Last Monday, New Inquiry blogger Aaron Bady audited the word satire and made it clear
. He wrote, "If something is not taken to be satire, it fails as satire. [It's] an effect, and everything depends on how the joke is received, what the author intended, what the circumstances were in which it was made, and so on."
It's an interesting definition, both for the way it's made and the assumptions on which it relies. He establishes criteria for the existence of satire based on its audience, citing people who mistake The Onion and The Daily Currant for real news as evidence for the genre's fragility, tying satire's ontology to whether it achieves food for thought for the permanently slackjawed. Leaving aside the fact that a satire's being mistaken for reality is often a satirist's dream, basing the existence of something on the perception of idiots is a powerful argument. [more inside]
posted by Alterity
on Apr 10, 2013 -
The Onion's great for a witty skewering of current events. But its historical editions, as collected in the book Our Dumb Century
, are a gem all their own, full of razor-sharp satire, trenchant social commentary, period-accurate advertisements, running gags, historical irony, photoshoppery, and even some editorial cartoons for every year of the twentieth century. Luckily for history (and humor) buffs, nearly the whole run of the series is available piecemeal on their website. Click inside for an organized timeline of links to all the front pages from this brilliant work (plus a bonus!). [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi
on Oct 25, 2012 -
Amusing Ourselves to Depth: Is The Onion our most intelligent newspaper?
: "While other newspapers desperately add gardening sections, ask readers to share their favorite bratwurst recipes, or throw their staffers to ravenous packs of bloggers for online question-and-answer sessions, The Onion has focused on reporting the news. The fake news, sure, but still the news. It doesn’t ask readers to post their comments at the end of stories, allow them to rate stories on a scale of one to five, or encourage citizen-satire. It makes no effort to convince readers that it really does understand their needs and exists only to serve them. The Onion’s journalists concentrate on writing stories and then getting them out there in a variety of formats, and this relatively old-fashioned approach to newspapering has been tremendously successful."
The article is based on the premises of the late media critic Neil Postman
, especially from his book "Amusing Ourselves To Death: Public Discourse In The Age Of Show Business."
posted by amyms
on Oct 20, 2007 -
"If ever a company needed a marketing department, it's New Choice, whose Original Flavor Round Crackers take the cake for stating the obvious.
Points should be awarded for attempts to woo health-conscious consumers with facts about added DHA ("prevents heart attack, enhances eye sight"), but there's no two ways to look at Round Crackers: It's a badly executed Ritz rip-off." So sayeth the wits at the Onion A.V. Club
, who scour the nation's dollar stores for food products to evaluate in their sporadic feature "Dining for a Dollar
." Round crackers too boring? You might prefer Freakin' Nuts
(tagline: Is it a chip? Is it a nut? Yes!), Thick Mints
, or maybe just a handful of Balls
. Their annual Cheap Toy Roundup
is just as good; last year's
featured products such as Preeminent Car ($1), Stretchy Body Bits ($1.19), and a DVD titled Clothes That Went to a Party
($2). Perhaps the all-time best, though, is the Mini Wooden Furniture: Table
: a "plain, unadorned wooden table." ($1)
posted by anjamu
on Mar 4, 2006 -
Draft legislation was published today
that proposes that fifteen parcels in the National Park System be sold off for "purposes of commercial and residential development." Many of the parcels are in Alaska, but one is Theodore Roosevelt Island park, developed to honor one of our country's most recognizable environmentalists. It seems the Onion
gives us the news from the future once again...Way to go, DCist
for breaking the story!
posted by chinese_fashion
on Sep 23, 2005 -
The end of peace and prosperity.
So, remember the Onion's parody of Bush that was published on January 18, 2001
, "Bush: Our Long National Nightmare of Peace and Prosperity is Finally Over"? Ha Ha, very funny.
Three years later they've published an updated article complete with links. Oh baby, not so funny anymore... via Daily Kos
posted by sic
on Sep 8, 2004 -
I'm done with The Onion.
I trusted The Onion and read their comedy for free for years
-- but after hundreds of issues of unbelievable comedy The Onion is now a "pay site" that charges $30 a year
for earlier access to each week's issue, plus awesome-sounding online news radio and special election coverage! I'm mad! Oh yeah!!!
posted by josh
on May 19, 2004 -
Why Poor People are pretty much f*cked.
No one can make reading about the growing gap between the rich and the poor as fun as the Onion; but other than describing the issue in humorous terms, the story makes it more accessible than your typical article in a newsmagazine.
posted by gregb1007
on Dec 9, 2003 -
Sir Mix-A-Lot is a very smart cat.
An Onion link, I suppose - but their AV Club interviews are missed more often than they should be. In this one, Sir Mix-A-Lot shows that he is a very thoughtful man, who has been handling the lot of a 'one-hit-wonder' very well, thank you.
posted by GriffX
on Jul 17, 2003 -
A Mad Parody Of The Onion
Well, if this isn't Meta, I don't know what is. Certainly, we all know about The Onion
(and, indeed, our consensus is that we don't post Onion links here). The fine fellows at MAD magazine
have hoisted the Area Men by their own petard. I hate to say it, 'cuz I think The Onion is often quite funny, but they've got it nailed. (via Heath Row's Media Diet
posted by briank
on Nov 13, 2002 -
The Onion's lead story
this week is about as succinct an indictment of the drug war as you can get. "If you are paying taxes and keeping your yard tidy, we're not going to hassle you if you come home from a hard day of work and want to enjoy a little pot or blow. But if, on the other hand, you're one of these lazy, shiftless types hanging out on the street all day looking for your next high, we're coming after you."
posted by McBain
on Mar 26, 2002 -
Someone (in this case, Steven Zeitchik of the [What's Left of] Online Journalism Review)
finally has the guts to say it: The post-911 Onion isn't funny
. It's preachy, obvious, desperate to give off the impression that it's still ironic without actually being so ... but not funny. Unfortunately, it doesn't delve into the intriguing psychological question of why so many were so eager to laud its return when it's never really returned at all, but hey, it's not the Online Psychology Review
, now is it?
posted by aaron
on Oct 22, 2001 -
Yes, it's an Onion link,
but with lines like "It is therefore urgent," Rumsfeld continued, "that all Americans be quiet, stop asking questions, accept the orders of authorities, and let us get on with the important work of defending liberty, so that America can continue to be a beacon of freedom to all the world."
, they really nail the problem with the prevailing attitude (one that comes up in many MeFi threads as well).
Does anyone else think Fleischer is especially creepy in this regard?
And how do you
attempt to instill reason into the debates around you? Any luck so far?
posted by cps
on Oct 11, 2001 -