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Do you believe that Depiction equals Endorsement?

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  • The accusations about how Joss behaves outside of the public eye are significantly older than the Avengers. The majority of it is also focused on off-camera issues (which as I noted in the other thread, is part of the problem, how he treats women off-screen is at direct odds with the values he says he wants to guide his depictions of them on-screen).

    Charisma Carpenter, who worked on Buffy for four years,and then Angel for four more, had to finish her run on the show coma acting for most of her last season before getting written out of the show... because Joss was unhappy with Charisma getting pregnant. While Joss did deny that was the reason, almost no fans bought his statement; esp. since movies and TVs have been hiding pregnancies from audiences for decades through costuming, props, and angles, her character's departure was a (almost literal) deus ex machina, and left multiple plots unresolved despite Joss saying that her character's arcs were all sufficiently explored.

    Also, regarding his divorce, one of the biggest pieces of evidence of him being misogynistic was that he publicly touted the success of their marriage as being due to his feminist values teaching him how to properly respect his spouse, while he was cheating on her (and he has admitted that he cheated on her repeatedly). Even if that doesn't cross into full misogyny for anyone's reading of events, he's still an open liar and hypocrite specifically regarding his treatment of women.

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    • i feel like this threa,and my feelings about whedon are starting to be part of bigger problem. i'm 24 and yet i feel much,much older. the stereotype of an oler person who saw the word pass by and doesn't understand anything anymore. i remember being a teenager and opening up social media and understanding things,things made sense. now everything seems so skewed,sometimes even morally skewed. i suppose it's possible i'm giving him one too many chance,but it's hard to see such an immense amount of hatred and think it's justified. people have said some truly cruel stuff and about this particular dude and it's hard not feel sympathy.

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      • Originally posted by Nicolas Milioni View Post
        There's criticism of Loki calling Black Widow a archaic word for bitch. people forget the fact Loki is a villain ,an power hungry jealous conqueror with very little morality. of course he'd have no calms on using misogynitisc terms
        Tony Stark makes a rape joke on Age of Ultron,it's the same principle, the whole point of MCU Tony is that he is a very toxic guy,due to being raised by distant parents,losing said parents at a young age and having more money than what he knows what to do with. he's trying to unlearn this behaviour,but he's still a deeply flawed human being,it makes sense he'd make a cruel joke
        And of course,there's Black Widow being said about being infertile,people have said Whedon was calling infertile woman monsters. Again,blackw idow has been indocritnated by a very terriblegovernment,brutalized and experimented on,it makes sense she'd have self loathing views.
        You know, I do think there's a place for fiction in which characters that are supposed to be terrible are depicted without a filter so it can go into the weeds of them doing or saying really reprehensible things in a context where there's a catharsis or the audience being expected to properly engage with how much the people on display are real bastards (although even then some things need to be handled responsibly).

        I don't think mass market comic book movies are quite the place to do that. Things that are being put out to enormous audiences of families, of kids. From reasons ranging from having a certain tonal dissonance to maybe casting a wide net that can catch people off guard with things that are unnecessarily uncomfortable or harmful to associating things with characters that impressionable sections of the audience might engage with in fairly straightforward ways.

        There are alternative ways for characters to be cruel or traumatised than having them display direct misogyny, and Tony Stark is a well-liked character several steps above him being a problematic person for reasons including his snark or edgy jokes and it's maybe a good idea to exercise some responsibility in how you compose the things about him that kids might think of as cool and want to emulate.

        I can't recall if I've already said it in this thread, but part of the problem with its premise is that depiction and endorsement are kind of a false dichotomy. It's possible to depict a thing with the specific purpose of condemning it even, and do a bad job of that in a manner that makes it a kind of tacit endorsement even when not intended, as well as the degree to which a poorly framed condemnation can hurt people who'll have traumatic experience with it.

        These are all points that can be made without having anything to do with Joss Whedon's inner heart or personal worldview (although there's a matter in which greater insight into these things might raise a question of how accidental any of this might be, or inversely one could notice underlying misogynistic elements in his general writing or showrunning that lends credence to the idea that his feminism is quite flawed at best).


        I have approximate knowledge of many things.
        Write up as I play Xenoblade Chronicles.

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        • I mean, you seem to appreciate him as a film creator, and you said yourself you wanted to get into film. No one is saying 'Buffy is retroactively bad now' but it does seem like you're sort of conflating the guy with his creations just like you complain about others doing the same. Most of the complaints we've noted here have been aspects of his personal and professional life, not his creations. They are not about Buffy the tv show, or the Avengers movies as they came out in theaters. If you can believe that "He made this happen in the movie, but he does not really believe it" you should be able to appreciate that "In order to make something like his work, you don't have to be like him personally." Because if he's not bringing his personal views, then you can toss those aside and just appreciate his work for what it is.

          It's great that you can be so optimistic about the creators you like. Joss Whedon's not the only or first, you've also mentioned JK Rowling and started this thread talking about rpg industry folk. But it might be easier for you if you appreciated more that a creator is not their work, and so an aspersion against a Creator is not an aspersion against Media You Like. And just like it's okay for you or me to still enjoy Buffy, it should be understandable if someone else doesn't want to watch it or has lost interest in it, because people are going to care about things differently.

          All that said, studies have shown social media leads to a wide range of mental health issues, from depression and anxiety to loneliness and lower self esteem and worse. You do often come here complaining about seeing negative stuff 'all over' and things like 'immense hate' while I hope you're exaggerating (Joss Whedon hasn't been in the news or trending for months now), pairing that with missing the more topical criticisms it does seem like you might be seeing this stuff because of who and where you're getting your information. There are a lot of groups out there that try to shut down and mislead about any criticism for their own agendas.
          Last edited by nofather; 12-11-2020, 03:11 PM.

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          • Originally posted by nofather View Post
            No one is saying 'Buffy is retroactively bad now' but it does seem like you're sort of conflating the guy with his creations just like you complain about others doing the same.
            I wouldn't quite phrase it like that, but I actually was in a camp of "let's critically revaluate the quality of Buffy's feminism and other general features" even before there became more widespread word on what he might be like as a person and a figure on-set and in production.

            Originally posted by nofather
            But it might be easier for you if you appreciated more that a creator is not their work, and so an aspersion against a Creator is not an aspersion against Media You Like.
            One could go even further and say that critical analysis, even of a kind that judges a work to have flaws, is not the same as casting aspersions.

            But critical analysis also tends to at least consider the traits of the creator that might inform the text or lend it context. Creative works still emerge from the world view and decision making of the creator, those things are interlinked.

            Death of the author is useful as a tool for saying that the creator is not the sole or ultimate authority on how their work is to be interpreted, for reasons including that it can have significance in a context they did not mean, it includes perspectives and biases unconscious to the creator, or that the major point of interpretation is how it makes the audience feel rather than what was meant by the creator. It's not really functional as a premise for one justifying to themselves not wanting to engage with the possibility that problem creators lead to problem art.

            Which is not to say that people should be forced to make such evaluations if they just do not have the energy for it.


            I have approximate knowledge of many things.
            Write up as I play Xenoblade Chronicles.

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