So Joss Whedon’s ex-wife, Kai Cole, has negative things to say about him and his philandering, hypocritical ways. I lean toward believing her; I have had critical things to say about his work before along the lines of, “If you’re such a feminist, then why does the plot go like this?” (Don’t get me started on the axe handoff in The Cabin in the Woods.) It matters the way that an atheist preacher matters: when someone’s selling you “strong female characters” but covering up disrespect for his wife at home, the hypocrisy tends to undermine the good work.
But I think the real discussion here is: what we do when we find out our heroes have feet of clay?
Tempting to come down on one side or another, treat every situation as if it were black and white. “The circumstances around art don’t affect the art.” “The circumstances around art mean that we should boycott creations of taste made by people who are themselves distasteful.”
And yet critical evaluation–doubt–is a process. Not a side on a team.
Additionally, when an artist taking a position of, “but meeeee,” as Joss Whedon did in his response to the article above (also quoted in the article above, if you’re interested), then you know they’ve lost the empathy they need to be a great artist. I hope Joss Whedon turns this around; I’ve long enjoyed (but not unquestioningly) his work, but what I read of that script for Wonder Woman was a real stinker.
In other news, last night I finished Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton, by Edward Rice. Talk about flawed. One of my personal heroes died racist and bigoted: I still like him, though.
If you enjoyed this blog post, please check out my horror/suspense novelette Something Borrowed, Something Blue, about a guy who doesn’t know himself as well as he thinks he does…