In defense of Joss Whedon?

Here’s the headline from a recent article I’d like to address written by the Ex-Wife of Joss Whedon (maker of the Avengers, Firefly and stuff like that) because it is a teachable moment.  Not so much about if Whedon is a bag of sh*t, I couldn’t care less.  It’s a different lesson.

Joss Whedon Is a ‘Hypocrite Preaching Feminist Ideals,’ Ex-Wife Kai Cole Says

Ah…to be able to see ourselves as the world see us, I’m glad I can’t.  Lady, let me do you a favor and explain that to anyone who’s been through a divorce or knows someone who has…this headline might as well have been “I am in the acceptance of loss stage known as anger”.  I know your ex husband writes stuff for young people, but this article is going to be read by a lot of grown ups, who live in the grown up word and have lead grown up lives.  And frankly…it’s not making us loath him in as much as feeling bad for you, and hoping you get better/hoping you go away until you do.

This quote here sums up the disconnect in one line-

I don’t think it is fair to me or other women to remain silent any longer.

As if she’s the first person to ever get cheated on, or that anyone is going to be surprised that some guy in Hollywood cheated on his wife, and as if we are supposed to accept/believe that this hit piece is some brave selfless act and not a hurt filled attempt at some payback.  Give us a break huh? We’re not stupid out here.  You’re hoping we see him differently, but all I see is hurt and anger. This should have been emailed to your best friend or your therapist, not paraded out as some attempt to purify the feminist cause.

What value to anyone but you, for the sake of cathodicy, is your rant? Is this a warning that some people don’t hold true to their marriage vows? Hold on, let me pick myself up off the floor…or am I maybe supposed to  know this in case he want’s to date my daughter?

…You want us all to think Whedon is a dreadful human being, maybe he is, I’d be willing to believe it. But the end result of your rant here, is us grown ups thinking you are a pretty dreadful human being yourself, for airing out your dirty laundry to the whole world, and for quoting private personal conversations and for minimizing what “feminism” is.  Quotes, by the way, some of which not from emails or anything written down, but from memory of what he said…months or years earlier…you think maybe those aren’t completely accurate quotes…but perhaps, at best, remembered in such a way as to put him in a bad light because you’re really hurt right now?

The whole article is here

The jist  of it is, Whedon isn’t a feminist because he cheated on her a bunch of times.  The list of feminists who have cheated on their partners is probably as long as the great wall of china, and one thing has nothing to do with the other.  He claims to be a feminist. Him claiming to be a feminist and NOT hiring women and giving them lead roles would make him a hypocrite, but in fact he HAS hired many women and given them lead roles.  So…he’s a feminist who cheated on his wife, that’s different than a hypocrite, get it? See, feminism is a big picture thing…a cause…he hasn’t failed the cause, he just failed you. Whoopie Goldberg cheated, are your telling us she’s not a feminist?! What about a Lesbian feminist who cheats on her partner?

She didn’t recount any tales of Whedon being unfair in casting, or salary. No tales of the women he slept with being goaded into doing so to get a role, nuthin.  The soul reason she give for us to question his feminism is him cheating on her…with other women…who knew he was married.

Look, I’m a guy, if the feminists want to eat their own it’s no harm to me, but overlooking his career’s worth of giving women major roles shouldn’t be overshadowed by his personal life.  On a side note, As far as examples of how guys ruin marriages go…this is about as good as it gets and it drops into way way worse in a hurry.

So, there was all that, the “he was shitty to me therefor he doesn’t believe in something” but that’s not the lesson to be learned.  The whole thing is just a long jilted lovers side of a relationship, seriously….that’s what it is, it’s a telling us how it all went down from the first meeting in 1991 til today with all the dirty laundry she could muster.  Aside from her occasionally mentioning feminism to remind us that is her alleged reason for all of this information we didn’t need, it’s one long recount  of a marriage that got destroyed with lot’s of stuff like this sprinkled in…

I was with him when his “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” script was adapted, and the resulting movie released. It was painful to see how his vision was interpreted by the production team and on our honeymoon to England in 1995, I urged him to figure out how to turn it into a TV show. He didn’t want to work in television anymore, following in his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps, but I convinced him it was the fastest way to get the experience he needed, so he could direct his own films someday. I had no idea, in that lovely garden in Bath, that it would change everything.

and this…

I was a powerful influence on the career choices Joss made during the 20 years we were together (we lived together for four years before marrying). I kept him grounded, and helped him find the quickest way to the success he so deeply craved. I loved him. And in return, he lied to me.

