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December 18, 2010 3:08 PM   Subscribe


 
I feel like The Onion has sort of waxed and waned over the years, alternating between hilariously astute, witty commentary, and then sometimes prolonged periods of misfiring. But one thing they've always, always done well is headlines. Their headlines are freaking brilliant.
posted by ORthey at 3:12 PM on December 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


Okay, the Onion needs to get someone to work on their headline writing. I tried to understand what they were trying to say "with American History, or Hitler", and it turns out that they just dropped random words out of the first sentence in the article. If they put "or is" in there, it would be much better.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 3:15 PM on December 18, 2010


Isn't there a moderator-enforced ban on Onion links?
posted by leotrotsky at 3:15 PM on December 18, 2010


What, no Joad Cressbeckler? (1, 2, 3, background)
posted by 2bucksplus at 3:15 PM on December 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


The Zuckerberg one is fantastic
posted by memebake at 3:18 PM on December 18, 2010


The use of the comma in Onion headlines is one of the masterpieces of the American literary tradition.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:32 PM on December 18, 2010 [20 favorites]


Their headlines are freaking brilliant

I'm not even going to link to my favourite, 'cos it's the headline you need, "Clinton Feels Nation's Pain, Breasts".
posted by jontyjago at 3:35 PM on December 18, 2010 [10 favorites]


"Kid Rock Starves to Death. MP3 Piracy Blamed."
posted by griphus at 3:39 PM on December 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


Old'n'Busted: "Okay, the Onion needs to get someone to work on their headline writing. I tried to understand what they were trying to say "with American History, or Hitler", and it turns out that they just dropped random words out of the first sentence in the article. If they put "or is" in there, it would be much better."

HEADLINES NIX WORDS TO SAVE SPACE, INK

Brevity Key Factor in Ledes, Study Finds
posted by Rhaomi at 3:41 PM on December 18, 2010 [12 favorites]


"Every single day of 2010, Beck's quiet words of humility and reason have touched the hearts of all Americans, healing countless wounds and elevating the level of our national discourse."

Comedy gold.
posted by fartknocker at 3:44 PM on December 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


I like how the truncated profile pictures make it look like each honoree is peering at me over a fence.

___o.o___
posted by Rhaomi at 3:51 PM on December 18, 2010 [13 favorites]


Another biased and abridged list, as expected. Snooki? Tony Howard? These are people that mattered this year? Maybe it's just me, but I can't understand the unbridled contempt The Onion holds toward the accomplishments and influence of Area Man.
posted by Smart Dalek at 3:55 PM on December 18, 2010 [9 favorites]


The ban is on random onion articles, but I think this sort of thing is okay.
posted by empath at 3:57 PM on December 18, 2010


What is it that Manmohan Singh did in 2010 that got him on the important list that he hadn't being doing previously?
posted by biffa at 4:08 PM on December 18, 2010


I like how the truncated profile pictures make it look like each honoree is peering at me over a fence.

Your neighbor Julian Assange saw you whizzing in the back yard. pikileaks.
posted by cog_nate at 4:09 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Their headlines are freaking brilliant

I'm not even going to link to my favourite, 'cos it's the headline you need, "Clinton Feels Nation's Pain, Breasts".


Shortly after George Harrison's death, they published probably their briefest headline ever (the Onion equivalent of "Jesus wept") -- the headline, in its entirety:

Ringo Next

Brevity, wit, etc.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 4:11 PM on December 18, 2010 [10 favorites]


As an Icelander I put my Ethnic Stamp of Approval on the Grýla article
┌────────┐
│APPROVED│
└────────┘

posted by Kattullus at 4:14 PM on December 18, 2010 [14 favorites]


What is it that Manmohan Singh did in 2010 that got him on the important list that he hadn't being doing previously?

Judging by the linked in-depth article, I'd say "Sported the wickedest sky-blue turban this side of Kwik-E-Mart."
posted by Gator at 4:16 PM on December 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


I thought the Glenn Beck one was the best (and bucks the usual trend of the headline being the best part of any given Onion article).
posted by ook at 4:20 PM on December 18, 2010


My favorite Onion headline of all time was actually one of the sidebar-things, not leading to an actual article. It was just a picture of a Bobcat, with the "headline": "Local Wildcat a Wildcat in the Sack."

