Joss Whedon quits Twi**er under a firestorm of uncontrolled rage about his new movie

Trigger warning: Internet drama.

I don’t know much about Joss Whedon, but apparently a lot of readers do. As his Wikipedia bio notes, he’s a movie polymath:

[Whedon is] an American screenwriter, film and television director, film and television producer, comic book author, composer and actor. He is the founder of Mutant Enemy Productions and co-founder of Bellwether Pictures, and is best known as the creator of the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997–2003), Angel (1999–2004), Firefly (2002), Dollhouse (2009–10) and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013–present). Whedon co-wrote Toy Story (1995), wrote and directed Serenity (2005), co-wrote and directed Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog (2008), co-wrote and produced The Cabin in the Woods(2012), and wrote and directed The Avengers (2012) and its sequel Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015).

And, by several accounts, he’s just quit Twi**er over a bunch of abuse he’s gotten for his latest movie: “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” As Time magazine reports, the firestorm is apparently over the depiction of characters in the movie and some of their language, although the magazine is short on specifics:

Whedon’s departure did create a wave of speculation on Twitter that he closed his account because of “death threats.” A search of tweets directed at him over the past week definitely turned up some deep ugliness, with some of the abusive users urging him to “die” or “commit suicide” over plot points they didn’t like in Age of Ultron. Although these comments are clearly disturbing, there was no unifying complaint or groundswell of attack beyond just the random (but all-too-typical) viciousness of anonymous social media trolls.

The most abusive bullying came from viewers who objected to Black Widow’s tentative relationship with The Hulk’s Bruce Banner and another scene in which she was briefly captured by Ultron. There was also anger about how he depicted Quicksilver and a number of other plot points that “fans” of this comic book title apparently felt justified harassment. Filtered out and pasted together, as some on Twitter have done, it looks like significant vitriol – but compared to the immense volume of conversation about this film on the social media platform, it’s really background static.

A post by Brother Russell Blackford at his Metamagician and the Hellfire Club site links to some of the abuse, in which Whedon was called, among other things, a “racist, ableist, transphobic misogynist,” with some people (mostly anonymous, of course) saying they’d like to punch him in the face or put a foot up his ass. Have a look at some of those tw**ts: it’s unbelievable. Apparently the “misogyny” trope (the term for someone who hates women) was very common.

Yet if anybody’s an unlikely target for this kind of invective, it’s Whedon. As one reader wrote me (a woman, by the way): “Whedon has a name for creating writing strong female roles. If anyone has been a active advocate for women, it would be him. He is most famous for writing Buffy the Vampire Slayer which was a long-running TV series, and as silly as the premise was, it was much loved by kids everywhere and even gained the approval of academic feminists. . . Joss has always been fucking awesome. He is the exact opposite of a misogynist.”

But let’s back up. What, exactly, motivated the invective heaped on Whedon? I asked Russell for his analysis, for I know he knows a lot about comic-book culture; and I also did some digging on the Internet. Here’s what Russell wrote me:

I do have some insight into the background, having seen the movie and knowing a bit about the Marvel Comics stories that it draws on. There seem to be four things that have led to the attacks:

  1. The movie is as violent (in a stylised way, etc.) as you’d expect of a superhero movie. There’s a scene, as I mention in my review, where it makes some fun of male competitiveness, etc., but as you’d expect a lot of it consists of battle scenes. [Jonathan] McIntosh has been banging on about this on Twitter: “toxic masculinity” and so on.
  1. The main female superheroine is the Black Widow, played by Scarlett Johansson. In her backstory, she was a Russian spy, trained to be a perfect/near-superhuman assassin before she turned good, etc., etc. Some people seem to object to the revelation that she was trained and brainwashed from childhood, which I suppose might arguably deny her agency and responsibility or something. Second, she is captured at one stage by the villain – the malevolent artificial intelligence, Ultron – creating a “damsel in distress” situation. Third, it’s revealed that she was forcibly sterilised as part of the process of brainwashing/training her. In a scene with Bruce Banner (the Hulk), with whom there’s a romantic sub-plot, she reveals this, and she comments that both of them are monsters. This has been taken to indicate that Whedon thinks that women who can’t bear children are monsters. In context, that’s not what she’s saying at all. She’s reassuring him, in response to his fear that any children he had would be freaks, that she can’t have children anyway. She also tells him that both of them are, in their ways, monstrous.
  1. At one stage Tony Stark/Iron Man – who is always a bit of an ass – apparently jokes (I missed this entirely) that if he were in charge he’d institute the right of prima noctis. This is apparently viewed as a rape joke.
  1. Whedon is supposed to be a racist for presenting two characters – Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch – as Eastern European but not of any other particular ethnicity beyond the fictional Balkan country they are from. In the comics, they were long supposed to be the children of Magneto (who is Jewish) and his Roma wife, and they were brought up as Roma. Eliding this supposedly makes Whedon/Marvel Studios racist. I liked the connection with Magneto myself, and I regret that Marvel has now altered it in the comics as well, but much of what is going on here relates to intellectual property rights. The movie rights to Magneto are held by FOX, not by Marvel Studios. The IP thing with these companies/properties is a mess.

Some of these points about the movie could be worth civil, subtle discussion by aficionados, but nothing in them could possibly excuse the way Whedon has been abused.

Even the feminist website Feministing can’t bring itself to fully damn Whedon for the joke discussed in point 3, noting that it might have been used to poke fun at Tony rather than express the sentiments of the moviemaker. (As Russell said, “Tony is a bit of an ass.”) Given Whedon’s history, I suspect that the first explanation is more likely. As for Whedon being “transphobic,” I haven’t seen any substantive reason for that accusation.

Finally, Russell’s post calls out those who became vicious toward Whedon. I don’t use the word “haters” lightly, but there is a subset of people on the internet who are always poised to take offense at anything; they are the internet equivalent of those Muslims who fly into a rage when somebody draws Muhammad. And their hatred just compounds itself as individuals work each other up into a mutual frenzy, creating a torrent of abuse of the kind that Whedon and many others have endured. This, of course, holds not just for Whedon, but for anyone who’s been subject to “internet shaming.” Here’s an excerpt from Blackford’s post:

Whatever Whedon’s personal faults may be, and whatever legitimate critiques of Avengers: Age of Ultron may be available from a range of viewpoints, many of the responses on Twitter are unfair, unprovoked, vile, cowardly, and morally despicable, and I utterly, unequivocally denounce and condemn them. This won’t prevent me, in the future, from making whatever criticisms of the movie I might think fair and fitting; however, I will always try to show appropriate generosity and charity toward Whedon, as I always do when discussing movies, books, and other such cultural products (and their creators). That attitude is obviously not the case for the people who have attacked Whedon with the poorly evidenced and patently ridiculous claims that he is a racist, a misogynist, etc., etc.

Those terms have not entirely lost their hurtfulness for those of us who support basic ideas of social justice, although they are starting to leak away their meaning as – increasingly – they are applied to decent, gentle, thoughtful people with solid liberal and feminist credentials. They are used as a weapon against precisely those sorts of people because they are the people who can be most hurt by them. It’s a case of using words as weapons – of using them to wound – rather than using them accurately.

It’s long past time to push back against this.

Taking the point a bit wider… I am very unhappy with the sort of personal nastiness – even against individuals who should be acknowledged, respected, and assisted as cultural and political allies – that has become so prevalent on the internet over the past few years. Again and again, reasonable charity and basic decency are not even factors. Accusations are made in the hope of inflicting psychological wounds and social harm.

Very many people have disappointed me in recent years with their abdication from the realm of rational debate and discussion – preferring the tactics of smearing, abuse, and psychological destruction. The result is a toxic environment for everyone. People trying to oppose it are often poorly organised and confused about what they are trying to achieve, and some of them are prone to counterproductive actions. In certain cases that I won’t specify, I am unhappy with the approaches they have taken. Some appear to have unpleasant ideologies and agendas of their own – but who can be sure these days?

I don’t sanction that kind of language used towards anybody, much less Whedon, and it’s even less justifiable when the people who use it hide behind pseudonyms. As for threats of physical harm, they’re reprehensible, even though most are clearly wish-thinking. But these people are cowards, pure and simple. If you want to accuse someone of dastardly ideological crimes, have the guts to at least use your name! (By the way, I’m pretty sure that none of the readers here engage in this behavior; I’m just discussing a trend that saddens me.)

I try to avoid this kind of abuse on my site, either from me or the readers, and I hope I’ve largely succeeded, though there are  times when I can’t hold back some invective—particularly concerning the hyper-religious or creationists. But this kind of manufactured outrage has gone on long enough, and its connection with slurs, invective, and obscenities is disgusting.

