Joss Whedon quits Twitter

Die, cat hater!

“The real issue is me,” he said. “Twitter is an addictive little thing, and if it’s there, I gotta check it. When you keep doing something after it stops giving you pleasure, that’s kind of rock bottom for an addict. … I just had a little moment of clarity where I’m like, You know what, if I want to get stuff done, I need to not constantly hit this thing for a news item or a joke or some praise, and then be suddenly sad when there’s hate and then hate and then hate.”

Smart guy, the Joss Whedon. I loved this part too

The extreme passion of comic book fans was familiar ground for Whedon well before Twitter even existed, when he first started writing for Marvel Comics in the 2000s and got some advice from veteran comic writer Brian Michael Bendis. “He said, ‘You’re going to meet a new kind of person,’”

Apparently to no one’s surprise, Comic Book Guy and Twitter Guy are related!


What’s totally intentional, I’m seeing, is that you’re dead-set on victimizing me for fun and ignoring everything I actually stated in favor of making me The Incredibly Awful Dude for, somehow, belittling your friend. No, I didn’t say that ‘every little mention sets her off’. You said that. You’re putting words in my mouth to make your argument. Don’t do that. Thank you!

I think they partially had to address it because it’s a part of her character and something already established in the comics; if they’re going to broach the idea of a romance with her with any male character, should they change comics continuity? Or eventually reveal this deeply tragic part of her childhood? It puts them in a very awkward position. They chose to reveal that she’s sterile, and it inevitably angered a lot of people.

Oh yes. Absolutely. Joss has said that he had an extensive Scarlet Witch background, for example, but there just wasn’t time. I said to friends afterwards that watching AoU felt like watching an entire season of a Marvel TV show on fast-forward.

To their credit, they’re clearly building towards that. The Avengers, as they stand [SPOILERS!] at the end of the film are 1/3 Black and 1/3 female. The film did a lot to set up the Black Panther movie, coming soon. The female-led Captain Marvel comes soon, too.

Which of the Avengers, other than Black Widow, is a female? Wow. I had no idea that Marvel was this daring!

I haven’t seen the movie, either, but the description of the sole female in the group (or IS she!) take a mothering turn is just awful for the movie in general, and disappointing for the character in general.

You what would be funny? If Captain America ran around doing the cleaning, grousing that it wasn’t a frat house, etc. etc. Because: traditional role reversals are cheap humor, yes, BUT his background in the military gives him a tendency to clean and iron and polish etc., so its not just “cheap” - it’s character driven. AND another point of conflict with Tony “I pay everybody to clean up after me” Stark.

Instead, we get frustrated-motherhood as an excuse. ::le sigh::


The Scarlet Witch, who becomes a major character in the film.

I definitely didn’t see Black Widow taking a ‘mothering’ turn. She has a close friendship with Hulk/Banner, but I didn’t see anything in the film that showed her ‘mothering’ the rest of the group, at all.

But it’s OK because The Avengers: Age of Ultron is going to give Black Widow a baby. A gigantic baby named The Hulk, and a brand new superhero power of “the lullaby.” Not a whisper or a song or a knock-out juice — a lullabye to coax her baby to sleep. This new power is trotted out over and over again, as if to say: Black Widow don’t be sad — you have a baby Hulk.

And her role as the mother of the team, as a whole, is also implied when Black Widow ruins a perfectly great empowerment moment after picking up Captain America’s shield and stating, “I’m always picking up after you boys.”

(among other details)

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I appreciate you sharing this – I’ve truthfully been having a hard time getting straightforward answers as to why people feel the film is sexist and/or racist.

I feel like this post is a perfect example of how any piece of media can be used by someone with an agenda to push their agenda by taking small elements out of context. Yes, the Black Widow makes a playful comment about Cap’s shield. In context, it seemed like a winking take on a ‘woman’s role’ – she’s NOT motherly in the slightest, so saying something like this nods at that old-fashioned trope. The irony is that Captain America really is the ‘mother’ of the team – he even tells people to ‘watch your language’ early on.

We’ve got to stop arguing like this; tongues will wag!

