25 February 2013

Satire and "The Line"

  As a writer, I am always leery of passing too harsh a judgment on other writers; especially when it comes to attempts at satire. As George Carlin says, "I think it's the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately."

  I've written my share of satire. I've toed – perhaps even crossed – that line more than once. I've made word choices for effect. But, what The Onion did last night during the Academy Awards – what they called Quvenzhané Wallis, a nine-year-old child – was well over any possible definition of "the line."

  While I certainly am not the final judge of what is or isn't funny – at least not for anyone but myself – I think any rational person would be offended by The Onion's insulting remark regarding Ms. Wallis.

  Because she was seated at the Oscar ceremony, waiting to find out if she won the award for Best Actress, I'm sure Ms. Wallis did not see the Twitter post from The Onion. And – though it may be naïve of me – I hope she does not see the apology they posted soon after. I hope no one has to explain to a nine-year-old what The Onion said that required – that demanded – an apology.

  I believe in the First Amendment. The Onion has the right to write whatever they please. I, however, am not forced to agree with them. Nor, am I obligated to continue following them on Facebook, Google+, Tumblr, and Twitter.

  I have, therefore, expunged The Onion from each of the social media platforms I use.

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