So let me make just one point. The issues in the movie can be subject to debate. They are not something to ostracize somebody over, or to prompt calls for putting a foot up somone’s ass, particularly when the fundament belongs to someone with a history of pro-feminist views. This also goes for those feminists who have been attacked, sometimes by truly misogynistic men and sometimes by other feminists who are ideologically opposed to their brand of feminism. Nothing is gained by such mud-slinging, or calling people things like “douchebags”. That’s not any way to change people’s minds, nor to have a debate that third parties can take an intellectual interest in.

This is the reason, of course, that I use Twi**er only to publicize my website posts. It may be good for learning about articles, but it’s certainly not useful for discussing substantive issues. Too often it serves to inflame rather than enlighten.

Oh, and one further point. Although harassment is not debate, it also works the other way around. Serious criticism should not be taken as harassment.


  1. Joseph Stans
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    The Bain of the modern age is every brain damaged nit with access to a keyboard feels they carry the same weight of thought and value as someone with a functioning cortex.

    Including yours truly. This generates an enormous amount of garbage that either gets dumped or pawed through by the dyspeptic 27 year old living in his mothers basement. This group invariably generates even more garbage. Alas.

    • eric
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

      The bane is not that everyone feels entitled to voice an opinion. Twitter is made for that. The bane is that so many use that opportunity to say vicious unwarranted things that they would never consider saying in a face to face conversation. Perhaps we need someone to come up with an “internet to English” translator. So, for example, “I hate you and hope someone shoots your for your misogynistic rape-culture-based demolition of these characters” would be translated into “I disagree with how you portrayed Black Widow and Iron Man.”

      I never read comic books as a kid so can’t really comment on whatever plot decisions there were to change from books to movie. With one exception: as an avid reader, I say get over it. Imperfect translation is the price you pay for seeing a book realized on a screen. It always happens. Always. That goes for all genres, not just superhero stories.

      I went in to the movie with low expectations and was reasonably happy with it. I certainly didn’t think either the reference to prima noctis or sterilization were attacks on women. Rather I agree with Mr. Blackford: the first was having a character who is an ass tell an off-color joke (fairly consistent with him being an ass), and the second was one character trying to empathize with another by sharing some point of commonality.

      • Posted May 5, 2015 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

        The critics focus on their pet issues to the exclusion of reality. I can see how someone who was brainwashed to be an assassin from an early age might consider themselves a “monster”.

        • Posted May 5, 2015 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

          Yes, she considers herself a monster because of the entirety of what she was made to be.

          And she was forcibly sterilised, so that no maternal feelings would distract her from her role as an assassin. Surely SJWs should be outraged by such a procedure!


          PS. For the “light-hearted” take on Nat’s situation, see _Barely Lethal_.

          • tubby
            Posted May 5, 2015 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

            Were I a comic book villain producing human weapons the last thing I’d want was to have them breeding so I’d sterilize the lot of them. As a bonus it would add to my villain cred.

    • lancelotgobbo
      Posted May 6, 2015 at 4:40 am | Permalink

      It does seem that when you give someone with a huge sense of entitlement and a conviction of their righteousness (both facets of the SJW mental poison), both a computer and a twitter account, it would be best to give them a mature and thoughtful brain as well. In this we have all failed.

  2. colnago80
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    Cabin in the Woods? I made the mistake of downloading this turkey. The movie was practically invisible as the lighting was bad. Maybe that was a feature, not a bug.

    • muffy
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

      I liked it!!!

      But you have offended me! How dare you!

      *punch in the face*


      • colnago80
        Posted May 5, 2015 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

        My main complaint was that I couldn’t see anything for much of the flic. Maybe I got a bad print. There are some HD versions available so maybe I’ll give it another try.

        • Diane G.
          Posted May 5, 2015 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

          Did you turn off all your ambient lighting?

          • colnago80
            Posted May 6, 2015 at 7:10 am | Permalink

            I’ll try that with the HD version which I downloaded yesterday.

    • Jeff Rankin
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

      Huh, I’ve heard good things about it. Although I must admit I’m not a fan of Whedon’s work (sorry, internet).

      • colnago80
        Posted May 5, 2015 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

        Well, it got a 7.0 rating on IMDB which I consider not bad but nothing to write home about and an 91%/73% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Apparently the critics liked it better then the Hoi polloi.

        • Gregory Kusnick
          Posted May 5, 2015 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

          If you’re expecting a mindless dead-teenager movie you may be disappointed. Cabin in the Woods is a smart, funny, subversive satire of dead-teenager movies that actually asks its audience to think.

          • Posted May 5, 2015 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

            Asking the audience to think? How ableist!

          • colnago80
            Posted May 5, 2015 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

            Well, I’m downloading an HD print of the flic, which probably won[‘t finish until early tomorrow morning (it’s over 9 GB).

          • Michael Waterhouse
            Posted May 5, 2015 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

            That was what it was claimed to be. It may have had a couple of levels more than a straightforward slasher flick, but in the end it was exploiting flesh and gore the same as any other.

            • Gregory Kusnick
              Posted May 5, 2015 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

              Actually I’d argue that it did that at the beginning, to lure viewers into the theater. But by the end of the movie it had morphed into an ironic commentary on that trope.

              Gore fans got what they wanted, sure, but if they were paying attention they also got a lesson in how they’re being manipulated.

              • Michael Waterhouse
                Posted May 5, 2015 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

                Perhaps I could watch it again, without expectation.

    • eric
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

      I thought it was very much in the style of Buffy; nerds self-analyzing themselves in a fantastical situation. Lot of snark. If you like Whedon’s TV work you’ll probably think its okay and if you don’t like it, you won’t.

  3. Dave
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    Are these fulminating keyboard warriors aware that all the Marvel Avengers, Ultron et al. stuff is just, you know……make believe??? For Ceiling Cat’s sake, these superhero movies are just a couple of hours of escapist nonsense with cartoonish fights and lots of crashes and loud explosions.

    In a week where we’ve just narrowly missed another massacre of real people for the “crime” of drawing a cartoon, I have a hard time believing that anyone feels a trashy sci-fi movie is significant enough to justify so much rage.

    • Jeff Rankin
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

      The religious right and the illiberal left believe that there is a connection between how women are portrayed and treated in movies and video games and how they’re treated in the real world.

      I don’t believe they’ve produced any data that supports this connection, but in their world data doesn’t matter, only stories and overarching narrative.

      • muffy
        Posted May 5, 2015 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

        They care more about language than they do about, you know, actions in the real world. And they don’t take their hatred out on right wing arseholes, because the RWNJ’s don’t care what the SJW’s have to say.

        So, the SJW’s have only one segment of the population to vent at – other liberals who are not grovelling to the extent that is required.

      • Michael Waterhouse
        Posted May 5, 2015 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

        The data seems to indicate the opposite.
        It is this rigid clinging to overarching, ‘evidence free’ narrative that is corrupting our civilization.
        Whether it is religious, social or political, restricting dissent and debate against established dogma, and rushing to judgement so quickly and coarsely is undermining some of the great gains of liberalism (and feminism).

        • Simon
          Posted May 6, 2015 at 5:36 am | Permalink

          They can have Joss Whedon. He’s an “ally” of the gender fems,one of the pack of hounds they dupe into blindly smearing their opponents. Whedon has been quite happy to dish out the misogyny tag himself. Being an ally involves tightrope walking, though, because the manipulators are wont to dish out abuse to the people who’ve given them control. I can’t help the suspicion that a lot of the ally types are projecting their own sins onto other men, a bit like the rabidly homophobic preachers.

          As for the gains of feminism, there have been some adjustments in society for the better to account for the changes in living and working conditions, many of them arguably in the works independently of feminism. However the influential powers in the feminist movement have never been about equality, at least not for a long time. The vast majority of people in the developed world are fully behind equality of opportunity and the feminists hijack that sentiment.

    • frednotfaith2
      Posted May 9, 2015 at 6:53 am | Permalink

      I was a Marvel Comics collecter back in the ’70s & early ’80s and still have a love of comics despite that most of them are silly, escapist fantasy. And I’ve enjoyed Wheedon’s films for what they are. Just as I can’t understand the mindset of people who get worked up to homicidal rages over religions, neither can I fathom those who spew such hatred and bile over entertainment, particularly when it doesn’t take any sort of extreme stance on any particular issue. Hell, even if I read/see a book/moview or whatever else that espouses a point of view I vehemently disagree with, while I may regard the writer/artist loathesome, I wouldn’t want to commit violence against the person. I save that for the people who actually do commit unjustified acts of violence against others (and I only consider violence justified if its to protect oneself or another from unwarrented violence).

  4. nickswearsky
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    Sigh. These internet dramas are getting tedious.

