It’s over, The Onion: a piece that went up today called “Adolescent Girl Reaching Age Where She Starts Exploring Stepfather’s Body” is a grenade-launch distance past the “too far” line. The humor site failed to make anything funny — like, at all — about a 13-year-old girl named Heather who is being sexually abused by her stepfather, Gary. “It will probably take time for Heather to figure out what does and doesn’t feel good to her stepfather, and she may be surprised to discover acne and hair in unexpected places on Craig’s body,” The Onion joked. “But it’s all part of growing up, and she should know that she is taking a very important step in life. It won’t be long before her childhood is gone forever.” The piece then suggests that if (if?) Heather is “confused or troubled by such experiences,” she should talk to her friends “who are going through the exact same thing.”
I can deal with humor that mocks an asshole (like Chris Brown — the subject of another controversial Onion post) by underscoring what a dipshit he is. But this piece isn’t mocking Craig the incestuous stepfather at all; he’s barely in the piece at all. Had he been in the piece, saying something entitled and creepy and dumb, maaaybe the piece would have been cringe-inducingly funny. Instead it’s mystifyingly uncomfortable. What’s the punchline here? Sexual abuse is terrible? Adolescent girls are preyed on by older men? HA HA!
It is possible to make funny jokes about rape culture; it’s hard, but it’s possible. Maybe it’s possible to make funny jokes about incest, although damned if I can think of any. But this wasn’t it, The Onion. So, I think we’re done here. [I'm not linking to the piece because I don't want to send it traffic.]