‘The Onion’ uses the k-word

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People are talking about the fact that The Onion used the word “kike” to mock the refusal by Dan Snyder to change the name of the Washington Redskins. Snyder is Jewish, and the Onion headlines its story, “Redskins’ Kike Owner Refuses To Change Team’s Offensive Name.” The story also uses the epithet “hook-nosed kike” and “shifty-eyed Hebe.”

Redskins is a slur for Native Americans, so the Onion is satirizing in a good cause (the same cause Lawrence O’Donnell has taken up on MSNBC, also citing Snyder’s Jewishness). But the story has made some uncomfortable, among them the JTA, whose story is headlined, “The Onion deploys Jewish slurs to skewer Redskins owner;” the Atlantic Wire, which is ambivalent about the usage– “journalists have been unsure how to discuss the story and whether it crosses the line or not, while still retweeting the story link”– and Salon, which seems to think it’s OK in the end. “Though the first reaction for many… was shock, it seemed that some self-identified Jewish journalists didn’t seem to mind. In fact, they actually enjoyed it…” (Further evidence of the decay of the Jewish establishment.)

Max Blumenthal explained to me that the Onion is not being condemned because it has made an important point:

“An already widely reviled corporate titan who happens to be Jewish has mounted the most aggressive PR campaign in recent history to defend slurs against Native Americans, the victims of an ongoing genocide, cheapening slurs against historically oppressed groups in general. Of course Snyder would be furious if Auschwitz inmates were recast as professional sports mascots. The subversive impact of the Onion’s satire derives from that hypocrisy.”

One thing everyone agrees on is that the story is increasing pressure on Snyder, whose stance is indefensible (and linked to the fact that his fan-base is southern).

Another angle of interest on this story is that the ADL, which has suggested that the team’s name be changed, has shown great deference to Snyder in this statement saying it’s up to the ownership and the “fan base:”

the decision to change the name should come from the team’s ownership with input from the fan base. It is up to them to decide to let go of this hurtful tradition.

But when Qatari officials chose to remove an Israeli flag from outside an aquatic center during a swimming tournament earlier this week, the ADL showed no such deference, condemning them out of hand for the decision.

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