  5. Posted May 5, 2015 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    When someone has a deep emotional attachment to a concept – even uses it to validate something about themselves – they will react to any questioning of it with emotion. There is no chance of having a rational discussion. It seems that this happens in entertainment as much as anywhere else. Sad indictment of the human condition. Whedon is a very sharp film maker. What I find kind of funny is that the Avengers is just a movie about a comic. I never, myself, saw the appeal of that genre. Clearly others do…

  6. muffy
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    I read those vile tw*ts this morning. The people making them sound 1) emotionally unstable 2) like 3 year old children

    And people who want to see “transphobia” will see it everywhere. I was accused of being “transphobic as fuck” for using the phrase “female bodied” to refer to those who could get pregnant. I was writing as an ally too, but apparently not a good enough ally, as I was told that I deserved the abuse.

    And I read a tw*t just the other day, by someone complaining that the term FGM is “cis-sexist”, ie, transphobic. So, to any liberal who uses that term, you are a terribad transmisogynist asshole and you deserve to DIAF etc etc.

    • eric
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

      I often think that if you ask one of these people “okay, how should I refer to it?” they won’t have an answer. Either because there is (for them) no acceptable term, or because the outrage is their goal and they don’t want a substantive conversation on whatever issue you were trying to reference.

      • muffy
        Posted May 5, 2015 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

        I was told to ‘do my research’ so that I could ‘learn which words were correct and which were not’. Of course, the problem with this is, someone else will just take issue with whatever conclusions I reached from doing independent research.

        This person also assumed that the world revolved around her and her needs. I mean, apparently, I can’t even talk about abortion without studying Trans 101 in depth, otherwise I am a despicable shitlord.

        It is no longer enough that you are an ally. You must do the right thing 100pct of the time, otherwise you deserve to die in a fire, painfully. This is what happened to Mr. Whedon.

        • Michael Waterhouse
          Posted May 5, 2015 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

          You “just don’t get it”, eh?

        • eric
          Posted May 5, 2015 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

          What a terrible non-response.
          You: I want to discuss an issue with you; what words should I use so that the conversation is acceptable to you.
          Them: you figure it out!

        • eric
          Posted May 5, 2015 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

          What a terrible non-response. That’s a person or group who (IMO) has no interest in having a substantive conversation. They’re tone trolls.

        • Sam
          Posted May 6, 2015 at 11:31 am | Permalink

          Excellent point – I recently let slip the word “retarded” while relaying a story from my 15-years- ago past. Two of the people I was telling the story to fell silent, one looking cautiously at the other, whose expression went from smiling expectation (it was a funny story) to shocked disappointment. I got a ‘that word is just so wrong’ lecture – but nothing beyond that it is ‘so wrong.’ As is often the norm, my positions are about 98% identical with this person on social issues, etc., but wow – I let ‘retarded’ slip out and suddenly I am the anti-Christ.
          One of the problems I see with some ‘liberals’ is this “you are either with me 100% on all issues or you are in league with Ted Cruz” mentality. I’m pretty sick of it, and it is totally self-defeating.

    • Posted May 5, 2015 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

      “And I read a tw*t just the other day, by someone complaining that the term FGM is “cis-sexist”, ie, transphobic.”

      That is stunning.

      Are they saying the subject is not female, not genitalia, or not mutilation?

      I’d suppose it was not mutilation; but who the eff ever said they were saying — anything whatsoever — about transgender surgery (which I assume is the supposed problem)?

      (There are females and males, folks, don’t be offended by that fact.)

      These folks really need to check their chips at the door and actually pay attention to what’s being said, not spend their time hunting for things that can be twisted into somehow being offensive.

      As I’ve said before about the Islamist crazies who are offended by cartoons — they are trying really hard to be offended here.

      • muffy
        Posted May 5, 2015 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

        The person making the complaint explained that biological sex is a social construct, so by saying that the reproductive parts that are associated with xx chromosomes are “female” erases trans women, who are “biological females with xy chromosomes and penises”.

        • Posted May 6, 2015 at 6:59 am | Permalink

          Hmmmm, then [to that person] define “biological” for us.

        • jeremyp
          Posted May 6, 2015 at 7:01 am | Permalink

          so by saying that the reproductive parts that are associated with xx chromosomes are “female” erases trans women, who are “biological females with xy chromosomes and penises”.

          I thought adding the adjective “biological” meant that you are focusing on the biology. A biological female doesn’t have XY chromosomes and a penis by definition any more than a mathematical circle doesn’t have vertices.

          Now, I’m confused.

          • muffy
            Posted May 6, 2015 at 7:11 am | Permalink

            Biogical sex is a social construct.

            ^That is the argument. So, by saying that female reproductive parts are female, you are erasing the sex of females with penises. Female/woman = if you believe you are, you are, and anyone who disagrees is a hate filled bigot. In fact, if you are *not* sexually attracted to a “chick with a dick” you can be accused of bigotry.

            In fact, it is bigotry to even assume that someone is male if they look like The Rock. The Rock could very well be a female/woman, and you are bigoted for assuming a sex/gender just because xie has big muscles, facial hair, and a penis.

            As a side note, an FTB writer once made the argument that HIV positive people were not obligated to inform their partners of their HIV status, and that expecting them to do so was dehumanizing. And that, as usual, anyone who disagrees is a hate filled bigot.

            • Posted May 6, 2015 at 7:45 am | Permalink

              Yeah, I figured there was some thoroughly Orwellian Postmodernism going on there.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted May 6, 2015 at 7:33 am | Permalink

            Oh, I absolutely have to link to this clip here:
            Monty Python as always say it all.

            • Posted May 8, 2015 at 7:53 am | Permalink


              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted May 8, 2015 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

                When someone calls splitter on this site, it always puts me in a better mood. 🙂

  7. Thanny
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    The attacks on Whedon are deeply ironic, for anyone familiar with GamerGate and Anita Sarkeesian.

    To put it as succinctly as possible, Whedon sided with the Social Justice Warriors, and now he’s being ruthlessly attacked by them.

    He forgot his own lesson delivered through River Tam:

    I can’t say for certain, but it seems to be the case that if you take the stance of an ally to these odious people, your punishment is that much the worse when you do something they don’t approve of. I hope Joss has learned his lesson, and stops pandering to these illiberal authoritarians.

    • Grania Spingies
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

      Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal, eh?

      • Thanny
        Posted May 5, 2015 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

        That quote could not be more apt to his situation.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted May 5, 2015 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

        Heh heh. The only thing I’m annoyed with Whedon about is killing Wash.

        • Alex Shuffell
          Posted May 6, 2015 at 9:39 am | Permalink

          If the show went for a few more seasons we could be annoyed with him for killing Inara too. I don’t know how far his bloodlust for Firefly characters can go.

    • Posted May 5, 2015 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

      I know I am going to be wrong but I hope this is the straw that breaks their backs. To those on the outside it just looks like attacking possibly your most high profile supporter. And exactly what person wants to join a group where they have to walk on egg shells before they are treated exactly the same as Rush Limbaugh for an infraction.

      • darrelle
        Posted May 6, 2015 at 8:05 am | Permalink

        I thought it was The Chad that was awesome?

    • Michael Waterhouse
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

      I didn’t see your comment before writing mine, but yes, that is what happened.

    • Mudskipper
      Posted May 6, 2015 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      Joss Whedon has come out and explained why he quit Twitter. He says he did NOT quit it because of abuse from the so-called SJWs. Moreover, he lauds Anita Sarkeesian for staying on Twitter after the abuse she has received. He also states that she was among the first to reach out to him after he quit twitter.

      See here:

      Here’s the thing that you folks who think he should have sided with gamergate in the first place and should have now “learned his lesson” miss: both sides have their extremists and bad actors. Both sides point to the extremists on the other side as representative of the other side and dismiss the extremists on their sides. That’s the nature of tribalism, which drives much of this internet drama.

  8. NewEnglandBob
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    This is about a comic book made into a movie??????

    Too funny!

    I also have burning news. I ate some prezels just now.

    • Posted May 5, 2015 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

      I hate pretzels — I’m offended!

      • Jeff Rankin
        Posted May 5, 2015 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

        Oh great, an anti-pretzelite. I’ll bet you think all the pretzels should be rounded up and sold in their own bags. Disgusting!

        #pretzelliberation #saltshaming #mustardonmine

  9. Harrison
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    The idea that if a character says something the author (or in this case director) must necessarily agree with it is something even young children can see through, and yet shamefully grown adults seem to not grasp that this is a false concept. Else they do understand this but want an excuse to complain and hound someone innocent for their own perverse pleasure.

    I’m not sure whether it’s more charitable to assume that they are well-meaning but foolish, or that they are intelligent but shamelessly manipulative.

