We are haunted by history. Ghosts live in our heads and our streets and our social circumstances. Our present is shaped by the past, by the mistakes and triumphs of our ancestors, by the barriers they broke through or reinforced.
We’ve evolved. … We are more aware of the injuries we do to each other, sometimes without even thinking; we’re continuing to learn that the way we talk about things shapes the way we think about them and experience them. And it’s important to admit when we are wrong.
– Lauren Beukes in the preface to Maverick
Here are my thoughts on these two events which happen to be thematically similar. Were both of the comments made by Trevor Noah and James Gunn wrong and stupid? Yes. But let’s be real. We all make stupid comments. We all make mistakes. I believe that what matters is not how you screw up, but how you react to the screw up. James Gunn deleted those tweets years ago. Probably at the time that he realised that they were not things to joke about. Trevor Noah, was making a joke that could have been more nuanced. But in the era when the President of the United States has openly boasted about ” Grabbing woman by the pussy” and has not changed his behavior, I strongly believe that we are missing the point.
At the moment the world is a pretty screwed up place. There are plenty of things to get outraged about. Genuine, unapologetic misogyny, racism, sexism, human rights abuses all deserve our vocal commendation backed up by our actions. We have to be careful about where we use our energy and outrage (simply because we are all human and do not have an infinite supply of energy).
I suspect that the people drumming up outrage for these mistakes are taking advantage of using them as distractions from the things that we should be getting pissed off about.
I leave this post with a tweet from Tess Fowler whose sentiment I wholeheartedly endorse:
Re: James Gunn
1.) Stop letting evil people make up morality rules they themselves refuse to live by.
2.) If you dogpile a man who is actively and publicly working to no longer be an asshole, you're not helping progress. You're hindering it.
— Tess Fowler (@TessFowler) July 22, 2018
Love and social media kerfuffles,