When Bad Jokes Go Really Bad

So most likely you’ve seen this:

OhNoOnion

Whether you believe The Onion was right or wrong, whether you believe this was malicious, inappropriate, or simply no big deal, I think we can all agree that this was a hack joke.

And it can be argued that there’s a lot more to this.

On today’s TWiB! Radio, we discussed the countdown to the sequestration, Dacia reveals her cowgirl past, and we go in on the tweet that broke the internet.

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And this morning on #amTWiB, L. Joy loves … dingleberries? And the morning crew discusses the Oscars and elected officials in black face. Check it out:

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(Cross-posted)

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222 replies
  1. 1
    nellcote says:

    After the media freakout over Gabby Douglas last year, it’s hard not to see an ugly pattern with the media and black girls.

    You explain to your NINE YEAR OLD daughter why it’s a joke that somebody called her a cunt in public.

  2. 2
    Schlemizel says:

    Its nice to see that the Onion immediately apologized for this tweet – before anyone involved demanded it or many people had even heard of it.

    And it was an honest to god apology, not one of those, “if you were offended” lame-ass things. They said “we were wrong. We regret it. We will try to do better”

    Its so rare in todays world that it really stands out.

  3. 3
    ruemara says:

    Someone on Jezebel asked the question of why does no one ever pull this on cute little white girls? I found that question interesting, especially as several of the responses were that Quvenzhane was “a brat”, “too full of herself”, “huge ego”-fill in the blank for as many synonyms of uppity as you can. All I’ve ever seen that compares was to Dakota Fanning and the worst said was “self-possessed”. Quite odd, that people see a 9 year old having fun and how, shall we say, perceptions differ?

  4. 4
    Trentrunner says:

    Seth McFarland is kind of a c*nt.

  5. 5
    bargal says:

    Yes, the Onion tweet was unfunny in a very 4chan way. It’s oddly unOnionistic. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone there got some blowback because of it.

  6. 6
    Trentrunner says:

    @ruemara: Not true. Amy Poehler had a running SNL skit where Dakota Fanning was a precocious uppity little snotball. It was funny. Fanning is quite, quite white.

    Still, the Oscars were a misogynist racist homophobic orgy. Disgusting.

  7. 7
    Xecky Gilchrist says:

    @Trentrunner: Seth McFarland is kind of a c*nt.

    True enough – but of all people or entities I thought might undershoot even him for humor, I’m shocked it was the Onion.

  8. 8
    nellcote says:

    @Schlemizel:

    Its so rare in todays world that it really stands out.

    Agree it was an honest to god apology but I’d like to see them fire the asshole tweeter or at the very, very least make their name public.

  9. 9
    pzerzan says:

    The Onion apologized-

    http://livewire.talkingpointsm.....?ref=fpblg

    I agree the joke was tasteless and horrible but you owe it to them to mention when they admitted they were wrong…

  10. 10
    ruemara says:

    @Trentrunner: oh, on SNL Amy Poehler called Dakota Fanning a c@nt? Really?

  11. 11
    Mnemosyne says:

    This is the kind of thing that seemed really funny to the couple of college-aged white guys writing their tweets after their sixth PBR.

    Everyone else, not so much.

    Also, I don’t understand this obsession some white guys have with trying to make the c-word acceptable, but they certainly are persistent in trying it.

  12. 12
    danielx says:

    Speaking of bad jokes:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....r_embedded

    Warning Warning Warning: must have strong stomach.

  13. 13
    ChrisNYC says:

    @ruemara: Kathy Griffin got fired for saying that Dakota Fanning was entering rehab. It was during an awards show. And there was someone who had just gone into rehab, the way I remember it.

  14. 14
    Baud says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Because FREEDOM!

  15. 15
    Ben Franklin says:

    I can’t imagine anyone taking that apology as sincere, based on the Onion’s proclivity for sarcasm and parody. It seemed sincere, but was it tongue-in-cxxxx?

  16. 16
    gogol's wife says:

    @ruemara:

    Graham Greene wrote something pretty horrible about Shirley Temple — without the vulgarity, but still pretty horrible.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/n.....00856.html

    I’ll admit, this is worse.

  17. 17
    nellcote says:

    @Trentrunner:

    Amy Poehler had a running SNL skit where Dakota Fanning was a precocious uppity little snotball.

    And that sexualizes Fanning how?

  18. 18
    Trakker says:

    I can’t believe anyone could believe this is funny. This is something one would expect in the comments section of Fox News. Even an honest apology is not enough. Whoever posted it should be fired immediately and publicly.

  19. 19
    Mandalay says:

    @Schlemizel:

    And it was an honest to god apology, not one of those, “if you were offended” lame-ass things. They said “we were wrong. We regret it. We will try to do better”

    Well so far so good, and the CEO stated “we are taking immediate steps to discipline those individuals responsible”, but the person[s] who posted it should be named. Anything less and this definitely does not qualify as an apology from the Onion. You can’t claim to be sorry, but then avoid taking any consequences or responsibility. Just apologizing is not “taking responsibility”, and nor is resolving the matter privately.

    It would be a really ironic if the Onion refuses to disclose the writer[s] of a tweet that bravely began “Everyone else seems afraid to say it…“.

  20. 20
    nellcote says:

    I think we can all agree that this was a hack joke.

    How do you define “hack”?
    I’m sincerely curious.

  21. 21
    Robin G. says:

    As was discussed in one of the open threads below, this was pretty clearly a joke not about Wallis, but about the two-faced Hollywood society that is known for praising people to their faces while saying “what a c–t” behind their backs. But it was executed poorly (not aided by the 140 character limitations of Twitter) and, given that the (apparently easily) misconstrued version of the joke was horrendous, it was right for them to apologize. And they get credit for not equivocating with a “Sorry if some people were offended” (which they actually could have done and it would have been true), but rather went for a full-throated genuine expression of regret.

  22. 22
    Mnemosyne says:

    @gogol’s wife:

    Graham Greene wrote something pretty horrible about Shirley Temple — without the vulgarity, but still pretty horrible.

    It wasn’t really about Temple herself, though — it was about her creepy admirers (“middle-aged men and clergymen”). Greene was accusing her admirers of pedophilia without actually using the word, and — worse for his libel case — accusing her studio of knowingly packaging and marketing her that way.

  23. 23
    gogol's wife says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    But it sexualized a small girl nevertheless.

  24. 24
    pzerzan says:

    @Mandalay: Fine, we can debate if it was a sincere apology but it still was an apology. Elon James White has to at least mentioned they admitted they were wrong. Not admitting that misrepresents them.

  25. 25
    MattR says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Also, I don’t understand this obsession some white guys have with trying to make the c-word acceptable, but they certainly are persistent in trying it.

    I thought the whole point of the tweet was along the lines that the c-word should be unacceptable yet people have no problem throwing it around (see Anne Hathaway) so they tried to point that out by using it on a ridiculously innocent target.

    (EDIT: I am not saying they pulled it off successfully, but based on the fact this was the Onion I assume they were trying to make a satirical point rather than just making a crude joke)

  26. 26
    gussie says:

    I laughed.

  27. 27
    Zifnab says:

    @Schlemizel: In all fairness, the folks down at the Onion are professionals.

  28. 28
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Robin G.:

    They probably could have gotten away with only a minor Twitter backlash if they had said “bitch” instead, but, no, they just had to escalate up to the c-word.

  29. 29
    Keith G says:

    And it can be argued that there’s a lot more to this.

    Go ahead, Senator Cruz.

    edited

  30. 30
    Robin G. says:

    @MattR:

    I thought the whole point of the tweet was along the lines that the c-word should be unacceptable yet people have no problem throwing it around (see Anne Hathaway) so they tried to point that out by using it on a ridiculously innocent target.

    This.

  31. 31
    Mnemosyne says:

    @MattR:

    I thought the whole point of the tweet was along the lines that the c-word should be unacceptable yet people have no problem throwing it around (see Anne Hathaway) so they tried to point that out by using it on a ridiculously innocent target.

    Anne Hathaway throws the word around? I must have missed that. Or did you mean that other people throw the word around when referring to Hathaway?

  32. 32
    Mandalay says:

    @nellcote:

    I’d like to see them fire the asshole tweeter or at the very, very least make their name public.

    Agreed. If The Onion doesn’t name the person[s] who did this then they officially become part of the world they deride.

    I can’t believe they don’t know already, so it is not good that they are keeping quiet.

  33. 33
    Robin G. says:

    @Mnemosyne: I honestly think it would have been even LESS obvious that it was a joke if they’d done any less, either by going for another target or by picking a less extreme word. Which is sad in and of itself.

  34. 34
    MattR says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Anne Hathaway throws the word around? I must have missed that. Or did you mean that other people throw the word around when referring to Hathaway?

    The latter. Should have been clearer.

  35. 35
    kc says:

    @ruemara:

    I’ll be whoever made that awful tweet would have done it about a nine year old white girl – I suspect the “joke,” such as it was, was in calling a little kid such an awful name.

    Of course, the thing is, you just don’t call little kids names like that, so I am REALLY glad The Onion apologized. I like tasteless jokes as much as anyone, but this was just wrong.

