In Defense of The Onion

By now, you’ve heard about the fury surrounding the tweet that The Onion sent out during the Oscars that read,  “Everyone else seems afraid to say it, but that Quvenzhané Wallis is kind of a c–t, right? #Oscars2013” Now, that’s a pretty horrible joke. That’s the thing: It was a joke. It’s not a joke that I would make, but, it was a joke that mocked the culture surrounding the Oscars and how society treats their stars.

We build these celebrities up and then spend HOURS of red-carpet coverage beating them up over their wardrobe and lifestyle choices. The Onion is satirical and their tweet was a way to drive home the point that we can be a dark society that rips people to shreds. If you didn’t like their tweet, but DO watch TMZ, congratulations, you’re a hypocrite. Unless, of course, you’re just offended by “The C-word” and not the actual sentiment of the joke.  If that’s the case, who really cares if you’re offended? 

You have every right to be offended by the nasty language, but why should other people be forced to bow to YOUR tastes? Yeah, it was a crude joke, but do you really think it’s necessary for other people to worry about what YOU might find to be in bad taste? Screw you. Why should I care? What power do you think that you wield that you should force other people to tone it down?

OK, so then maybe you agree that it’s satire and you have no problem with the word, but you think it’s in poor taste to “go after” a little 9-year old girl. If you believe that, then you have to believe that The Onion was LITERALLY calling her a “c–t,” which they were not. They were satirizing the event and the vultures that surround the celebrity culture who exist to tear people down. The fact that they used a 9-year old as the subject of the joke only made the point more effectively.

In any event, the storm has blown over and The Onion has apologized for their tweet. I’m sure the offended parties are thrilled that they’ve made the internet a safe place for children again.

Maybe my favorite piece of analysis on this issue comes from Joe Garden, former editor of The Onion. On Monday, he tweeted, “I will say this: Everyone loves the Onion until they publish something they disagree with. Fuck you, pussies.” That’s just how it goes. Comedians will offend you sometimes. Then, the next day, they’ll make you cry with laughter. It’s called “The Creative Process.” Then again, comedy’s not for everyone.