Monday, February 25, 2013

The Onion and Quevenzhane Wallis

Quevenzhane Wallis made Oscar history as the youngest Best Actress nominee ever. She's only nine years old.

A tweet put out by The Onion during the Oscars on Sunday night showed that even a well known irreverent, satirical outfit can push its brand of "humor" too far.

From the Hollywood Reporter:

While the top awards were being handed out Sunday at the 85th Oscars, the satirical news organization sent out a message on its official Twitter account calling 9-year-old best actress nominee Quvenzhane Wallis the C-word.

...The tweet, sent out around 8:42 p.m. PST, quickly made the rounds on the social media website. An hour later, the offending message was deleted from The Onion's feed.

Obviously, Quevenzhane Wallis is very talented. She's an adorable little girl. The comment is, of course, ridiculous.

That said, there are limits in terms of decency. Applying the C-word to her was not wise.

There's no question that we've experienced a coarsening of our culture. Vulgarity has become commonplace, no big deal. In some cases, it's held up as art. Hollywood has been instrumental in pushing the limits of decency and desensitizing us to that which is crude and crass. Freedom of expression trumps all, as long as it promotes a liberal agenda.

For that reason, I think there's a bit of hypocrisy in the outrage over the tweet. If it were about one of Sarah Palin's daughters, I doubt the Leftists would be troubled in the least.

The use of the C-word makes the comment more offensive, but it also more clearly distinguishes it as absurd and silly. That clarity, however, doesn't make it appropriate.

Bottom line: This was a case of very bad judgment on the part of The Onion. We still want to protect and respect children (unless they belong to Sarah Palin).


UPDATE: The Onion apologizes.

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