  36. 36
    Eric U. says:

    there is some loser comedian that they used to have here in the loser comedian circuit who would tell some sort of horrible joke about JFK’s assassination. People would boo, and he would go, “too soon?” Took me a few years to figure out that the “too soon?” was the joke. Onion tweet is similar, the intended humor is because it’s awful, but it’s too awful to be funny.

  37. 37
    GregB says:

    True satire mocks the powerful and empowers the weak.

    Seth MacFarlane does very little of that.

  38. 38
    Ben Franklin says:

    What, exactly, is the problem with the word C—? I truly want to know…..

    Signed—Dick

  39. 39
    kc says:

    @MattR:

    Who called Anne Hathaway the c-word? I’ll kick their ass.

  40. 40
    Joel says:

    I actually thought MacFarlane was pretty decent last night. But then again, I’m a masshole.

    That Onion thing, though. Face palm.

  41. 41
    nellcote says:

    @Keith G:

    Go ahead.

    Serena Williams wins another tennis title and does a little happy dance: media calls her ghetto.

    Gabby Douglas wins double gold at the Olympics: media complains about her hair and asks her questiona about her father’s child support payments.

    NINE YEAR OLD Quvenzhane Wallis in nominated for an Oscar: media calls her a cunt.

    And that in the last damn year! Pattern or coincidence?

  42. 42
    JWL says:

    I made a studious effort today to avoid reading that bit of ugliness. Having noted the headline about The Onion issuing an apology, I figured it must have indeed been a genuinely crude remark. I figured right.

  43. 43
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @danielx: I do find it interesting to see what conservatives think is funny. I imagine that video is like Mallard Fillmore or Greg Gutfeld, they tell themselves it’s funny ’cause it’s all they’ve got. The golf thing in particular fascinates me. When did presidents playing golf become objectionable? /rhetorical — Carter is the only president I don’t remember posing for pictures on the golf course, and Reagan loved to be seen on his horse or chopping wood, Dumbya pulled weeds and rode his bike.

    “Fly like a Menendez”? Bob Dole spent half his life, and most of his presidential campaign, in an ADM jet.

  44. 44
    Keith G says:

    @Mnemosyne: I am not sure where cunt stands on the list of words not to call people, but even top comics seem careful with its use, and even then only in a carefully constructed bit after they already have won the trust of an audience.

    Some kid thought he/she was Marc Maron.

    Foolish.

  45. 45
    kc says:

    I saw The Onion’s official apology in my Facebook feed a little bit ago and I wondered at first if the apology itself was an Onion joke – I mean, it’s The Onion. But I read the whole thing and it seemed sincere, and then I wondered what in God’s name was so bad that The Onion would apologize for it.

    Now I know . . .

  46. 46
    Keith G says:

    @nellcote: The writer of that tweet did all that?

  47. 47
    Mandalay says:

    @pzerzan:

    Fine, we can debate if it was a sincere apology but it still was an apology.

    The Onion apology was a set of words carefully designed to deflect the heat.

    If this is the end of the matter then that apology is hollow and meaningless. The Onion knows who posted the tweet and they should be named.

    Arguably they could/should have made no apology, but now that they have conceded that the tweet was wrong they can’t stay silent about who did it. That will leave them with no credibility, given that they lampoon cover ups, double standards and hypocrisy in the real world.

  48. 48
    James K. Polk, Esq. says:

    Meh, it’s a joke…

    It’s like the old Onion sidebar joke that had a husky lad and underneath it read:

    “Bully not so tough after being molested”

    Certainly in poor taste, and I can see why people get offended.

    That being said, there is no malicious intent, making it a forgivable offense.

  49. 49
    Joel says:

    @Mandalay: why should the perpetrator be named? Is losing their job insufficient? What kind of retribution do you have in mind?

  50. 50
    Pat says:

    I hate the c-word. But can someone explain what it means? What makes someone that?

  51. 51
    GregB says:

    @James K. Polk, Esq.:

    There is an enormous difference between a generic joke using satire and a joke that uses a living and breathing 9 year old child as the brunt.

    It’s in poor taste and mean as hell and I would imagine that anyone working at the Onion would be pissed off if their child were similarly targeted in such a lame attempt at comedy.

  52. 52
    Ben Franklin says:

    Clearly, there is a double-standard, here.

  53. 53
    handsmile says:

    @gogol’s wife:

    Why thanks, that’s the coolest thing I’ve read all day! That article was published in November 2007, though; how did you know about this?

    I’m afraid I have nothing of comparable quality to offer on short notice, so this must suffice: 50 lost poems by Rudyard Kipling, “the prophet of British imperialism” (Orwell), will be published next month.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/book.....discovered

    Of course, Kipling himself knew a thing or two about vile descriptions of children.

  54. 54
    nellcote says:

    @James K. Polk, Esq.:

    there is no malicious intent, making it a forgivable offense.

    You’re the writer of the tweet?

  55. 55
    Robin G. says:

    @Mandalay:

    Arguably they could/should have made no apology, but now that they have conceded that the tweet was wrong they can’t stay silent about who did it. That will leave them with no credibility, given that they lampoon cover ups, double standards and hypocrisy in the real world.

    That’s absurd. Throwing the idiot (for that is his/her crime, idiocy) out to the wolves would only reek of the Onion trying to wash their hands of the matter. “Here you go! Here’s the culprit! It wasn’t our fault!” By not naming the individual, they don’t mitigate their own responsibility, but instead take credit (and shame) for everything that is posted under their title. It’s what a stand-up company should do.

  56. 56
    West of the Rockies says:

    @danielx: You linked us (without fair warning) to a YouTube video posted by Michelle Malkin? Uncool, dude… Yeah, I knew it was going to be offensive (that you did warn us about), but I sure wouldn’t have clicked on it if I knew it would inflate Malkin’s already inflated opinion of herself and her media reach. Blech….

  57. 57
    Ben Franklin says:

    The Onion is a victim of the new Amazons…..

  58. 58
    ChrisNYC says:

    @nellcote: I get your point and agree especially as to the slurs thrown pretty regularly at the Williams sisters but the Gabby’s hair complaining wasn’t the media. It was black people on Twitter.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/....._blog.html

  59. 59
    Mandalay says:

    @Joel:

    why should the perpetrator be named?

    Because the Onion chose to state that the tweet was inappropriate, and they apologized, but have taken no further action (AFAIK).

    Let me put the question back to you: why is the person who made the tweet entitled to anonymity? If you choose to post stuff like that then you should be prepared to face your critics.

  60. 60
    Ben Franklin says:

    @Mandalay:

    Let me put the question back to you: why is the person who made the tweet entitled to anonymity? If you choose to post stuff like that then you should be prepared to face your critics.

    Jeebus ! Is there any humor in your perspective?

  61. 61
    kc says:

    @Mandalay:

    If you choose to post stuff like that then you should be prepared to face your critics.

    Okay, “Mandalay.” Sheesh.

  62. 62
    Keith G says:

    @Mandalay: I not so sure. This very well might be a personnel issue not subject to public disclosure, but even if not: An employee of a private company makes a crude and grievous error and gets punished. Will the world better place if we place this person in stocks in the public square,as it were?

    I thought we stopped doing that quite a while ago.

  63. 63
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Keith G:

    It’s pretty much the equivalent of a white guy using the n-word — women can (sometimes) use it about other women, but it’s verboten for anyone else to use it to refer to a woman.

    It’s apparently quite a bit more common in Great Britain and there seems to be a large contingent of white dudes in the US who aspire to be able to use it, but they seem oblivious to the fact that the “acceptable” usage in GB is to apply it to men. It’s still unacceptable to apply it to women, even there.

    @Ben Franklin:

    You also don’t get to use the word “nigger.” My heart really bleeds for you that you can’t use the racist and sexist slurs you really, really want to use whenever you want. It’s worse than the Holocaust, if you think about it.

  64. 64
    Ben Franklin says:

    @Keith G:

    Stocks and pillories !!!

    Torture should be mandated !!!

  65. 65
    Mandalay says:

    @Robin G.:

    By not naming the individual, they don’t mitigate their own responsibility, but instead take credit (and shame) for everything that is posted under their title. It’s what a stand-up company should do.

    And then what credibility does the Onion have the next time it rails about a cover up in the real world?

    Again, why is the person who made the tweet entitled to anonymity? If you want to post that kind of material then be prepared to face the consequences.

    FWIW, my own view is that the tweet was awful, but the Onion should haver toughed it out. But now that they they have accepted that the tweet was bad, and withdrawn it, and apologized, they can’t be seen to do nothing about it and retain credibility (with me at least).

  66. 66
    Violet says:

    @ChrisNYC: I didn’t understand the complaints about Gabby’s hair at all. It looked just like the hair of all the other girls on her team–pulled back tight in a pony tail or bun with clips on the side and top to hold it in place. From the front, they all look almost like they’ve got no hair because they pull it back so tight. It’s a very obvious gymnastics style. Not many hairstyles like Mary Lou Retton’s anymore.

  67. 67
    Ben Franklin says:

    @Mandalay:

    retain credibility (with me at least).

    Your internets are in the mail….COD.

  68. 68
    kc says:

    @Mandalay:

    FWIW, my own view is that the tweet was awful, but the Onion should haver toughed it out. But now that they they have accepted that the tweet was bad, and withdrawn it, and apologized, they can’t be seen to do nothing about it and retain credibility (with me at least).