I don’t know how much influence she had, but it’s obvious she didn’t help with the writing…that was about as subtle as a kick in the balls. Maybe she helped his career, I’d be willing to believe she did. That’s what marriage is, you help each other, but how does that make this rant a help  to “all women” or “feminism” in general?  Maybe as a warning that things could go south and your spouse could reap the larger share of the reward?  Uh…that’s not a news flash to anyone over five years old.

There is also a whole lot of psychoanalyzing of Whedon, not by a licensed psychologist, but by an angry hurt ex-wife.

Look lady…my heart goes out to you, it does. I’m sure this hurts like hell, I know divorce hurts like hell, but this article was a bad idea and ain’t coming across like you think. We grown ups have seen all this before.  We’ve seen marriages end…and end WAY worse than yours did. We’ve had friends and relatives cry on our shoulders saying things to us similar to your tale, and we’ve listened and nodded our heads, knowing full well that having seen the whole relationship from the start ourselves…that we are hearing a very lopsided view coming from someone who is very hurt.  We’ve even perhaps been that person giving a lopsided view, only to realize months later how lopsided our thinking was because of the hurt.  The difference was they and we, didn’t try to heal by telling the whole world the sordid details, post personal conversations and trying to ruin someones career.

The guy cheated on you and ruined the marriage.  It happens quite often and when you are talking to us about someone in Hollywood, the shock would be if you told us he DIDN’T cheat on you.  You think your sad tale is going to even leave a dent?  CHARLIE SHEEN BEAT UP A HOOKER, and five months later he was performing to sellout crowds.  Roman Polanski won’t even come into the U.S. because he’s wanted for sexual assault of a 13 year old, that hasn’t stopped anyone from watching “Rosemary’s baby” or giving him awards for “the pianist”. Whedon cheated on his wife…he’s is from Hollywood…we expect the worse, we accept the worse, we don’t care. If you wanted to hurt they guy you should have leaked a script or told us that he’s going to kill off Iron Man…because us grown ups in grown up land…that’s as much as the world gives a damn about Whedon.

We have our own problems, our friends and families have their own problems.  And as an escape from those problems we see movies and watch t.v. shows. Movies and shows that sometimes are made by dreadful human beings.  We ignore that because sometimes human beings are dreadful. We know dreadful human beings, we work with dreadful human beings. Somewhere out there a plumber is stuck working with another plumber who is a dreadful human being…but is a really good plumber. That’s life in grown up land.

“I want the people who worship him to know he is human”

No…you want us to think he’s a bag of sh*t, just like you think he’s a bag of sh*t”.   No one could sum up your rant and come to the conclusion that you just want us to think he’s “human”. and by the way, we don’t “worship” him, we just want to see Captain America hit someone with his shield.

Let’s say everything said was true, even though someone’s very recently divorced ex-wife (or ex husband) is a…less than fantastic source as a character witness. Whedon has and is doing good for women in Hollywood and you telling us all that he isn’t just because he failed you, makes you look like a narcissist. You want me to list all the people who were important to their cause even they were bags of sh*t in their personal lives? I can’t, it’d take FOREVER.

Shall I list some plumbers who are good plumbers even though they cheated?  If your toilet was overflowing would you give a damn if the guy who was going to stop human feces from spilling out into your living room was unfaithful at some point in his life? No…and we don’t give a rats ass if the guy who wrote the Avengers was.  He makes popcorn movies about comic book super heroes, half the people didn’t have any clue as to whether or not he claimed to be a feminist in the first place until you started yapping.

If feminism is the motivation for your article, I ask you, is it better for feminism if Whedon makes a Scarlet Witch movie or we get Transformers 8?

You have taught a valuable lesson though. None of us see ourselves precisely as the world sees us, and the more emotional we are the more there is a difference in that seeing.  You meant for this to make Whedon look bad, and it does…but the larger take away is that you are hurt and angry and handling it in a monumentally sleazy way.  That is very human, we are often at our worst when we are emotional.  So at emotional times, go to your friends and family NOT THE INTERNET.

That’s not a lesson I’d think we would need to still be learning in 2017, but it is.  Because months, or maybe a year from now, when the pain has subsided…she’s going to regret having written this.

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One Comment

  1. I’d just like to thank you for examining the situation in a way that doesn’t throw ad hominems and invective at Joss. However, you are pretty much alone in the wilderness in your assessment of what Kai Cole did, and the resulting damage. I actually had to use these Google terms to find this blog post: “Is anyone defending Joss Whedon?” I think you were on about page 3 of the results.

    What a shame not one of his friends or colleagues, or even Equality Now, has refuted the phony feminist charges she’s thrown at him. I can understand why they wouldn’t want to address the dirty personal laundry. Maybe someone will come forward in the future, but now is the time to reduce the damage done.

    Thanks again.

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