    • eric
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

      That’s part of it. I think there’s another part to the criticism, which is that regardless of whether Whedon agrees with what his characters say, since they are heroes/role models he should not have them do bad behavior, else all the little watchers might think it’s okay to (example) make jokes about prima noctis, because hey, Tony Stark did it.

      This is the far-left ‘language police’ position that we should only put out in fiction, art, stories etc. positive images and words and no negative stereotypes etc. Never have a character call someone fat, or your reader will think calling people fat is acceptable behavior. Its an attempt at social engineering through media and message control. The far-right does exactly the same thing: they try and censor rap music, and take sex and bad language out of TV and movies. The difference between far left and right is simply what they consider “negative influences,” but both want “negative influenced” censored out of art and media. The liberals and moderates tend to reply: get over it. People don’t become killers because they hear some rap song talk about killing, and people don’t think less of women when they hear the fictional character Tony Stark reference a medieval rape practice.

  10. Jeff Rankin
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    This has been taken to indicate that Whedon thinks that women who can’t bear children are monsters.

    I was thinking “sigh, everything’s now subject to least charitable interpretation”, but it’s more like “most malicious interpretation”.

    It’s just meanness in the guise of sanctimony. Ugh, people like this.

  11. Grania Spingies
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    Some people just have no filter when they get on the internet, emboldened by the fact that they are not looking into the eyes of the people they attack.

    I can understand how easy it is to have an emotional investment in something, and to express disappointment and criticism if that things somehow fails to to meet one’s high expectations. But there is a realm of difference between that and trying to publicly punish and humiliate the person you deem as to blame for it.

    There’s no way that you win people’s minds over with that sort of tirade. As a certain Captain once noted: “Well, my time of not taking you seriously is coming to a middle.”

  12. nickswearsky
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    Have these folks ever seen Game of Thrones? I’m struggling to think of any film or television show that doesn’t have some element that will enrage them. If there is such a film or show, it must be terribly dull.

    • Posted May 5, 2015 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

      There is none. They hate the world. It’s supposed to exist for them and revolve about their desires. It doesn’t. That’s offensive.

      • nickswearsky
        Posted May 5, 2015 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

        It must suck to go through life perpetually disappointed, offended, and angry.

        • Ken Phelps
          Posted May 5, 2015 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

          But at least they have the joy of making everyone around them as miserable as they are. Well, not everyone. Some of us enjoy laughing in their faces and dismissively shooing them away.

  13. Alex Shuffell
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    Here is the scene in Age of Ultron where the Avengers try to lift Thor’s hammer because being able to lift it means they are worthy to rule Asgard, this is where Tony stark makes the jokes about reinstituting prima nocta and it’s in the theatrical cut of the movie. In a preview for this scene Tony makes a different joke at the same moment “I will be fair but firmly cruel.” This was edited out. Joss Whedon said that he’s going to release his directors cut for Blu-ray. I don’t know which joke was Joss’s.

    • Posted May 5, 2015 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

      Tony was a notorious womaniser. He relationship with Pepper Potts has tempered him, but there’s maybe a hint that they’re estranged, and he might be backsliding … (Who knows?)


      PS. There was a “damsel in distress” motif in the last Iron Man movie, but it was subverted when Pepper came to Tony’s rescue!

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted May 5, 2015 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

        I love Tony Stark. When he was fighting on that boat with all the suits flying around him and he is facing down his enemy, stretches out to receive his suit but it just crashes and falls to pieces and he just says, “whatever.” — so Josh Whedon. So hilarious.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted May 5, 2015 at 7:27 pm | Permalink


  14. Alex Shuffell
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    I’m a huge fan of Joss Whedon. I haven’t seen Doctor Horrible’s Sing Along [website] because musicals confuse me.

    He has given a few talks with Equality Now, speaking up for women’s rights. In the video link below he’s introduced by Meryl Streep and he talks about creating strong female characters, because he keeps doing it and it’s confusing some journalists who keep asking him why.

    Age of Ultron deserves a lot of criticism (not a bad film but it’s an expensive action film which are rarely great) but the criticisms against Joss for being misogynistic and racist do not make sense.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I was going to write that quote from Equality Now:

      So, why do you write these strong female characters?

      Because you’re still asking me that question.

      He wrote Buffy as a woman who is not only a leader but a leader who shares her power – at the end, she shares her power with all the unawakened slayers so all the evil has to fight all those slayers. Buffy was one of the strongest female characters going! And Joss was great on metaphor – high school was hell and when Buffy slept with her boyfriend, he literally because someone else!! Someone really bad!

      I loved Dr. Horrible. How great, he’s got a PhD in Horribleness and won’t believe it when you finally get to see who Bad Horse is.

      I even have the soundtrack and I’m not normally a musical fan but the lyrics were impressive – I especially like the duet between Dr. Horrible and Penny.

      I’ll leave you with the Bad Horse Lyrics:

      Bad Horse
      Bad Horse
      Bad Horse
      Bad Horse

      He rides across the nation
      The thoroughbred of sin
      He got the application
      You just sent in

      It needs evaluation
      So let the games begin
      A heinous crime, a show of force
      A murder would be nice, of course

      Bad Horse
      Bad Horse
      Bad Horse
      He’s bad

      The Evil League of Evil
      Is watching, so beware
      The grade that you receive
      Will be your last, we swear

      So make the Bad Horse gleeful
      Or he’ll make you his mare . . .

      Get saddled up
      There’s no recourse
      It’s Hi-Ho Silver
      Signed Bad Horse

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

      Well now you can! I really liked it. Its about a love triangle between a villain, a very dense super hero, and their mutual female love interest. You will recognize several of the actors.

  15. Henry Fitzgerald
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    Another weird thing about the misogyny charge is that this is the film in the series which Whedon builds up the female roles – certainly from the initial base he was given to work with. I can’t, without giving too much away, say all I’d like to here, but I can point out he’s made Scarlett Johansson’s character more prominent and solid.

    This may come out the wrong way, but the baseless hatred directed at Whedon makes much less sense to me than the same sort of thing directed at public intellectuals arguing for an unpopular proposition. If you’re publically stating a case for a position, then you’re tacitly inviting disagreement; you’re not inviting vitriol, but disagreement can turn into vitriol in understandable ways.

    It’s an entirely different matter turning the blowtorch on an artist who is offering up entertainment for the public’s pleasure. I don’t get it. We’ve all been tempted to yell at people we disagree with, but who is ever tempted to yell at someone who’s simply tried and (in their instance) failed entertain?

  16. Heather Hastie
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Personally I usually enjoy movies like this a lot, although I haven’t seen AOU yet. My 15yo nephew has seen it five times so far, and constantly is urging me to see it.

    When you read stuff like this, you can sympathize with those who think the world is getting too PC. It seems you can’t say anything without someone interpreting you in the worst possible light and condemning you out of hand.

    The level of comprehension here is a bit worrying too – there seems to be little understanding of nuance, context etc, or the way relationships work. When talking to someone you’re in a relationship with, romantic or otherwise, you don’t need to say certain things because that person knows them about you. Imagine if the Hulk/Widow conversation included words like, “this doesn’t mean we think women who can’t have children are monstrous, of course.”

    And really, if the most serious problem in your life is that a fantasy character has had their back story changed, well ….. #FirstWorldProblems.

    Last week I finally threw out my ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ pyjamas. I wish I’d kept them now.

    • Henry Fitzgerald
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

      I was wondering about the level of comprehension, too, and I think it has to do with a competitive insight game – the thing that is what’s really fuelling the mass delusion in Hans Anderson’s [i]The Emperor’s New Clothes[/i].

      It’s a case of nobody wanting to be the schmo, the guileless tool of patriarchy, who fails to notice or acknowledge the hidden sexism or racism or homophobia that someone else has seen.

      • Posted May 5, 2015 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

        Psst. Less-than and greater-than signs, not [ ] …


        • Henry Fitzgerald
          Posted May 5, 2015 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

          Yes, I know.

          Unfortunately, other sites go the other way, as does my finger memory.

    • Posted May 5, 2015 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

      The relationship between Nat (Black Widow) and Bruce (The Hulk) was very well developed, imho.


      It was a terrible moment when she betrayed him and their future relationship for the needs of the many.

      And Nat’s “damsel in distress” moment didn’t feel like one. It was inevitable that she was the Avenger that would have been captured by Ultron at that point in the narrative. And to get to that point she’d had to do her fair share of heroics.