    That really doesn’t make any sense at all.

  69. 69
    Roger Moore says:

    @Robin G.:

    Throwing the idiot (for that is his/her crime, idiocy) out to the wolves would only reek of the Onion trying to wash their hands of the matter. “Here you go! Here’s the culprit! It wasn’t our fault!” By not naming the individual, they don’t mitigate their own responsibility, but instead take credit (and shame) for everything that is posted under their title.

    This. Also, too, part of their schtick is to avoid having real bylines; everything is either by the staff or by one of their fictitious writers. Calling out a specific person for writing the tweet would undermine that.

  70. 70
    gnomedad says:

    @nellcote:

    Gabby Douglas wins double gold at the Olympics: media complains about her hair and asks her questiona about her father’s child support payments.

    Also Faux News complained that she didn’t dress is sufficiently patriotic colors.

  71. 71
    Robin G. says:

    @Mandalay:

    Again, why is the person who made the tweet entitled to anonymity?

    Because the Onion does not post individual’s names. It was put out on the Onion Twitter account, not by a “reporter” with an Onion affiliation. The work is held to be collective. They are taking collective responsibility for the public reaction. Whatever actions they take in private against their private employees is their own business.

  72. 72
    Ben Franklin says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    It’s worse than the Holocaust, if you think about it.

    OMG.

    Mandalay; You’re internets have been rescinded….default to poster above.

    Bwaaaaaaaaaaaaa

  73. 73
    Roger Moore says:

    @Mandalay:

    Because the Onion chose to state that the tweet was inappropriate, and they apologized, but have taken no further action (AFAIK).

    Then you need to read their full apology rather than remaining uninformed. Part of the apology was:

    We have instituted new and tighter Twitter procedures to ensure that this kind of mistake does not occur again.

    In addition, we are taking immediate steps to discipline those individuals responsible.

    That sounds like further action to me.

  74. 74
    The Other Chuck says:

    @Mandalay:

    FWIW, my own view is that the tweet was awful, but the Onion should haver toughed it out. But now that they they have accepted that the tweet was bad, and withdrawn it, and apologized, they can’t be seen to do nothing about it and retain credibility (with me at least).

    Uh huh.

  75. 75
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Ben Franklin:

    Well, thank you, kind sir. I’m glad to see you can recognize a joke every once in a while.

  76. 76
    ChrisNYC says:

    @Violet: Me neither. I thought she was great. So much directedness and steely concentration from such a tiny person. I also loved the volcanic Russian one who was always giving her coach death stares.

  77. 77
    Djur says:

    @Mandalay: What “credibility”? The Onion is a humor outlet. They make jokes.

    “Can’t we all admit that universally beloved figure is terrible” is a standard Onion joke template. Their mistake in this case was using a child in that template and using the word “cunt”.

    The joke was needlessly offensive to someone who hadn’t done anything wrong, and that’s reason enough to object to it. I don’t think there’s any reason to believe some staff writer had a specific animus against Wallis based on her sex or race.

  78. 78
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Robin G.:

    This.

    The howling for blood here astonishes me. It’s not like those at The Onion are Villagers. If you’re going to howl for blood, do it where it counts.

  79. 79
    Djur says:

    It would pretty much destroy the Onion for them to release the name of whoever wrote the tweet. Collective anonymity for good or ill has always been their game. You don’t get individual credit for the best things you write, but you also don’t have to personally get attacked for writing the “Abortionplex” piece, either. It’s a tradeoff.

  80. 80
    👽 Martin says:

    Um. The whole POINT of the Onion is to say inflammatory shit in the name of satire. Yeah, they went way over the line here, but if you demand they stop publishing inflammatory things, then they might as well close up shop. They’re going to fuck up now and then. It’s part of the nature of what they do. They owned up to it, apologized.

    It’s not like it was Michelle Obama or the Fox Morning Crew where their job is to go nowhere fucking even close to that line. It’s the Onion. They live there. Relax.

  81. 81
    rikyrah says:

    she’s a nine year old CHILD.

    that’s the beginning, middle and end of of the story.

    it was not a ‘bad joke’.

    it was a racist, sexist insult hurled at a NINE YEAR OLD CHILD.

  82. 82
    Sad But True says:

    Oh, please.

    It was a bad joke. But that was all.
    The butt of the satire – remember? It’s the Onion? Satire is what they _do_ – was not Wallis at all, it was hipper-than-thou Twitterers and/or Hollywood/high-school mean girls/boys.
    For the joke to work (and it didn’t), it HAD to name Wallis, a person who every single person watching the events clearly considered remarkable and adorable. She was the one person nominated who literally no one (outside of poor attempts at joking) has anything bad to say about. I suppose the joker could have selected one of the many white pre-teens who were nominated – oh, that’s right, there weren’t any. The next youngest nominee was Lawrence, a full grown adult (and only just now beginning to lose the kid-gloves treatment and endure the kind of bile and negative attention that Hathaway and a host of others experience).

    And this wasn’t the MEDIA. This was The Onion, and only The Onion. And frankly, the Onion is a far cry from the MSM. Typically they’re more like the MSM’s mortal enemy. It’s ridiculous to paint them with the same brush used for CW-creating behemoths like NBC and the Washington Post.

    Anyway, the real reason the Onion tweeted such a stinker is because it was in a run of sarcastic tweets about each of the films nominated and came up totally empty w/r/t Beasts of the Southern Wild, because the tweeter and/or the tweeter’s audience had pretty much no knowledge of the movie other than that it takes place in Louisiana and stars an adorable, incredibly talented young girl.

  83. 83
    Mandalay says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Then you need to read their full apology rather than remaining uninformed

    I did read it, and was not wholly persuaded.

    That sounds like further action to me.

    Not to me for the part that matters most – disciplining “those individuals responsible”.

    They took down the tweet within an hour, and have already issued and apology. Let’s see how long it takes for them to announce what they have done about the discipline aspect.

  84. 84
    MikeJ says:

    Meanwhile, National review is pissed off that Seth McFarlane once made a Teri Schiavo joke.

    Hahahah! What a buncha humourless prigs.

  85. 85
    Robin G. says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: It’s got a very outrage du jour feel to it. A fake newspaper tried to thread the needle with a joke, did it clumsily, and wound up stabbing itself in the thumb. This is unfortunate, but there’s bigger fish to fry.

  86. 86
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @rikyrah:

    You may think that…

    But the point was to go over the top to criticize those who actually do the backbiting for real. To show just how mean and cruel these people will be..that not even a nine-year old will be spared their finely tuned claws.

    Quvenzhane Wallis is not the target of this tweet. The people who tweet this sort of thing in the first place are the targets.

  87. 87
    Ben Franklin says:

    Again i say….Power to the Amazons !!!

  88. 88
    Sad But True says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    In my experience, about 90% of the time I’ve heard the word used, it’s been from the mouths of gay men. And at least a quarter of the time (but probably not 50/50) it’s been uttered about other (gay, usually) men.

  89. 89
    shortstop says:

    Folks, Mandalay is a troll. Trolling is what she does, and all she does. Watch her behavior in every thread in which she participates. I never really noticed her until the other day when she argued that if people are sincerely religious and have “lived moral lives,” they shouldn’t be called bigots simply for discriminating against gay people. That got my attention and I’ve been noticing her trollathon ever since.

  90. 90
    Sad But True says:

    @Mandalay:

    Are you NUTS?!?
    You’re talking about the Onion’s CREDIBILITY?!?

  91. 91
    shortstop says:

    @Sad But True: I’ve most often heard it as the punchline of a joke about Chicago street names.

  92. 92
    LT says:

    I think we can all agree: The Onion has jumped the cunt.

    P.S. I thought it was funny. And the retraction and apology disappointing, but who gives a fuck so whatever.

  93. 93
    gogol's wife says:

    @gogol’s wife:

    “Why thanks, that’s the coolest thing I’ve read all day! That article was published in November 2007, though; how did you know about this?”

    I know everything about Shirley Temple.

    ETA: This was supposed to be addressed to handsmile, #53.

    I first learned about the Greene article from Temple’s own autobiography, which is a very good piece of work as celebrity autobiographies go.

  94. 94
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    OT but this is cool, a new privately funded program “Food stamps for pets”

    http://www.theepochtimes.com/n.....um=twitter

  95. 95
    Djur says:

    @Robin G.: What I’m surprised by is that Seth Macfarlane’s much more offensive joke about Wallis is getting a lot less coverage than, say, his dopey little song about boobies.

  96. 96
    Roger Moore says:

    @👽 Martin:

    The whole POINT of the Onion is to say inflammatory shit in the name of satire.

    The whole point is satire, but some of their best stuff isn’t inflammatory. For example, I find this one very funny but not at all inflammatory.

  97. 97
    gogol's wife says:

    @handsmile:

    See #93 for an answer to your question in #53, ineptly misaddressed and then ineptly edited.

  98. 98
    Joel says:

    @Robin G.@Djur: My thoughts as well, although you (two) stated them more succintly.

  99. 99
    Darkrose says:

    @Violet: Some black folks felt that Gabby’s hair wasn’t well done, in the sense that whoever straightened it didn’t do a good job, and it was sticking out in places.

    My problem with it was that someone felt that she had to have it straightened and pulled back so she’d look just like the other (white) girls. I hate that in 2013, braids or a natural is considered “too ethnic” or not feminine enough for black women.

