Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Feminist Twitter Mob Scalps Joss Whedon

I keep looking at ways to pull the word "feminist" from the lede, and finding none, I helplessly giggle at the news that Joss Whedon has quit Twitter following a lynch mob out to tan him "for using Scarlett Johansson's international spy Black Widow in a typical 'damsel in distress' role in a few key scenes late in Age of Ultron." The nature of the pitchfork-wielders went unmentioned by the likes of The Mary Sue, a near inevitability, but it's surprising that we have yet to get reaction from Jezebel and some of the other watering holes of the feminist left. Jon Gabriel at Ricochet put up a post with links to a number of Whedon tweets in amber before his exit, though it missed my personal favorite, one I cannot now access thanks to his account's being down, a glowing, 140-characters review of Laurie Penny's latest book, Unspeakable Things: Sex, Lies and Revolution:
"THIS. Funny, angry, clear & true. @PennyRed takes no prisoners - she'd rather free 'em. #weaponizeourshamelessness http://t.co/VLb9u3RDV7"
I find Whedon's assessment questionable to say the least (without that I haven't read it), given her prior work, which is largely hostile to the audiences and authors of those genres. If, as Whedon previously claimed, Anita Sarkeesian "is just truth telling", she also engages upon a political struggle whose long game is the social (if not legal) power to micromanage others' work. As Cathy Young wrote about a different matter, the retracted cover of Batgirl,
The worst message to send creators is that if your female character doesn’t get a Good Feminist seal of approval — if she shows too much weakness or too much sexuality, if she has too many stereotypical female qualities or too many “male” ones, if she suffers a failure or a harrowing ordeal, if she is shown in an overly disturbing situation — your work may be attacked as anti-woman. That’s a prescription for bland characters and dull stories.
You can't be orthodox for everyone, and eventually, something like this had to happen. Whedon proved that airing the right sentiments on Twitter is not proof against attack; surely, he cannot be the last victim, but he might be the biggest scalp collected to date, and for a long while.

Update: I forgot to mention this: Scalzi is certainly on my short list of SJW hacks for his arrogant, condescending whining about white male privilege, which is really a sort of intellectual prejudice pretending to be wisdom. Like a lot of the motte-and-bailey frauds, it says something uncontroversial (some people have it easier in life because of birth) while later asserting something both insulting and controversial (subsequent successes are largely a function of birth). It can't happen soon enough.

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