Archives For ghostbusters

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And so it comes to pass that another celebrity leaves the internet. In this case it’s Leslie Jones, star of Saturday Night Live and the new Ghostbusters movie.

Having endured a day’s worth of tweets that focussed on her race – none of which I care to repeat – Leslie signed off saying she felt like she’s living in ‘a personal hell’. Go through her Twitter feed and you’ll see her tweets go from bewildered to downright rage fuelled to, most depressingly of all, a woman whose soul has been crushed. At one point, fake screenshots were created and distributed, trying to paint the comedian as an anti-Semitic homophobe. Screenshots that were circulated by a right-wing ‘journalist’ (whose name I will refrain from using for fear the utterance of his moniker will lead to him finally being crushed under the weight of his own ego).

‘I didn’t do anything to deserve this,’ she states in a penultimate despairing tweet. And she’s absolutely right. This has gone from being about your childhood being ruined, to deliberately trying to ruin someone’s actual life.

I’d like to say that having rallied around her, poking fingers and spraying her with enough vitriol to feed a BNP rally, some would have realised the folly of their idiotic behaviour. However, and perhaps predictably, the Twitter twits doubled down on their behaviour, arguing that it was ‘banter’ or, brandishing the clearly faked screenshots, telling her she had it coming. Some went so far as to say that her being in Ghostbusters alone was enough reason to crucify her with disgusting racist comments; killing any last shred of credibility the Ghostbros were hanging onto that hating this remake ‘wasn’t about women.’

And whilst Jones has left the Twittersphere, the culprits remain at large; pinning their offensive tweets to their feed like a dentist promoting the death of another freshly killed sentient being. They snigger and guffaw. They presumably high five themselves on a job well trolled. The ‘journalist’ (who again I refuse to mention in case he explodes from the joy of name being shot out into the electronic ether) has dismissed the events of the previous day, suggesting Leslie will get her revenge when she gets to punch a facsimile of him in Ghostbusters 2. Something that is very unlikely to happen because even Sony will have caught onto the fact that merely whispering his name keeps him alive for ten more years, and no one deserves to be immortal. As I type he is starting a fight with Will Wheaton and blaming feminism for his co-opting of a movie that was meant to make people laugh, and using it to tear a person down.

And what of Twitter? Well, their CEO reached out to Leslie two hours before she quit – and so after several hours of abuse – asking her how they could help. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that what was needed was an automatic block of those sending the offensive tweets. So far they’ve just blocked the aforementioned ‘journalist’, but even now, a quick search under Leslie’s name will dig up a hundred more vicious assaults against the actor, all sent after she left.

I’ve reported a number of these accounts and I find it bitterly amusing that, upon doing so, I’m given the option to simply ‘block’ the offender; as if somehow protecting my sensitive little eyes will be of benefit to those receiving the actual abuse. I’m not reporting these folks because I’m all emotional, I’m doing it because I want to see a change on social media. One that stops people from hiding behind an unearned cry of ‘what happened to freedom of speech?!’ I want it so that in 2016, minorities of any kind are not chased off Twitter by the 4chan gestapo.

This should not be a radical thought. And yet, every time I report something on Twitter or Facebook – which is another barrel of policies and guidelines drawn with crayons that will make you pull your hair out in frustration – nothing seems to happen. Heck, I even reported a death threat I saw sent to former Australian PM Tony Abbott and was told by the blue banner social site that they didn’t see anything that violated their guidelines.

There is some irony to all this. The supporters of the ‘journalist’-who-must-not-be-named-and-now-can-no-longer-use-Twitter are calling out the social network site for being ‘fascist’ and even arguing that being gay is the reason he’s been banned, and not because of his constant abuse. Whereas Leslie Jones was meant to suck it up and get on with her life, this one man’s blocking is seen as an indictment of everything that’s wrong with the ‘loony left’ and be turned over. Nope, no double standards here.

Those who cry that everyone is too politically correct, and that no one is allowed to say anything, are wrong. The truth is that everyone is allowed to say whatever they want. However, that doesn’t mean everything you say is meant to be agreed with. And once you start deliberately targeting people because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, gender or simply because they are a starring in the remake of a film that has Bill Murray sexually harass one of his students and Dan Akroyd get jiggy with a ghost, then you are not debating anything. You’re just being vile and insidious. And whilst the social media giants refuse to do more to protect their users, this will continue, which is the rotten cherry on this whole disastrous cake of garbage.

This memorial day weekend, Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn was compelled to defend himself after receiving several abusive messages on his Facebook page – ranging from being called a Nazi to threats to his cat. What were the reasons for this outpouring of anger?

In the cold embrace of the night, had Mr Gunn entered everybody’s home to leave something unsanitary in front of their fireplaces like a perverted Santa?

Perhaps the outpouring of such vitriol was decided as the best course of action because James Gunn, the director of Super, was in actuality a war criminal who slept upon the corpses of his enemies and used child slave labour.

Perhaps, on a lesser level, upon being asked for the time, Mr Gunn instinctively gave the wrong time ensuring hundreds, if not thousands of people were late for meetings, parties or trysts.