  100. 100
    Robin G. says:

    @Djur: Yeah, that was pretty gross. (As a side note, he made the exact same cunt joke about Wallis in the final number, only it was even more poorly executed.) The boobs song was, in my opinion, lame rather than offensive.

  101. 101
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    I guess I can see how the point was to make fun of the cattiness and meanness of Hollywood people who tear down actresses for no good reason. I guess. And the Onion’s job is in part to cross the line of good taste when they have to. Still…ick.

  102. 102
    Sad But True says:

    @Mandalay:
    unfortunately, that news probably won’t come out until the congressional hearing, and even THEN we’ll probably be screwed over by all the politicians refusing to ask any hard-hitting questions out of fear they’ll lose out on the onion’s endorsement in their next campaign.

  103. 103
    dance around in your bones says:

    @danielx: Ok, I got through 38 seconds.

    Clearly, I don’t have a strong stomach.

  104. 104
    Joel says:

    @Djur: You mean the “16 years” joke? I think it makes people uncomfortable to even think about, ergo the lack of discussion.

  105. 105
    Mnemosyne says:

    @👽 Martin:

    Personally, I have no problem with the, “Oh, shit, sorry, that one did go too far” from the Onion.

    It’s the people who seem to be arguing that, “It was just a joke!” should be a get out of jail free card who are worrying me here.

    As Ricky Gervais loves to say, you can joke about anything, but the joke has to be funny or else you’re just an asshole. This one failed that test pretty spectacularly.

  106. 106
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Mandalay:

    And then what credibility does the Onion have the next time it rails about a cover up in the real world?

    You do know what The Onion is, right? They don’t “rail about a cover up.” That’s like waiting for Mad Magazine to run hard-hitting exposés about drones.

  107. 107
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @Robin G.:

    If it was in the final number, I assume that a vast majority of the viewing audience turned it off by then. I didn’t even know there was a final number.

  108. 108
    shortstop says:

    @Sad But True: Tasty.

  109. 109
    Lihtox says:

    No matter who wrote it, the Onion is taking the blame for the tweet, and so if you want to punish or shame somebody, punish the Onion. But what sort of punishment is appropriate?

    This was livetweeting, which makes it closer to a spoken conversation than a printed article, right? So suppose you were at a dinner party and somebody made that joke above, and then immediately took it back and apologized (as the Onion did). What is the punishment? Do you blackball them for that one offense, or do you tentatively forgive them (provided it doesn’t recur)?

    People screw up.

    (Oh, and original Tweeter: why the heck is the c-word even part of your vocabulary?)

  110. 110
    TS says:

    Those to the left of politics ALWAYS think their own should apologize and punish – let it be known who has sinned – but the right NEVER apologize and that seems to work.

    No wonder we have a sequester that will cause damage to all those who should matter – while the media keeps ramming the lies of austerity down our throats.

  111. 111
    Sad But True says:

    @FlipYrWhig:
    Eh, I realize I’m not exactly addressing your point, but The Onion has probably done many more hard-hitting, insightful stories about drones(and Wall St. shenanigans, for that matter) than your average MSM news outlet. In their own way, of course.

  112. 112
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Sad But True: fair enough, but “rail at” is still way off.

  113. 113
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    Another OT but have I mentioned before how much I love Chris Kluwe?

    Recent tweet

    Chris Kluwe ‏@ChrisWarcraft

    For those curious who NOM is, it’s the National Organization for Marriage. They’re pretty much awful. #hatemongeringshitfucksismoreaccurate

  114. 114
    ricky says:

    Well, no banksters have been perp walked, but if the Onion demonstrates transparency, names names, and fires the offender, we prove false equivalency if the publication is later tied to the progressive movement.

  115. 115
    danielx says:

    @dance around in your bones:

    It’s a tossup between this and the defeatocrat cheer as to which is the greater atrocity.

    Wingnuts got some weird ideas about what’s humorous, like this is news.

  116. 116
    Darkrose says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: I adore him. If I ever have a band, I’m totally calling it The Lustful Cockmonsters.

  117. 117
    The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge says:

    Wait, somebody called Anne Hathaway a ¢un†? Imma cut the fu¢ker! Seriously.

  118. 118
    TooManyJens says:

    @👽 Martin:

    Um. The whole POINT of the Onion is to say inflammatory shit in the name of satire.

    By that standard, why should we object the next time some bright bulb in the GOP sends around an email with a picture of Obama hanging from a noose or whatever? I mean, the whole POINT of the Republican Party is to oppose Democrats and whip up their base. (Maybe they should have a more noble point than that, but they don’t.)

    @Sad But True:

    She was the one person nominated who literally no one (outside of poor attempts at joking) has anything bad to say about.

    Unfortunately, that’s not true. There have been people sniping about her being a “brat” and such.

    Is it too much to ask that a nine-year-old girl gets to have an exciting night and celebrate her accomplishments without Seth McFarlane and the Onion sexualizing her? If so, WHY?

  119. 119
    dance around in your bones says:

    @danielx:

    Uh, yeah – that was a bad’un. Of course it was Michelle Malkin, so it kinda goes without sayin’.

    OMG, WHY! do I pay any attention to politics? Why, oh why??

    I think it’s only because I love the commentariat here. Like, a lot.

  120. 120
    OmerosPeanut says:

    @Mandalay:

    You’re beginning to sound like Lindsey Graham discussing Benghazi.

  121. 121
    Djur says:

    @TooManyJens: How did the Onion sexualize her?

  122. 122
    stormhit says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    No, it’s not like that word. Everyone loves comparing insults to that, but it’s never accurate. The Seaward is a quirk of language that has managed to retain its shock value well past what other words with identical meanings and/or usage cases have, but that’s all it is. It was never directly and uniquely tied to something like slavery.

  123. 123
    Mnemosyne says:

    @stormhit:

    It was never directly and uniquely tied to something like slavery.

    No, it’s merely directly and uniquely tied into telling a woman that her only possible use is as an orifice.

    ETA: Or, when used against a man, to make the most deadly insult possible — telling him that he’s like a woman.

  124. 124
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @Djur:

    “Can’t we all admit that universally beloved figure is terrible” is a standard Onion joke template.

    Exactly. It was the outer edge of an established strain of Onion satire, but it failed as a joke because it was monolithic.

    The way to make it funny would have been to give it some kind of absurd twist: she’s boring, she’s joyless, we’re sick of hearing about her and her damn film (which would be a nice double-twist on how Beasts of the Southern Wild has had no real exposure or wide screening.)

    The official comedy on the night was similarly monolithic, and much more icky because it was institutional. McFarlane even rounded off the show with a ‘what rhymes with Helen Hunt?’ gag.

  125. 125
    MaryRC says:

    For the joke to work (and it didn’t), it HAD to name Wallis, a person who every single person watching the events clearly considered remarkable and adorable. She was the one person nominated who literally no one (outside of poor attempts at joking) has anything bad to say about.

    Plenty of people have had something bad to say about her… “full of herself”, “insufferable”, “arrogant” and that was before the Onion tweet, which gave even more people permission to act out. How many ways are there to say “uppity”? Chrissy Teigen, some sort of model, felt obliged to tell the world that Wallis was “cocky”. So no.

  126. 126
    staci says:

    @James K. Polk, Esq.: So, you would be okay with your nine-year-old daughter being referred to as such publicly?

  127. 127
    Cassidy says:

    She’s a 9 y/o kid nominated for an Oscar. I’d be cocky as fuck. I’d be strutting down the carpet with an airbrushed shirt that said “I’ve been nominated for an Oscar at 9 you old bitchez!”.

  128. 128
    TriassicSands says:

    For some time now I’ve wondered, Is it just me, or do other people realize how bad Seth McFarlane is.” Then, this morning on NPR the reporter covering the Oscars called McFarlane “unfunny and offensive,” and I thought, Thank goodness I’m not alone.

    Using a nine-year-old child as the object of such an offensive word is disgusting, and exactly the kind of crap Seth McFarlane peddles. I don’t find it strange at all that the tweet appears at the same time McFarlane hosts the Oscars.

  129. 129
    Lit3Bolt says:

    It falls out of bounds of acceptable humor because “cunt” also refers to a nine year old’s hoo-ha, which is out of bounds in almost any circumstance to joke about. (The onion: “B-b-but we’re just satirizing!” doesn’t fly here)

    Now…calling a by all accounts sweet nine year old a little brat, shit, meanie poo-poo-head, hell…even fuck, would be more acceptable. Tasteless, sexist, slandering, maybe, but much more acceptable that to refer to a nine year old by her female genitalia.

    Suddenly, it’s personal!

  130. 130
    Mandalay says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    The howling for blood here astonishes me.

    Not sure why you are astonished since hardly anyone except me is howling for blood.

    What astonishes me is that someone tweets about a nine year old girl being a cunt and most in the thread are fine with it because (the eternal excuse) it was only a joke, and-of-course-it-OBVIOUSLY-wasn-‘t-really-about-her-everyone-KNOWS-that, and since the source was the good old Onion and that’s what they do, then nothing to see, move along. Such tolerance.

    It’s not like those at The Onion are Villagers.

