The bullying of Joss Whedon

Warning: This post contains personal opinions.

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Joss Whedon, writer and director of Avengers: Age of Ultron, has closed his previously active Twitter account. Critics of Ultron have been extremely aggressive toward him, for “ruining” their franchise or for being “sexist” and “misogynistic.” One supporter actually compiled some (a very small portion) of the vitriol directed toward Whedon into a collage.

Seriously?

First of all, I have been a fan of the Avengers, in comic book form, for about thirty years. Yes, longer than most of the movie’s audience (and probably all of these critics) have been alive. Not only did I not see anything wrong with the movie—or Joss’s portrayal of it—I liked this movie better than the first Avengers film.

Misogynistic, though?

This is the same guy whose entire career rests on the 15-year history of Buffy the Vampire Slayer—a movie and tv series that had the girl save the world at every turn. Listen to Joss’s commentary about his ideas for Buffy in the following clip:

This is the same guy who was given an award by Equality Now, an organization that “works for the protection and promotion of the human rights of women and girls around the world.”

So one scene where Black Widow was captured and had to be rescued, and all of a sudden he is a misogynist? What about the other scenes in this movie where Widow rescued other people? What about the first Avengers movie, where Hawkeye was the one who needed saving?

What am I missing?

Here’s something that I didn’t miss:

“Nerd culture” has somehow become a buzzword for cool. All of a trendy hipster types are putting on fake non-prescription glasses and going to see the Avengers and Captain America. That’s fine and good. After most of my childhood was spent being bullied by the “cool” kids, because I wore glasses and read comic books and liked Star Wars, I am glad that my daughter will (hopefully) not have to suffer the same fate.

Unfortunately, bullying hasn’t stopped. It needs to, though. It’s not cool.

I am not sure where this ruthless aggression comes from. If the hatred is coming from those who were picked on as kids (or even adults), then they really need to take a hard look in the mirror and remember how they felt. The word is empathy. Have some. Here’s another word: maturity.

If you have a legitimate complaint or disagreement with someone, try constructive discourse. It is one of the foundations of an educated society. It has solved far more problems than any other method.

Bullying people—whether celebrities or everybody else—accomplishes nothing productive.

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