Joss Whedon quits Twitter

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I guess that explains this, which confused me yesterday:

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It must be near impossible to interact with fans online given the rabid shit-flinging that seems so common to the social media systems of our day. No way in hell would I want the eye of the media on me, even briefly.

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I cannot for the life of me figure out why any celebrity would have gotten involved in the first place. No good will come of letting the general populace have a way to contact you directly or take your words badly. Seriously, this really hammers home the point that the people who are jerks are a lot louder and worse than any quiet and respectful fans you might reach.

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You can’t do anything right on the Internet anymore. This trend pisses me off. Joss Whedon is not immune from criticisms of sexism because he can write quality female characters, but lately it seems that you really have to be 100% immune from sexism in order to function with any level of credibility in some circles. To me, this defies the entire idea behind feminism: That sexism is systemic and ingrained in our society. Joss Whedon just isn’t going to avoid it. That’s a big ask, and I think that failing to understand it’s a big ask is failing to observe why, precisely, feminism exists. It’s the same with anti-racism.There are no perfect anti-racist butterflies, we’re stuck in a cultural context that doesn’t allow that. It’s one thing with the Gators, I have very low expectations from their whole… mess. But, with feminists and the social justice community, Call-Out Culture has gotten out of hand and become counter-productive, in ways that run directly against the grain of our arguments…You cannot, on the one hand, scoff at people who claim to be free from sexism that is pervasive our society, and then on the hand, simultaneously condemn people for being somewhat sexist. It’s a lose-lose game, and people aren’t going to want to play anymore.

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He has had some fine tweets in the past, assuming he actually wrote them. (Word is a lot of these celebrity twitter accounts are considerably removed from the people they are ostensibly associated with.)

Remember back when Dave Barry stopped posting in his alt newsgroup apparently because of all the jerks? Plus ça change.

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pop culture is so weird now. its like when someone would ragequit IRC and the next day theres a thread on the message board about it, but swap IRC for twitter and message board for tmz. his last tweet (if thats it in the screenshot) reads exactly like a passive agressive /quit… should’ve just put them on ignore !!

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You can’t do anything right on the Internet anymore.

Anymore? You never could.

As a public figure Whedon has a few options. Ignore the haters, hand the keys to his social media accounts to somebody else, or just give up. I think he’s doing the right thing.

Twitter seems to be a platform that’s designed to invite this sort of hater abuse. I don’t see why anyone with anything the least bit controversial to say would bother with it.

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The fallacy lies in assuming that the vocal minority who never cease raging and ruining the internet for the people who can’t live online 24/7 actually want him to be without whatever sin they happen to have chosen as their hobbyhorse. They just need targets to feed their addiction to self-righteous chest-thumping. Now that one target’s gone, they’ll while away their copious free time raging at someone else. These asshats aren’t endemic to gamergaters or feminism or anything else. Sure, the gamergaters have a disproportionate ratio of them by virtue of their idiotic crusade. But even a noble cause such as feminism has it’s share of vocal asshats. Vocal asshats don’t care about logic. They’ll giddily run roughshod over their own cause so long as they get their fix of rage. Never ascribe logic to addicts.

Plus, there’s a big difference between even uncivilly calling someone on sexism in their movie and trolls peppering your feed with death threats and calls to commit suicide. One is merely being rude while making a reasonable accusation. The other is cyberbullying.

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He probably would have to spend 300 hours a day hitting the ignore button to achieve success at that.

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This. I’m a relatively new Twitter user and, as has been stated here, there, and everywhere else, the platform doesn’t do well for discussing cogent viewpoints or investigating nuance. It’s utterly polarized speech mashed into as few words as possible and triply complicated by the nearly impenetrable discussion threading. I see Twitter as being good for shouting something at everyone at once. Some of the shouting is interesting breaking news, and some is interesting opinion/image, but the vast majority is the ever appreciable “Lemme see yr tits” or some moronic variation thereof.

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I am going to follow his example by quitting Twitter myself, only double, because I never joined.

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Of course in this case there were plenty of such death threats, threats of bodily harm and calls for self harm. I could be wrong but you seemed to be saying that there weren’t in this case.

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Can anyone explain, in a non-condescending way, what the supposed “sexism” in Age of Ultron involved? Having seen it, I don’t know what sexism I was supposed to see, but it wasn’t in the movie I saw.

Mainly it involves the Black Widow scenes as far as I can tell.

There are people upset at her back story (which was apparently pulled verbatim from the comic? I’m not up on my super hero comics) and at a line of dialog where she refers to herself as a “monster”

In context it seems a tempest in a teacup to me. Marvel’s woman problem doesn’t begin and end with Whedon as SNL nicely pointed out over the weekend, and they are making strides.

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Well, yeah. She’s upset because she was trained and biotech-enhanced to be an assassin from a young age, and she reveals [SPOILERS!?] that all of the girls in her group were sterilized when very young. It’s made pretty clear that she wasn’t given a choice in the matter and resents what was done to her while using her training for good. I’m not sure in what way any of that is sexist.

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Huh? No, not at all. Sorry I wasn’t clear. No, I was trying to distinguish between the actual critics, even the ones who act juvenile and rude, from the cyberbullies, either in general or in this particular case, because I didn’t want to give the impression that I was dismissing all criticism on the internet, just the self-righteous trolls and rage addicts that do stuff like threaten bodily harm and then rationalize it as being for a cause they claim to support but actually damage.

This is only speculation, but my guess, based on Whedon’s past skepticism towards Twitter, is that it was a combination of the cyberbullying and a conclusion that it wasn’t worth putting up with griefers just to spend time preforming on Twitter when that time could be used more productively.

When you’ve only got one female character, and you default to giving her story about a romance and bring her ovaries into the conversation, it does become kind of sexist.

And the sterilization/monster thing, while probably not intended to be interpreted that way, hit a friend of mine who is infertile and doesn’t wish to be like a freight train. She never saw it coming, and it just killed her. And yes, it’s the cumulative effect that’s created her sensitivity to these things, but it’s just one more sign of the way that the idea of women without children as monstrous, unfeminine, etc, etc, etc is sadly not an uncommon set of associations, often implicit but still profound, and frickin’ everywhere in society. (And invisible until you either have it happen to you or someone you care about). And utilizing them, even if you didn’t mean it that way, certainly is sexist, even if it’s the unintentional kind. .

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Also, backlash against having Black Widow hook up with somebody other than the person they wanted her to hook up with. There’s a /lot/ of that in there too.