    If there are no consequences from a tweet like that then The Onion is exactly like the Villagers: you can fuck up bigtime and absolutely nothing happens.

  131. 131
    Bruce S says:

    @Mandalay:

    This is a borderline insane analogy. You’re talking about the fucking Onion.

  132. 132
    liberal says:

    @Roger Moore:
    Yeah, that was a great one.

  133. 133
  134. 134
    Bruce S says:

    @TriassicSands:

    “I don’t find it strange at all that the tweet appears at the same time McFarlane hosts the Oscars.”

    Funny – I find your comment totally strange. Sounds like some Stalinist prosecutorial shit. “It is no coincidence that blah-blah.” This entire meltdown over McFarlane and The Onion should be embarrassing people. Totally weird.

  135. 135
    gbear says:

    Terry Gross once interviewed the two main owners of The Onion and asked them if there were any headlines they’d come up with and decided not to publish. Their answer was that right after 9-11, they almost ran a headline saying “Quadragon officials say everything is under control”. Terry Gross was quiet for a second and then went ‘Oh my God”.

  136. 136
    Bruce S says:

    @Lihtox:

    “So suppose you were at a dinner party and somebody made that joke above, and then immediately took it back and apologized (as the Onion did)”

    I’d think they were an asshole for making a joke that – certainly in that context – would be sort of funny and incisive, and then starting to apologize for it, unless the apology was ironic.

    People need to get a fucking grip.

  137. 137
    Mnemosyne says:

    @gbear:

    “Quadragon officials say everything is under control”

    Okay, I’ll be the first to admit I don’t get it. Am I pronouncing something wrong?

  138. 138
    Yutsano says:

    @Cassidy: I just keep thinking this didn’t go well for the girl nominated for Precious. She didn’t have much of a career after that.

  139. 139
    Sad But True says:

    @MaryRC:
    wow, you got me. i mean, if chrissy teigen said it…

    there are how many thousand/million tweeters out there? of course there are going to be a few assholes trying to make their own stupid jokes (kinda like, i dunno, the tweeter for the onion) or just being haters (kinda like, perhaps, who the onion tweeter was parodying), but i hadn’t heard ANYthing about Wallis being cocky or anything like that, and i followed plenty of oscar coverage over the past few months. the worst i had heard was that she was undeserving of her nomination, from folks who believe that nobody so young can really be “acting” on the same level as a trained professional or should be honored ahead of someone who has dedicated years to mastering the craft. Which is really the same thing we hear nearly every time someone young/inexperienced breaks through with a nom (for just one example, see hilary swank. for another, see marisa tomei. or just think about all the actors who won because people felt that they were “due”.) the main thing is, the general audience didn’t have a clue that wallis was being viewed negatively by anyone unless they were rummaging through foxnews comment threads or every single tweet sent by every random nobody during the last few weeks.

  140. 140
    Cassidy says:

    @Yutsano: Unfortunately, Hollywood and moviegoers don’t like fat people unless they’re doing something funny and making fun of themselves.

  141. 141
    gbear says:

    @Mnemosyne: What do you get when you destroy one side of a Pentagon?

  142. 142
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Okay, I’ll be the first to admit I don’t get it.

    The Pentagon may now have one fewer side, but everything’s fine.

  143. 143
    TooManyJens says:

    @Mnemosyne: Think “Pentagon – 1”.

  144. 144
    Mnemosyne says:

    @gbear:
    @pseudonymous in nc:
    @TooManyJens:

    Ah, thank you. I never was any good at geometry. ;-)

    ETA: I kept pronouncing the second half of the word like the mythical animal.

  145. 145
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Bruce S:

    I’d think they were an asshole for making a joke that – certainly in that context – would be sort of funny and incisive …

    Really? Calling a 9-year-old girl, in any context, “kind of a cunt” is funny and incisive?

    Remind me not to sit next to you at a dinner party. I hate to think what kind of names you’d think it would be “funny and incisive” to call me.

  146. 146
    Bruce S says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    They weren’t “calling her names” they were making a joke about those kinds of comments. Framing it with the most absurd and innocent target was the point. It may not be the funniest joke in the world, but anyone who freaks out about it needs professional help. It wouldn’t be funny to call you any names because you’re already funny as hell – in a lame sort of way – going ballistic over an Onion tweet. That speaks for itself. You’re beyond parody. And, no, please don’t sit next to me at a dinner party. That would be painful.

  147. 147
    Sad But True says:

    @gbear:
    wow. that one is fucking brilliant. i can see why they held back, but still…
    just makes it all the more disappointing that they missed so badly last night.

  148. 148
    David in NY says:

    You know, I didn’t know what that tweet said until now, and I’m sorry I do, asshole.

  149. 149
    Sad But True says:

    @Yutsano: lol.

  150. 150
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Bruce S:

    They weren’t “calling her names” they were making a joke about those kinds of comments.

    Which they attached to a 9-year-old girl.

    Framing it with the most absurd and innocent target was the point.

    They said that a 9-year-old girl “is kind of a cunt.”

    So if they’d said, “Everyone else seems afraid to say it, but Quvenzhané Wallis is a nigger” would that have been okay, because they weren’t calling her names, they were making a joke about those kinds of comments? Or is it that women who get offended about being called “cunts” just need to lighten up and not be such bitches all the time?

    ETA: The weird part, of course, is that the Onion has acknowledged that they crossed a line and apologized, but you think the only problem here is that they apologized, because no one should be offended by being called “kind of a cunt.”

  151. 151
    MaryRC says:

    @Sad But True: No, I get what you were trying to say — that the Onion was parodying the people who can’t wait to cut down someone who has won or even been nominated for an Oscar. Jennifer Lawrence should be feeling the backlash right about now. But assuming that everybody thought a 9-year-old was adorable? No, and it’s not just a few assholes on Twitter. I didn’t have to look far to find these comments, they’re everywhere.

    That joke would have worked about a puppy. Or a baby. But not a 9-year-old, sad to say.

  152. 152
    Bruce S says:

    @MaryRC:

    Honestly – there’s a pattern here. That you had to have the Pentagon joke explained suggests that you’re not a “go-to” person for observations about humor. Your “nigger” analogy doesn’t make any sense, incidentally. More evidence you totally don’t understand the Onion tweet and why it is obviously not “name-calling” a nine-year old. The entire point is going past you. Get a grip. Quit while you’re only this far behind.

  153. 153
    Bruce S says:

    Sorry – the above was supposed to be a reply to Mnemosyne’s strained outrage. Honestly, this extensive discussion of an Onion tweet is totally bizarre. I’m embarrassed for myself to have even gotten this deep into it with the terminally humorless.

  154. 154
    MaryRC says:

    @Bruce S: I feel that the kindest interpretation of this seemingly random string of words is that you may have me mixed up with someone else, so let’s go with that.

  155. 155
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Bruce S:

    That you had to have the Pentagon joke explained suggests that you’re not a “go-to” person for observations about humor.

    Or that I’m not the “go to” person for English pronounciation.

    Your “nigger” analogy doesn’t make any sense, incidentally.

    Gosh, what a shock — a man is instructing me that I shouldn’t find “cunt” offensive because it’s funny, so I should just lighten up and let guys call me whatever names they want, just like black people should shut up about being offended when white people say “nigger.”

    So I can go out and call any gay man I run across a “faggot,” and if he gets offended, I can just explain to him that I don’t find it offensive, and he immediately has to shut up, right?

  156. 156
    MaryRC says:

    @Bruce S: Fair enough. I wasn’t following your conversation so your remarks were a bit baffling. Thanks for the explanation.

  157. 157
    Bruce S says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    “you think the only problem here is that they apologized, because no one should be offended by being called ‘kind of a cunt.’”

    First of all, the Onion’s CEO drove the apology, which is dickish and kind of sad. He’s a guy who admits he isn’t funny and has alienated some staff who have left. Second, your claim that I think no one should be offended by being called “kind of a cunt” is ridiculous and more evidence you have your head up your ass. Not only do I not want to sit next to you at a dinner party, I don’t want to go to a dinner party where I’d have to suffer such cluelessness.

  158. 158
    Bruce S says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    You’re doubling down on some totally stupid shit that is evidence you don’t understand at all what the point of the tweet was. This is pathetic.

  159. 159
    Mandalay says:

    @Bruce S:

    This is a borderline insane analogy. You’re talking about the fucking Onion.

    And why is the Onion so special that it is free to name a nine year girl a cunt in the name of satire? Many here seem to be arguing that because being satirical and being offensive is what-they-do, then, by definition, it has to be OK for them to post that.

    Well that is certainly an argument to make in the abstract, and I have some sympathy for that view, but once they apologize that argument has flown out the window. The Onion itself accepts that it cannot post whatever the fuck it wants in the name of satire.

    Yet many on this board (including you – not sure?) seem hellbent on defending the Onion even after it has admitted that it was in the wrong, and insisting it has taken “collective responsibility” by apologizing. That’s bullshit.

    Since the Onion is accepting that what happened was bad, then they need to follow up and state what has happened to the person who made that tweet. And if they choose not to say anything then I think they are behaving like the Villagers…bad actions are covered up with no consequences.

  160. 160
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Bruce S:

    First of all, the Onion’s CEO drove the apology, which is dickish and kind of sad. He’s a guy who admits he isn’t funny and has alienated some staff who have left.

