See, this is the thing. There’saline. Many humorists don’t understand this, but there is an invisible line to what’s acceptable and what isn’t. Using an offensive slang term withasexual connotation foraminor is *over* that line. It is, in fact, by certain state definitions, sexual abuse. Yes, Quvenzhane is beautiful and talented and adorable and the thought that she is less than these things is laughable and OF COURSE there’sajoke there. However, it’s beyond inappropriate to use one of the five harshest words in the English language to describe her, mainly because she’saminor. Ifasimilar tweet had been made about Betty White, for example, I’m sure the joke would have been caught, understood by many, and while some people would have been grumpy about it, that’s the way the Onion works and that’s fine. But Quvenzhane isachild. When she hears about this incident (and how could she not?) someone is going to have to explain to her that this doesn’t mean anything. Someone who doesn’t know her called her one of the worst words they could, because they thought it was *funny*. Have you ever tried to explain sarcasm or satire toachild? It doesn’t work that way. She’s not going to understand that this isacompliment. And she should have to. The real compliment would have been The Onion not attempting to satirize her at all. But that’s not exactly how The Onion works, so if it had to happen, there are other words that would get the point across. Our language has so many words, it’s lazy to choose the wrong one. Asagroup of satire writers, yes, it’s unwise to make apologies. But there are absolutely, positive, definite lines that should not be crossed. Which means there are consequences to actions that cross them. This was suchalow point for The Onion, and an apology was absolutely necessary. It’s not funny if you don’t understand the joke; it’s less funny if you don’t understand the joke because you’re too young to know that hurtful things get said to be funny but aren’t meant because they’realiterary concept she hasn’t come up against in school yet.