The outrage with which Cernovich went after Gunn is a calculated posture, a way of saying, “If you can get someone fired by saying their words are offensive, we can too.”

That approach depends, for its effectiveness, on a deliberate refusal to draw any categorical distinctions. It insists on a world in which punishment should be weighed not by the intensity of the offense but by the noise level of those who are (or act) offended. Thus, Gunn’s comment that a hotel shower was so weak that it felt like a 3-year-old peeing on his head (yes, that is literally one of the “pedophilia” jokes that was quoted in support of his firing) is given the same weight as a blunt-force attack on African-Americans, the LGBTQ community, or women. If you can’t see a difference between a lame Gunn tweet from 2012 like “Three Men and a Baby They Had Sex With #unromanticmovies” and “When is the last time women organized to support a men’s rights issue? Stop being fags. Who cares about breast cancer and rape? Not me” (a Cernovich tweet from 2012 — he’s super-interested in not being interested in rape), then you’re either not trying, or you’re invested in insisting there’s no difference. As is, for example, Ted Cruz, who swiftly attached his suction cups to the underside of this news cycle and sweatily tweeted about Gunn that “if these tweets are true, he needs to be prosecuted.” By Saturday, Gunn’s Wikipedia page had a subheading labeled “Pedophilia accusations”; it has since been changed, but the reputational damage is done.