And so ends Nerds vs. Sexism Part 57, With a Twist.
In a statement posted to his facebook page as response to outreach from GLAAD, Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn apologized for his almost two year-old blogpost entitled The Top 50 Superheroes You'd Most Like to Have Sex With like so:
A couple of years ago I wrote a blog that was meant to be satirical and funny. In rereading it over the past day I don't think it's funny. The attempted humor in the blog does not represent my actual feelings. However, I can see where statements were poorly worded and offensive to many. I'm sorry and regret making them at all.
This will probably be the end of this 24 hours of nerdly uproar. The petition calling for his removal will likely stall out at half the necessary 10,000 "signatures" needed to be submitted directly to Marvel's I Don't Give a Fuck About Internet Petitions folder.
So let's hit the scoreboard!
Will the vitriol be as vitriolic, or will people ease off the gas pedal?
They eased off the gas pedal, with articles from sites like HitFix and Badass Digest making the case that while the article in question wasn't very funny, it's hard to argue that it wasn't meant to be funny, and was in no way a straight-faced, clear look into the everyday mindset of James Gunn.
Will Gunn publicly apologize, point out that he was just trying to be funny, attempt to prove he's not really homophobic; or will he shut up and just wait for everything to blow over?
He did both. He stayed quiet for 24 hours, and when he saw the answer to the below question, he stepped out into public view and made sure to let everyone know he thought his jokes sucked just like they did, and he's really not homophobic, and he's sorry.
Will some geeks be willing to go easier on Gunn because of his connections and his filmography? Will they attempt to provide context that could somehow mitigate this post?
That's exactly what happened, and in the case of Devin Faraci's Badass Digest piece linked above, he acknowledges that, for some, it could look like good old boys circling the wagon around one of their friends. But the context provided (his filmography, his twitter/facebook) does help prove that this two year-old post about fucking imaginary people in spandex was intended to be taken as a joke piece.
It's that last point that keeps gnawing at me though: When the half of the internet that's sticking up for you keeps misusing the word "satire" to defend your post, I understand why you'd run with that. It's viable at that point. But it feels like 75% of the people involved with this debate don't actually understand how satire works. Hell, maybe Gunn doesn't either, although I'd previously given him credit for that much.
But there's no satire in that piece. It's just basic lowbrow comedy, amplified and sent over the top for comedic effect. It's not a comment on how stupid comic book fans are for thinking/acting that way, nor is it a condemnation or a rebuke of people who have those conversations. It's just indulging base comedy instincts and swinging for the cheap seats. He's indulged that level of comedy before, he'll likely do it again - although way more carefully, I'm sure.
Amazingly, the thing that will likely annoy me most about this whole brouhaha is the widespread acceptance, on behalf of a lot of people who should know better, that Gunn's piece is what satire looks like. I don't like the idea that you can go on a tear of really shitty, stupid jokes, and if people get mad, you can tell people it was just misfired satire and that they either a) didn't get it, or b) you're sorry you didn't do it right, and everything is forgiven.
Anyway, James Gunn is sorry, the internet has deemed this a non-issue, and we can all get back to waiting for someone to release a trailer for something.