    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

      I have a Buffy cup. 🙂 I think it says “I Heart Buffy” on it with a picture of Buffy.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted May 5, 2015 at 7:45 pm | Permalink


  17. nickswearsky
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    I was watching Whedon’s “The Avengers” on cable just the other night (it’s on all the time since the new film premiered this week). In one scene, Loki refers to Black Widow as a “mewling quim.” I thought, “Holy Mackerel!” I don’t recall any outrage over that. It was a nasty slur to be sure, and misogynist to boot. But, the slur was made by a character who was the nasty villain. He was also trying to be as nasty as possible to a woman, who it turns out was manipulating him to reveal his intentions. Still, the slur is worse than anything I’ve seen described for the new movie. Where was the outrage then?

    • Posted May 5, 2015 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

      The SJW types did not need to single to each other just how down with the cause they are because they had other low hanging fruit. Now going after Wheldon shows everyone just how deep in the movement they really are while others are just posers.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted May 5, 2015 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

        I think it might be a bit of what Henry Fitzgerald said above too – they all get on the bandwagon once someone starts it. They don’t want to be the one left out – they want to be able to say, “there was some bigotry and I spoke up about it.”

  18. Posted May 5, 2015 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    Joss Whedon is also a Shakespeare buff and made what he called a “home movie” of Much Ado About Nothing for which he also wrote the music. It was made at his own home with his actor friends in about two weeks, all whilst making a previous Avengers film. He said “it ruined his life totally” but I must be thankful since I really enjoyed this modern adaptation and as an extra he gives, in his own words “what is undoubtably the most scintillating commentary in time, space and the universe” I think I agree!

  19. SA Gould
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    Accusing Wheadon of misogyny is ridiculous. He has *always* been a strong feminist, and credits his mother and sisters for raising him that way. The Buffy series excelled in strong roles for women.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

      Agents of Shield have strong female characters as well — Melinda May anyone?

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted May 5, 2015 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

        Yeah – she’s about as strong as it gets!

      • Posted May 6, 2015 at 1:29 am | Permalink

        And Sky (who kind of occupies River’s niche in the ensemble). And …

        Anyway; no damsels in distress there.


  20. DTaylor
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    I have been a fan of Whedon’s ever since Buffy, and he is on a number of my favorites lists: all round decent human being; atheist; creative writer; talent discoverer; Shakespearean and more.
    The nasty comments hurled at Whedon are so far off the mark, they push my brain beyond cognitive dissonance into the realm of crazy. Just had to post this comment to shake it off. I am leaving out the descriptors that come to mind regarding these ignorant fools: the Internet’s cesspool already overfloweth.

    • SA Gould
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

      Agreed. Makes one wonder if they’re ever seen any of his work or read an interview.

  21. Posted May 5, 2015 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    I haven’t seen the latest Avenger flick yet, but I am a huge admirer of Whedon and the thought-provoking range of his work (I consider “Serenity” one of the best science fiction films of the last 20 years). Whedon strives to do justice to the characters, on their own terms, as a moment in the first Avengers movie illustrated: when told that the hammer-wielding character who just whisked the villainous Loki from his grasp was Thor, a god, Captain America grumped, God doesn’t dress like that. Whedon, an atheist, rightly has Cpt. America reacting based on the character’s background & religious beliefs. I suspect too many Tortucans with access to keyboards fail to appreciate much outside their narrow carrel, and hope Whedon will work through this bile-fest episode and jump back into the Twittersphere to fight another day.

  22. Posted May 5, 2015 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    Kudos to professor ceiling cat for maintaining this site as a beacon for civil and rational discourse. The harshest talk here is when us compatibilists are compared to creationists or theologians… It nearly gives me a case of the vapors.

    • gluonspring
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

      +1. The civility here is the main reason I’m here and not elsewhere. I had enough incivility in middle school to last me a lifetime.

  23. darrelle
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    I am looking forward to seeing this movie even more now.

    People will bite their nose off to spite their own faces. For positive portrayals of woman, minorities of many kinds, including skeptics, Joss Whedon is one of the best things that has happened so far in the realm of popular entertainment.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

      Yeah I planned to go see it but now I too want to see it more than ever!

  24. quiscalus
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    I’ve heard the complaints that Whedon doesn’t know what a strong woman is or is threatened by them or some such b.s. Guess being the deadliest female assassin, routinely kicking the bejeezus out of men much larger than she is, and holding her own in the Avengers isn’t “strong” enough for some people. Every damn time she’s on screen she’s kicking a$$, what more do you want?!

    as for the monsters quote, I took it to mean that hulk is a monster in a very real way (duh) and she’ a monster for the things she had done in her past, even though not really to blame, being brainwashed and all. The baby thing is just out in left field crazy sh!t.

    let’s face it, there are some people who just can’t live without pointing fingers and accusing others. It’s almost as if they start each morning with the chant:

    “What Do We Want? To be OFFENDED!”
    “When Do We Want it? NOW!”

  25. Daniel Engblom
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    I have a theory, which is mine, and here is my theory of twitter anger epidemics:
    The 140 character limit creates impressions of terse quips. Something about using fewer words seems psychologically more cold and severe (reasons for this could be for instance the impression that the interlocutor isn’t interested in talking anymore and seeing words as not worthy to use to their fullest in trying to communicate and reason, and what is left is silence, or as humans might interpret, something violent).
    I´ve learned that the more I ramble the more freedom I have in being blunt, putting straight unadulterated opinions concisely have from experience been taken as hostile gestures, whilst you can hide into meandering drivel some of the most sharp criticism you can imagine.

    (As an aside, this is how religions on occasion ‘hide’ atrocities into their holy texts, by preaching for chapters about how to build temples, roast sacrifices and twist the necks of pigeons, sprinkle inbetween the occasional tale of God massacring some tribe or another in as a trivial aside to the meat of the chapters.)

    Now, this theory, which is mine, is only a partial armchair speculation, I suspect the initial hostile environment certainly grew with the quirks of human psychology and how we handle, consciously, subconsciously, the stress of putting our thoughts into small chunks and understanding the tweets of others.
    But the strange overblown hate and venom is probably influenced by many other interesting factors.

    • Posted May 8, 2015 at 8:07 am | Permalink

      Noam Chomsky agrees with your theory.

  26. =(
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    A few comments (sorry about the length):

    1. I have to admit that the Prima Noctis reference flew right past me. But, now that these (absurdly vile and irresponsible) tweets have drawn my attention to it, I would say that the Prima Noctis joke was indeed a very strange and bad choice. If we remove the Latin terms and insert a simple explanation, we get:

    *If I manage to lift this hammer, I will use my new authority to change the law so that I cannot be punished for forcing myself on any woman of my choosing, as long as she has not had sex yet.*

    That’s not funny, that’s very, very creepy. Just imagine someone sitting next to you on the bus saying just that. Ew. Now imagine them having unlimited physical and political power. Eeewww.

    2. I also cringed when I heard the “I am a monster” line. I first thought that it was indeed irresponsible of the writers to suggest that the humanity of a woman depends on her ability to produce offspring.

    Then I remembered Whedon was such an outspoken supporter of women’s equality, autonomy, dignity (…) and I considered other interpretations. I wondered whether he’d tried to make the character more nuanced.

    For example: Black Widow is seriously (and justifiably) traumatised by her forced sterilisation, but her way of processing or reacting to the trauma is far from ideal. Black Widow is broken and we should pity her. She’s not a heroine and we shouldn’t admire her.

    But isn’t that the point the others are making (in a terrible, terrible way)? She was their only hope of a serious heroine, but, instead, they got the same old tropes: a hero does whatever he wants, a woman is there to fall in love; a hero needn’t consider his worth in terms of reproduction, a woman who can’t reproduce is the saddest part in the movie; a hero does the saving, a woman needs to be saved.

    Is there no way to break free from these stereotypes?

    Can you imagine the frustration (which does not justify threats of violence or murder) if the movie, made by an ally, had had exactly one prominent character that was a jew or black or gay (lesbian, trans person, muslim, …) and the writers managed to sneak in every single stereotype that they could think of? O.K., maybe not *every* last one.

    3. I believe the “I am a monster” line also explains the accusations of transphobia: think about it, and I am sure you’ll understand.


    • Michael Waterhouse
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

      Why is a ‘hero’ not as bound by that stereotype as any other.
      A hero doesn’t do what he? wants, a hero does what a hero’s gotta do.

      • =(
        Posted May 6, 2015 at 4:59 am | Permalink

        @Michael Waterhouse:

        Most movies, especially movies of this kind, are not much more than a loosely connected string of stereotypes (archetypes, cliche”s, … whatever you want to call them). I am not *fundamentally* opposed to the use of them in the media. The point I was trying to make, however, is different.

        Men have access to so many different roles in movies. Even if we restrict ourselves to the superhero genre, we see that they can and do have almost every role imaginable, as long as they contribute to society at the end of the day, possibly after having made some sacrifices. (They don’t even have to be 100% “good” to get their own movie.)

