Still, while I think the joke was both comedically and normatively irredeemable, and the anger at it justified, I don’t like the precedent set by Onion, Inc., when CEO Steve Hannah wrote the kind of platitudinous and panicky corporate apology letter that The Onion would normally satirize, and managed to come off as spineless and condescending at the same time…

I don’t like it, because apologizing for jokes, even — or especially — the ones that are the most “crude and offensive,” is un-Onion-like behavior. In fact, it’s positively anti-Onion behavior. It does violence to the very spirit that makes The Onion The Onion — the thing that renders it able to stand apart from and thus contextualize our culture — and it is going to make hardcore fans wonder from now on whether every punch is being pulled. Just as you don’t ask Batman to fill out police reports, if The Onion is yoked with the same PC strictures as the rest of us, then who will tell us, with poignancy and bile, when the PC strictures have gone too far?