The next-day Oscar talk ought to be about The Ghost of William Shatner opening the ceremony, despite not having played Captain Kirk for 20 years, or the bizarre nostalgic tribute to a movie, Dreamgirls, that came out seven years ago. Instead, the Internet’s in a tiff about something The Onion tweeted in regards to impossibly adorable nine-year-old Beasts of a Southern Wild actress, Quvenzhané Wallis. “Foul language alert,” which is the problem for many.
The general opinion is best summed up by something The Bunk wrote soon after The Onion deleted the tweet.
So, what do you guys think? At the risk of sounding too preachy, my thoughts are somewhere along the lines of: the message of the joke doesn’t bother me — I like what, I think, The Onion was trying to do, which is call out the way we talk about celebrities, and the terrible, awful things we say about people we’ve never met, including kids — but, well, it’s that “I think” that’s the problem.
The joke’s too ambiguous, so its defenders are grasping for straws, while the offenders are screaming at The Onion for picking on a child. Thing is, that’s not what they were doing (hopefully) — they could have instead picked on Anne Hathaway (who people have called the c-word, and much worse, because people are dumb), but they went with Wallis. That’s what The Onion does; they go for the most shocking target to satirize something in our culture, in this case, the way E! is going to devote hours of coverage to Meryl Steep looking magnificent and Amanda Seyfried, a whore. Well intentioned, poorly executed.
And beside, Quvenzhané Wallis, who is 17 kinds of awesome, don’t care. After all…
UPDATE: The Onion has issued an apology…