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What's with the name?

Allow us to explain.


Guest Post: Examining One Reaction to the James Gunn Controversy

Shortly after James Gunn issued his sincere apology for an ambiguously satirical post on his blog that was rediscovered by fans in the wake of his appointment as the director of Marvel Studio’s Guardians of the Galaxy, The Mary Sue received a letter in our inbox from a writer for another major entertainment blog. It contained what we thought were some very well put thoughts on the reaction against the reaction against Gunn’s post. We asked her if she would be comfortable publishing a form of the letter on the site, and she assented as long as she could make a few edits for the new format and she could obscure which specific site she worked for, which necessarily required the post to be published anonymously. Things were delayed a bit by the holidays and revisions, but without further ado, here’s her post.

Perhaps it’s a sign of progression in a certain subculture, when those most offended by a controversial issue are those who claim not to be offended by it at all.

The subject of sexism in gaming culture has been a hot topic over the past year: from the Anita Sarkeesian online harassment campaign, to the emergence of the “fake geek girl” meme, to Aris Bakhtanians‘ claim that sexism is “part of the culture” and removing it would be “ethically wrong”. 2012 turned geek and gaming culture into a battle ground when it came to issues of gender politics and sexism. I was spared from getting too involved with it, since while I’m an avid gamer, I am not a gaming journalist. I write for the film section of a comic book site, and my personal clash with issues of sexism in geek culture came more recently.

Last week, The Mary Sue called out James Gunn, writer-director of the forthcoming Guardians of the Galaxy film adaptation, for a blog post he had written in February 2011 entitled ‘Fifty Superheroes You Most Want To Have Sex With’. The post mostly consisted of Gunn praising the superheroes’ assets and describing in explicit detail the sex acts he would like to perform upon them. It also included a few comments deemed misogynistic and homophobic by many, particularly feminist blogs and LGBT rights groups. The full story is available elsewhere on this site.

James Gunn removed the post with a sincere apology to those who had been offended by it. He stated that the blog post was “intended to be satirical and funny” but was “poorly worded and offensive to many”. Reading it retrospectively, he agreed that it was “not funny” and added that, “it kills me that some other outsider like myself, despite his or her gender or sexuality, might feel hurt or attacked by something I said.”

I was tasked by my editor with writing the story up for the site, which includes a forum that consists almost exclusively of male comic book fans.

I took the position that, while James Gunn by no means deserved to be fired from Guardians of the Galaxy without first being given the chance to respond to people’s challenges, the people who took offence were justified in doing so. If a work is intended as satirical, then the satire needs to be self-evident; you shouldn’t have to be familiar with the author’s previous body of work and views in order to ‘get’ the joke. In this case, you could argue that the blog’s tone was ‘obviously’ intended as humorous, but not that it was an obvious satire, and that’s a very important distinction to make, especially when writing in the context of a community that, even to this day, consistently marginalises women and perpetuates sexism.

Needless to say, my story didn’t go over well. I received over 300 comments, approximately 95% of which condemned myself and other people who’d taken issue with Gunn’s words for being ‘over-sensitive’ and said that any offence which had been taken was purely due to people being thin-skinned or actively searching for things to get offended by. One cruel-tongued dissenter even went so far as to state that I “was probably the kind of person who isn’t much fun at parties”. Another comment was that I should simply wear a blindfold and block my ears so that I wouldn’t have to hear or see offensive content. Among the many people who commented, there was only one female. She said that she liked the article.

“You’re just being oversensitive” is a comment that you tend to hear a lot when arguing against material that perpetuates homophobia, sexism, racism, however unintentionally. It was nonetheless a little ironic, given my own background. On the same website I’d been condemned for defending The Human Centipede – a film which I consider to be no great masterpiece, but nonetheless an interesting, well-written piece of body horror – and doing the same when the BBFC took the step of refusing the sequel a UK certificate, thereby preventing it from being legally shown in UK cinemas or sold in stores (a decision that was eventually repealed, albeit after huge cuts were made to the UK version of the film). Back then, these same proud defenders of “shock humour” and the “right to offend” had condemned the film as “disgusting”, “filth”, and “trash” – despite the fact that many of them admitted openly to not actually having watched it.

For what it’s worth James Gunn’s apology said just about everything that could have been hoped for. He effectively came down on the same side as people who’d called his blog post offensive, which was a brave thing to do when most of his fanbase was rallying to his defence. He’s off the hook as far as I’m concerned.