[I can’t find back our previous argument, which was over animated movies. heh.]

Well, to be fair, I’m not actually disagreeing with you. Since you said you hadn’t seen the film yet (and it’s a lot of fun, though it definitely feels like two movies’-worth packed into 2.5 hrs with zero breathing room) I’m more disagreeing with The Internet. I’m a man yelling at a cloud. I kinda feel that if someone wanted, really badly, to make Age of Ultron into an example of, say, an anti-vegetarian movie, they could pull quotes and isolated moments out of it to do so. As an example of a sexist/racist movie, it’s a really awful choice, in my opinion.

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Mark Ruffalo’s take on the Bruce/Natasha setup:


Nope. You’re the one who described it as a simple reveal of infertility as upsetting her, comparing it to a backstory about an abandoned child upsetting people who were abandoned as children. Try harder.

Yes, I called it a tragic revelation; in the film, it’s not portrayed as the thing that makes Black Widow a monster, but as an awful part of her backstory. It’s right out of her long-standing comic book storyline, not something they just invented to demean her. And it’s framed, in the film, as a parallel to the inability of Banner to have a normal relationship. I’m comparing that to other tragic backstories as an example of why it’s not an uncommon technique to give triumphant heroes a childhood tragedy they reveal – something they’ve overcome but that’s still a source of terrible pain. I don’t see it as sexist in that sense, other than that she can’t have children.

Now we’ll never know how much it would cost to get Richard Dawkins to touch a poop.

(If he were really all that smart he would take the offer and claim the $20 on the grounds that he touches poops on a daily basis — with his butt.)


should they change comics continuity

Sure, why not? The Marvel Cinanetic universe is separate from the comic universe and they’ve deviated a lot form that universe already, and in some very drastic ways. Have you seen Daredevil? I won’t spoil too much, but they kill off a VERY important character in the comics. The showrunner made it very clear that it was Marvel’s idea, and the reason they wanted to do that was to make it clear that the MCU universe is going to be very different from the universe of the comics. Not to mention that the comic universe changes a lot, too, as the times change…this is not unusual…but yeah…

The comic and movie/tv universes are not really connected. Source: Marvel's Daredevil: Season 1 Spoiler Conversation with Showrunner Steven S. DeKnight - IGN

All in all, I liked where they were going with the Bruce and Natasha love story but man, some of it felt so rushed (as they cut out some stuff). It was really a shame. And I think it is a MORE than fair criticism. It wasn’t done well and it was a weak point for me.

There were many other moments between Bruce and Natasha that I really liked! For example, the first moment when she calms his rage. And especially the moment where she purposely makes him mad because she “Needs the other guy right now”. I also liked her moments with Hawkeye’s family.

This is a good reason why there needs to be a Black Widow movie or tv show, btw

I have stated previously that MCU does a better job at diversity than most big franchises, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t still a ton of room for improvement. Also, the movies seem like a step back when compared to some of the TV shows, but I mean that for more than just the diversity factor.

I’ve stated this elsewhere. Unfortunately, big budget movies, in general, are not going to really take many risks, even if they have someone like Joss Whedon involved, who is known to take risks.

It’s TV and Netflix (especially Netflix) where the superhero genre is breaking new ground (within its genre).

The movie was fun and I am glad I went and saw it but it also pales in comparison with Daredevil.

I think Marvel is pretty aware of that, actually. There is a reason why they decided to take a risk and kill off an important character in Daredevil, but stayed pretty safe in the Avengers movie.

I’m hoping they take more risks with the movies in the future… IDK, we’ll see. Until then, it’s honestly TV and Netflix where all the interesting superhero stuff is happening.

Absolutely agreed – as you say, I really liked all of the tender moments between Natasha and Hulk, but like many things in the movie, the Banner/Natasha stuff felt very rushed. Like, zero to talking about kids, boom.

The reason I hesitate about a major piece of continuity like Natasha’s sterility is that it puts Marvel, and Joss Whedon, in a very awkward place. Do you introduce something inevitably controversial that’s been a part of the character’s comic book backstory, or do you change it, and have the longtime comic fans (the folks my comic-fan friends call “grognards”) freak out? They certainly can’t make everyone happy. They have to choose their battles.