    So they should have stood by their joke and said, “No, really, she’s kind of a cunt. Don’t you people have a sense of humor?”

    Second, your claim that I think no one should be offended by being called “kind of a cunt” is ridiculous and more evidence you have your head up your ass.

    Your claim was that the apology was worse than publicly saying that a 9-year-old is “kind of a cunt.”

    Do you really, genuinely not understand that calling a woman a “cunt” is really, really, really fucking offensive? It’s “nigger” level offensive. “Kike” level offensive. “Faggot” level offensive. It is not a word you use casually and then act surprised when people around you go ballistic.

    And, no, I’m sorry, you don’t get to decide that “cunt” is an inoffensive word any more than you get to decide that “nigger,” “kike,” or “chink” are inoffensive words that you can use any time you want.

  161. 161
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Bruce S:

    You’re doubling down on some totally stupid shit that is evidence you don’t understand at all what the point of the tweet was.

    Just out of curiosity, do you think the tweet would have made the same point if they had said she was “kind of a bitch,” or is it only funny if they use the word “cunt”?

  162. 162
    Bruce S says:

    @MaryRC:

    Sorry – I hit the wrong “reply.” I kind of disagree about the joke being totally out of bounds, but you DO “get it.”

    As for the nine-year-old in question, her “defenders” on the Twit-o-sphere have made it a certainty that she becomes aware of this obviously tasteless but ephemeral Twitter line. Good play! Because it’s more important to express collective outrage and extract a pound of flesh than it is to consider what is most likely to actually impact a child – one “offensive” tweet on a deliberately tasteless comedy site or a ginned up brouhaha across the intertubes. Very sensitive to the young person’s welfare…

    (Again, not directed to you – just some thoughts spurred by this self-righteous flare-up.)

  163. 163
    Mandalay says:

    @Bruce S:

    They weren’t “calling her names” they were making a joke about those kinds of comments.

    They are not mutually exclusive possibilities, but you can’t wash away calling a nine year old girl a cunt by arguing it was really a joke about something else.

    Even the Onion recognized this by apologizing, yet you seem hellbent on defending them even after they admitted they were wrong.

  164. 164
    Mandalay says:

    @Bruce S:

    As for the nine-year-old in question, her “defenders” on the Twit-o-sphere have made it a certainty that she becomes aware of this obviously tasteless but ephemeral Twitter line. Good play!

    This is a classic example of blame shifting.

    Why is it beyond you to say that the Onion should not have posted the tweet in the first place? Why are you seeking to lay the blame somewhere else?

  165. 165
    Bruce S says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    If you’re asking an honest question, I think that it would have been the same essential attempt to parody those kinds of comments if they’d said “bitch.” I’m not qualified to comment on the difference between the two terms. I find them both offensive – although “cunt” seems a bit stronger – but I don’t assume my particular sensitivities are the final arbiter. As I noted in random thoughts above, I think that if the outrage crowd had ignored this tweet – rather than turning it into an internet “scandal” with attendant apology – it would have been extremely unlikely that the kid would have even heard about it. Now she probably will see it – driven by the self-righteousness of folks who presume to be her “protectors.” I don’t get that. Nor do I get “tweeting” to begin with – it just strikes me as dumb. I don’t have anything else to say about this.

  166. 166
    Gwangung says:

    @Bruce S: heh. Somebody’s doubling down……

  167. 167
    Bruce S says:

    @Mandalay:

    Okay – fuck your “blameshifting.” Take some fucking responsibility for being among the crowd that turned this into a “headline” across internet sites, rather than a single tweet that would have best been ignored by folks who took offense. That’s not blame-shifting – it’s a description of the reality of this stupid flare-up over the past 24 hours. If the kid sees this thing, it’s on the folks who blew it up.

  168. 168
    Dacia says:

    @Trakker: To be honest, too many young girls and women hear this in person or from folks on the internet without going to Fox News. Whether they’re bullied on Facebook, Twitter, their own blog space, what-have-you, so many women and girls hear this shit all. the. time. Which is why The Onion tweet was especially reprehensible.

  169. 169
    Mandalay says:

    @Bruce S:

    Okay – fuck your “blameshifting.” Take some fucking responsibility for being among the crowd that turned this into a “headline” across internet sites, rather than a single tweet that would have best been ignored by folks who took offense

    Right. Stay silent, and don’t say anything about it, so the poor little girl (or “cunt” in your world) doesn’t get offended.

    I repeat: why are you defending what The Onion did even after they conceded it was wrong?

  170. 170
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Bruce S:

    If you’re asking an honest question, I think that it would have been the same essential attempt to parody those kinds of comments if they’d said “bitch.”

    And that’s kind of the point I’ve been trying to get to: like it or not, there are certain words that make people stop dead and focus on that specific word rather than the joke.

    If they had said “bitch” or “diva” or “brat,” you would have had a couple of outraged gasps and that would have been about it. But “cunt” is such a poisonous word that people cannot do anything but focus on that one word.

    As I noted in random thoughts above, I think that if the outrage crowd had ignored this tweet – rather than turning it into an internet “scandal” with attendant apology – it would have been extremely unlikely that the kid would have even heard about it.

    I don’t think you’ve been around too many 9-year-olds lately, especially girls. They’re all on Twitter, and they’re all constantly messaging each other. Trust me, one of her friends probably saw it and forwarded it to her long before any websites got hold of it.

    But I think you understand my point now even though you may not completely agree, so I’ll stop hounding you about it.

  171. 171
    TooManyJens says:

    @Bruce S:

    As for the nine-year-old in question, her “defenders” on the Twit-o-sphere have made it a certainty that she becomes aware of this obviously tasteless but ephemeral Twitter line. Good play!

    “Don’t express any disapproval of shitty behavior, or the kid gets it!”

    This idea that the Onion meant for their tweet to be a quiet little thing that went unnoticed, and it would have worked if it hadn’t been for you meddling kids, is just fucking stupid on its face. But hey, whatever it takes to make villains out of the people who don’t think you should call a little kid a cunt on a worldwide medium.

  172. 172
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Dacia:

    To be honest, too many young girls and women hear this in person or from folks on the internet without going to Fox News. Whether they’re bullied on Facebook, Twitter, their own blog space, what-have-you, so many women and girls hear this shit all. the. time. Which is why The Onion tweet was especially reprehensible.

    This, also, too. I’m still convinced it’s a white frat boy thing — for some reason, they’re on a campaign to convince other guys (not just white guys, sadly) that it’s not that bad a word and any woman who gets upset by it is just uptight and humorless.

    Guys: it’s a very, very bad word. If you get into an argument with a woman and you use that word to describe her, she will break your nose. It’s that bad. You can get away with “bitch,” but not that one.

  173. 173
    Bruce S says:

    @TooManyJens:

    Yeah – if you are truly offended for the kid’s sake, defend blowing this crap up so there’s no chance she’ll not see it and become the “victim” in an internet brouhaha. Because you care!

  174. 174
    TriassicSands says:

    @Bruce S:

    Funny – I find your comment totally strange. Sounds like some Stalinist prosecutorial shit. “It is no coincidence that blah-blah.” This entire meltdown over McFarlane and The Onion should be embarrassing people. Totally weird.

    For better or worse, Bruce, what IS strange here is your response, not that of people who are offended by the use — abuse — of a child in order to make a joke. The problem is the joke contained the name of a real, living person, and one who is only nine years old and ill-equipped to know how to deal with being used in this fashion.

    I don’t hate the Onion. I think they do a lot of very funny stuff, but they screwed the pooch on this one and, even if you don’t, they realize their mistake. I don’t consider this so horrible that I’ll never read or watch anything by the Onion again, but it’s disappointing that this one got past the editing desk.

    As for over-reaction, you’re invoking Stalin is nothing short of bizarre, although there is a sort of mindless irony to your accusing others of blowing something out of proportion and yet you manage to bring Stalin into the discussion. Perhaps we should name this The Bruce Corollary to Godwin’s Law.

  175. 175
  176. 176
    TooManyJens says:

    @Bruce S: No, really. You’re going with the “the tweet from the account with 4.6 million followers would have gone unnoticed if not for the people who got mad about it” story? That’s your play? You’re not embarrassed by that at all?

  177. 177
    MattR says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Guys: it’s a very, very bad word. If you get into an argument with a woman and you use that word to describe her, she will break your nose. It’s that bad. You can get away with “bitch,” but not that one.

    Hate to break it to you, but you don’t actually speak for all women on this issue. I have known American women who use the word cunt the same way you would use bitch.

  178. 178
    Bruce S says:

    @TooManyJens:

    What’s stupid is not recognizing what’s in front of your face. An Onion tweet is nothing compared to what the “deeply offended” crowd have turned this into – aside from the fact that their take on the tweet is asnine IMHO. You can’t be serious. I haven’t made anyone anything – if you’re “villains” it’s because you privilege your bullshit outrage over common sense and a modicum of restraint in the face of a deliberately “outrageous” Tweet. I’m very impressed by your sensitivities.