To my mind, the most interesting aspect of the whole thing has been the post-apology reaction. For the most part, people who criticised the article in the first place seem to have accepted the apology and moved on. The group that remained most vocal were those who continue to insist that there was nothing wrong with what Gunn said in the first place.

When I wrote a follow-up article about the apology, the commenters in the forum did an abrupt 180. Whereas before they had been vehemently defending James Gunn, they now called him a pussy, said that he’d lost his balls, and that he was just a Disney puppet and a sellout. This suggests that what they were actually defending was not the man himself, but the right to make offensive jokes and not be called out for it.

The extremely vocal male majority in geek culture has been quick to decry any attempts to discuss issues of gender politics in the mediums that they worship, labelling dissenters as “hysterical” and “oversensitive”, and accusing them of having no sense of humour. It’s true that for every five critics who try to start a dialogue about why they felt a certain statement was offensive, there is another who will scream boycott and label the offender a misogynist/homophobic pig without waiting to hear their side of things. But somewhat ironically, the most extreme and infuriated reactions to these recent controversies have been from the groups of people who are currently comfortably at the top of the power structure, and who feel that their status quo is being threatened by the opinions of marginalised groups in their ranks.

Perhaps this is a good sign. I certainly prefer to think of it that way.

TAGS: | | |

  • Captain Canada

    Why are you STILL bringing this up? He apologized let it go! If you think you’re going to get Marvel to fire him by bringing this back up every couple of months you’re wrong.

  • Sara Sakana

    “For what it’s worth James Gunn’s apology said just about everything that could have been hoped for.”

    If “sorry you were offended” and “it was just a joke, sorry you didn’t see it that way” and “waaaaaaaaaaaah I’m so heartbroken that people were offended by the sexist, homophobic crap I said, let’s make this all about me” were “all you hoped for,” I’d say you need to set your sights a little higher.

    Still, you seem to have done a better job of calling Gunn out than The Mary Sue itself did, so props for that.

  • Ludie Bitner

    I cannot believe I am first to get in on this, but I personally thought the “Gunn” controversy was a bit overplayed from the angle of those looking to defend what is largely an issue of perception. I find it preposterous when someone takes offence at someone ELSE’S being offended. Equally however did I find any of what James Gunn wrote particularly vile. But I guess my overall point here is.. IM A GUY, its not my place to pass judgement on a woman for being offended (side note: today on twitter @bonniegrrl RT’d the best quote ever IMO:

    “Dudes, how about in 2013 if a bunch of women tell you something is fucked up for women, just like, believe them. Because you are a dude.”

    We (Men) as a majority in many of the “geek” circles are in a unique position to throw away the idea of gender and just be “geeks” together with WHOEVER wants to enjoy the same stuff we do! Perhaps it was the way I was raised but when I enter into a discussion on any particular topic I consider worthy of my consideration… the idea that someone can be “in” or “out” never even comes into my consciousness, much less would that judgement be based on something ridiculous like whether or not they have the ability to carry children! Now on the flip side…. does this mean that (as a man, or any other gender that enjoys discussion of breasts and other sexy-time related stuff) has to be approved by everyone all the time everywhere? I can’t see how that can even be possible. I’ve never been keen on censorship in ANY fashion.. even if I personally find it revolting.

    Well that’s my take anyway.

  • Ludie Bitner

    LOL took so long to write it.. came in 3rd ;o)

  • Captain ZADL

    This kind of article is one of the reasons I come to The Mary Sue and read.

    I expect you’ll get a lot of derogatory comments here, as you would anywhere. The Internet is a place where dissent is rarely expressed with eloquence or courtesy. Ignore them and please continue.

  • Anonymous

    “If a work is intended as satirical, then the satire needs to be self-evident; you shouldn’t have to be familiar with the author’s previous body of work and views in order to ‘get’ the joke”

    I wouldn’t agree that’s the case. Master Satirist Jonathan Swift was regularly taken at face value – his “Modest Proposal” was pilloried for its horrific suggestion, and people contacted him asking if Mr Gulliver would share coordinated for Lilliput, as they were prepared to fun expeditions. More recently, Stan Freberg was lambasted for his scandalous view of the holiday in “Green Chri$tma$”. And even today, while the reposts of stories from The Onion have slowed, the Daily Currant and The Borowitz Report at The new Yorker have takes its place as “the place people don’t know are kidding right away”.

