There was been much debate as to whether The Onion’s controversial Oscar night tweet, about Quvenzhané Wallis, was brilliant satire or offensive trash. But there is no denying that the fallout has been one of the most fascinating post-Academy Awards stories.
For the first time in the history of the parody news organization -- which often enjoys having its humor misunderstood and seems generally indifferent to public sensitivity -- The Onion’s CEO offered a very real apology. This took place after a massive public outcry regarding The Onion’s Oscar night tweet calling the 9-year-old actress a “c**t”. There has now been a significantly smaller backlash to the backlash, over the fact that The Onion didn’t stand its ground.
Whatever side of this you find yourself on, we couldn't help but notice how the public’s reaction to the perceived slight against Wallis compares to another child star who graced our screens last year: Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Thompson. During the run of her show, Thompson, who is several years younger than Wallis, was the butt of endless late night jokes and harsh media criticism. The only resulting public outrage from that was directed at her mother for putting her in the public eye.
So why do we, as society, value our Wallises more than out Honey Boo-Boos? Many would probably be quick to point out race as a factor, but the difference is more likely the mediums in which the two girls have been presented. While Wallis is the star of an award-winning movie, something we respect and admire, Thompson is the star of a reality TV show, something our culture at large looks down upon. While that take on the two forms of entertainment may be valid, it doesn't change the fact that both stars are children and probably equally capable of googling themselves.
Does this mean that there should also be outrage directed towards comedians who have joked about Honey Boo-Boo? Or should those upset about The Onion tweet chill out? Either way, it won’t really matter here on the omnipresent random-outrage-generator known as the World Wide Web.