Wife shoots husband dead. Cops show up, see her standing next to the dead body. Wife says there is no dead body. Cops say there is. She insists there’s not. Cops leave. This is what Marvel director James Gunn wants us to believe about the current wave of blacklisting, book burning, and cancel culture sweeping the country — What dead body?
“Stop calling everything ‘cancel culture’ because you’re too dim to have a nuanced opinion,” Gunn tweeted last week. “People can be offended by something, or think something sucks, and that’s not “cancel culture” – it’s free speech.”
Stop calling everything "cancel culture" because you're too dim to have a nuanced opinion. People can be offended by something, or think something sucks, and that's not "cancel culture" – it's free speech.
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) March 7, 2021
There’s a whole thread there, if you want to read it… He defends the blacklisting of Pepe Le Pew, the decision to figuratively burn Dr. Seuss books, and so on… And at no point does he claim the cancel culture has gone too far, including when he lost his own job…
“And for all of you out there (I see you) saying, ‘What about people who try to cancel you?! Do they have the right to do that?!’ OF COURSE THEY DO. And I will fight for their right to do so. I may not agree with their opinions but I believe deeply in their right to free speech.”
And for all of you out there (I see you) saying, "What about people who try to cancel you?! Do they have the right to do that?!"
OF COURSE THEY DO. And I will fight for their right to do so. I may not agree with their opinions but I believe deeply in their right to free speech.
— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) March 7, 2021
His defense boils down to this: blacklisting or “canceling” is merely free speech.
So when Disney fired Gina Carano for a tweet using an anodyne Nazi analogy, something her co-star Pedro Pascal did without being fired, that was merely Disney using free speech.
When Twitter removes people from its public square monopoly because those people believe men are men and women are women, that’s just free speech.
When Facebook destroys small businesses dependent on a platform that promised unfettered free speech by blacklisting their page over political positions on issues like gender and vote fraud, that’s just free speech.
So I guess Gunn believes the following is true…
Back in the 1950s, when the Hollywood blacklist was in full bloom, when private companies and individuals (the government had nothing to do with the Hollywood blacklist) were “canceling” the likes of Dalton Trumbo and Albert Malz and Ring Lardner Jr., and the rest of the Hollywood Ten, and hundreds of others, that wasn’t canceling or blacklisting, that was just producers, directors, studios, and sponsors practicing their own free speech.
You see, cowardly fascists like Gunn can’t have it both ways. Today, as good people watch in horror while mega-corporations blacklist people and art and ideas, Gunn doesn’t have the moral courage to say this is wrong. And in defending today’s McCarthyism, he is retroactively defending the McCarthyism that poisoned Hollywood throughout the 50s. It is simply a fact that what happened in the 1950s is happening today. There’s no difference. Today’s Woke Nazis are even using the same language: safety, morality, patriotism, greater good.
The truth is this: history is going to judge James Gunn and his appeasing ilk in the same way history judged the cowards and quislings of the 1950’s blacklist.
Name a time when the censors and witch hunters and book burners and blacklisters ever came out on the right side of history, or when their enablers like James Gunn were remembered as anything other than cowards.
There is no such time, and eventually this moral panic will pass and history will remember those who stood up to the mob, those who joined the mob, and moral cowards like James Gunn who tried to gaslight us into believing the mob is a good and noble thing.