    Bear in mind, I don’t think Gunn’s piece was intended to be satire per se. Parody, perhaps, but not really satire. Subtle distinction. He surely intended it to be funny, and he’s sorry more people didn’t find it such. And thankfully, it was accepted. Mainly because people liked him and his work, and WANTED to forgive him. If it had bee done by someone people wanted out of the way, it’d still be getting talked about with gritted teeth today.

    If “you” (“one”, if it’s insisted) are offended by a joke, you are absolutely allowed to be offended. It could be because of your experiences, or how you were raised, or an experience in your childhood that gave you a phobia of Jews and priest walking into bars. People are offended by the statue of David. Your personal experiences shape you, and can rarely be changed.

    The challenging part comes when one tries to argue that because of YOUR offense, everyone ELSE must be offended, and punishment must occur. That’s the fight humor has been making for years. There’s “It’s funny cause it’s true” and “It’s funny cause it’s so wrong”.

    I bristle when I hear “That’s not funny”, and almost always get Voltaire-y and speak up against it, trying to explain that while it may not be funny for YOU, it _can_ still be funny to others. And sometimes the amount that you’re offended is not enough the change things, and the better response may be to just excuse yourself and leave the room.

    If everyone responded in this case with “Well, that was a bit much”, the point still would have been made by the sheer number of people saying so. The problem is the Internet has two speeds; apathy and world-shattering crisis. This year-old column was the single worst thing happening on this planet, pushing Kony down to three, under the loss of the Twinkie. It’s the outrageous OVER-reaction to things that causes the pushback. If we can learn to react to things at the level they should be, it becomes a lot easier to convince people of your point.

  • Her Majesty’s Wombat

    I wanted to comment to say just this, and I wouldn’t have said it as eloquently. The Mary Sue consistently makes my day better.

  • Anonymous

    So, you think It Was not Enough.
    What would have been an apology sincere enough to warrant your forgiveness? A sizable contribution to a charity, perhaps?
    Or is he automatically and in perpetuity beyond contrition for the enormity and sheer evil of his…blog post?
    He said something that put people’s nose out of joint, people called him on it, he agreed it could have been seen as off-sides, and admitted such.
    That’s as big a deal as this was, and as big a response as it deserved. To make it into something Much More Than That only serves to marginalize the issue you attempt to draw attention to.

  • Anonymous

    At this point, we’re not discussing the original event, we’re discussing the REACTION to the event. James has been forgiven, and has gone back to doing the job everybody wants him to do (which is part of the reason everything as settled so quickly – nobody ACTUALLY wanted him off the project).

  • Anonymous

    I basically agree, but if you’re telling a racist joke in the presence of someone of that race, don’t you think their offense carries more weight than just “I don’t find that funny?”

  • Aeryl

    I think Gunn’s apology hit all the correct notes.

    He acknowledged the validity of the people who were upset, he explicitly did not say “I’m sorry you were offended” he said “I’m sorry I WAS OFFENSIVE” which is the big tip off in how someone has perceived criticism.

    Also he didn’t say “It was a joke sorry YOU didn’t see it…” He said “It was intended to be joke, I’m sorry I wasn’t clear”

    Those are two very different things, and you help no one when you deliberately misrepresent what he said.

    He did, at the end, focus the statement on himself, but again he only did that after he affirmed the feelings of the people who were offended, and he brought himself into it to discuss what HE needed to do to prevent himself from making the same mistake.

  • Anonymous

    What exact wording would you have preferred?

  • Chanel Diaz

    And not just ‘racist jokes,’ but any ‘anti-marginalized group jokes.’

  • Anonymous

    Did you actually read the article?

  • Susi Matthews

    I didn’t read any of the original letters so this is a peripheral comment; just one comment of frustration that writers can’t seem to consistently use proper grammar. One of my pet peeves is the improper used of the personal pronoun “myself,” as in “…95% of which condemned myself”. NO, please! That should be ME. (It’s all about me anyway, isn’t it?) I’m certainly not always grammatically perfect, but this one really grated.

  • Aeryl


  • Anonymous

    Even there, I have to ask you define “racist joke”. A joke about one group or another is not _automatically a “racist joke”_. I will admit that there are a lot of jokes that are hard to separate from true dislike of a group.
    “Why do they bury Themians at twelve feet and not six? Cause deep down, they’re not all that bad.”
    But if told in the right context, say, in the persona of a character who is racist, they can still sometimes work. Andrew Dice Clay is a good example. An over the top sexist with cro-magnon mentality. Plenty of people enjoy him in that way. That there are many ACTUAL sexists with cro-magnon mentalities who think he MEANS it is not his fault.

