This video gives a good summary and discussion of the issue. The tl;dr is that James Gunn (who directed the first two Guardians of the Galaxy flicks) got fired from Disney because conservatives created a fake outrage wave on social media feigning outrage over some crass, South-Park-esque tweets Gunn had made like a decade ago.

I've been critical in the past of the recent trend towards witchhunt-by-bandwagon that seems to be so pervasive in liberal circles. But the case of James Gunn shows that this blindness has much broader implications. As the YouTuber I linked above summarizes it,

    James Gunn got fired because someone didn't like that he used his platform to speak out against the Trump Administration and essentially "hacked the discourse" to hoodwink his employer into thinking they had no choice but to fire him.

Weaponizing outrage is nothing new, but it's getting more refined, both by more sophisticated social media strategies and by the fact that what currently passes for liberalism in the United States is more about virtue signaling than actually effecting meaningful change.

This will not be the last time this happens, and it's bizarre to me that so-called progressives are so eager to create such a massive chink in their own armor. Now that Disney has proven that this strategy works, anyone who's a high-profile critic of President Nadir has to start watching their backs that much more. And people are paying attention. For example, Rian Johnson preemptively deleted every tweet made before this year, and specifically said this was why:

    No official directive at all, and I don’t think I’ve ever tweeted anything that bad. But it’s nine years of stuff written largely off the cuff as ephemera, if trolls scrutinizing it for ammunition is the new normal, this seems like a “why not?” move.

All this is doing is telling people that there's no reason to change, because the consequences will be the same either way. Meanwhile, having an Internet where you have to run everything you say through 100 layers of checks to make sure that there's nothing that would offend someone now or a decade from now will do more to curb free expression online than the demise of Net Neutrality ever could.


I only know about this particular instance from the fringes, so I can't comment too much on it. I feel like gossip has become an overwhelming part of our public discourse and I don't think gossip is healthy in general, so I'm trying my best now to avoid conversations like these.

In general though, I think we're starting to lose sight of the idea that people are capable of growth and development. Whether we're talking about public figures, people with criminal histories, people with poor credit, or even friends or family members who might have done us wrong, we're so quick to condemn people and almost treat them as if they're irredeemable. I think this is wrong and unhealthy.

On the one end of the spectrum, people can learn from their past mistakes and realize what they've done wrong and genuinely embrace their guilt and regret to motivate themselves to change for the better, to improve. We need to realize the importance of supporting and encouraging each other when this happens. On the flip side though, sometimes people can slip into some very negative thought processes that lead to unhealthy behavior. It's equally important to try and recognize when this is happening and try to counter balance it.

I think it's important to be able to learn how to forgive people who have messed up, who have acknowledged it, and who have shown an earnest attempt to change their ways. That's not to say that there shouldn't be any consequences for the actions someone has taken in the past, but I think that if we look at people's past actions as unredeemable, then we run the risk of not enabling each other to change for the better. We also run the risk of being tempted to paint people as monsters with their character etched in stone, instead of human beings with a future full of potential ahead of them.

In short, sometimes good people make bad decisions, but those decisions don't necessarily make them a bad person. Sometimes people made horrible decisions in the past, and while our pasts are inescapable, they shouldn't be irrevocably damning. As often as possible though, we need to be their for each other, to help each other grow, and encourage the best out of everyone.

posted by johnnyFive: 206 days ago