I keep hearing how excellent Daredevil is. I think we’re looking at a sea change, where Netflix / Amazon / Yahoo start hosting all the really interesting, risky programming. I’m sure producers sweat a lot less about doing risky things in a streaming show than a $200 million dollar tentpole.

I don’t think it really had to do with continuity with the comics. As I said, MCU is separate from the comics and in general they’ve not had too many complaints about differences. I think if it hadn’t been mentioned, no one would have even noticed. It wasn’t really integral to the story, at leas the way it was told. I just think the men had a little trouble fully realizing a female character, something that happens a lot. I like Joss and I think he in general does a pretty good job, and I think he actually does care about creating strong female characters and also representing diversity at least in some respect, but he’s still a man and he’s still living in a pretty sexist society and also working within the constraints of a pretty sexist industry. He’s not going to always land correctly.

That’s actually probably the side-effect of white men trying for feminist content and diversity in general. They just aren’t always gonna make it. I’m okay with that. I’d rather people try. But then we still need to allow room fro criticism and speaking about what Joss didn’t get right. THAT is what makes a true ally. Trying your hardest but realizing sometimes you make mistakes. And Joss likes to take risks, like I said, and a lot of the time he nails it. Sometimes he doesn’t.

Also, he has stated that he DID NOT quit twitter due to feminist backlash and in fact Anita Sarkeesian was the first person to contact him and ask him how he was doing.

Personally, I think he was just feeling overwhelmed with Twitter, which I understand. That said, the reactions he receiver PALES in comparison to what a lot of women and especially people of color get. And I find it really, really interesting that people suddenly REALLY CARE when a white dude gets a fraction of the same really terrible shit that other people get on a daily basis. And from his statements, I think he recognizes that

That said, his statement also included some bullshit about infighting and how liberals can’t agree and that’s why we can’t have nice things sort of argument which I don’t agree with. But, like I’ve said, he is a very rich white dude. He tries, but come on. He’s still a rich white dude. That does come with some baggage. (I am a white lady. I come with my own similar baggage.)

Personally, I am okay with that. But I am also going to speak up when I think something he has said or done is off the mark. And if he’s a true ally, then he should understand that. I don’t know if he always does. But that p-word comes into play…it colors your experiences. I don’t think he really quite understands that fully. Yet.

I’m not a Joss Whedon fangirl but I do respect him and I think he really does mean well. But he still has some way to go. And I’m willing to give him the time and the benefit of the doubt, as long as he’s willing to listen (and mostly I think he is).

He’s done some good stuff, and created some great female characters. None of that is above reproach, though.

I also don’t think Buffy gets the credit for being the badass SUPERHERO that she is…

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Since it would appear that you haven’t seen the movie, this is the the scene in question (I’m paraphrasing):

The “less attachments” part is key, there. My interpretation of that wasn’t that infertility makes it easier for her to kill, it’s that it makes her a more efficient assassin. Since she doesn’t (can’t) have any children, she will thus have fewer attachments, and… I dunno, be less afraid of dying, more willing to take risks? It’s not the infertility that makes her a monster/better killing machine, it’s the lack of attachments. Because having attachments makes people act in unpredictable ways, and what they wanted was controllable, reliable, sexbot/killing machines.

Having said all that, I’m a straight white dude, so I don’t really want to go 'round mansplaining. I can certainly see the that an association of infertility with monstrousness in any way would make somebody upset, and it’s not my place to be telling people how they should feel about things. Was just giving my opinion (which may also be informed by knowledge outside of the movie, now that I think about it) as to what Joss was really going for in that scene.

I think you’re confusing “this movie has sexist/racist elements” with “this movie is a sexist/racist movie”. Complaining about sexist elements doesn’t mean you think the whole movie is sexist, it just means you have issues with sexist elements in the film.

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I would also say that Age of Ultron is a really poor example of a movie with sexist or racist elements, to be clear. Your paraphrase above is a much, much more accurate portrayal of the scene in the film than how others are choosing to interpret it, so thank you.

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