I don't know why that makes me laugh as much as it does, but there you have it.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:31 PM on December 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


"Local Wildcat a Wildcat in the Sack."

You know, whilst The Onion may have jumped the shark or whatever the kids say these days, and although I don't read regularly it anymore, when I do spend some time there, it really is still one of the funniest fucking things on the web.
posted by jontyjago at 4:37 PM on December 18, 2010


Uh oh, someone forgot to tell the Onion it's not funny to joke about punching billionaires in the face!
posted by speicus at 4:37 PM on December 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


My favorite Onion headline was very recent:

Pallbearers Carry Leslie Nelson's Casket Without Incident.

It was a perfect tribute to the man.
posted by bondcliff at 4:42 PM on December 18, 2010 [23 favorites]


Probably the first time I laughed after 9/11 was when I saw the Onion "Holy F*cking Sh*t" headline.
posted by NorthernLite at 5:03 PM on December 18, 2010 [7 favorites]


Terrifying Sea Monster Turns Out To Be Even More Terrifying Amphibious Monster

Special Olympics T-Ball Stand Pitches Perfect Game

CIA Realizes It’s Been Using Black Highlighters All These Years

Trophy Wife Mounted

Black Guy Asks Nation For Change

Point/Counterpoint
posted by Rhaomi at 5:06 PM on December 18, 2010 [7 favorites]


In addition to "Black Guy Asks Nation For Change," I'll point out "Black Man Given Nation's Worst Job."

Also, "Supreme Court Rules Supreme Court Rules," but that one's even funnier with the article, so I guess it doesn't count.

But the funniest ever was the one that even they knew they couldn't get away with -- while they were writing their first post-9/11 issue, someone came up with "America Stronger Than Ever, Say Quadragon Officials." And the room went silent.
posted by Etrigan at 5:22 PM on December 18, 2010 [27 favorites]


Probably the first time I laughed after 9/11 was when I saw the Onion "Holy F*cking Sh*t" headline.

I don't know if it was just the time or whatever, but the entire 9/11 issue was brilliant and spot-on, with just the right balance of serious and funny.

God angrily clarifies Don't Kill rule.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 5:31 PM on December 18, 2010 [13 favorites]


Area Bassist Fellated. [Audio]
posted by Superfrankenstein at 5:32 PM on December 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh, I found the link with that complete, fantastic, first post-9/11 issue.

Well worth revisiting.

And on an unrelated note:

Chuck Berry Remembers Call From Cousin About White Kid Playing 'Johnny B. Goode'.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 5:35 PM on December 18, 2010 [6 favorites]


Shortly after George Harrison's death, they published probably their briefest headline ever

After Gene Siskel died, they published my favorite article-less headline ever:

Ebert Victorious.

posted by ORthey at 5:39 PM on December 18, 2010 [7 favorites]


Okay, since this has become the official "Favorite Onion Article" thread, can you really beat this?
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 5:45 PM on December 18, 2010 [10 favorites]


It's Never Luigi, that stopped being funny when it turned out to be horribly true.
posted by dilettante at 5:53 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


BEST FRIGGIN HEADLINE IN THE HISTORY OF THE ONION AND THE WHOLE OF HUMANITY:

God Angrily Clarifies 'Don't Kill' Rule
September 26, 2001

posted by liza at 5:56 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaugh! i never preview.
posted by liza at 5:59 PM on December 18, 2010


Charleton Heston (NRA spokesman) headline, "We must keep our guns, if we are to defeat the apes."
posted by bricksNmortar at 6:21 PM on December 18, 2010


Kattullus: "As an Icelander I put my Ethnic Stamp of Approval on the Grýla article
┌────────┐
│APPROVED│
└────────┘


Yes indeed.
┌────────┐
│SAMÞYKKT│
└────────┘

posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:37 PM on December 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


Their best photo caption:

Inspirational Poster Kitten Falls To Death After 17 Years
posted by marxchivist at 6:39 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Quadragon

That took me about five minutes to figure out, but it's fucking hilarious.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 6:46 PM on December 18, 2010 [3 favorites]




Nearly forgot:

Somersaulting Into Oncoming Traffic: The Silent Killer
posted by gompa at 6:54 PM on December 18, 2010 [8 favorites]


Heh. That one about the islamic indian politician is pretty good
posted by Greg Nog at 7:16 PM on December 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