    Ethnic jokes are in most cases so interchangeable that to suggest they harbor any true hatred for the people in question is a weak claim indeed.

    “How many Themians does it take to make popcorn? Five – one to hold the pot and four to shake the stove”.
    You are not, I hasten to point out, but anyone who tries to claim that is STILL a “racist” joke because “we know who that joke is REALLY about” is clutching at straws.
    “Blonde jokes” were popular for a while. And the majority of them were the same kind of jokes with a new subject. Are they “racist”? Canadians tell “Newfie” jokes. People make jokes about certain states. Pennsylvania is often described as “Philadelphia on one side, Pittsburgh on the other, and Alabama in the middle”. Is that “offensive” to anybody? How about lawyer jokes? Are you worried about offending a lawyer? aside the the increasingly reasonable fear of lawsuits, that is?
    CONTEXT is critical in determining intent. When seeing someone speak, in person, or at least actually hearing their words, it is usually very easy to tell is they are truly intending to hurt a person or group or not.

    If you tell ANY joke, and do not INTEND it to be hurtful, and someone perceives it as hurtful, it still does not MAKE you a hurtful person.. And you can say “I’m sorry you didn’t like the joke” and not mean “I’m sorry I told that joke to everyone”.

  • moffatt0184

    I’ll put this out there and tell me if you wrong… if a group of women get together and make comments about guys they consider to be hot and the women are in relationships/married, it’s okay as long as it’s not put on the Internet..but if men do it, it’s now considered sexist and wrong. We are not perfect, we will ogle and admire women we consider sexy. This isn’t the Puritans time period. Men are still allowed to have thoughts just like women. The difference is “1. Don’t act on it” and “2. Don’t put it on the damn Internet”

    btw, I’m single by choice, and have 4 little nephews/niece I love, I’m not a threat to society or to women. I don’t treat my sister-in-laws like objects. thank you and have a wonderful day

  • Joanna

    “Waaaah! Leave James Gunn alone!”

  • Aeryl

    The criteria for any good joke, is does it make fun of the powerful or the powerless?

  • Anonymous

    Well, blond jokes and the joke about Alabama are offensive right? I mean the whole point of the joke is that you’re putting down a group of people. Does that mean we shouldn’t tell them? I don’t know. The problem is that humans, as a group, are really astonishingly stupid, and if you make enough jokes about blonds being dumb, a certain portion of the population will begin to think it’s actually true.

  • Aeryl

    You are wrong. This issue is fraught with complications, and if those complexities are too much for you, I would ask you to trust those of us with lived experience of sexism, when we say that those are not equivalent.

    If those complexities aren’t too much for you and you are willing to be educated, well here goes.

    Men do not have the cultural baggage of decades of sexual objectification, whereas women do. How many ugly male politicians have we had? On the other hand, if women are not conventionally attractive or actively attempting to conform to beauty standards, they are not considered serious. Men are not routinely judged solely on their appearance.

    Men are at times judged for their ability to conform to traditional masculinity, but that is because failing that test, makes you the equivalent of a woman, and again its the comparison to women that is supposed to be the horrifying thing about failing that test.

    Women judging men on their looks is a radical act, even now, because women are still culturally expected to be the gatekeepers of sex, not the facilitators.

    Gunn’s article also was also repellent for reasons other than objectification, by wishing attractive lesbian characters would be correctively raped, WHICH IS A REAL THING IN THE REAL WORLD, and expressing disgust at the thought of male on male sexuality.

    These few things I talk about are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the systemic objectification of women, and how its harmful to women as a whole. At the same time, magazines and websites put out “sexiests” lists all the time, and don’t face this backlash, and that is because what Gunn did went beyond simple objectification, into outright misogyny and homophobia.

  • Lance Bravestar

    I don’t see why you’re using a picture of the trolls for this article.

  • Lance Bravestar

    Oh, trolls, okay, I got it.

  • Anonymous

    I think you might be missing the point. Perhaps you didn’t read James Gunn’s original article? No one said that saying that remarking that some women are attractive is bad. There’s a big, big difference between saying “this woman is attractive, and would probably enjoy to make the sex with her,” and saying “this woman has fucked a lot of guys, so she must be a huge slut.” They are fundamentally different statements. Surely you can see this.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, I was using race as an example.

  • Anonymous

    I was just trying to think of a joke that featured white rich guys. I guess it’s like Louis C.K. says, “you can’t even hurt my feelings!”

