I feel extremely lucky. My kids don't yet know the bad words. They know the "s" word is trouble. They know the "d" word is trouble. In our family, those words are "stupid" and "dumb." Yes, I know they don't live in a bubble and hear stuff on the playground. But they know not to go there -- at least not yet. Swears just aren't in their vocabulary, even though dad can swear with the best of them. It's a decision their mom and I made long ago. We don't use swears or derogatory words around the kids. Thank god the kids don't know the "c" word. It is synonymous with other c-words like crass and classless and was used by The Onion on Twitter to describe 9- year-old Oscar nominee Quvenzhané Wallis during last night's Oscar telecast. If you don't know what the "c" word is, then you can Google it, because you won't hear it here. Someone thought they be were being funny calling a 9-year-old the "c" word. Someone was totally wrong because it has stirred up an "s-word" storm for The Onion, which led to today's very unusual apology:
Feb. 25, 2013
On behalf of The Onion, I offer my personal apology to Quvenzhané Wallis and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the tweet that was circulated last night during the Oscars. It was crude and offensive -- not to mention inconsistent with The Onion's commitment to parody and satire, however biting. No person should be subjected to such a senseless, humorless comment masquerading as satire. Miss Wallis, you are young and talented and deserve better...
Thousands of people have already weighed in to The Onion. Many felt the word was offensive and slammed The Onion. Others shrugged it off and felt the publication was just doing what it does... satire. And no doubt the swirl of controversy itself is much bigger than the tweet ever was. It has shed light on something we all struggle with as parents. Where is the line in the sand? When should it be crossed... and what happens if we do? In my opinion, there are some words which should just be eradicated from the vocabulary altogether and they go far behind George Carlin's seven dirty words. The "c" word is one of those. The "n" word is one of those. I'm sure there are others. And while you might agree with me, you might not. The bottom line for me is that my line in the sand may be different than yours or other parents'. And that's OK. The good news is, as the parent to my kids, I get to teach them how I want them taught. In my case, I'm taking a blowtorch to those certain words and getting rid of them. And other parents get to make the same choice regarding their kids. It's lessons like this that make it clear each parent must stick to his or her own convictions and at least draw a line in the sand... wherever that line may be.