I had never imagined that the satirical newspaper, The Onion, had limits. I had seen the online publication attack every subject with unapologetic wit and sarcasm. Until last night I was under the impression that The Onion had no rules. That the writers were a rogue band of misfits that had no time for the general public or their boundaries. That was, until the tweet last night during the 2013 Oscars that called nine-year-old Quvenzhane Wallis, star of critically acclaimed movie Beasts of the Southern Wild, the "c-word."
The tweet read like this:
Everyone else seems afraid to say it, but that Quvenzhane Wallis is kind of c-word (except, they really said it), right? #Oscars2013
I don't think the c-word needs any explanation. It's the one cuss word that few of us, even the most sailor-esque of swearers, would dare mention. It's the word, that when spoken, freezes all hearers of the word in a sudden trance of awkward suspense. Even I, a man prone to the casual usage of swears in everyday lexicon, thinks twice before uttering the word.
So now that we are all clear on the word, we now understand why, when the official Twitter account of The Onion called a little girl this word, that even they would delete it and issue a formal apology. Which they did about an hour ago on their official Facebook page.
I never thought this day would come, The Onion apologizing, but then again, I never thought that even The Onion would call a small child the c-word. The statement is way too out-of-bounds, even for The Onion, and I am fan of about 99% of what they write. In the end, it's a child, and no matter how funny that statement appeared to the writer of that tweet, you don't direct such a loaded word toward an innocent kid.
And while I 100% disagree with the tweet, I salute someone at The Onion for having the decency to recognize the offensiveness of the tweet and issuing a sincere and formal apology. In a weird way, it's good to know they do have some limits.