  • Anonymous

    As a rule, the “how come THEY can do it?” argument does not hold water. Even if it’s factual, it’s been universally decided that it’s weak, and doesn’t even have to be responded to.
    There’s lots of long-winded responses that speak to the inherent inequality of the two groups in discussion, the privilege of the larger group, etc. But to summarize, your mom was able to respond with “because I said so”, and it’s failed ever since.

  • Anonymous

    Comedy with a fuse. Best kind.

  • Anonymous

    Told you.

  • Anonymous

    The criteria for a good joke is “Is it funny?”
    Two fish are in a tank, One asks the other, “How do you drive this thing?”
    Who it makes fun of is a criteria of the question “Who can I tell this joke to?”

  • Anonymous

    The beauty of that bit is it both allows himself to be self-effacing, but also hangs a lampshade on how silly it is to be offended by a joke.

  • Anonymous

    Offense is subjective. Therein lays the problem. There are plenty of blondes who find blonde jokes funny, because they know They Don’t Mean Me.
    If you meet someone who believes that (group)s are inferior, do you think “Wow this poor guy must have been taught was so by an endless stream of jokes” or do you think “What a dick!”
    Blame the person, not the “society who made them that way”. When millions of people do a thing, and only a small percentage seem to be affected by the thing, odds it’s not the thing. Same for comics, videogames, Dungeons and Dragons and any of the other things people love to say are the root cause of the evils of mankind.
    Humankind; whatever.

  • Anonymous

    But . . . everything is funny to someone. So, no.

  • Anonymous

    Actually, I’m pretty sure it hangs a lampshade on the fact that there are no jokes that put down rich white guys.

  • ACF

    As a heterosexual male, I’ve never felt it wasn’t ok for me to say a woman was attractive, generally speaking, or in the context you describe. Certainly, there are contexts in which it wouldn’t be ok, but I don’t feel like it’s generally vilified. Gunn’s comments were terrible because of what they specifically said about women and homosexuals, not because he was suggesting certain women were attractive (in fact, he just put up the characters his fans voted on, male and female alike).

  • Anonymous

    Did you read the study I linked to? I could find other studies for you that demonstrate that, actually, people’s perceptions are altered by cultural stereotypes. Those stereotypes are reflected in the jokes made about specific groups of people. So every time you tell a joke about a stereotyped group, you’re reinforcing that stereotype. I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy your premise that all jokes are completely harmless.

  • Christopher LaHaise

    Excellent article, and I’m glad to see it here. Thank you very much for allowing this to be posted on the Mary Sue. I’d really like to see more of your work.

  • Anonymous

    Indeed. VBartilucci, your privilege, check it.

  • Anonymous

    Do what?

  • Anonymous

    Is this intentional irony?

  • Aeryl

    He made a reply to this comment saying that the answer is “Because mom said so” and he is writing off my comment as mummy scolding.

  • Anonymous

    That is so hilarious!!…Oh wait, it’s not, it’s actually quite belittling.

  • Laura Truxillo

    “I’m not a threat to society or to women. I don’t treat my sister-in-laws like objects.”

    These aren’t the comforting words you seem to think they are. Especially that last sentence. To borrow David Wong’s concept, of COURSE you don’t treat your sisters-in-law or nieces like objects–they’re part of your monkeysphere. Many men who treat women despicably probably love their mothers/sisters/wives/daughters. Heck, do you think men in the fifties, in the twenties, thought they were treating their family members like objects? No, most of them would have thought “I love my wife/children.” It’s not really a black-and-white concept. You can totally love your female relatives and still espouse some horribly misogynist stuff (see: many actions of the Republican Party this past year).

    Aeryl does a better job of explaining why, no, you’re wrong. Just had to add that part, because boy howdy, does it skeeve me out to hear the tired old, “I can’t be a misogynist; I love my daughter!”-type logic

  • Brenda/Lysana/either

    Intent doesn’t change injury. “I didn’t mean to step on your foot” won’t change a broken toe. You clearly have no idea how it is to live in a culture that consistently degrades you and makes you the butt of a joke because of an accident of birth.

  • Brenda/Lysana/either

    The “but what about” argument is never factual. The power structure is the context. You are proving the anonymous writer’s point very eloquently. Congratulations.

