I’m going to go ahead and be a voice of reason when it comes to the whole James Gunn debacle so far (as things are still developing, more facts can come to light, and my position can change). As you might have heard, James made some tweets a few years back wherein he made some jokes about pedophilia. These tweets somehow didn’t surface until it became clear that he wouldn’t toe the line for the social justice narrative.
Disney has subsequently fired James, which ended his role as director of the Guardians of the Galaxy series, considering that the nature of the jokes didn’t fall in line with Disney’s family-friendly image. This would be the same Disney that recently picked up a sci-fi series depicting dismemberment and decapitation with laser swords and mysteriously strangling people from across the room, but I digress.
Fans then started pressuring Disney to bring James Gunn back, saying that while his jokes were crass, he was exercising his constitutionally-protected freedom of expression. Whether a company fires someone for their conduct outside of work doesn’t have much to do with freedom of expression, but I suspect that the fans are motivated by the possibility that without Gunn, the Guardians movies are finished.
Shortly afterwards, some images surfaced of Gunn having posed in a photo-op during a “pedophilia-themed” party. As you could imagine, the reactionaries went ballistic. By now, they’ll have already given themselves strokes from how violently they spazzed out, making sure that we know how much they hate pedophiles, saying things like:
“Pedophiles are totally awful! I’m glad I’m not a pedophile! Did I mention that I’m not a pedophile, today?!”
What reasonable people want to know is, how is it that the idea for a pedophile-themed party was pitched, a bunch of people agreed to it, and it somehow came and went without causing an uproar?
The answer is, it didn’t. It wasn’t a pedophile party. It was an anti-pedophile party.
The party in question was themed after the hit TV show, To Catch a Predator, which featured Chris Hansen. On the program, Hansen and members of law enforcement used chat rooms to arrange meetings with pedophiles who were led to believe that they were meeting up with children. It was redneck entertainment in the same sense as Cops and America’s Most Wanted, except easier to admit to watching. And it’s fun to watch again and again, even if the premise doesn’t change much from entrapping creepy, debased men who thought that they were getting this:
But instead got this:
A party based on that? Still sounds like a count-me-out kinda dealie, but I can see how someone might find that amusing. And it’s certainly far less outrageous than what people have been imagining against James Gunn since those party pictures came out. And it so happens that their imaginations hard-railed to the most negative possible implications that there could have been, like an op amp with a vicious slew rate.
In today’s connected world, a lie can travel around the world many times in the time it takes for the truth to get its shoes on. That being the case, let’s be at least a little careful with the facts. If you react without considering the information available, you’ll likely end up being a part of the problem.
While we’re at it, can we all just stop randomly accusing people of being the worst thing we can possibly imagine? A person isn’t a horrible criminal just because you think they’re kind of weird. The real problem is that you’re a peevish misanthrope.
It’s pedophiles today, but back in the nineties, if someone wanted to make someone else seem like a horrible criminal, they’d call them a psychopathic mass-murderer. We all know how reasonable it is to expect to find a serial killer walking down the street, instead of in a jail cell, right? And in the eighties, it was satanists. Yes, satanists.
It’s amazing how many people there are that know how to read, write, speak, and listen, but they find it hard to think.