I was on the outraged team when the Onion posted a piece about making the Iraq War handicap-accessible. It was unseemly to use images of amputee warriors to make what wasn't even a funny bit. I have seen the incredible bravery and strength shown by our wounded as they all struggle to recover. Most want nothing more than to simply return to their units and to see that desire mocked was wrong. And just to clarify for the many who pointed out that the piece was hitting the military bureaucracy not the troops, well no shit. It still used images that were inappropriate and that caused pain to a bunch of folks who just don't need that.
There was considerable buzz and calls to action such as contacting advertisers. I contacted a number of people at the Onion's business headquarters and let them know that they had stepped over the line. Some of you noticed that the video was pulled from their website late Friday. I got the following email from Onion CEO Steve Hannah today.
Dear Jim,I meant to send this to you on Friday but the day got away from me.We pulled this video off the site Friday evening. Our video team assures me that it was not the soldiers they were satirizing, but apparently that message was not clear to a lot of vets. (By the way, we have always had great support among the troops, who generally find our brand of satire--skewer the hypocrites and self-important--very appealing.) Last year we tried to do a deal with one of our advertisers to get Green Zone. Last year we also delivered piles of Onion to sailors (at their request) who were heading out for a long tour on a nuclear sub. And last summer the closed circuit TV at a big Army bases asked us if we would allow them to run the Onion News Network on their base. Yes, we said, but you better check with your commanding officer first because some folks find us a little edgy.(by request of soldiers) delivered to the
The fellow who owns the Onion has been a paraplegic for over 35 years. On his office desk he has a picture of five soldiers in Iraq in full battle gear wearing Onion T shirts. We are not insensitive jerks.
Believe it or not, The Onion's mission is to comfort the afflicted by afflicting the comfortable. Apparently our fans in the military thought we failed on this occasion.Sincerely,Steve
That is good enough for me and I appreciate the Onion acting quickly. I am the last person to be overly touchy FFS, I sing the song Sniper Wonderland which includes the lines.
In the field you hear a baby crying (crying)
As you stop to chamber another round
Shoot him in the head his brains go flying (flying)
And you can watch him quiver on the ground.
I just figger the Onion could avoid using wounded warriors as a punchline. Heck I remember the Onion when it was just a local thing in Madison with nutty UW kids cracking all of us up. So thanks Mr. Hannah.