My favorite Onion headline:

Deviant Kellog's worker comes in specially marked boxes
posted by Saxon Kane at 7:18 PM on December 18, 2010 [15 favorites]


'How Bad For The Environment Can Throwing Away One Plastic Bottle Be?' 30 Million People Wonder is my personal favorite.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 7:49 PM on December 18, 2010 [7 favorites]


I'll also add, and I don't know if this makes me a horrible person, but it stuck with me:

"Mexicans Sweeping the Nation"
posted by Navelgazer at 8:02 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]






This American Life did a great segment on the headline pitches at The Onion: Tough Room (Act 1)
posted by findango at 8:34 PM on December 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


Favorite real Onion headline:

-Merle Haggard haggard.

Favorite headlines I wish the Onion had published:

-Alan Bloom Increasingly Concerned About Serial Monogamy Among Alan Bloom

-Mir Cosmonaut Increasingly Concerned About Proximity To Earth
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:40 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


One of my favorites.
posted by oflinkey at 8:53 PM on December 18, 2010


A year or two ago there was an article (can't find it) in the New Yorker about The Onion. It walked through the weekly process of coming up with stories - basically days of coming up with tons of headlines, narrowing them down, editing, revising, coming up with more, etc., etc. until finally they have a list of the headlines there going to use in the issue. Only then do they go write the articles. If you think about it, this is a perfect formula for coming up with terrific headlines and mediocre articles.
posted by TheShadowKnows at 8:56 PM on December 18, 2010 [4 favorites]




This one of my favorites remains.
posted by Hal Mumkin at 9:00 PM on December 18, 2010 [5 favorites]




I have an acquaintance who used to write for the Onion, for a short time. He described it as a horrible job. Basically, come up with twenty possible articles a week. Over the course of the week, those will be whittled down to, if you're lucky, one, which you will write, which might be chosen, again if you're lucky. Next week, come up with twenty new ideas.

It burns people out. After six months of this, if you're good enough, you get on the regular staff. My friend didn't get that far.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:02 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


My favorite headline is pretty old school (and long since removed from the website): Perky Canada Has Own Government, Laws. The article on that one is pretty good, too -- parodying the exotic travel feature or whatnot.

But really, who can possibly leave out the ominously prophetic Bush: 'Our Long National Nightmare Of Peace And Prosperity Is Finally Over'? There was something sublime there, especially year after year as it played out.
posted by dhartung at 9:03 PM on December 18, 2010 [8 favorites]


I'd like to know the background on that bush story, honestly-- who write it, what they feel about it, etc.
posted by empath at 9:11 PM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


My favorite headline is pretty old school (and long since removed from the website)

Why do they remove articles? There was another one that I loved that was pulled -- it was about an Englishman living in the U.S. whose house was burning, and all his neighbors were commenting on how cute his accent was as he screamed for help. Can't understand why they would remove it. Surely they don't care who they offend.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 9:39 PM on December 18, 2010


And my two favorites:

William Safire Orders Two Whoppers Junior
Employee Owned and Operated
posted by hawkeye at 10:12 PM on December 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


There was another one that I loved that was pulled -- it was about an Englishman living in the U.S. whose house was burning, and all his neighbors were commenting on how cute his accent was as he screamed for help.

posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 9:39 PM on December 18 [+] [!]



It's still on the website.

posted by Ndwright at 10:32 PM on December 18, 2010


Another Classic
posted by Navelgazer at 10:37 PM on December 18, 2010


Saxon Kane: "My favorite Onion headline:

Deviant Kellog's worker comes in specially marked boxes
"

Reminds me of two more gems:
Supreme Court Overturns Car

Jurisprudence Fetishist Gets Off On Technicality
Really, the worst thing about reading the Onion online vs. in print is missing out on these finely-crafted dummy headlines.
posted by Rhaomi at 10:41 PM on December 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


Personal favorite: Hippie Will Tell You What The Real Crime Is
posted by Rangeboy at 11:01 PM on December 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think this one's from Our Dumb Century:

Head Deadhead Dead.
posted by Sphinx at 12:31 AM on December 19, 2010


My latest hobby is sending people Today Now! links without telling them that they're from the Onion.
posted by NoraReed at 1:13 AM on December 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


Jenna Bush's Federally Protected Wetlands Now Open For Public Drilling
posted by kersplunk at 1:37 AM on December 19, 2010 [1 favorite]




More than once I have had to explain to an acquaintance or friend-of-a-friend that The Onion is a SATIRICAL website. You wouldn't believe how often I've sent a link or shown a video to someone at work or a party and then realise they're taking the damn thing at face value.

