When Marvel first announced that they were making a movie based on what were a relatively obscure bunch of characters called the Guardians of the Galaxy, I was one of many people who were baffled at the choice, and thought even Marvel would struggle to find a way to make it yet another box office hit.
But, from the moment I saw the trailer I found myself getting excited, and the movie turned out to be the perfect mix of fun and adventure, everything I’d hoped the new Star Wars movies would be. Guardians managed the right mix of humour and heart that left you feeling happy after watching it.
Down the Barrell of a Gunn
A lot of the credit for that needed to go to the director, James Gunn, and his influence all over every aspect, from the script to the cast. I couldn’t wait for the sequel and, while not quite as good as the first one, was still a great movie. With people already getting excited about the third one, the news that Gunn has been axed by Marvel owners, Disney, came as a massive shock.
For those who haven’t been following, the decision was made in response to a influential right wing Twitter user calling attention to a number of tweets Gunn made over ten years that were extremely problematic and inappropriate.
What was he thinking?
There seems to be little disagreement about the tweets being inexcusable, Gunn himself seemingly genuinely remorseful, but opinions seem polarised on whether he should have been sacked over things he said so long ago, especially when they don’t seem to reflect his current behaviour or values.
The fallout is still going on, and the arguments will continue whatever the outcome, but no matter who is right or wrong—it’s too complex an issue to do justice to here even if I felt qualified to weigh in—there is one aspect that should concern us all.
The most (im)pure of motives
Many those welcoming Gunn’s axing did so from a genuine, and in fairness quite understandable, conviction—believing that those tweets were unacceptable and that there needed to be consequences. But, the person who originally dredged up the tweets seems to have had different motivations.
Looking at their own tweeting history it’s clear that it wasn’t actually about a moral objection to the tweets, it was a deliberate attempt to cause as much trouble for Gunn as possible as a political tactic.
Mutually Assured Destruction
It follows cases of left wing figures conducting social media campaigns against those on the right—as US politics becomes more and more polarised and ugly something both sides of the divide seem willing to do. One side uses something to draw blood against the other only to find that the knife soon turns in their hands.
Casting the first stone?
I don’t this will be the last time we see something like this, and you don’t have to approve of Gunn’s tweets to find that a little alarming for a number of reasons. Who among us has never done or said something wrong, and would have nothing to fear from someone going digging back deacdes to find something to find against us?
Whatever happened to Amazing Grace?
And, do we really want a climate where once you’ve made a mistake that’s it, and that’s what you will be judged by for the rest of your life, no matter how you change or try and make up it for it, and try and be better?
One of the great things about the Gospel is that it tells us that we can change, that we can be forgiven, if we repent and acknowledge our mistakes. We need to decide whether we want to use people’s mistakes a bludgeon or whether we want to acknowledge true repentance with forgiveness—I know that’s what I would hope for when the stones were being thrown at me.
David Goodwin is the former Editor of The Salvation Army’s magazine,War Cry. He is also a cricket tragic, and an unapologetic geek.â¨â¨
David Goodwin archive of articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/david-goodwin.html