critical thinking

james gunn fired from disney for ten year old tweets

The article on Nerdist.com: James Gunn Fired From Guardians 3 Over Controversial Tweets

I’m with James Gunn on this one. I’ve made insensitive jokes and I’ve made angry blog posts and I’ve said all sorts of regretful things online (where nothing ever truly goes away). Like him, I think I’ve come a long way since then. Like him, I may one day be called to task for them anyway. This is the world now. Is it worth it? Near-infinite accountability for the evil and mostly-good alike? When some thoughtless (or misguided) comments may one day ruin a lifetime of good work? I don’t know. I cheer when “we” throw down a tyrant and I cringe when “we” tear down a good person who showed poor judgment.

The problem, you see, is that accountability does not apply to the mob. The mob can do anything it wants to whomever it wants, and no one can do anything about it. It strikes without warning at the least likely of people just as often as at the tyrants. No one can predict what perceived transgression will draw the merciless wrath of the hordes.

All we can do then is try to stay ahead of it. To confess our sins before we are dragged down.

So I should go through all my old blog posts for anything that, taken in a particular context, might make me seem like a bad person. And then I should hold it up for public scrutiny and declare that I have since mended my ways. I should proactively beg for forgiveness. All just in case someone somewhere down the line wants to hurt me.

Well yes. That’s what you have to do now, apparently. Because the mob will gleefully eat you alive if you give it half a chance. Us normal people, anyway. It’s different if powerful people depend on you in order to keep their power, right trump? Then you can do and say anything you want; laws, morality, and the almighty mob be damned. Or so it seems to us normal people.

Maybe that’s why we’re so eager to destroy each others’ lives in our righteous fury: because we’re feeling helpless against those that most clearly need to be taken down.

We should quit doing their work for them. We should refuse to be distracted. Or at least – at least – we should get better at asking questions.

Like, was James Gunn so irredeemable in his words that ten years after the fact he deserves to lose his job?

I don’t know. I don’t know what his words were. I don’t know the context. I don’t know him personally. Maybe he secretly feels pedophilia is just fine. Or maybe it’s so horrific to him that he tries to keep it at arms length with ill-advised humor. It doesn’t seem to matter to the mob. It should. I think there is a difference between insensitive and cruel. Bad jokes vs promoting evil. Context matters, and we are far too quick to ignore it in social media.

I know that ten years ago it was more socially acceptable to be a little provocative. If we let ourselves off the hook because we are maturing, how can we do any less for him over the exact same span of time?

How did we get here? Are we changing for the better?

Or are we just being divided? Played? Managed? Surely it’s not normal that we should turn on someone so fiercely, especially when they are already on the record as saying they regret their actions? Especially when there are so many more worthy targets right now?

I’m sorry this happened to you, Mr Gunn. I think you handled it well. I hope that, if it one day happens to me, there will be someone out there who feels for me like I do for you. That it is a sad day when we are so blindly bloodthirsty that a corporation will cheerfully sacrifice the lamb to us in hopes we won’t notice the flock behind them. That Disney gets to continue doing business after “Song of the South” but James has to pack up his desk and go home.

I hope we get better at asking questions.

thanks given

I’m thankful for so much, but the last couple weeks have reminded me just how fortunate I am. I am not in Yemen. I am not in Syria. I’ve never had a gun pointed at me. For the accidents of chance that made me Canadian and all the other heaps of advantages that have made my life, compared to so many, so easy. For my family. For my true friends and new friends. For my work. For the things that went right and the things that gave me the opportunity to learn.

May I, through my own journey of learning, help others to learn as well. May I leave this world just slightly better off than it was when I arrived. And may the day of that departure be a long, long way off.

Peace.