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Laughin' and Cryin'
September 10, 2011 1:05 PM   Subscribe

Coverage ten years ago by the only two news sources that matter: The Onion: Holy Fucking Shit, Attack on America and The Daily Show (though in hindsight Jon Stewart was rather overly optimistic). A headline in this week's Onion is rather trenchant as well: Nation Would Rather Think About 9/11 Than Anything From Subsequent 10 Years.
posted by kmz (40 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
Those are all well and good, but the Onion will never, ever top this.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:07 PM on September 10, 2011 [32 favorites]


Yeah? This was always MY favorite.
posted by Obscure Reference at 1:18 PM on September 10, 2011 [7 favorites]


9/11 Memorial Curators Decide Not To Display Swastika Formed By Twisted Girders Found At Ground Zero
posted by procrastination at 1:23 PM on September 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


The Onion and the Daily Show the only news sources that matter?? Go to your room. And no dessert for you mister.
posted by timsteil at 1:25 PM on September 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow the Onion's not even trying to be funny in that second link. The stuff from 2001 was actually... funnier, somehow, than this. I think the Onion's seriously thinking about moving to Canada. For real this time.
posted by tempythethird at 1:26 PM on September 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, really it's only the Daily Show and The Bugle that matters. You can live a relatively well-informed life from just these two sources. A well-informed and very profane life.
posted by jb at 1:34 PM on September 10, 2011 [6 favorites]


My favorite political/comedy moment after 9-11 (not that it was funny, per se) was on an episode of Bill Maher's old Politically Incorrect show. Maher's guest panel included California State University's As'ad AbuKhalil (who blogs at The Angry Arab News Service). I didn't know who As'ad was at the time, and I was amazed by what I was hearing - his point of view was informed and rational in the face of a panel of self-righteous buffoons, blowhards and racists (this was when the country was most gripped with war-fever and jingoism). You almost never heard his point of view on television in those days (this was before Maher was fired for his "say what you will, but the 19 hijackers weren't cowards" comment). AbuKhalil was never invited back by Maher to either of his shows. His comments hold up very well after the intervening decade, and the video on YouTube (in 4 parts) is worth watching. (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4)
posted by Auden at 1:46 PM on September 10, 2011 [13 favorites]


I find it somehow appropriate that Sept 11th, 01 was Jon Stewart's second day on the job.
posted by The Whelk at 2:01 PM on September 10, 2011


Huh? Stewart has been on TDS since 1999. Don't you remember Indecision 2000? "Really, we were just kidding. It wasn't a suggestion."
posted by maudlin at 2:14 PM on September 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


Huh. I totally got my timetimes mixed up.
posted by The Whelk at 2:25 PM on September 10, 2011


Stop jumping timelines, The Whelk. Find one universe and stick with it.
posted by TwelveTwo at 2:38 PM on September 10, 2011 [20 favorites]


Those are all well and good, but the Onion will never, ever top this.

Every single word came true.
posted by chronkite at 2:42 PM on September 10, 2011


The scarily accurate: Bush - 'Our Long National Nightmare Of Peace And Prosperity Is Finally Over'
posted by Webbster at 2:44 PM on September 10, 2011


It's not really comedic, but this has long been my favorite Onion article.
posted by Judith Butlerian Jihad at 2:49 PM on September 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


I thought Jon Stewart's Moment of Zen that night was spot-on....
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:54 PM on September 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


My all-time favorite Onion headline came from one of the page-a-day calendars and had a date from the height of the space race, something like: "Soviets Ahead in Dog-Killing Race". It have it hanging up at work, and I laugh every time I read it. I'm probably not a very nice person.
posted by wintermind at 3:24 PM on September 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


The Whelk, you're probably thinking of Aaron Brown; his first day on-air with CNN was Sept. 11th.
posted by Ranucci at 3:34 PM on September 10, 2011


It's not really comedic, but this has long been my favorite Onion article.

Marc Maron did a podcast with the author of that article that was really interesting (for more reasons than just his writing). I think it was in fact a FPP and I'm just too lazy to find it.

