Nathan Fillion vouch for him, (and they have) then maybe anyone who agrees with the article in question should probably question those guys too.  Men who’ve done nothing but support women and the gay community for years.  Joss Whedon himself is pretty much a low key feminist.  So why would he vouch for such a gay bashing, women hating monster like James Gunn?

Hum.. I wonder.

Why do I care about any of this?  Why am I making a big deal over this?  I give you a few reason why.

I don’t like what my generation is doing to free speech and comedy in general. I’m 28, and come from a generation that was on the cusp of being coddled.  The generation below me, is even worse. We’ve become adult babies that are hurt by every little thing that exists. It’s creating a creative black hole that I everyday, sit back and idly watch as it sucks the soul out of everything that is remotely entertaining. What’s the favorite food of this black hole?  Comedy!

There’s not a day that goes by that I hear someone crack a joke, and get the “Worse than Hitler look” or even declaration made because of said joke.  I’m all for people making whatever jokes that they want.  Bad taste or not.  It’s the point of free speech.  Though, the further into the deeper layers in this burrito of stupid is this sad fact:  Actions no longer speak louder than words. It’s just words apparently.  Everyone gets offended by EVERYTHING these days, and it’s sickening.   People proclaim to be on some moral high horse, but will gladly watch pieces of entertainment where men are womanizers, heroes do drugs, and the bad guy is the hero. Oh, and call it ART!  Because it’s daring!  Just because someone cracks a sexist/ gay joke, or god forbid a racist joke, doesn’t mean that they are exactly that.  A simple fact that is lost on just about everyone these days.

What else? Oh how about attention.  The list that James Gunn wrote the “offending” piece on was published over a year ago.  Yet someone just now saw it, brought it to the attention of the author who wrote the long winded piece accusing Gunn of being a sexist homophobe, and now has garnered traffic and hits for a story that didn’t exist until she wrote her opinion piece about it. It has gotten many links to her page and has riled up the internet in the name of women everywhere.  Online reporting is a dog eat dog world, but shitty attacks like this are shameful.  I don’t slight her for having an opinion.  She can proclaim James Gunn an asshole all she wants, that’s fine. However when you take your opinion and start stirring up a dust storm over something that had come and gone that no one had batted an eye to, is just messed up. It’s something I think isn’t called out on in the online community enough.  Slow news day?  Let’s mildly slander someone.  How about that for news?

So what now?  Who knows?  James Gunn has had to issue a public apology over this because GLADD got wind of it and started in with their complaints.  Deep down, I believe that Gunn knows this is bullshit.  I can’t speak for him.  But if he has two brain cells firing in his head, he knows it’s BS.   He issued his apology because he’s now working for Disney, They have deep pockets, and don’t want an incident on their hands over what is going to be a big fun summer film.  All he’s done is try to be funny, yet he’s being vilified for it and it could cost him his job.  Gunn isn’t Roman Polanski or Victor Salva, he’s done NOTHING.  Yet someone felt the need to be a political stick in the butt and make him a big bad villain over nothing.

I end with this. The essay in question that calls Gunn a sexist homophobe is trying to stand up for what’s right for what is apparently a group of people that want to be noted as more than a minority.  I’ve always felt that if you don’t’ want to be treated as a minority, then don’t proclaim yourself as one and draw attention to it.  All stuff like this does is make said groups seem like a complaining minority, thus negating any progress they’re trying to make.  Tolerance is a two way street, and in the end it’s still TOLERANCE.  To tolerate.  Doesn’t mean you have to like it.  And if you think for one moment that I’m saying it’s ok to gay bash and hate on women or be racist as hell, I’m not.  My stance is, if it’s not physically hurting anyone why give a shit.  Let actions, NOT words, dictate judgement.  Everyone has opinions, I don’t agree with them all, and not everyone agrees with mine.  That’s the beauty of opinions and was at one point, the beauty of this country.  But when you force you’re opinion on someone else or use it to manipulate, then you’re entering that territory of physically screwing with someone.  In my OPINION, that makes you almost no better than the bastards that protest gay and military funerals.  It also puts you in that hierarchy of people who threaten to kill because you don’t believe the same thing as they do.  But, that’s MY opinion.

Hopefully, nothing more comes of this.  James Gunn continues his work, and I’ll be sitting in a theater on August 1st, 2014, seeing exactly what the man pulled off with Guardians of the Galaxy.  If not, then we in the internet community are really forgotten souls and we’re all screwed.

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