No, it was none these options. What happened, dear reader, was James Gunn had something to say about this whole Captain America business, wherein Marvel recently announced the 75-year-old superhero had been working for the bad guys all along.

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There are numerous opinion pieces out there about this, you don’t need me to hold your hand to find them. A lot of people are angry. That’s fine. Everyone is allowed to be angry about something. I myself feel the whole thing is a bit of a cheap gimmick. However, Gunn was suggesting that perhaps the histrionics were unnecessary.

‘If you’re a forty-year-old dude claiming a comics company ruined your childhood because of a plot twist,’ the director wrote. ‘You might consider that your childhood really wasn’t that great to begin with.’

And lo his call was heard across the globe and people decided they weren’t happy about being told to calm down. They cried, they hollered, they threatened to chop up his cat.

Meanwhile, Melissa McCarthy commented that those people who feel the new Ghostbusters was ruining their childhood were blowing things out of proportion. She was immediately put in her place by people one can only assume were keeping one eye on their GB Blu-ray lest it should burst into flames.

These are not isolated incidents and if you’re feeling brave enough, you could Google the response belched out into the world when Michael Bay announced the first Transformers film. The cries of ‘Michael Bay Raped My Childhood’ were both alarming and odious.

Now, let’s get some perspective here. Imagine the internet as a large lake. The fan vitriol regarding any franchise is the equivalent of a fish’s fart bubbling to the surface when stacked up against truly important matters. But for those people who dare to suggest that it’s anything other than that are being met with the intensity usually reserved for countries that commit genocide. Hell, people will use Change.org to create petitions to twist their childhood passion into something they alone want. See the one created earlier this year to get George Lucas back in the director’s chair because apparently the critically acclaimed Force Awakens wasn’t that good. Yeah, Force Awakens needs George ‘Revenge of the Sith’ Lucas to bring back some glory.

In 2013, The Guardian published an article, Rise of the New Geeks, that highlighted how things like comic books, superheroes and fantasy were now mainstream. Film companies were now interested in getting ‘geeks’ on their side as it meant more bums on seats. Shops from both ends of the financial spectrum offer goods emblazoned with Batman, Gandalf and Spider-man. Three years later and it’s hard to not think that ‘geeks’ rule the roost.

I remember the days before all that happened. When I was in high school, Doctor Who was still on permanent hiatus, I was laughed at for enjoying The Goon Show and the pinnacle of being cool was wearing Naf Naf jackets and watching Byker Grove. I love the fact that some of my favourite things are popular in the mainstream now, but the level of entitlement that has come with it is bordering on sickening.

Full disclosure, I hated the idea of Batman Vs Superman and the Evil Dead remake. However, I at least went out of my way to see both films and although I’ve changed my mind about one, I still think the other is a terrible idea. However, whilst I’m prone to a drunken argument with increasingly disinterested friends about the lack of virtues in that film, I would never dream of sending death threats to those who made it, or worst still those who loved it. The film didn’t work for me, but good on you for liking it.

However, a number of those who did like a certain film about an angry mummy’s boy fighting another mummy’s boy who could fly felt that they were entitled to lynch those who hated it. Namely: the critics. In what could only have a been a monumental act mental gymnastics, some felt that the film’s lukewarm reception was down to Disney paying for good reviews. Once that seed was planted, it spread across the internet and right now, you can go on social media and find numerous unsubstantiated ‘facts’ that Disney is bribing people to not like a film. Because, sure, that’s how big business works. My review of Batman Vs Superman can be found here. If you ask nicely, I’ll show you pictures of my house in Malibu bought with my ill-gotten gains.

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And it doesn’t stop there. Look at the reviews for the new Ghostbusters toys on Amazon. One man is deliberately buying them so that he can give them one star reviews and cement his legacy as an utter self-opinionated idiot. When a nine-year-old child’s review for Age of Ultron ended up online, grown men tore him down, saying the film wasn’t made for him. That’s right, a film about adults in spandex punching robots wasn’t made with children in mind.

We have become so obsessed with our own childhoods, we are denying the right for anyone else to have their own unless it aligns with our expectations. Maybe in a sense, people are afraid of growing up, so cling desperately to their youthful obsessions because the world is a big and scary place. And in a way, that’s fine. I write as a 35-year-old man wearing Captain America pyjama pants. However, what I see happening time and time again, is this idea that childhood things should grow up with us. When the Doctor Who episode Let’s Kill Hitler was announced many moons ago, I stumbled across numerous requests from fans saying that Doctor Who was too childish and what was needed was an episode where The Doctor visits a concentration camp. Just let that settle in. How adult. How grown up. How paradoxically childish.

Our childhood is gone; it’s never coming back.It’s something we have to deal with. However, the spoilt entitlement we had as children appears to still be the main driving force behind the thinking of others. So what if Ghostbusters turns out to be a dud? So what if there’s four women in the lead? You know the worst thing that’s going to happen? A little girl is going to want to see a film that has characters she can relate to. They may even come out of the film that ‘ruined your childhood’ and want a proton pack, or – whisper it – may even want to watch YOUR Ghostbusters. Imagine that!

Your childhood isn’t being ruined. You’re doing fine. You will get through this. Now, get out of the  playhouse and let the other kids have a turn.