  179. 179
    Bruce S says:

    @TooManyJens:

    Not “embarrassed” because it’s true. I have never heard of anything ever tweeted by The Onion other than this. Never. Ever. My point really isn’t arguable – and I didn’t say it would go “unnoticed” – I said that without the bloated reaction, it’s far less likely the young girl would have been drawn into it personally. Far, far less likely. But nobody frothing really gives a shit about that, do they? I’d be embarrassed to be on the other side of this one. Truly humiliated if I had to defend this Outrage Fest that is huge compared to a single Onion tweet. You’re bullshitting yourself if you actually believe what you claim.

  180. 180
    Mnemosyne says:

    @MattR:

    I have known American women who use the word cunt the same way you would use bitch.

    And when you use the word the same way when referring to women, they’re A-OK with it?

    Sorry, but this is on the level of, “But black guys call each other ‘nigger’ all the time!” People inside the group are allowed to use names for each other that people outside the group are not.

    Tell you what, the next time you’re out with that group of women, casually call one of them a “cunt.” If you make it out alive, I’ll be surprised.

  181. 181
    TooManyJens says:

    @Bruce S: Wow, you are seriously sticking with the story that if only people had pretended the tweet was OK, everything would have been fine, and the only people who did anything wrong are the people who said “hey, it is not OK to say that about a little girl.” That’s disgusting.

  182. 182
    TooManyJens says:

    @Bruce S:

    I have never heard of anything ever tweeted by The Onion other than this. Never. Ever.

    4.6 million people follow that account, but they don’t count because this is all about you, apparently.

  183. 183
    Mandalay says:

    @nellcote: An excellent rant. I think this part will really get The Onion’s attention:

    As one who chooses my battles, allow me to inform you that we are circulating your direct contact info and that of your advertisers.

    I think the name of the person who chose post the tweet will eventually come out one way or another. The Onion need to stop protecting that person.

  184. 184
    MattR says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    And when you use the word the same way when referring to women, they’re A-OK with it?

    Yes, they are. They view it as insult like bitch or dick and not a slur like nigger, kike or chink.

    Tell you what, the next time you’re out with that group of women, casually call one of them a “cunt.” If you make it out alive, I’ll be surprised.

    Not a problem. Not that you will believe me. (EDIT: I am not gonna walk up to one of these women and say “what’s up cunt” but if I am going to call them a dick or an asshole or jerk or bitch, I will make sure to pick cunt instead.)

  185. 185
    Mnemosyne says:

    @MattR:

    Not a problem. Not that you will believe me.

    I really don’t, to be honest. When was the last time you got into an argument with one of them and called her a cunt?

    ETA: Another question that may seem irrelevant — did you call any of them a “cunt” while you were in a dating situation/sleeping together, or do they treat you like one of the girls?

  186. 186
    Bruce S says:

    @TooManyJens:

    You are giving away your game. I didn’t say anyone had to pretend anything. I said that blowing it up on the internet isn’t my notion of demonstrating concern about the young person. Common sense would tell anyone who actually cared about the kid’s feelings that it would be better to just let it die a Tweet’s death, relatively quickly. And they weren’t actually “saying that about a little girl.” So the outrage is bogus and stupid. But I get that some folks would be offended. What I don’t get is that they would think making a big deal about how offensive this was is more important than letting it pass, out of actual respect for the kid in question. Nobody who blew this stupid joke up on the internet actually can claim to give a shit about her. Not even a little.

  187. 187
    MattR says:

    @Mnemosyne: No idea. It is not that memorable an event that it sticks in my head. Can’t remember the last time I called one of them a bitch either.

    did you call any of them a “cunt” while you were in a dating situation/sleeping together, or do they treat you like one of the girls

    None of the above

  188. 188
    TooManyJens says:

    @Bruce S: I don’t have a game, asshole. Consider why you’re so convinced that I must be being disingenuous and the outrage must be bogus. Are you projecting, perhaps? Or are you just that incapable of believing what women are saying about why this is worth getting pissed off about?

    Jesus Taffy-Pulling Christ, will there ever be a problem that women don’t have to run by dudes first to check if they’re OK with us being mad about it?

  189. 189
    Bruce S says:

    @TooManyJens:

    “4.6 million people follow that account, but they don’t count because this is all about you, apparently.”

    No, it’s all about you. I didn’t start this bullshit brouhaha. The fact that The Onion has several million Twitter followers isn’t a big deal – Tweets are totally ephemeral UNLESS they get picked up. I have serious doubts anyone who thought this was sort of funny and understood the context thought it was funny enough to turn it into a story. Only the self-righteous crowd went to those lengths. Which is evidence they could care less about the young girl.

    But no matter – the fact of your outrage at an Onion tweet is extremely important.

  190. 190
    MattR says:

    @TooManyJens:

    Jesus Taffy-Pulling Christ, will there ever be a problem that women don’t have to run by dudes first to check if they’re OK with us being mad about it?

    I am not speaking for Bruce, but IMO the issue is not whether or not the tweet made you mad, but rather whether the display of anger is counterproductive (ala the Streisand Effect)

  191. 191
    TooManyJens says:

    @Bruce S: See, what’s interesting is that you don’t think the Onion started it. They’re blameless in your eyes. Objecting to a bad joke that relies on calling a 9-year-old girl a cunt is worse than, you know, calling the 9-year-old girl a cunt. The only proper response to that kind of vileness is to STFU about it. Because God knows that’s never failed as a strategy.

  192. 192
    Mnemosyne says:

    @MattR:

    None of the above

    Okay, now I’m even more confused. So you’re not dating or sleeping with any of them, but they don’t treat you as a platonic, “one of the girls” friend?

    Also, if your answer to the sleeping together question is, “I’m gay,” congratulations, you’re definitely one of the girls. But I still wouldn’t suggest using that word in an argument with any woman outside of your social circle unless you’re prepared for a broken nose.

  193. 193
    Bruce S says:

    @TooManyJens:

    “Run by dudes”? – sorry. Wasn’t aware that you have a problem with your shit being “run by dudes.” The way to solve that one is noy to run crap by a “dude” and expect him to buy it because you’re…whoever the fuck you are, as though I’m supposed to give a shit prima facia. Your game got even more tiresome and lame.

  194. 194
    TooManyJens says:

    @MattR: I don’t think the Streisand Effect is a good analogy. The Onion wasn’t trying to hide that tweet — they put it out there for the world to see. At which point, the response is either that it’s acceptable, or it isn’t. “Nothing to see here” isn’t really an option. And not responding is as good as saying “that’s acceptable.”

    It would be one thing if this was an account with an egg avatar and 3 followers, but it’s not. That tweet was going to get seen by millions of people. It was going to get passed around to even more people by douches who thought it was lolarious. (As evidence, I present: the Internet.) And there should be no counterweight to that?

  195. 195
    Bruce S says:

    @TooManyJens:

    “what’s interesting is that you don’t think the Onion started it”

    Again, you are making shit up and stuffing words in my mouth that weren’t even implied, much less said. Since you don’t like running shit by dudes, I agree that “shut the fuck up” is obviously the way to go if you can’t engage with any honesty.

  196. 196
    MattR says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    So you’re not dating or sleeping with any of them, but they don’t treat you as a platonic, “one of the girls” friend?

    Correct. They treat me as a guy they are friends with. They don’t pretend that I am female, gay or a eunuch just because I am not sleeping with them.

  197. 197
    Bruce S says:

    @MattR:

    This!

    I swear this is my last, because you said it better than I did, obviously.

  198. 198
    MattR says:

    @TooManyJens: It is definitely a tough situation and I think there is a fine line to walk between making your disapproval known and fanning the flames. Unfortunately, I think things have crossed beyond the former into the latter.

  199. 199
    Mandalay says:

    @MattR:

    IMO the issue is not whether or not the tweet made you mad, but rather whether the display of anger is counterproductive (ala the Streisand Effect)

    Apples and oranges. The “Streisand Effect” would be relevant if the outrage was due to the removal of the tweet as opposed to its content, but that is clearly not the case.

    The outrage is entirely due to its offensive content, and what some here refuse to accept is that it was offensive regardless of the intended humor of the tweet.

  200. 200
    Mnemosyne says:

    @MattR:

    They treat me as a guy they are friends with. They don’t pretend that I am female, gay or a eunuch just because I am not sleeping with them.

    I almost hate to break it to you, but by letting you call them “cunts,” they are treating you as one of the girls, or at least as a gender-neutral friend whose opinion of their sexuality doesn’t really matter.

    If you did start dating one of them, your current privilege to call that woman a “cunt” during an argument would be immediately revoked.

    You may not believe me, but I am telling you these things for your own good: calling your wife or girlfriend a “cunt” is dropping a nuclear bomb in your relationship, even if she and her friends call each other “cunts” all day long.

  201. 201
    TooManyJens says:

    @MattR:

    Unfortunately, I think things have crossed beyond the former into the latter.

    I don’t think so, but it’s possible. But when Bruce says that he found the joke sort of funny and incisive, and that the asshole move was apologizing for it, I’m not interested in his judgment about where that line is, you know?

  202. 202
    Mandalay says:

    @Bruce S:

    This! I swear this is my last, because you said it better than I did, obviously.

    But he was not stating what you have been arguing. Your position about the so-called “joke” has been far more absurd and odious.

  203. 203
    MattR says:

    @Mandalay: It is not exactly the same, but they are similar in the sense that the publicity makes things worse by making more people aware.

    @Mnemosyne:

    If you did start dating one of them, your current privilege to call that woman a “cunt” during an argument would be immediately revoked.