        Yes, of course the personalities and actions of these superheroes are caught in certain patterns. But, women in superhero moves are limited much, much more. I fear I will just be repeating myself, but:

        a. Superheroes can save the world ten times over and have a number of simultaneous girlfriends on the side, or just the one, or none at all. But what is a super heroine story without a male counterpart?

        I’m just saying this to illustrate that the roles, available to super heroines, are fairly restricted.

        b. Superheroes can save their peers and be saved by them. They can even save strangers. They can do it alone, or in a team. But why is it, that when that rare female character is inserted into the plot, it’s always the lady that needs to be saved – preferably by a romantic interest?

        I am merely pointing out that these tropes need not be the rule. Writes have no problems avoiding them as long as a Y chromosome is involved.

        I consider it lazy, unimaginative writing, and also an unfortunate propagation of not-so-good ideas about the role of women in society. Fortunately, we may be making some progress …


    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

      I have not seen the movie, and so I am not sure of the exact context of the ‘I am a monster’ line. It could mean that she considers herself unacceptable b/c she cannot bear children, or b/c she is basically a killing machine that is psychologically damaged from torture. But I think you are right to note that this feature in the movie contained a perpetuation of stereotypes that could have been done differently. It said, at the least, that what is really important for a woman is childbearing. There are, I expect plenty of other stereotypes in the movie used to put characters in a place that is easily understood by the most obtuse person in the theater. The Black Widow is sexy and voluptuous while she kills. Tony Stark is a crass but lovable playboy. Thor and Cpt. America are hunky men.

      In any case, we could hardly expect a huge special effects blockbuster movie based on comic book characters to be anything more than formulaic, with plot and depth of character development as nuanced as a bag of rocks.
      There are so many examples of stereotypes in female characters in superhero movies. Among the silliest, which made me gag, were the Spiderman movies where Mary Jane is repeatedly put into ridiculously dangerous situations. In these ‘tense’ moments she is always revealing of her figure with strategically torn clothing and maybe she is soaking wet, etc. And of course she is just an object of intense desire to be rescued by a character with a Y chromosome.

      • Posted May 6, 2015 at 2:22 am | Permalink

        “we could hardly expect a huge special effects blockbuster movie based on comic book characters to be anything more than formulaic, with plot and depth of character development as nuanced as a bag of rocks”

        Oh, I think we can.

        Perhaps you ought to see the movie.



        • Mark Sturtevant
          Posted May 6, 2015 at 9:13 am | Permalink

          I will! But I already expect it to be formulaic. Most every movie full ‘o ‘splosions and clobberin’ super heroes is pretty schlocky. But I think I will like it ’cause I like that sort of thing.

    • eric
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

      I would say that the Prima Noctis joke was indeed a very strange and bad choice.

      Which makes it in character for Tony Stark. He’s said sexist things through 3-4 movies. He says something inappropriate in movie 5. Quelle surprise!

      As for BW: she’s talking to a guy who is deathly afraid of having kids. She tells him she can’t have kids and gets emotional about it. That’s perfectly understandable. If she uses a somewhat inappropriate or self-debasing analogy, well…that’s a realistic conversation, because real humans don’t say the perfect thing at the perfect time all the time.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted May 6, 2015 at 6:34 am | Permalink

        And even if she did think she was a monster because she couldn’t have kids, it doesn’t mean Joss thinks that all women without children are monsters. Maybe it says something about the character or the world she lives in!

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted May 6, 2015 at 6:56 am | Permalink

          It is not uncommon for fans to equate the opinions or actions of a character with the opinions of the writer-director, even if those opinions are clearly ‘wrong’ in the context of the plot. Doesn’t say too much for their grasp of reality.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted May 6, 2015 at 9:32 am | Permalink

            Or worse, their ability to reason.

            • infiniteimprobabilit
              Posted May 7, 2015 at 1:43 am | Permalink


        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted May 13, 2015 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

          I just saw the movie and I really liked it. The monster theme runs through the whole movie with most of the characters questioning if they are monsters and Stark not questioning himself (he’s a narcissist; his brain doesn’t do self reflection) but he nevertheless creates them. So, everyone thinks they are a monster but really isn’t just as Romanov isn’t.

          The only thing I didn’t like in that sterilization speech was that she said being sterilized made her a better killer. Jesus, what a slam to working moms. 😀

          I’m totally not surprised that her flashback to her conditioning involved ballet. Ballet should be used to strip people of their self worth more often as it is the perfect weapon, at least it was to me.

          Also, Stark says he and Banner are mad scientists. I think scientists must feel unsafe now 😉

    • The Eh'theist
      Posted May 6, 2015 at 7:26 am | Permalink

      Touching specifically on number 2, I think that you and many of those accusing Whedon have misunderstood the dialogue.

      If we look at Banner’s concerns about having children, his lack of control and potential risk to them makes it obvious why he is a “monster” and shouldn’t parent. Yet much of the response to Nat’s “monster” comment has focused on her sterilisation.

      I think she means it in a much more holistic sense, fully recognizing that her training and conditioning removed her control and created behavioural triggers and emotional responses that would also be dangerous to children. While the sterilisation was a part of the effort to rework her responses, it was done in tandem with all of the psychological conditioning.

      So, I believe it is in that sense that she identifies with Banner as a “monster” and to a degree, sterilisation is what makes the relationship possible. It is this self-awareness and admission on her part that is as much the source of sorrow as the possibility of having children. All of the Marvel characters have to acknowledge their brokenness rather than just being “heroes” and some do it more easily than others.

      It is useful to note that this expanded understanding of point 2 would also remove much of the basis for point 3. It also raises two interesting points. (1) Given that many of the complainants (present company excluded) can so easily accept Banner as a “monster” while finding
      it more difficult to do so with Nat suggests some discrimination on the basis of appearance on their part and (2) the fact that they are able to reduce her so quickly to her reproductive organs in light of all the character development that has taken place likewise suggests a questionable view of women on their part. Perhaps less tweeting and more reflection is in order for them.

      • =(
        Posted May 6, 2015 at 2:10 pm | Permalink


        I think your explanation may be right (and not just charitable) in the sense that the writers may have wanted to have people interpret the scene the way you have just described it.

        I am not so sure, though, that they have succeeded very well. They also could have cleared up the (substantial) confusion by inserting a single sentence, or cutting the scene slightly differently to emphasise the “holistic” interpretation.

        Thanks for commenting

        • The Eh'theist
          Posted May 7, 2015 at 6:28 am | Permalink

          There definitely could have been a different cut of the scene. I’ve read that Whedon was required to cut roughly an hour from “his” version of the film to be an acceptable theatre length, so that might have played a role.

          It’s also been said that his 3hr+ version will be available when the film is released digitally, so that may address the concerns that have been noted. Here’s hoping.

  27. scottoest
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    Speaking as someone who has been a Joss Whedon fan for years – if Joss Whedon is a misogynist, then that word has truly lost all meaning.

    I get so tired of keyboard kommandos reaching for the most extreme labels possible, for what are utterly minor disagreements (or should be).

    In this case, it also appears some of these people misunderstood some of the scenes they were watching, as Blackford points out.

  28. Posted May 5, 2015 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    On the one hand: Often, anger and the expression of anger is a good thing. There are many ways in which marginalized groups are coerced into silence. Overcoming that silence is very important, and overcoming it through expression of justified anger can be empowering and liberating.

    On the other hand: The sense of righteousness that comes from anger can be highly addictive. When someone feels good about being angry, if they reward the pleasure centers of their brain each time they get angry, then they train themselves to get more angry, more often. Throw it in with social reinforcement from an internet silo of like-minded individuals, and you’ve got yourself all the conditions required for a *really* toxic hatred spiral.

    Stuff like this reaction to Whedon is a very clear example of toxic outrage.

  29. =(
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    I would like to add one more comment, if I may, because I believe many people here (and elsewhere) are confused and in conflict because of their (emotional) attachment to certain vague words and terminology.

    4. It is perfectly possible for J Whedon to be a wonderfully nice guy, sincerely devoted to women’s rights, actively campaigning for them, … and still do something stupid once or twice (because we don’t always think everything through).

    In this respect, I believe it makes more sense of thinking of “feminism” and the other “-isms” as an action: you can “be” 100% devoted to equality and “do” it right 99% of the time and still mess up now and then. That’s just how life is.

    Maybe we should look at the totality of intentions *and* actions, rather than one exception to the bulk of data.

    Thank you,


    • muffy
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

      Which doesn’t justify the abuse. The SJWs have set an impossible standard.

      • Michael Waterhouse
        Posted May 5, 2015 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

        Which I doubt they themselves could meet if they were actually doing anything except criticizing.

    • gluonspring
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

      you can “be” 100% devoted to equality and “do” it right 99% of the time and still mess up now and then. That’s just how life is.