"Aw man, they're putting fast food in feedbags now? That's disgusting!"
posted by spoobnooble at 5:58 AM on December 19, 2010


That'd be Mel Gibson who, it emerges, called Winona Ryder an "oven dodger" upon learning that she was Jewish?
posted by acb at 6:35 AM on December 19, 2010


uh...
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 6:40 AM on December 19, 2010


War On String May Be Unwinnable, Says Cat General
posted by acrasis at 7:33 AM on December 19, 2010 [4 favorites]




America's Dog Owners Demand to Know Who's a Good Boy
posted by scratch at 8:17 AM on December 19, 2010


You can always tell when the regulars at the Onion are on vacation.
posted by Tokarski at 8:21 AM on December 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


This one, trying to recall from memory so maybe not an exact quote, but it still
had me laughing for a good 5 minutes:

Stray Dog Told To Go On, Git
posted by girlmightlive at 8:31 AM on December 19, 2010


A year or two ago there was an article (can't find it) in the New Yorker about The Onion.

I believe you're thinking about the Washington Post Magazine's article: Onion Nation.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:33 AM on December 19, 2010 [2 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 9:40 AM on December 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


The Onion News Network's clips have been truly inspired as of late.

Prague's Franz Kafka Airport Named World's Most Alienating Airport

Excitement Growing Among Beatles Fans For Paul McCartney's Funeral

A preciously vicious today NOW! (hilarious morning show parody) segment:

How To Find A Masculine Halloween Costume For Your Effeminate Son

And my personal favorite, especially now it's been rendered vintage by the DADT repeal:

'Gays Too Precious To Risk In Combat,' Says General

"How many soldiers' lives is the life of one gay man worth?"

"Seven."
posted by Devika at 10:25 AM on December 19, 2010


Okay, on the topic of funny headlines: years ago, when sfgate first launched (it's the website for the SF Chronicle), they did really awesome snarky headlines (linking to regular news articles). The one that always stuck with me, and still makes me laugh, was when Strom Thurmond wanted to ban winemakers from making claims that drinking wine had health benefits. The headline was, "Grapes Bad, Raisin Says."
posted by JenMarie at 11:03 AM on December 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


Also, all these links are great. I don't remember to read the website very regularly, but they always make me laugh. I bought a hilarious Onion birthday card for my cousin; it had a photo of an adorable kitten with the caption, "Kitten Thinks of Nothing But Murder All Day Long."
posted by JenMarie at 11:07 AM on December 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


From Valentines Day - EPA Warns Of Dangerous Levels Of Romance In Air
posted by memebake at 3:48 PM on December 19, 2010


My favorites are from Our Dumb Century. I can't remember them exactly, but I tried to capture their spirit.

For their chapter on the 1940s:

"Tired of War, Jews Move to Tiny Strip of Land Between Egypt and Syria"

and also (after the Challenger explosion in the '80s that killed the teacher, Christa Mcauliffe):

"NASA Official Says Next Shuttle Crew to Include Orphans, Kittens"
posted by staggering termagant at 5:48 AM on December 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


My favorites are from Our Dumb Century. I can't remember them exactly, but I tried to capture their spirit.

Me too staggering termagant...actually, my favorite of all time is this one: HOLY SHIT MAN WALKS ON FUCKING MOON.

I think it's a great one 'cause the article is as good as the headline, including lines like:

Their intense 18-month NASA training period—the primary function of which was to train the pair to deal with the unprecedented in-fucking-credible nature of their mission—proved effective, though at one point Armstrong had to sit down and take several deep breaths, "just so I don't fucking lose my shit."

The transcript is also a nice touch.
posted by dubitable at 9:46 AM on December 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've always been partial to "Ebert Victorious".
posted by Twicketface at 10:49 AM on December 20, 2010


First Place Cops Looked Was Inside AT-AT

don't know why the pic is so low-res
posted by Who_Am_I at 1:05 PM on December 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


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