Give The Onion a Break

The internet is outraged, as only the internet can be, over a tweet from The Onion about nine-year-old Oscar nominee Quvenzhane Wallis. The satirical newspaper wrote "Everyone else seems afraid to say it, but that Quvenzhane Wallis is kind of a cunt, right?" I agree that it’s a mistake to make a crude joke about somebody that young, and they were right to delete it, but The Onion deserves to be forgiven for this one, and fast. Why? Because The Onion is one of the best things American publishing has created in the last 25 years, and it didn’t get to be that way by worrying about offending people. Week after week, since 1988, The Onion has skewered the deserving in the most incisive, hilarious, and memorable way possible. As with Monty Python, it would be pointless for me to even start to mention The Onion‘s greatest hits. There are so many, we’d never get any work done today.

But every long-term Onion fan has a head full of them. In my brain today: "Badly Injured Man Not Done Partying Yet," "Seriously Ladies, There Have Been Noise Complaints," "Pope Forgives Molested Children." I’m looking at my Onion calendar right now. Today’s story: "So Far It Looks Like I’ve Done a Pretty Good Job Faking My Death" by Michael Landon. That’s funny.  The writers and editors have such a grasp of current events, journalistic style, pop culture, and human nature, that it’s just perfect for our time. Proof of this: people fall for their parody news reports all the time. They just seem so real. 

So, to those of you who are pounding on your keyboards like percussion instruments right now, registering your offense to The Onion‘s joke, I have to say: really? From the sensitive minds over at Fox News to the intellectuals at Salon, who bleated about "The Onion’s Vile Quvenzhane Wallis Tweet," it seems like people are going out of their way to join the aggrieved, as if it puts them on some moral high ground. I can’t help but roll my eyes a little. 

Yes, it was a bit much, but you know it was a joke, and, let’s be honest, it is funny on some level. I shouldn’t need to explain this, but it’s funny because Quvenzhane Wallis is so cute and nice and talented, and being joked about like that just underscores this. They called her that because she’s not that. We’re deep into the 21st Century now, so you should be familiar with the concept of irony. The Onion pushed it a little far with a young target, but this is one of those cases where it’s funny because it’s not true. Please don’t join the swollen ranks of the easily offended. Nobody got hurt, and nobody went hungry over this. Here’s what happens when people get offended: nothing.

The world needs The Onion. It would be a sad, boring, serious place without it. And I can’t wait to see the story they come up with on this whole blowup. They joke about everything, but one thing’s absolutely true. The Onion truly is "America’s Finest News Source." So lighten up already. 

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Do You Suffer From MGOOMFA This Oscar Season?

Does watching The Oscars in your living room sound a bit dull? Do you crave that surge of communal disappointment and celebration upon the announcement of the winners? Do you like chicken tenders? If you’ve said yes to any of these questions, chances are you have a case of the MGOOMFA: Must Get Out Of My F@#$ing Apartment syndrome commonly associated with freezing climates and 4+ hours browsing Hulu daily. And with The Oscars coming up this Sunday, the perfect opportunity is upon you to get out of your apartment, and communicate with fellow NYers at official Oscars viewing parties across the city. Here is where to go:

SideBAR: Upscale sportsbar. Optional two-hour Bud Light & well-cocktail open bar at 7pm. Oscars ballot competition with $50 gift certificate for the winner. Personal bucket of pigs-in-a-blanket and tater tots. $10 entry, $50 with open bar. Chicken tenders.

The Windsor: High-end sportsbar.Free house-made gourmet popcorn. Free first glass of bubbly. Truffle grilled cheese. Starts 5pm. No entry fee. No chicken tenders.

The Bell House: Brooklyn’s wackiest events venue. Hosted by (my favorite) comedian & (erotic short story) writer Dave Hill. Raunchy, thought-provoking  analysis during commercials. $8 cocktail specials. No food/chicken tenders.

Brooklyn Winery: The sophisticated celebration. Oscar-themed sparkling cocktails. Seth MacFarlane hosts. Oscar ballots. First come, first-served seating. Starts 7pm. Get gussied up. Obviously no chicken tenders.

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Enjoy This GIF Wall of Oscar Winner/Loser Reaction Shots

I know, I know: The Oscars are so 12 hours ago. But I would be remiss if I didn’t try to wring every ounce of bloggability of the Academy’s bloated corpse, which is why you get to enjoy this magnificent GIF wall courtesy of FourFour’s Rich Juzwiak. Juzwiak curated a list of reaction shots from a sizable number of Oscar ceremonies to show how the lucky actors and actresses looked upon hearing their names, and the stinkfaces their rivals wore in response. Scrolling through it, you can absolutely smell the jealousy, inner rage, and bathroom tears that are soon to follow. Check it out at FourFour before your work day really gets started.

My favorites are Minnie Driver’s turn and gasp, Mo’Nique’s smoldering inhale and nostril flare, and the mix of exuberance and disbelief at hearing Anna Paquin’s bogus 11-year old self announced at the 1993 awards. But you will have your favorites, and they will all be awesome. Enjoy the schadenfreude, folks! There’s only a year left until the next Oscars.

