Calling A Nine Year Old A Cunt
I never did care to follow the satirical magazine The Onion. I’ve always heard, read people referring to this publication as funny and/or clever and/or genius and/or witty and/or whatever. I may have actually tried to absorb its comedy a handful of times. But I’ve always come away from my effort with the opinion that I just wasted my time. The humor of The Onion ranked right up there with the Doonesbury comic or the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson reruns. It might be good for a half hearted chuckle, but whoever thinks this was class leading funny really has a strange sense of humor.
I was never under the impression that I was a member of the target entertainment market for the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson or the Doonesbury comic strip. That kind of humor was primarily geared to white people. And so I have to assume that The Onion is so geared as well. How else would anybody take using Twitter to call a nine year old girl, a black girl caught up in the rapture that comes with being nominated for an Oscar, a cunt? Then again, this is the kind of bullshit that passes for funny at The Onion.
Now maybe it’s just a coincidence that someone would use such a vile word that is used as a reference to a woman’s most significant sexual organ, a word historically used to demean the female gender, as part of a tasteless public joke about a totally inoffensive little black girl. Maybe the author really didn’t mean to be so disgusting and thought that he or she was just participating in some clean wholesome fun. It may have been just the type of thoughtless banter that appears anonymously on the internet. But it’s also the type of thoughtless bullshit that should make people think twice about what type of company or agency or person or entity they give their blind support to.
What type of person would call a little black girl a cunt? Why would somebody give such an offensive person a platform to spew such depraved slander? Why would I want to associate myself with either? Those are the types of self reflecting questions everyone needs to be asking of his or her self.
Instead, in typical “it happened to a black person so what does it matter” fashion, people came to the defense of The Onion saying that it was only a joke so we should all just forget about it. And if that was true then we would just put it behind us. But what if the joke was about one of the children murdered in the Sandy Hook shooting, would some of us be so quick to dismiss the offense with a nonchalant wave of the hand? Some of us probably would. But I’m betting that some people who weren’t the least bit offended about the reference to Beasts of the Southern Wild star Quvenzhane Wallis would see the “joke” in a different context. Are a bunch of dead primarily white children more deserving of respect and sensitivity than a single black girl winning an Oscar? Those Sandy Hook kids are dead while Quvenzhane Wallis has to live the rest of her life with what happened to her that night.
There is little doubt that my comparison with the children of Sandy Hook will offend some. Regardless of how much I might explain that I’m not trying to be rude to anybody but am simply trying to get people to expand their sense of compassion there will be people who will be greatly offended merely by my suggestion. People will write comments about how vulgar and impolite I am. I welcome the chance to enter an intelligent dialogue if somebody is willing to discuss, but I’m sure most comments will simply be deleted.
But the point is that if such people chose they will have an opportunity to confront the author, me, about what I wrote. The writer of the original cunt joke hides behind a wall of anonymity with The Onion’s name written all over it. The powers that be at The Onion may have apologized for the “joke”, but they have also made the decision to protect the identity of the joker like the hooded white sheet protects the identity of a klan member. We simply should trust their word when they say that the joker will be appropriately disciplined. They might keep their word, but there is really no way to verify it.
If The Onion wants to make sure the author is appropriately disciplined they should out the person who wrote it. Let him or her apologize to Ms. Wallis first and foremost, let him or her apologize to their fellow employees at The Onion, and then let him or her apologize to the world for putting their sick little tweet out in the public. Let it be known that The Onion truly doesn’t tolerate such loathing even it if was meant to be disguised as comedy. Let The Onion truly take a stand for integrity and give people the ability to verify it. Otherwise, this publication will continue to look like nothing anybody should be bothering to read in a useless attempt to find something truly funny.