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Despite dropping the typical Tuesday blog post, I’ll still do reactionary posts like this. I do have a few media reviews coming up, including one for FLCL: Alternative this weekend and one for Venom the following week. As far as anything else, I’ll post it when I can. Enjoy.
So Friday afternoon, it was reported that Chuck Wendig was let go by Marvel for what was described as posting vulgar tweets. The author known for the Blackbirds series and numerous Star Wars novels (mainly in the new canon) this was a devastating blow to what could have been a good relationship.
I have so many thoughts on the scenario, both about Mr. Wendig, Marvel, Star Wars, and the entertainment industry in general. I’ll go piece by piece and discuss my nagging thoughts surrounding this whole issue.
Chuck Wendig is an author known for his colorful language and his political stances, especially his anti-Trump outbursts. While I’m not going to lecture him on how he should conduct his Twitter account, his opinion is just his. And to be blunt, the guy is kinda known for this stuff. He curses a ton, he uses colorful phrases that are admittedly humorous, he makes good writing guides, and he’s an established author.
But Marvel apparently had an issue with this and let him go. To explain, there’s a group out there targeting people within specific comic book fandoms that these trolls disagree with. They’re basically a small form of the infamous GamerGate controversy, except there’s one thing that truly makes them similar. They’re able to weaponize controversy surrounding this person and as a result, their jobs are finished.
Chuck Wendig is a good author, no doubt, and those who targeted him should be ashamed of themselves. It’s one thing to disagree with someone on a political stance, and another to outright ruin their lives because your favorite series isn’t up to snuff. Because somehow, these guys are to blame because they can’t accept that non-white male characters deserve as much of a spotlight as anyone else.
There is an image of tweets floating around of him spewing vitriol at a Trump supporter, and while anyone can fashion a fake image together, it does make the situation hard to understand. If true, then I can’t blame Marvel for dropping him.
On the other hand, if these are false, then that only makes his situation worse than it has any right to. I’ve recently come to understand how false accusations can utterly destroy someone. I’ve had a few small occasions myself, but the point is, if this is the new thing, then I doubt anyone will be safe.
About a month or so ago, James Gunn was fired due to tweets made in 2009 by these game groups of people who also sniped him out of the industry. Recently, he was on board for Suicide Squad 2 (part of the DCEU) and while that’s a good sign for him, it also becomes an issue when you realize that those tweets, effectively, are a moot point considering how long ago they were posted.
I mean, we’re almost reaching ten years since then. Do you realize how fast you can change your mentality in that time? Imagine ten years ago, you made off-color jokes in high school because you thought it was cool. Today, that person is trying to be a professional, so he no longer thinks those jokes are funny and feels ashamed over it. Should he still be punished for something he did so long ago when he’s trying so hard to build his life.
And it’s no surprise that Mr. Wendig’s coworkers have his back the same way the Guardians of the Galaxy crew had James Gunn’s back. It presents an overall issue with Marvel, and to an extent Disney. These people create themes that lean to the left, politically, like having a faction in Star Wars be pseudo-Nazis, yet these guys are too scared of a bunch of internet trolls, especially ones who try to ruin his career by digging into their past.
It’s a problem that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later. Let’s be real, we’ve all said dumb things back then. I remember writing some lines that today, I’d be ashamed at myself for even writing them. Yet, I no longer hold that mentality and even try to improve my stance on this ever-changing culture.
Yet corporations don’t want to. This isn’t just a Marvel thing. This is an issue everyone needs to address. This knee-jerk firing needs to stop, and it’s only putting hard working creators at risk.
Star Wars and its Fandom
I’ve never been too into Star Wars, and looking at to day, I can see why. There are now two groups of people. Those who liked The Last Jedi, and those that hated it with a burning passion. Most of the criticism, however, seems to be levied at the fact that you have characters like Rey, Finn, and Rose, who aren’t your typical white dude that Star Wars was known for. (Hilarious that people are angered at Star Wars having a black man, though. Did we forget Mace Windu was black? No one was up in arms over him).
And besides, we’ve had numerous examples of female and POC protagonists in media before. Lara Croft, Blade, The Book of Eli, Rush Hour, every Jackie Chan and Jet Li movie ever? What about Japanese properties being iconic, like Godzilla, Speed Racer, Mario, and Pokemon? This isn’t some new thing that’s hip and trendy. We’ve been doing this kind of thing forever. Yet NOW we’re up in arms over it?
I’ve never understood why people are this upset when not only were some of those properties in the 90s and early 2000s (well before this diversity movement took off), but that while some of those properties were okay, they existed nonetheless. This has been a thing for a long time, and it’s not going to change because of a bunch of upset white dudes that finally realized that NOW we’re having all of these characters in media.
Targeted Career Nukes?
And finally, the idea that you can have a career ruined solely because of something you said in the past or something that led to a disagreement can have your career ruined is appalling. I desire to have a loving fanbase, treat others with love and respect, and create the same kinds of stories I grew up with.
Yet the mentality that the entertainment industry is like walking through a minefield is really concerning considering that all these people do is want to make the shows they also dream of making. Yes, Hollywood and the media are in dire straits right now, and I don’t appreciate so many franchises being butchered under the corporate studios. But taking it out on specific people is not how this works, nor is it okay to threaten those people and make their lives worse.
If we hope to change the industry, we have to change ourselves. I’d rather see fans keep an open mind about new things rather than reject it from the start. Does the Star Wars franchise need help. I think so. Did Marvel screw up. I think so. But I’m not going to send death threats, target women creators, and pretend like I’m the holy pariah of the fanbase and that anyone who disagrees is an enemy. I’m not like that.
So seriously, stop with the infighting, stop with the trolling. If it bothers you that much, then there’s a ton of other properties to enjoy. I’ve learned in life that outbursts like this tend to be ignored by the fanbase as nothing more than nerd-raging and whining. But if I’m not allowed to enjoy something because of your holy opinion, well…too bad. I’m going to enjoy it anyway.
Anyway, that’s all I have on the subject. I might be a little outraged by this and I apologize if I got a bit ranty up there, but I do wish Mr. Wendig the best and I hope that despite all that’s gone in, that creators like him will still be supported.
That’s all for today. Take care, and remember, the inn is always open.