Hey, look, a popular Facebook quote that’s total bullshit. Whodathunk? In this case it’s a Joss Whedon quote that reminds us all how wonderfully feminist his work is, and it is, as mentioned, bullshit:
Or I guess it would be more accurate to say that it is not bullshit, and that the citation is in fact 100% accurate. Mr. Whedon did say that — all of it. The question and the answer both.
This was not an unscripted, off-the-cuff exchange with some journalist. It was not a moment of unexpected and sublime brilliance, or even of particular candor. It was part of a written speech wherein Mr. Whedon pretended to be a journalist asking himself questions.
You can read the whole thing at the American Rhetoric archives if you want to, but don’t bother. It’s just Joss Whedon pretending to be a journalist who can only ask that one question over and over again, presumably because she (or “he,” but let’s be realistic about Mr. Whedon’s fantasy here) is so stunned that this strange, rebellious, sensitive man was willing to defy convention and write strong women characters like no one before him.
Which would be very flattering, albeit inaccurate, if it had been a real person, but it wasn’t. It was a straw man of Joss Whedon’s imagining, and his wonderfully-quotable reply has all the improvisational genius of that witty retort you thought up two hours after getting your head flushed.
But I suppose, to hear him tell it, that happened to Mr. Whedon a fair amount. So perhaps it’s forgivable.