    You may not believe me, but I am telling you these things for your own good: calling your wife or girlfriend a “cunt” is dropping a nuclear bomb in your relationship, even if she and her friends call each other “cunts” all day long.

    The thing is, I don’t think I have a current privilege to call these women a bitch as part of a serious argument. Similarly, if I was gonna call my wife or girlfriend a cunt and substituted the word bitch, the result will be largely the same. At that point it is not the word that matters, it is the intent of the comment. And these particular women don’t see cunt as any more offensive than bitch.

    (EDIT: Oops, originally responded to the two paragraphs in the block quote individually then forgot to delete some stuff when I consolidated things)

  204. 204
    Mandalay says:

    @MattR:

    It is not exactly the same, but they are similar in the sense that the publicity makes things worse by making more people aware.

    The publicity makes things worse for who? The child or the Onion? If you mean the Onion then they have brought it on themselves, and if you mean the child then the blame for that lies 100% with the Onion; people are only reacting to the Onion’s tweet.

    The notions that people should not be outraged by the tweet, or that they should suppress their outrage, are both absurd.

  205. 205
    Mnemosyne says:

    @MattR:

    Do you really think there would be much difference between saying “You are such a cunt” vs “You are such a bitch”? At that point, the word itself doesn’t matter because the intent is clear.

    Yes, there would be. Picture calling your mom a “bitch.” Now picture yourself saying, “Mom, you’re such a cunt.”

    It’s not just the intent, any more than saying “shoot” instead of “shit” in anger is the same thing because you intend them the same way. It’s also the word.

    Related to what I said above, I don’t think I have a current privilege to call these women bitches as part of serious argument. I can use the term about them in a more light hearted way or to refer to other people.

    Okay, so you do seem to get that you already have a few limits to your privilege. If I get into an argument with another woman, I can call her a “bitch,” and it’s forgivable. Spoke in the heat of anger, didn’t really mean it, so sorry, etc.

    But if I call her a “cunt” in the heat of anger, that’s different. As I said above, that’s setting off a nuke. You can try to apologize, but things will never quite be the same.

    That’s my argument with this whole Tweet. “Cunt” is one of those words that makes you stop dead and focus on it. It is a seriously insulting word. Like it or not, as soon as the Onion writers decided to use it, they made the tweet all about That Word and not about the intended joke of people saying catty things about a child actress. That’s because “cunt” is not just a catty thing to say — it’s an actual insult. The fact that friends can use insults with each other inside their social circle doesn’t automatically make those words not insults.

  206. 206
    Mnemosyne says:

    @MattR:

    Last thing since my edit time is running out on the one above: “cunt” is one of those words that a lot of young (usually white) women think is cute and funny to use with their friends, but they change their minds really fast once it’s used with serious intent against them.

    ETA: Yes, I’m speaking from the experience of age here (mid-40s). I’m also wearing an onion on my belt and strongly advise you kids to get off my damn lawn.

  207. 207
    MattR says:

    @Mandalay:

    The publicity makes things worse for who? The child or the Onion? If you mean the Onion then they have brought it on themselves, and if you mean the child then the blame for that lies 100% with the Onion; people are only reacting to the Onion’s tweet.

    It is worse for the child. And your comment that the Onion is 100% to blame for the results of all criticism implies that there is no incorrect way to criticize them for the tweet.

    @Mnemosyne:

    Picture calling your mom a “bitch.” Now picture yourself saying, “Mom, you’re such a cunt.”

    I would never say “Mom, you’re such a bitch”.

    Okay, so you do seem to get that you already have a few limits to your privilege. If I get into an argument with another woman, I can call her a “bitch,” and it’s forgivable. Spoke in the heat of anger, didn’t really mean it, so sorry, etc.

    But if I call her a “cunt” in the heat of anger, that’s different. As I said above, that’s setting off a nuke. You can try to apologize, but things will never quite be the same.

    That’s my argument with this whole Tweet. “Cunt” is one of those words that makes you stop dead and focus on it.

    (emphasis added by me)

    That may be true for some people, but my point is that it is not a universal truth. There are women I know who don’t see cunt as inherently worse than bitch.

  208. 208
    Mnemosyne says:

    @MattR:

    There are women I know who don’t see cunt as inherently worse than bitch.

    I think you should ask them. Not if one is funnier to use when joking around with your friends, but if they got into a fight with their current boyfriend, would it be worse for him to call her a “bitch” or to call her a “cunt”?

    I think you might be surprised by the answer, but I may be wrong. If nothing else, it could make interesting bar conversation.

  209. 209
    MattR says:

    @MattR: To clarify, I am not saying that a very large portion of the country does not find the word offensive. But I do think you are making a broad generalization that all women will react to cunt much worse than they do to bitch.

    @Mnemosyne: I have talked to at least some of them about it because it is not something you come across everyday and I was curious exactly how they felt.

  210. 210
    Mandalay says:

    @MattR:

    It is worse for the child. And your comment that the Onion is 100% to blame for the results of all criticism implies that there is no incorrect way to criticize them for the tweet.

    If the Onion had not made the tweet then there would not have been any criticism, and in my view they bear 100% of the responsibility for any fallout.

    But putting that aside, and accepting your implication that there is an “incorrect” way to respond to the tweet, what is the “correct” way to express disapproval of the tweet?

  211. 211
    Darkrose says:

    @MattR:

    Hate to break it to you, but you don’t actually speak for all women on this issue. I have known American women who use the word cunt the same way you would use bitch.

    “I call my black best friend ‘my nigga’ all the time and he’s never kicked my ass, so it’s totally okay!”

  212. 212
    Keith G says:

    I am glad I went to bed early. For those still interested, here is an interesting review by Wired’s Laura Hudson

    My reading of the situation was a little different; I don’t think The Onion called a 9-year-old girl a “c**t” because they thought it was “true,” or because they wanted to be offensive simply for its own sake. (Unlike Oscar host Seth MacFarlane, who has created a small comedy empire on the initially novel but now tiresome gimmick of comedy shock tactics, The Onion has built its audience on razor-sharp satire that is both relentlessly progressive and unwilling to pull punches.) Rather, I believe they made a shocking, ugly comment to point out that the way the media talks about women is often quite shocking and ugly.
    ___
    It was well-intentioned. It was also wrong.

    .

    She continues with what I think is her most important point:

    …your intentions are not more important than the effect they have. Not meaning to cause harm is an explanation, not an excuse. And if this unfortunate incident offers us anything, it’s a teachable moment about the best way to respond when we screw up and say things that are sexist/racist/homophobic/insensitive without understanding their impact.

    She goes on to credit the Onion’s response.

    Personally, I am amazed at the pay-back/revenge seeking that I see up thread which seems to be saying, “We cannot rest until the awful miscreant(s) who typed this writhe in agony in the public commons.”

    I do not think a young writer who has been hired to push the limits of conventional thought and discourse should be publicly excoriated for an in-the-moment poorly conceived joke. If we do that, the debate and focus will be about him/her/them and will be moved away from the error itself.

    Further, as a very heavy consumer of comedy, I have occasionally been turned off and even personally angered by what I have heard (Most AIDS jokes really do not work IMO), but I still respect the work of those to continue to hone their craft and try to make it possible for me to laugh at the fucked up mess our world has become. Exacting a pound of flesh every time a “pusher of limits” screws up, would not serve to make this world a better, or funnier, place.

  213. 213
    Paul in KY says:

    @GregB: Neither does South Park. Do also agree with you about Mr. MacFarlane.

  214. 214
    Paul in KY says:

    @Violet: I guess it is because she straightens it to get it to do that.

    Surmising here from Mr. Whitey-White.

  215. 215
    Ron says:

    @Mandalay: why do they need to name names? I don’t understand that at all. I’m satisfied with their apology

  216. 216
    Paul in KY says:

    @Mnemosyne: Used to be the Pentagon, now it’s not.

  217. 217
    Paul in KY says:

    @Bruce S: Are you the person who wrote that tweet? Do you work (or used to work) for the Onion?

  218. 218
    Ron says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: Chris Kluwe is awesome. Even my Green Bay native Packer fan wife loves him.

  219. 219
    Howlin Wolfe says:

    @Trentrunner: !

  220. 220
    Howlin Wolfe says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: Kluwe is Kool!

  221. 221
    Interrobang says:

    @Mnemosyne: Yes, this exactly. It’s also bad enough, or that bad when someone says it about a woman. To say it about a nine year old girl is beyond weapons-grade offensive; it’s not just superficially offensive in the way that referring to a woman as a “cunt” generally is, it’s a whole new level of inappropriateness somewhere on the “less damaging” end of the spectrum of offenses that includes child porn on the extreme “most damaging” end. And if you can’t see that, I really wonder about you.

    Jesus. What part of “hurling sexual insults at nine-year-olds is NEVER APPROPRIATE” do people not get? I can kind of understand how privilege-blind idiots wouldn’t get how the fact that the target is both black and female worsens the offense, but can’t we at least start from the assumption that calling little kids sexual terms to denigrate them is a bad thing? And if you can’t see how “cunt” is a sexual term, I really wonder how you’re bright enough to keep breathing on your own. Fuck.

  222. 222
    Keith G says:

    @Interrobang: Child porn?

    Wow.

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