      I’m trying to put my finger on what bothers me about this statement. I mean, thanks for lowering the bar to 99%. Whew! But I’d really kind of like the bar at, say, 51%. And a hat tip to the 30%’ers. Some people don’t try at all after all.

      Maybe I’m just skittish. I spent 25 years with a group of people who scrutinized your every word for signs of apostasy, your every action for sin. They, and God, would of course forgive you if you messed up. You’re a loathesome sinner and you’re going to mess up. It’s your fallen nature. But you sure better be seen to be trying your hardest to struggle against your inherently bad nature.

      Job, that great skeptic smuggled into the Bible, described the feeling well:

      “What is man, that you notice him, turn your glare upon him, examine him every morning, test him at every instant? Won’t you even give me time to swallow my spit? If I sinned, what have I done to you, Watcher of Men?”

      God, in the Bible is, as Paul Erdős called him, the Supreme Fascist. Having shed one Watcher of Men I’m a little skittish about embracing any others. Until quite recently, with the rise of this kind of internet hostility, I had found one of the best features of non-belief, and concomitant liberalism, to be freedom from this crushing burden of constant scrutiny. If liberalism merely means a different kind of unending scrutiny then count me out.

      • =(
        Posted May 6, 2015 at 5:12 am | Permalink


        I understand that you may have reasons not to like this approach, but I think I am merely being realistic, practical and constructive.

        Nobody can get it “right” all of the time. Although it is perfectly fine and commendable, in my view, to express disappointment and provide criticism in these circumstances, there’s really no point in excommunicating someone with good intentions for having “committed” the inevitable exception.

        I’d much rather have 100 united allies who make a handful of minor mistakes, than no allies at all. I’d much rather nudge my allies into a broader circle of understanding, than scare them all off with my ridiculous rage.

        I’m not saying rage is never acceptable, but I think that at least in this case, it makes things only worse.


  30. Taz
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    He is most famous for writing Buffy the Vampire Slayer which was a long-running TV series, and as silly as the premise was, it was much loved by kids everywhere and even gained the approval of academic feminists

    I object to this description. Buffy had, and still has, a legion of adult fans, myself included. And as intentionally “silly” as the premise was, the show itself was anything but.

  31. matthew
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    The idea that the director of a movie as large as Avengers has complete and total control over the production, down to each line of dialogue and should be held accountable for the implied politics of said dialogue, is laughable.

    • Posted May 6, 2015 at 1:31 am | Permalink

      Especially when we know, thanks to the Sony hack, how mysogynistic (well, anti female superheroes) Ike wossname at Marvel Studios is.


  32. Michael Waterhouse
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

    I was once a massive fan of Joss. Then he took a step too far into that realm of the SJW types, like said McIntosh.
    It must be extra awful to be eaten by your own, I hope he learns a lesson.

  33. Posted May 5, 2015 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    Age of Ultron was fun, but I wanted Quicksilver to alter the trajectory of bullets using merely a touch of his finger like in the Xmen flick, and I also found it hard to believe Ultron could only activate his device by pushing a button rather than wirelessly.

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

      It would been more realistic if it then booted up, only to require him to install an update complete with a requirement to Agree with the legaleeze Terms and Conditions. Then he had to select Restart.

      • Diane G.
        Posted May 5, 2015 at 11:48 pm | Permalink


    • eric
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

      The latter was explained: they intentionally targeted his wireless and networking capabilities early in the fight.

      Personally the thing that bugs me most is why he didn’t just send a few copies of himself and a mining/manufacturing unit into hiding way before the final battle. Send’em to Bora Bora. Or Mars. You’ve repulsor tech and loads of copies, why would you ever put all your eggs in one basket (I guess the in-story answer is “revenge-motivated megalomania,” but still…)

      • microraptor
        Posted May 5, 2015 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

        He’s a supervillain. He’s contractually obligated to leave a glaring hole in his plan that allows the heroes to beat him.

      • Posted May 6, 2015 at 2:40 am | Permalink

        Ah. Your memory’s clearer than mine.


    • Posted May 6, 2015 at 2:18 am | Permalink

      The vibranium dampens wireless.


      • Posted May 6, 2015 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

        How does Cap’s shield do so much damage when it strikes metal if it ABSORBS energy?

        • Posted May 6, 2015 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

          High angular momentum stresses the metal crystals in such a way that impacts dissipate the stored energy.


  34. Dionigi
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

    I am intrigued by the similarities shown between the cult followers of fiction, be it Star Trek, Starwars, Lord of the Rings, Comics and their ilk and the ideas expressed by religious fervour. They all seem to express similar tendencies over their beliefs in something which is non existant. I wonder if any research has been done linking these items together.

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

      I am sure there are many Masters theses that draw the parallels between these dramas and religious mythologies.

      • Posted May 6, 2015 at 11:48 am | Permalink

        In the case of LOTR, it was deliberate – although it is supposed to be a “nationalistic myth”, rather than a religious one. (Of course many of its contemoporary over-enthusiastic followers are not from the UK!)

  35. microraptor
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

    Quite honestly, since it sounds like the majority of these tw**ts appear to have been anonymous I have to wonder how many of them are actually from feminists/SJWs/whatever you want to call them, and how many are actually from the people who were mad at Joss when he spoke out against Gamergate. Online harassment campaigns are, after all, something that crowd loves to do.

    • =(
      Posted May 6, 2015 at 5:19 am | Permalink

      I had the same thoughts when I skimmed through those tweets.

      The choice of words alone already suggests that the ones who wrote them think that they can hurt the man most by telling him they consider him to be a nasty female (a bitch).

      Telling a man the worst he can be is a certain kind of woman, hardly seems compatible with feminism as I understand it … =(

  36. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    I was just thinking what would happen if a superhero movie was made with beloved comic book characters that put marginalized people and minorities out front as the heroes? What if Batman came out as gay? Or if Spiderman were black? I know that various things like this have been tried, but I am talking about a major special effects movie. This actually would be very meritorious and interesting. Everyone should be given the chance to feel like their group is heroic. Quite frankly I am more than ready to see it.

    But of course this sort of thing would raise quite a furor from a very vocal part of the fan base who do NOT want to see such changes. You think some sjw’s can be trolls? There are far worse.

    • microraptor
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

      Just look at what happened when Marvel announced Heimdall was going to be black prior to the release of the first Thor movie.

      • Mark Sturtevant
        Posted May 6, 2015 at 9:18 am | Permalink

        Exactly. And the current Spiderman is black since they killed off Peter Parker in the comic book series. That also got a reaction. I am not sure if the negatives were of a racist sort, or if it was just that the writers changed something. There are fan boys out there who are special snowflakes.

        • microraptor
          Posted May 6, 2015 at 10:40 am | Permalink

          Actually, that’s only the Ultimate universe where Spidey is black. In the normal Marvel universe, it’s still Peter.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted May 7, 2015 at 1:39 am | Permalink

          Yup, and there are Lord of the Rings fans who complain because Peter Jackson diverged in some minute detail from the books. (IMO he could have made a better movie series if he’d diverged a bit more – fewer characters and more focus. But then I’m a a-LOTR-ist).

          • microraptor
            Posted May 7, 2015 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

            After Return of the King came out, some of my friends complained a long time about the removal of the Scouring of the Shire. I asked them if they really wanted to sit through another hour’s worth of film. They grudgingly agreed that no, the movie was actually a bit too long.

  37. gluonspring
    Posted May 5, 2015 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

    A very odd worldview. It comes across to me like this:

    Let’s hate everyone into a more peaceful, equitable, and just society!

    And a lot of people, apparently, think that is going to work.

    • gluonspring
      Posted May 5, 2015 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

      P.S. Trigger warnings are my trigger. Thanks a lot! There goes another $1k in therapy.

    • Daniel Engblom
      Posted May 6, 2015 at 6:35 am | Permalink

      It started with the realization that you can psychologically manipulate people with feelings of shame to nudge them towards more moral behaviour, but shaming has clearly escalated to horrible new dimensions.
      Personally, I find psychological manipulation as a poor way for people with enlightenment principles to argue for a better world, the ends do not justify the means, and we need people to accept moral behaviour on solid reasonable grounds, leave the bad grounding to religions.

  38. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted May 6, 2015 at 3:43 am | Permalink

    It’s Internet fandom doing what Internet fandom does. Always did, always will.


