Anyone following The Onion the past few weeks probably shouldn’t have been surprised by its offensive Oscar tweet about Quvenzhane Wallis. In recent weeks, they’ve mocked the burning alive of former LAPD officer Christopher Dorner, the murder of Oscar Pistorius’ girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp and regularly joke about racism, domestic violence and misogyny. Anyone outraged by the Wallis tweet probably hasn’t been paying attention lately:


I’ve been following The Onion on Twitter for a few months and I’ve noticed more recently that they often post content that really is more in poor taste than funny. I don’t think anything about the Dorner or Pistorius case is funny.

With nearly 4.7 million followers, The Onion may be the new Archie Bunker – our lovable, racist misogynist go-to satirist on the Web.

They may get me to laugh but it’s occasionally followed by a sick feeling in my stomach. Perhaps offensiveness is like pornography, you know it when you see it. And, it’s definitely in the eye of the beholder. But, the older I get, the more I believe there is a place for sensitivity, common sense and regard for darkness the country can’t seem to heal from.

Perhaps we should take note of The Onion’s recent advice from the NRA: “It’s Probably Best If You Just Ignore What We’re About To Say”

But it’s not like The Onion is alone. I followed The Grumpy Cat because it’s initially funny – until it’s not:

Yet, I give South Park a pass on most anything. Perhaps its just that we all expected The Onion to be a safer, cuddlier site than it actually is.

Posted by Jeff Reifman

Jeff is a technology consultant based in the Pacific Northwest. Check out Portland Wild, a visual map-driven guide to Portland's public art, its Heritage Trees and its Little Free Libraries.

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