The Onion's immediate coverage of 9/11 is monumental. Seriously, it will be studied some day.
posted by Bookhouse at 3:41 PM on September 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Here.
posted by St. Sorryass at 3:59 PM on September 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Daily Show episode is a guaranteed stop-the-stream, cry, collect myself, watch another minute or so, and repeat the process all over again for me. Every. Damn. Time. It didn't matter that apart from the first couple minutes after the second plane hit that I was a completely cynical (but ultimately and sadly prophetic) bastard about how it was going to turn out. Hands down the most powerful "tribute" or whatever you want to call it of everything in the last 10 years.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:06 PM on September 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've been partial to the Our Dumb Century headline "Holy Shit, Man Walks on Fucking Moon." Not only is its political commentary better than most mainstream Newspapers, The Onion also does better science reporting....
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:20 PM on September 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think it would make me feel better if Jon Stewart ended every episode now with a puppy.
posted by lullaby at 4:22 PM on September 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Off topic, only slightly, but I think of this in inappropirate situations all the time.

situated in an extremely strategic location, leaving it vulnerable to a hostile foreign power
posted by Staples at 5:03 PM on September 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


I am partial to this one, which actually ran the following week.
posted by Linda_Holmes at 5:17 PM on September 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I must be the only one who was disappointed in The Onion after 9/11. The unnecessary week-long delay turned into a buildup that the first issue didn't live up to at all. The whole thing felt flaccid and irrelevant just 2 weeks after. And this? Just completely tone-deaf, and kind of insulting to anyone who'd been paying the least amount of attention to global politics before, um, The World Changed.

De gustibus, as always. I love The Onion, and they recovered quickly to really start nailing issues and people again, but to me it will always be The Humor Outlet That Stumbled Surprisingly Badly After 9/11.
posted by mediareport at 6:00 PM on September 10, 2011


This week's On the Media had an interesting interview with Marc Maron discussing humor right after 9/11 that references the Onion.
posted by carrienation at 6:55 PM on September 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Holy crap, I was going to make this exact post (Daily Show + 9/11), but was saving it for tomorrow. Well, here it is for added info and posterity:
Comedy, Tragedy, and Time

It might seem a quaint concern ten years after the fact, but in the wake of the September 11th attacks American comedy faced an existential crisis. How could satire, especially political satire, cope with such a horrifying tragedy? A decade later, two particular responses stand out from the crowd.

The week after the attacks, The Daily Show's Jon Stewart opened the program with an earnest, funny, eloquent, and heartbreakingly raw monologue (alt. video - transcript) which endeavored to "drain whatever abscess is in our hearts" by explaining "why I grieve... but why I don't despair" -- betraying a passion that would later drive his fierce crusade against the appalling blockade of health benefits for 9/11 first responders.

Meanwhile, across town, some newcomers from Madison quietly published one of the first sardonic reactions to the atrocity -- a brilliant edition of The Onion that crystallized the national zeitgeist with stories of rage, helplessness, hypocrisy, and grief-stricken pathos. The "searingly brutal" issue drew both criticism and praise... and almost won a Pulitzer Prize. Perhaps the George Bernard Shaw quote in the nomination letter said it best: "Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh."
posted by Rhaomi at 7:00 PM on September 10, 2011 [11 favorites]


(Also, I'm flying through Baltimore tomorrow -- fingers crossed)
posted by Rhaomi at 7:05 PM on September 10, 2011


A slightly different perspective.

I woke up to 9/11, crashed on a friend's couch, watching one of the towers fail. Soon after, it was announced that this was the fault of the Palestinians.

This lasted a few minutes, but there was a distinct impression that a very small region of the world was about to become glass.

Then it became clear that I had a friend but a few blocks away. Our apartment became a disaster zone, as I scoured the place trying to find a phone number that would ultimately never answer. (She was OK, and got emails out. Clever girl. Wasn't able to go home for a few weeks.)

There's no real explaining the degree to which everybody was holding their breath. It really started with the shutdown of air travel, and just did not stop. But what I can tell you -- not for everybody, but at least for me, was that when that Onion article came out...

