Dumb bastards on Twitter take Oscars tweet literally
OK I’m going to say this once: There is a difference between cursing, and cursing in context.
Last night the internet was up in arms over a tweet made by satirical online newspaper, The Onion, and an allegation that Family Guy creator and Oscars host Seth Macfarlane sexualized a nine-year-old.
Yesterday The Onion tweeted: “Everyone is afraid to say it but Quvenzhané Wallis (the nine-year-old Oscar nominated star of Beasts of The Southern Wild) is kind of a c***, right?,” and deleted it about an hour later after outrage spread like wildfire across the social network.
Not long before that, Seth Macfarlane had joked that the same actress was nine years shy of being George Clooney’s type.
Now, “The C Word” may not be your favourite word in the English language. In fact I despise it most times, but even if you dislike that word, you should be able to recognise that The Onion - a satirical newspaper - was being ironic.
For those who need it spelled out: the Tweet was meant to imply thinly veiled jealousy, because:
- She is a 9 year old nominated for an Oscar.
- She is an incredible actress.
- She has probably already earned more money in a year than you will in 10.
What The Onion did not do is call her “The C Word”. Perhaps it could have called her anything accept a four letter word beginning with the letter C and the point would still have been valid.
But regardless, The Onion shouldn’t have to apologise for being edgy. Nor should it have deleted its tweet, hoping no one had taken a screen shot and that it would all go away. The very fact it deleted the tweet makes it look weak and thoughtless when in fact it had a point to make. It may not have been particularly funny, but it was meant to be complimentary.
As for Macfarlane’s unfunny but harmless quip: THE JOKE WAS NOT AIMED AT WALLIS, IT WAS MEANT FOR CLOONEY. CLOONEY WAS THE BUTT OF HIS JOKE, NOT THE CHILD. The joke - to spell it out once again - implied that Clooney only dated younger women.
It was making him out to be a filthy old man. Not a filthy old man that likes nine-year-olds, a filthy old man that likes 18-year-olds. Still, ew, but really? Come on. Have you seen his latest string of girlfriends. Please.
But there are only a handful of people on Twitter who seem to understand the nuance of both of these comments. Everyone else has consigned themselves to confected outrage, claiming that Macfarlane sexualised Wallis. Macfarlane is many things: He can dish it but he cannot take it and is the creator of one of the least funny films of the holiday season. But a person who sexualises children – he is not.
There has to come a point where we are able to distinguish real problems from actual problems and this is not an actual problem.
“But Claire”, people on Twitter have said, “What would you tell your nine year old if she had just found out that people on Twitter were calling her the C word and people on TV were sexualising her?!”
Well to them I say that I would tell my daughter that the tweet was actually meant as a compliment. It was implying that she had to be a bad person because otherwise she was too perfect. The tweet was received in exactly the opposite was it was intended.
I would tell her that in the age of social media it’s important to be able to feel like she can shy away from every fight and that she doesn’t have to have an opinion on everything. I would teach her to pick her battles. All lessons the vast majority of Twitter users seem to have missed somehow.
As for whether Wallis is at risk of Macfarlane’s advances (or anyone else’s) I think we can all agree that she is as safe as she was seconds before the harmless quip. If anyone should be offended it’s Clooney but you don’t see him mouthing off about it on Twitter. Or anyone else for that matter.
I’m not saying child protection isn’t an important issue. It is. But that’s why we need to make sure children are protected from real and present threats, instead of focusing on fake ones we believe we can fix, because we “saw the signs”.
Rubbish issues like this distract from the real ones. And it’s the stuff you’re not comfortable focusing on that you should be worried about.
Quvenzhané Wallis is going to be just fine. You know why? Look at your life, now look at hers, now back at yours.
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