54. How Can Christian Fans React When Fantasy Creators Get Cancelled? part 2
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In part 1 of this Cancelled Fantasy series, we explored why cancel culture often feels so wrong. But we also have a uniquely Christian way of responding to cancel mobs. Now, for part 2, we’ll look at situations where a person deserved to get cancelled. What do we do with those creators and their works of art?
Top three questions
- How we do discern necessary “cancelling” from legalistic “cancelling”? (Part 1)
- If the cancellation was immoral, how do we love cancelling-mob enemies? (Part 1)
- If cancellation was moral, how do we view the cancelled or their stories?
We explored questions 1 and 2 in part 1 of this miniseries. Now we focus exclusively on question 3.
3. If cancellation was moral, how do we view those cancelled or their stories?
James Gunn: seems to have repented of wicked language
- At present, Gunn looks like a special case of someone who did change.
- We don’t know what went on behind the scenes. In public, he did repent.
- He said some good things about why he sinned with filthy jokes.
- Many people who have followed my career know when I started, I viewed myself as a provocateur, making movies and telling jokes that were outrageous and taboo. As I have discussed publicly many times, as I’ve developed as a person, so has my work and my humor.
- It’s not to say I’m better, but I am very, very different than I was a few years ago; today I try to root my work in love and connection and less in anger. My days saying something just because it’s shocking and trying to get a reaction are over.
- In the past, I have apologized for humor of mine that hurt people. I truly felt sorry and meant every word of my apologies.
- For the record, when I made these shocking jokes, I wasn’t living them out. I know this is a weird statement to make, and seems obvious, but, still, here I am, saying it.
- Anyway, that’s the completely honest truth: I used to make a lot of offensive jokes. I don’t anymore. I don’t blame my past self for this, but I like myself more and feel like a more full human being and creator today. Love you to you all.
- Note especially Gunn’s seeming understanding about his motives back then.
- He doesn’t admit to sins he (seemingly) didn’t do. He does get to the heart.
- Also, for several months at least, he stayed fired from Disney/Marvel.
- It was time enough for him to start making a Suicide Squad movie for DC.
- If he had not been hired, though, I still would enjoy his Marvel movies.
- Except for much of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. It isn’t that good.
- Why? As a Christian, I’m used to knowing evil people can do good things.
- This simple yet complex fact about our world escapes the cancel mobs.
Joss Whedon: seems not to have repented of wicked behavior
- But what about when someone is cancelled maybe rightly?
- See article from feminist website Jezebel.com about Whedon’s “rise and fall.”
- Whedon created Buffy: The Vampire Slayer and Firefly (season 1)
- He also directed Marvel’s Avengers (2012) and Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015).
- Lastly he reworked an atrocity called Justice League (2017), now being cancelled itself.
- He was known as a big Hollywood feminist who had Strong Female Leads.
- Those assumptions haven’t aged well, after ex-wife and actor accusations.
- For my part, we’d frankly love to hear Whedon apologize. It goes a long way.
- Before repenting to the fans, he must repent to the actors: those truly involved.
- Now after Buffy actors shared their stories, Whedon’s career is likely over.
- We can still enjoy his shows and the Avengers movies, even sans repentance.
- Whedon doesn’t owe us an apology anyhow. Are we God to forgive his sins?
- But maybe we can rewatch his stuff with more open eyes for his female treatment.
- With rare exceptions, you can look back and see the bad seeds planted early.
The original New York Times article exposing Weinstein remarked in passing that his films “helped define femininity, sex and romance, from Catherine Zeta-Jones in ‘Chicago’ to Jennifer Lawrence in ‘Silver Linings Playbook.’ ”
If actors report they’ve been abused and even assaulted by producers and directors, Christians may need to reconsider these works that supposedly “helped define femininity, sex and romance.” In our conversations about popular culture at home, church, and on the internet, we can’t stop at praising what these works get right. We also need to specifically discern any latent misogyny, exploitative tendencies, and sexual-revolution teaching within the stories themselves.
—from “Harvey Weinstein and Sexualized Pop Culture Call for Prophetic Engagement,” E. Stephen Burnett at Christ and Pop Culture, Nov. 10, 2017
Sheri wrote about episode 52:
I have thought that were I ever to teach a class on cross-cultural evangelism, I would recommend a few works of science fiction as well as more conventional textbooks. Science fiction can help us explore the “alien-ness” of other cultures as well as the dangers of assuming similitude based on a superficial resemblance between cultures. It can also warn us of the dangers of assuming that all others think and act as we do (or should do so). Some titles that come to mind are Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card, James White’s Sector General novels (definitely dated, but we meet many aliens with unique needs requiring creative treatment at this hospital space station), and perhaps the Children of Time series by Adrian Tchaikovsky (with a strong disclaimer for language).
Next on Fantastical Truth
Because of central Texas winter storms and some other life issues, next week’s episode will likely be delayed. We’re assembling fantastic authors for upcoming interviews, and have no shortage of fun and/or deep topics as we continue to seek and find fantastical truth.
Explore the best Christian-made fantasy, sci-fi, and beyond, and apply these stories' meanings in the real world Jesus calls us to serve.
What say you?