I barely heard about this story and am surprised that it didn't make more news. That is why I write this nonsense. An author of children books aimed at Black children Jacqueline Woodson received a National Book Award for her book Brown Girl Dreaming. After accepting the award author Daniel Handler who is best known for his Lemony Snicket novels got up to tell what he thought would be a funny joke.
Now, before I get to what he said I need to just say this to you, the reader, and I want you to share this information with your friends: read the room. You can't just say whatever comes to mind or whatever you think is funny and expect everyone to agree with you.
So Handler began by saying “I told Jackie she was going to win. And I said that if she won, I would tell all of you something I learned about her this summer which is that Jackie Woodson is allergic to watermelon. Just let that sink in your mind.”
This is the point where a record should skip in your brain. But not Handler. If anything he is committed to a punchline. He continued after saying that he told Woodson that she should put that in a book of hers. He stated “I said, 'I'm only writing a book about a black girl who's allergic to watermelon if I get a blurb from you, Cornel West, Toni Morrison and Barack Obama saying 'This guy's okay, this guy's fine.'”
Of course people were upset by his statement. Everyone knows what he meant by his joke and if they didn't his “Just let that sink into your mind” helped them along. Of course he went on Twitter and apologized.
It sucks when someone can ruin something nice by their actions or what they say. This guy totally fucked up this lady's award by saying what he did. I'm not even offended by what he said so much as I hate bad comedy and when people steal sunshine from others. If you look up Woodson all you see is the fact that Handler said what he did and really nothing about the author herself until after a page of searches. I'm not suggesting that Handler retire from writing or issue more apologies. They just need to bring back pubic shaming and let a lot of people throw watermelons at him.
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