Morning Links: ‘The Artist’ Takes Five, Baby Blue Ivy Goes Out For Lunch

● J-Lo showed some nipple and a very skinny Angelina some leg; Sacha Baron Cohen rained Kim Jong-Il’s ashes down on Ryan Seacrest; Chris Rock told the evening’s only funny joke; and The Artist took five awards. Ladies and gentleman, the 2012 Academy Awards! [NYT]

● The newly single Russell Simmons made sure to get Katy Perry’s number before leaving last night’s post-awards festivities. [NYDN]

● Jay-Z and Beyoncé took baby Blue Ivy out for her first lunch on the town at Sant Ambroeus in the West Village. [Rap-Up]

● Dipset capo Jim Jones was arrested and mased after getting into a fight at Diddy’s big Foxwoods Resort and Casino bash. "This is gettin blown way out of proportion," he said on Twitter after posting the $40,000 bail. [TMZ]

● Rihanna has been shortlisted, along with Vivica Fox and Jordin Sparks, to star in an upcoming Whitney Houston bioepic. [DailyMail]

● Ever so lovely, Taylor Swift invited a teen cancer patient to be her date to the Academy of Country Music Awards with a post on his Facebook wall. ‘Like’! [TMZ]

Buy Your Very Own Oscar

What do you get the person who has everything?  How about their very own Oscar?  Fifteen statuettes are going up for auction this Tuesday, including those awarded for Citizen Kane and Wuthering Heights. Get ready to pony up the dough, these things don’t come cheap.

Auctioneer Nate D. Sanders tells the LA Times the statuettes are expected to get $4 million in bids for those who want something fun to display on their mantle. 

The Academy, known for being stodgy (see: Sacha Baron Cohen’s The Dictator debacle), is not happy because Oscars can’t be bought with anything but talent. Fortunately for those with little theatrical skill and deep pockets, there is nothing they can do about it.  

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences banned the sale of the awards by winners in 1950 to anyone but the Academy for the price of $1, but those won before that time still pop up at auction.  Michael Jackson bought the statue given to Gone with the Wind in 1999 for $1.54 million.

If Meryl Streep ends up losing tonight’s Best Actress category, we suggests someone gifts her one to add to her collection, but it is sure to have any receiver saying "You like me, you really like me."

Sacha Baron Cohen’s Dictator Re-Invited to the Oscars

The Oscar bosses have surrendered to Sacha Baron Cohen.  After banning him from walking the red carpet as the character from his upcoming flick The Dictator, Admiral General Aladeen, he subsequently went on a PR blitz, creating a video in costume demanding his tickets and calling the Today show to make Ann Curry laugh awkwardly with jokes like “I paid Hilary Swank $2million to be my date and she will not refund a penny.”  Possibly realizing, that 1) Cohen would probably pull a stunt regardless, and 2) all the buzz he was drumming up could mean more viewers for the famously boring awards show, they are now back pedaling.

Having first stated that the red carpet was not to be used for PR stunts (paging Lady Gaga and her 2010 Grammy egg), Oscars producer Brian Grazer is now singing a different tune.  He told Extra that the actor will appear on the red carpet as his alter-ego from the film, stating ‘We’re thrilled to have him and he’ll be on the red carpet dressed as The Dictator.”

Cohen is also slated to take part of the show, as himself, but he has a track record to uphold. In 2005 he showed up at the MTV Europe Music Awards as Borat, the 2009 Movie Awards as Bruno, and was lowered onto the face of Eminem who stormed out in a pre-planned move.  He also crashed the Agata Luiz della Prada show at Milan’s 2008 fashion week.

We’ll see what happens. 

Daniel Radcliffe Accuses Academy of Snobbery for ‘Harry Potter’ Oscar Snub

The Harry Potter movie adaptations have done just fine for themselves, ranging in quality from acceptable to pretty good, taking in enough cumulative box office money to turn Antartica into a dog colony. They haven’t won many Academy Awards, though, not unless you count technical categories like Best Visual Effects and Best Score (which nobody does). There’s been a dearth of those important acting and Best Picture nominations for a franchise that’s had a permanent role in the theater for over a decade — a streak that continued with the lack of big nominations for the final installment, 2011’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. Daniel Radcliffe, the erstwhile Potter, was not very pleased about that, telling the Guardian that the snub came down to a type of elitism.

“I don’t think the Oscars like commercial films, or kids’ films, unless they’re directed by Martin Scorsese," he said. "I was watching Hugo the other day and going, ‘Why is this nominated and we’re not?’ I was slightly miffed… There’s a certain amount of snobbery. It’s kind of disheartening. I never thought I’d care. But it would’ve been nice to have some recognition, just for the hours put in.”

Oh, Danny baby. Don’t you know? The Oscars are a celebration of art, not commerce — the triumph of the mind’s eye over the hand’s credit card, the expression of the inner muse and so forth. That’s why movies like The Help and The Blind Side get nominated for Best Picture, not your emotionally telegraphed wizard orgy. There is an artistic reputation to maintain, come on. The "hours put in" don’t really matter, either — the final Lord of the Rings film got a slew of "thanks for playing Oscars," but really, that’s mostly because Tolkien is some old white guy canonized shit while Rowling probably has to cool the jets on the merchandizing to let the series settle into what passes for modern respectability, and also because the Lord of the Rings movies are amazing and off with your head if you’ve never spent 11 hours in a row watching the extended editions waiting for Sam and Frodo to consummate their deep, deep bro-ffair and shedding a single tear when they’re forced to part ways because life is hard like that. Tough luck, is what I’m saying; there’s always room for spite at the bottom of the pile.