I wanted to see Avengers this week, but I doubt I’ll have time. Shame that. Each passing second makes a spoiler inevitable. Already the interwebs are a flame with something about Black Widow’s role in the film. I don’t know exactly what and I’m trying to keep it that way.
I know that at least one person accused Whedon of not knowing what a strong female character is. This is bizarre to me.
Let’s get one thing out of the way, before I make the point as to why it’s bizarre. Anyone can make a foul. No matter what you’ve done in the past, no matter how often you’ve succeeded, you can still fail next time. This obtains until you die, and the direct effects of you actions have all played out.
That said, Joss Whedon created Buffy the Goddamn Vampire Slayer, Zoe Washburn, Inara Serra, and I’m gonna go ahead and add River Tam and Kaywinnet Lee “Kaylee” Frye. None of these characters is defined by the basic female tropes.
That doesn’t mean Whedon didn’t drop the ball. I have no idea, really. Haven’t seen the movie. This comes to another aspect. Is it fair to be critical?
That’s going to depend. Criticizing Whedon on the basis that he doesn’t understand strong female characters is problematic, because he’s proven he does. Criticizing him because he does understand strong female characters, OTOH, is perfectly fair. People want to say the examples above aren’t strong enough? That’s fair.
What I find totally mind blowing (but shouldn’t) is that there’s a segment of population that sees this as an attack on Whedon. I shouldn’t be surprised. The basis of all rational thought is emotion. That means that whether there’s a valid criticism or not, someone will feel the need to criticize and act on it. That’s why it’s fair to be critical as long as the facts are observed. Everyone’s entitled to an opinion (on the basis that you can’t stop people having opinions). Everyone else is entitled to form an opinion about an opinion. Cue infinite regression.
Some issues, however, are ludicrous. Joss Whedon’s a big boy. He’s not under attack. He’s having his art questioned. That’s part and parcel of being an artist.
Some might argue that people are making threats against his livelihood. That’s one step removed from a threat against one’s life. That’s why “live” is the root of “livelihood.” Okay, that parallels certain other things. But there’s always a nut job. Always. The majority of criticism I’ve seen is just that. Criticism. It, sadly, takes the form of jabs at Whedon as a person. That’s what we call “normal human behavior.” Admittedly, normal human behavior includes murdering the oppressed, so we shouldn’t just dismiss the criticism on that count. Still, it’s not murder. It’s not threats of murder. It’s not even threats of violence. Just ill wishes.
Storm, meet tea cup. I’m only writing on the subject to fill some space. It seems likely, given that this is the Internet, that this is going to blow over by next week. Hell, it might blow over before this posts. There will be another outrage, or somebody will wear a silly hat.
Long zoom in over a steep hillside to a close up on Mira's face. She is dressed in a hospital gown, pajama pants and slippers.
MIRA: If I'd known it was gonna be this cold, I'da stole a coat.