Holy Fucking Shit. Attack On America.

We laughed. Everybody laughed. In person, online, maybe not everyone, but so many people experienced their first blast of relief, of shared context, of ridiculousness in the face of tragedy that any of us had. It was talked about, written about, experienced by a huge number of people.

It was the Onion's finest moment. It was something a lot of us really needed. I understand it wasn't great for everyone. But then, as now, that issue captured exactly how so many felt.

And it wasn't just that one story either. "God angrily clarifies Ten Commandments"...it just worked.
posted by effugas at 7:33 PM on September 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


Roof on Fire Claims Lives of 43 Party People
"I tried shouting to the people on the dance floor that the roof was on fire and that they should exit the premises immediately, but they seemed unfazed by the danger," firefighter Michael Pitti said. "I just kept shouting, 'The roof! The roof! The roof is on fire!' and so forth, but they just went right on dancing, insisting that they didn't need any of our water and that we should let the motherfucker burn."
posted by kirkaracha at 7:35 PM on September 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


Related: Chris Morris and Armando Iannucci's Six Months That Changed A Year. It came out six months after 9/11, and as much as I liked it then, it seems to have aged quite well. No mercy, no sentimentality. Bush, Blair, and the media were the main focus of their satire. I remember much of Morris' fanbase thinking it was crap, though, but that's life.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:05 PM on September 10, 2011


Having witnessed the collapse of the towers from a few blocks away, the response from a media entity that most impressed me as a meaningful distillation of what it felt like at the time was this:

http://faculty.cua.edu/johnsong/hsct101/9-11%20images/spiegelman-cover.html

Right now I find myself avoiding the news and TV until tomorrow is over, because I keep seeing more imagery of it than I want to see. I am quite desensitized to violent imagery in general, but not to that.
posted by knoyers at 8:38 PM on September 10, 2011


Jon Stewart opened the program with an earnest, funny, eloquent, and heartbreakingly raw monologue (alt. video - transcript) which endeavored to "drain whatever abscess is in our hearts" by explaining "why I grieve... but why I don't despair" -- betraying a passion that would later drive his fierce crusade against the appalling blockade of health benefits for 9/11 first responders.

Also: Friends Without Benefits - 9/11 Responders
posted by homunculus at 8:48 PM on September 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


We've waited a decade... so yes, it's time.

Time to not be scared of the terrorists anymore, because a suicide bomber's chance of dying from terrorism is much, much higher than yours.

(In truth, you're nearly twice as likely to have a vending machine crush you to death... but we don't see you avoiding those, do we?!)

It's time to approach it all with a sense of humor, dammit!
posted by markkraft at 1:13 AM on September 11, 2011 [3 favorites]


(In truth, you're nearly twice as likely to have a vending machine crush you to death... but we don't see you avoiding those, do we?!)


The National Safety From Crushing Injuries Emergency Act will save us.
posted by TwelveTwo at 9:20 AM on September 11, 2011


How will you be observing 9/11 this year?
posted by mhum at 9:37 AM on September 11, 2011


Dammit ComedyCentral - pointing me to The Comedy Network's website because I'm in Canada, when The Comedy Network's archive of TDS is pitifully lacking, is super annoying.
posted by antifuse at 4:39 PM on September 12, 2011


09/13/01: Remembering the Day We Forgot the Lessons of the Day We Had Sworn We Would Always Remember
posted by homunculus at 12:03 AM on September 13, 2011


Huh, the audio goes out of sync in the Gawker video. Here it is on TDS's site: Coming Soon - The Daily Show Remembers 9/13/2001
posted by homunculus at 10:00 AM on September 13, 2011


Note: For those of you in Canada who can't get to Comedy Central (or really, ANY other US/UK sites that limit content to the US or UK only), check out TunnelBear. Worked for me! :) And 500mb free per month (an extra 1gb every month if you give them a shout out on twitter) isn't too shabby.
posted by antifuse at 6:14 AM on September 14, 2011


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