Chuck Wendig, an author of (among other things) Star Wars novels and comics, was working on a Darth Vader miniseries for Marvel when his editor informed him he was fired. Wendig said it was “because of the negativity and vulgarity that my tweets bring… It was too much politics, too much vulgarity, too much negativity on my part.”
It should be noted this is Wendig’s characterization. Marvel has not commented beyond confirming Wendig had been removed.
On October 6, Wendig tweeted: “There will be renewed calls for civility. Ignore them. They ask for civility as a way for you to grant them complicity in what they do…Civility is for normalcy. When things are normal and working as intended, civility is part of maintaining balance. But when that balance is gone, civility does not help return it but rather, destabilize it further. Because your civility gives them cover for evil. . . Note: this isn’t the same as calling for violence. But it is suggesting that you should not be shamed for using vigorous, vulgar language. Or for standing up in disobedience. Or for demanding acknowledgement and action in whatever way you must. . . Fuck Trump. But he’s just the ugly fake-gold mask they’ve put on this thing. Fuck all the GOP, fuck that blubbering, bristling frat boy judge, fuck McConnell, Ryan, Grassley, Collins, every last one of them. Fuck them for how they’ve shamed victims and helped dismantle democracy. . . They will tell you to smile, that we need to get back to business, that we gotta heal the rift and blah blah blah — but that’s the desire of a savvy bully, who wants you to stop crying after he hit you, who wants you not to fight back. But you can cry. And you can fight back. “
Basically, as some put it: ”Fuck civility.”
Wendig triggered a lot of replies including, especially, some conservative to right wing fans and pros with the apparent desire to stir up enough noise to get Wendig fired – which it did. That’s a thing now. Electronic bullying designed to intimidate, belittle, or in the case of Chuck Wendig, cost them a gig. Hit them in the pocket book. It’s no longer a battle of ideas or even competing philosophies. It’s kill. It’s destroy. The offense is that the other side exists.
My question is – did Marvel and/or its parent company Disney clearly state in the contract with Wendig that this kind of language and this kind of attitude expressed on the Internet could be cause for termination? Did they warn him at any point before he was fired? Or did they just pull the trigger? Are they making it easier for the trolls to win? The trolls have a plan: raise enough of a ruckus and you can damage your opponent/victim. You can silence them – which is the real purpose. That’s how you win – and that’s all that matters to them. Go for the jugular. Forget the argument being made; attack your opponent personally. If it’s a woman, threaten rape or death.
What do you do? Chuck Wendig suggests replying in kind. Former AG Eric Holder said: “It is time for us as Democrats to be as tough as they are, to be as dedicated as they are, to be as committed as they are. Michelle [Obama] always says, ‘When they go low, we go high.’ No. No. When they go low, we kick them.”
Here’s my problem. When Trump is gone (that day will come) we’ll still have this festering wound. To my mind, that’s the real damage to the Body Politic. I’ve heard comparisons made between our era and Germany before WW2 but I don’t think that’s the most apt comparison. I’ve read history and the current rancor feels to me like this country just before the American Civil War. That’s what we’ll still have to deal with when Trump himself is gone; that will be his lasting legacy.
I don’t have an answer. I don’t know how else we oppose the trolls. I fully understand the desire to fight fire with fire. I feel it, too. To fight the enemy, however, do you have to become the enemy? If we do, haven’t we lost the real battle? The only thought I’m left with is this:
5 thoughts on “Working Title #006: The Uncivil War”
“That’s a thing now. Electronic bullying designed to intimidate, belittle, or in the case of Chuck Wendig, cost them a gig. Hit them in the pocket book. It’s no longer a battle of ideas or even competing philosophies. It’s kill. It’s destroy. The offense is that the other side exists.”
But isn’t that what Mark Waid did to Richard Meyer?
I like your final line: “Fuck incivility.”
First, why are you bringing Mark Waid up? That is not the topic of this piece.
Second: It is not what Waid did to Meyer. Meyer raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to produce his book. Waid didn’t interfere with that. All Mark did was call Antarctic to ask them why they wanted to get in business with a bigot who led campaigns of harassment. Antarctic has repeatedly stated no one bullied them, that Waid had no influence on their decision and yet people like you keep perpetuating this myth. Antarctic’s own employees didn’t want to be associated with publishing Jawbreakers because of Meyer and the Gaters antics.
What’s so awful about self-publishing? It’s what pretty much every newbie has to do before they break into the industry as a real professional.
“First, why are you bringing Mark Waid up? That is not the topic of this piece.”
Well, John wrote about Chuck Wendig who lost a job because he made his political opinions public. If Mark Waid called Antarctic Press, as he and you acknowledge, then obviously he interfered with a business arrangement that he was not part of. And according to Mark Waid’s own Facebook posts, it was because he didn’t like Meyer’s opinions. That seems to be an obvious parallel, so that’s why I brought Mark Waid up.
“What’s so awful about self-publishing?”
Nothing I guess. But having a publisher to shoulder some of the overhead and logistics would be preferable.
Meyer should be able to work even if you don’t like his opinions. If I only read stuff from people I agreed 100% with, I would read nothing.
I think you and all the other Gaters are giving Waid way too much credit for his level of power and influence with anyone but particularly Antarctic. Making a phone call, to ask why a publisher is working with a horrible excuse for a human being & thereby legitimizing him is very different than firing someone for their tweets. What happened to Wendig is what happened to Gunn, not what happened to Meyer.
A parallel would be if there had been a huge public outcry against Wendig like there was against Meyer. Again Antarctic has repeatedly stated their move was motivated by their employees complaints not Mark Waid’s or any outside influence. Publishers drop books due to public outrage or allegations of misconduct all time: ask Milo Yiannopoulos or James Dashner.
“I think you and all the other Gaters are giving Waid way too much credit for his level of power and influence with anyone but particularly Antarctic.”
What I said above: “Meyer should be able to work even if you don’t like his opinions.” apparently led to you to believe that I am a Comicsgater. That is a bit presumptuous.
The only Spider-Man title I read is the Miles Morales book. I stopped reading any Peter Parker Spider-Man books at the end of One More Day in 2008; Amazing Spider-Man #545. That was when Parker made that deal with Mephisto, (essentially a deal with the devil). It was an inelegant way of undoing the marriage and erasing one of the most significant things to come out of Civil War, Parker having revealed that he is Spider-Man. That was bad enough, but you don’t make a deal with the devil.
I did not read Ironheart, but I wasn’t reading Iron Man before that. Apparently Tony Stark is back now. I’m still not reading it. I did not read Captain America before, during or after Sam Wilson became Cap. Not reading it now. I did read and am still reading Thor. I read and enjoyed the Jane Foster Thor. In fact, I had a letter printed in The Mighty Thor #18, June 2017.
Meyer’s position, if I understand it correctly, is that classic characters have been sidelined to promote a more diverse line up for diversity’s sake. He says these new character stories are substandard. Well, some are, and others are not. If I were a Comicsgater I wouldn’t be reading the Miles Morales book or writing letters of praise to Thor.