  39. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted May 6, 2015 at 4:55 am | Permalink

    I don’t know Avengers (other than the British TV series which is completely different), or anything by Whedon other than Firefly/Serenity. However when Rob Tapert was making Hercules and Xena Warrior Princess not far from here I observed quite a bit of Internet TV fandom, and later for Farscape and the revival of Dr Who, and it seemed to me the more obsessive fans came from one of two categories. There were those who were influenced by an external agenda (for example feminism); and then there were those who became fanatically devoted to a particular character or even a relationship. And they would interpret every event or plot twist in the light of their agenda or their chosen character’s interests. For some of them, near-worship of the directors or writers could turn to seething dislike in a moment if their character was badly treated in their eyes.

    I think the intensity of feeling arises because of a combination of circumstances: Previously, with fiction, one could follow it but not influence it (though I do recall reading that Charles Dickens would get praise or flak depending on how his serial stories were going). But television is much more graphic than a book; and with the internet, one can interact with other fans and react almost instantly to the latest plot developments. One can even hope the writers are watching and might take notice of your wishes (I’m pretty sure that’s illusory though). So it’s probably the most emotionally absorbing experience one can have outside real life. But, unlike real life, there are no consequences to restrain you from getting involved – you can still keep your job, your normal life goes on unhindered.

    And, as always, those who disapprove are much more vocal than those who approve. And Tw**er, so I’ve heard, tends to amplify the bleeps.

    I’d say this is a factor in Joss Whedon’s unfortunate experience. It’s not just PC/feminism, it’s fandom as well.

  40. Mike
    Posted May 6, 2015 at 5:38 am | Permalink

    “Tony is a bit of an ass.”

    That may be so, but with so many Stark men dead before their time, we really should cut him some slack, otherwise the entire Stark line may end with him, assuming Bran’s crippling left him impotent. We still don’t know what happened to Rickon of course, so perhaps Tony is not the last hope of this once great family. But really, in his Iron Man suit, would the Boltens or Lannisters even stand a chance? The North needs Tony Stark!

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted May 6, 2015 at 9:30 am | Permalink

      Now I’m imagining Tony Stark driving up to the castle in Westeros in his Audi R8.

      • Mike
        Posted May 6, 2015 at 10:35 am | Permalink

        They say the Kingsroad is hell on low clearance vehicles though.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted May 6, 2015 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

          Yes, especially with all the poo.

  41. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted May 6, 2015 at 6:19 am | Permalink

    There’s a scene, as I mention in my review, where it makes some fun of male competitiveness,

    Now THAT never happened in the comic books. Not once. No never!
    Well, not more than once per number.
    OK, not often more than once per page.
    Though if it was subtle enough for me to “get” it when I was a fairly introverted and severely short-sighted 8 year old, then it’s simply not possible for other people to have missed it.

  42. Posted May 6, 2015 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    Sometimes, just sometimes, debate is harassment, just as sometimes, criticism is hate speech.

    I think that people who pose a real threat should be arrested, harassment in its legal criminal definition should be limited, but other than that I wouldn’t be in a hurry to prevent people from expressing their stupidity/genuine concern. Just because speech is harassment or hate speech does not automatically make it invalid even if the people behind it should be arrested for posing any genuine threat.

    separate question, why do you avoid spelling twitter?

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted May 6, 2015 at 9:33 am | Permalink

      It is a long inside joke. I think (& someone please correct me) that it started with a very real and very silly religious prohibition against spelling the name of God, so it is spelled g*d. Jerry expanded that to include other words which are problematical. Hence bl*g (because this is a web site, d*g (Jerry prefers cats), and Twi**er.

      • Posted May 6, 2015 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

        lol cool. I’ve only been subbed for a while

        • Diane G.
          Posted May 7, 2015 at 4:29 am | Permalink

          Yan, then you’ll probably want to read “Da Roolz”–see link on sidebar above.

          In addition to being, well, roolz, they’ll also give you some insight into some of the personal quirks of this website. 🙂

          Also, welcome!

  43. jeremyp
    Posted May 6, 2015 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    Given that the format rewards inane sound bites over thoughtful communication and anybody can tweet anything to anybody else without there being any kind of stupidity filter, I really don’t understand why people put any weight at all on what happens on Twitter. It’s like complaining that sewers are full of crap.

    Nobody who has any kind of public profile should have anything to do with Twitter if they’ve got any sense (except for promoting their work as JAC does). I bet Joss Whedon doesn’t publish his phone number and we can all guess why not. Why is there any expectation that it would be different with Twitter?

    Twitter is a terrible communications medium. It should have been strangled at birth.

  44. Posted May 6, 2015 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    This is where we are with feminism social media. The creator of Buffy the Vampire slayer (don’t let the trappings fool you, this is easily one of the ten best TV series of all time) is being trolled as a misogynist. Divergent, the Hunger Games or most any action/adventure TV or film property with a female heroine doesn’t get made w/o the trails that Whedon blazed on TV in the late ’90’s with Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

  45. Posted May 6, 2015 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    Well. Social Justice Warriors. You can dismiss everything they assert outright, because they are far more often wrong than right and typically jump on people who might as well (or are) their allies. Their postmodern intersectional identitarianism and criticL race theory and other such views are bollocks, and thus you can safely treat them like creationists and other loons.

    Of we course we have the same going in the atheist-skeptics “movement” as well, but they will eventually split off into their own corner where they can rule their pond. SJWs are now a permanent feature of the internet as trolls are, and we better get used to them. The only way to deal with them is solid critical thinking, light hearted ridicule and understanding that when people make severe, smeary accusation they do so in the same way as certain trolls write provocative comments.

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted May 6, 2015 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      My own view is that like all groups, SJWs come in a range of personalities. Some are hyper vigilant tone trolls that flame anyone that even acknowledges that a marginalized group is marginalized. But I prefer to think that not all are like that.

      • Posted May 6, 2015 at 10:10 am | Permalink

        There is no such thing as a reasonable social justice warrior (SJW). There are of course good people who are social justice advocates and activists, but a SJW is by definition someone who appears very outraged on behalf of some minority about things that are more or less conjured out of thin air. You can spot them by their pseudo-academese, metaconcept heavy language, “delegtimize lived experience”, the Patriarchy and so forth. They are hedgehogs whose big idea is that everything can be understood through identitarian categories where some groups are oppressors and some are oppressed and much more (too much for a comment). Notably, their antics are a theatre for their fellow SJWs to gain social standing, to appear social justicier than thou. The are also the heirs of the 1990s postmodernists. Just read FreethoughtBlogs or SkepChicks etc to get an idea.

        • muffy
          Posted May 6, 2015 at 10:29 am | Permalink

          One particularly odious individual described herself, proudly, as a social justice WARRIOR.

          They take an immense amount of pride in the warrior aspect. Who cares about actual social justice activism – outrage posting ftw

          I view them as the leftt’s mirror image of the angry anti choicers that I come across. It takes little effort to yell BABY KILLER, or KILL ALL MEN, with all the good feelies of knowing that you have done something righteous.

          I used to debate abortion online. It felt great to soundly trounce a misogynist asshole. But I never lied to myself. What I was doing was for entertainment. Showing off my “intellect” by defeating someone in debate. It was never anything more than that. I am nothing special, and I did nothing special. A lesson that SJWs need to learn.

        • Mark Sturtevant
          Posted May 6, 2015 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

          I am not going to agree, but hey you can have your opinion. I have encountered plenty of those who call themselves SJWs that are not at all bad. They explain their views politely, but they will speak out against the various inequalities that fly under the radar of most people.
          There are of course those who are pretty harsh, and those who are flaming cauldrons of nasty. I have encountered these as well on the sites you mentioned.

  46. Posted May 6, 2015 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    Looks like Joss Whedon is the latest victim of the superweapon

  47. First Approximation
    Posted May 6, 2015 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    Joss Whedon called the rumor that he left Twitter because of militant feminists “horseshit”.

    Whedon: “I saw a lot of people say, ‘Well, the social justice warriors destroyed one of their own!’ It’s like, Nope. That didn’t happen”.

    It seems Twitter just taking too much of his time and he wasn’t enjoying it anymore, with Whedon comparing it to an addiction. He also said he wanted to focus more on his creative process.

  48. First Approximation
    Posted May 6, 2015 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    Joss Whedon called the rumor that he left Twitter because of militant feminists “horseshit”.

    Whedon: “I saw a lot of people say, ‘Well, the social justice warriors destroyed one of their own!’ It’s like, Nope. That didn’t happen”.

    It seems Twitter just taking too much of his time and he wasn’t enjoying it anymore, with Whedon comparing it to an addiction. He also said he wanted to focus more on his creative process.

  49. paul collier
    Posted May 6, 2015 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

    All this vitriol and uproar over something as flaky and trivial as superhero movies!– which for my money are almost as dumb as creationism.

  50. Posted May 7, 2015 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    I’m fan of Whedon. And to his credit, if he made a film with an internet troll as a character, he’d give that character as much depth as the others, while leaving them free to be the jerks they truly are.

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