  • Matt Sooby

    I must admit, at first I thought people were honestly making too big a deal over this whole thing, but I really do get it now. I followed the notion that the piece was intended as satire, and if you don’t get the joke then that’s on you. I thought it was silly, and I admit even stupid, for someone to get offended by what was meant as a joke, because I’m of the opinion that nothing is beneath being able to joke about. But I now realize that with a delicate comedy such as satire comes a responsibility (a great power that requires a great responsibility if I may be so trite), to make sure the sarcasm is obvious. If it is not clear from the outset that the piece in question is not meant to be taken literally (and as this anonymous source points out, it should be clear singularly, not in relation to previous works), then it is not the fault of the receiver to be offended, but the fault of the writer for offending. Basically, joking about sensitive issues is only cool if it’s clearly a joke.

    I’m a male fan of The Mary Sue, and it’s my main source for nerd news. I’ve always considered myself relatively anti-sexism and have always supported the LGBT community fully. However in this case my thoughts were wrong and I now realize the error of my thinking. Thanks for enlightening me on this matter, I suppose that’s part of the reason this site is what it is.

  • Melissia

    Indeed, I just recently found The Mary Sue, and I feel like I’ve added something good to my daily routine to check its posts.

  • Melissia

    Maybe… but it was worth sharing.

  • Melissia

    Blonde jokes are also usually so generic and poorly thought out as to not be funny.

    I mean, even Yo Momma jokes are better than most blonde jokes.

  • Travis Fischer

    Thank you proving everybody who said that people were going overboard about the whole James Gunn thing correct. I appreciate the validation.

  • Anonymous
  • Dara Crawley

    And just take this advice into account

    Satire fails whenever someone does not realize it is a satire. Regardless of content when you cross the line where your real point is unclear you have failed as a satirist, and perhaps worse identically reaffirmed a view of the world for some poor soul, not to mention condemned yourself to being viewed wrong in the eyes of those whose positions you share.

  • Nicole Elizabeth Currie

    I’m going to assume that you posted this to be ironic, because otherwise, you just proved the article.

  • Matt Sooby

    Yes, thank you. This is essentially what I’ve come to realize.

  • Anonymous
  • Magic Xylophone

    “The extremely vocal male majority in geek culture has been quick to decry any attempts to discuss issues of gender politics in the mediums that they worship”

    Whoa whoa whoa. I’ll agree that geek culture has a male majority, but I think it’s fairly apparent that the extremely vocal, defensive contingent of that demographic is a minority. Or at least, I desperately hope that’s the case.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    I don’t think female geeks have the exclusive right to be offended by the article in question. I, for one, would like the future in genres I enjoy to be written by better people than James Gunn.

    I admit that I’m still bugged that his (not much of an) apology went over so well. I’d compare it to crack heads on talk shows getting a round of applause for turning their lives around and possibly a car depending on the talk show, whereas the rest of us (who were never crack heads) get no medals for never being total screw ups. He’s more enlightened now than when he wrote the article

  • Sophie

    I desperately hope so too, but sometimes you see these comment threads where it’s just comment after comment of awful guys and and I start to worry that there’s more of them than we think. I often feel like the comics companies themselves think these types of guys are their majority market.

  • Anonymous
  • Hannah Cupcake

    Imagine me singing “Come What May” to this post rn.

  • Stephen Crispini

    I don’t intend in any way to seem that I stand on the side of Gunn’s defenders – as this is certainly not the case – but The Onion, for example, is consistently mistaken for “real news” by the unsuspecting or uninformed, but I don’t believe it fails to be good satire as a result. In fact, I’d go so far as to say a particular type of satire relies directly on the fact that it so closely mirrors reality, as it allows people to see that the organization or system being indirectly referenced is just as ridiculous as the satirical organization/system. And, of course, even with the best-composed satire or joke, there will be people that mistake it for something serious.

    I think with humor there is always that wiggly line between safe humor and completely inadmissible humor: comedians push this line around, and society either chuckles in approval or pushes back in disgust. What is acceptable humor today would have horrified people just a few decades back. It’s not an easy thing to call every time, and obviously in this case it went too far, but I do think the “if someone doesn’t realize it’s satire it completely fails as satire” argument has some flaws.

  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous

    I wish it was too, but my experience as a female geek has made it abundantly clear that this is not so. The attitude in Gunn’s “humor” is all too common for everyday at a con from guys in the crowd. And gaming on-line… Yeah, that’s what it’s like.

  • Anonymous
  • hatemichael

    Sheeze you idiots are still talking about this? Did you know that Elaine in Seinfeld once tried to turn a gay man to straight? Yes, this happens people in regular culture! A freaking SEINFELD episode on broadcast TV! Get a life, losers