Tag Archives: The Onion

I beat The Onion to a joke

With a nod and a smug smile, I point out that The Onion and I have made the same joke.  Back on November 16th, I wrote about Republicans trying to repeal Obama’s fantasy football victory.  Today, from The Onion: Republicans Vote To Repeal Obama-Backed Bill That Would Destroy Asteroid Headed For Earth.  Solid piece, quite funny, but it’s the same joke, fellas.  Maybe include a little more research time in the ol’ production schedule, mmmkay?  Google search “republicans+to+repeal+obama+fantasy+football” and there is my piece, first result.  Hard to miss, really.  One ounce of diligence can save one pound of embarrassment, guys.

But it’s cool, The Onion.  We’re on the same side here.  Screw those obstructionist dirtbags.

The Onion Leading U.S. Employer of Weirdo Sketchballs

Critics have accused The Onion of focusing on caucasian males for an overwhelming majority of their photoshoots.  The Onion denies any intentional bias and asserts that most creepy weirdos are white males so they're just dealing with the workforce available to them.

recent Onion hires (photos courtesy of Onion HR Dept)

New York, NY – According to US Dept. of Labor statistics, The Onion is the nation’s leading employer of crackheads, homeless schizophrenics, and middle-aged sketchballs.  Through the end of the 2010 third quarter, The Onion LLC accounted for 64% of all full, temporary, and freelance hires in this otherwise poor-performing section of the American workforce.  Economist Andrew Sklar points to The Onion’s casting calls for its videos and articles as “miraculous opportunities for these weirdos; unemployable for virtually any other conceivable occupation, but qualified, even over-qualified, for The Onion.”  Job postings like, “Wanted: underweight Caucasian male, 36-58; unshaven, bird nest hair; unsettling gaze a plus,” account for The Onion’s dominance of the sector.  Word of mouth is a secondary driver of this trend, as The Onion writing and editorial staff frequently hire their friends.

Review: The Onion Gets It Right

Following up on this post, I want to point out a much, much better Onion article essentially taking aim at the same folks.

Voter Anger Palpable At Intentionally Anger-Stoking Rally

WASHINGTON—Tempers in the crowd ran high Monday during a massive rally at the nation’s capital aimed at provoking tempers in the crowd to run high. “There is a palpable sense of anger within the American voting public today,” media correspondent Janet Hargrove said of the event, which played on such base human emotions as ignorance, fear, and xenophobia to give the impression of a palpable sense of anger within the American voting public today. “It’s almost as if thousands of people came to this rally with the intention of being angered, and then were.” When asked later about their rage, people at the rally were unable to pinpoint its cause, but expressed a vague desire to “take back America.”

This is how the Onion does its best work.  In 120 efficient words, they state literally the main purpose of events like Glenn Beck’s rally (stoking anger) and also tweak the ways in which the media talk about such events.  This is much more intelligent and effective satire than calling Glenn Beck a piece of shit.  I’m also particularly glad they used the words ‘palpable.’

Review: The Onion misfires with Glenn Beck article

I love The Onion and I loathe Glenn Beck, but their recent article mocking him is a notable misfire.

Nation Once Again Comes Under Sway of Pink-Faced Half-Wit

When The Onion steps into social or political satire, it does its best work by rephrasing its subject in mocking, sarcastic, or ironic terms.  The piece relies on the reader’s knowledge of the topic, and the absurdity of what the article is literally saying, to bring the mockery into focus.  The “Giuliani To Run For President Of 9/11” article is a good example of this.

Sadly, this latest article on Glenn Beck lacks the ironic observations or tongue-in-cheek journalism of good Onion pieces.  It’s clear upon reading (and this is feeling I almost never get from reading The Onion) that the writer merely hates Glenn Beck and is out to insult him.

The biggest tell of this is the fact that the article does not flesh out its decent premise.  Pointing out a history of “pink-faced half-wits” in American politics is a funny idea, and using Charles Coughlin, Michael Moore, Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck as data points is a start.  But the article doesn’t run with that.  Rather, it seems to be mainly trying to fit as many disparaging adjectives about Beck into 677 words.  I counted 77 words or phrases employed in some way to disparage Glenn Beck and, to a lesser extent, the school of pink-faced half-wits:

pink-faced, half-wit, spewing, reactionary, manipulative, diatribes, bloated, hateful, multimillionaire, exploiting, vain, avaricious, self-interests, fleecing, bombastic, demagogues, disgusting, ambitious, narcissistic, outlandish, easily debunked, shameless, self-promotion, lack of credentials, pasty, shallow, dullards, inane, thinly veiled, untenable, fringe, ideological, truly baffling, irresponsible, without fear of accountability, frothing, shouting, dim-bulbs, porcine, loudmouth, incendiary, virulent, shamelessly, preying, intellectually corrupt, piece of shit, asshole, fat, disgusting, pig mouth, jowly, nitwits, false, moral superiority, rash, philandering, steal, vociferous, foaming, morons, nauseating, self-aggrandizing, hypocritical, outright racism, arrogant, self-important, bullshit, fleshy hole, invincible, ruddy, pabulum-spewing, cretin, perjure, fanatical, oversimplified, jingoistic polemics, enchant

I guess that list, by itself, is somewhat funny.  But it doesn’t save the article.  Rather than taking its customary high ground by showing Beck’s inanity through an exaggeratedly-literal depiction of his behavior (such as the Giuliani article), the Onion here loses points to Beck by appearing childish and petty.

The Onion can have a dud, that’s fine, comedy is tricky.  It was a strange feeling of being disappointed in The Onion that prompted me to write this piece.  It doesn’t matter that I am glad the article points out certain things (“Anytime followers heed his advice and do something illegal, [the pink-faced half-wit] can simply claim that his work is intended only for entertainment purposes“) with which I agree.  The Onion’s satire is better, and taken more seriously, when it doesn’t show its cards so clumsily.

My Michigan Meth Bust Press Conference

me on the Onion News Network

As Belmont City Chief of Police, I’m very proud to announce the capture of meth kingpin Darryl Krogen.  During the long investigation, the department was under pressure to wrap things up and deploy our resources elsewhere.  But we knew we were close to blowing the Michigan meth cartel wide open, and if we kept our cool, we might grab the big guy.  You see, there’s no use grabbing middle captains.  They get replaced, and the meth supply to that alley behind the abandoned K-Mart is uninterrupted.  No, you got to get the head to bring down these organizations.

[Congratulations to Matt Klinman for becoming one of my Friends In High Places.]

Thursday Linkage

I hitched my wagon to the Large Block of Uninterrupted Text train a long time ago.  So as part of my 30 minutes of advocacy per month, here are three interesting, long, uninterrupted blocks of text I’ve recently read and enjoyed.  If you’re looking for a way to spend an hour, you could do much worse:

The Atlantic Magazine: an article by Jeffrey Goldberg examining Israeli and American perspectives on Iran’s attempt to build a nuclear weapon, and how Israel may respond in the next year. 

New York Times Magazine: an interesting study of and discussion on American 20-somethings and whether they (we) are part of a discrete developmental stage that explains why we’re not all getting jobs, spouses, and kids already.

The Atlantic Magazine: an article about the Grant Study, a 70-year long study of 268 Harvard graduates begun in the late 1930s, and the study’s longtime overseer, George Vaillant.  The question asked by both the study and the article is, what makes for a happy life?