"All of us operate according to a narrative we have adopted for ourselves," says Saraya Roberts in response to the Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel creator's recent New York magazine cover story profile. "Depending on who you ask, that narrative can be closer to the truth or … not. Usually, it’s somewhere in between. But for people like Whedon, for people like Louis C.K., even for people like Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby, their narratives about themselves are not only false, but foisted upon everyone else. As these men acquire more and more power, that forced autobiography becomes so ingrained that the growing pile of actions pointing to the contrary becomes easier and easier to ignore. The internet didn’t raise up Whedon; the internet raised up an idea of Whedon that he actively fostered, that his power allowed him to proliferate. And the modern internet did not pull him down, it pulled down the idea it had bought into along with everyone else. This is not about the complicity of fandom or the celebrity machine, it is about the complicity of the wider culture in the stories powerful people tell, a genre which runs on the famously patronizing adage, 'Do as I say, not as I do.' The Whedon story opens with academics deifying the sci-fi filmmaker as the founder of a new faith, having subverted centuries of oppression by creating a blonde cheerleader from the valley who kills vampires. If that sounds facetious, it’s because it’s supposed to—academics, of all people, should know better than anyone that the origin story of subverted stereotypes is usually found in the very marginalized communities that have experienced the repercussions of those stereotypes. This happens long before the inevitable white male nerd comes along and—with the help of multiple people, including the woman who discovered him—casts himself as the male embodiment of female empowerment, the savior of women in a world full of men like him." Roberts adds: "Whedon is a misogynist who sold himself as a feminist, and the industry bought it. And then that image was sold on. Now, despite not copping to much of the behavior he is accused of, Whedon claims he has a condition (complex PTSD, the same condition, New York notes, that his ex has) that explains all of it. This is a man casting about for absolution without acknowledging the reason it is necessary. People may not be buying Whedon’s line anymore, but the media is still willing to put him on a cover, and that says something...Whedon knows he still has the power to draw a crowd. Too savvy to lean on silence, he speaks over his actions and says, 'I’m terrified of every word that comes out of my mouth,' knowing full well that his audience will still be hanging on to every single one."
TOPICS: Joss Whedon, Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer