Information wants to be free!
May 19, 2004 7:57 AM   Subscribe

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 (39 comments total)
Sorry if this is a double post -- I couldn't find anything on it. Has anyone tried this? What is this Onion radio thing? Is it awesome?
posted by josh at 7:58 AM on May 19, 2004

Thank goodness I can still get the paper for free around town. When that stops, there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
posted by kayjay at 7:59 AM on May 19, 2004

They did introduce premium content that they charge for, but the page that we're all used to is still free. Calm down.
posted by GriffX at 8:00 AM on May 19, 2004

Is this some sort of reverse-psychology advertisment?
posted by Blue Stone at 8:00 AM on May 19, 2004

Hey, I'm signing up, I love The Onion. I'm just curious to see if anyone else has signed up and if it's worth it.
posted by josh at 8:01 AM on May 19, 2004

To be honest, my annoyance reached its peak when they started plastering the site with adverts. But you know what? It makes it possible for them to exist. Just be thankful they still churn out their unbelievable comedy, eh.

Well done to this thread for being a completely shameless advertisement, incidentally.
posted by bwerdmuller at 8:04 AM on May 19, 2004

I believe josh is satirizing this thread.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 8:05 AM on May 19, 2004

Charging for quality content? The nerve of some people...
posted by bondcliff at 8:07 AM on May 19, 2004

crank: while MAD hasn't been funny (either) since I turned 14 or so, that piece hits the nail on the head in so many ways. The Onion just isn't funny.
posted by uncleozzy at 8:25 AM on May 19, 2004

MetaFilter: The Onion just isn't funny.
posted by NationalKato at 8:28 AM on May 19, 2004

Finally, homosexuals will stop sucking my cock for free. I was going to start charging anyway.
posted by dhoyt at 8:28 AM on May 19, 2004

10 to 1 you paid more than $7 to see each matrix ripoff. NOW you're offended?

*points and snickers*
posted by quonsar at 8:30 AM on May 19, 2004

Why are some describing the Onion as "unbelievable comedy?" What does that mean?

All's I know is that the Onion isn't very funny after a short while, that is to say, once you realize the formula for their writing. Plus, only the headlines are ever funny, and sometimes not even that much can be said.
posted by crazy finger at 8:31 AM on May 19, 2004

Information wants to be free. Unfortunately, webhosting isn't. Neither is the food, clothing and/or shelter that the creators of the Onion most likely require.
posted by eyeballkid at 8:35 AM on May 19, 2004

Yeah, at this point I've stopped reading the Onion in any medium. I didn't make a conscious decision to do so, I just stopped going and didn't really notice or miss it.
posted by ursus_comiter at 8:35 AM on May 19, 2004

Website Pisses Off Readers,
Who Dismiss Premium Features
As "First Step Toward Crappy
Web Portal"

Irate Fans Ram Fists Through Monitors,
Bake Cakes

posted by Smart Dalek at 8:44 AM on May 19, 2004

the onion jumped the shark around the end of 1999 when they moved from Madison to New York. Look at the new Yorker, Friends, Woody Allen, and just about anything based on/in New York.

New york just isn't a place that's funny, or breeds funny, unless you are IN New York.
posted by Dillenger69 at 8:44 AM on May 19, 2004

It's like any other formulaic work - some will quickly tire of the formula, and others won't mind it.

The Onion isn't funny every week, but there are good articles here and there. The headlines and photos are often the best part. And I'm a Jean Teasdale addict.
posted by orange swan at 8:49 AM on May 19, 2004

Everyone wants to go to heaven, but no-one wants to die.
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:19 AM on May 19, 2004

the onion jumped the shark around the end of 1999 when they moved from Madison to New York.
Dillenger69, you said a mouthful. It made no sense for them to abandon their outsider location in Madison for the opportunity to live in one of the two cities that virtually every other comedy writer on earth lives in, to go to the same restaurants and bars and every other comedy writer in the world, to immerse themselves in the same referents as every other comedy writer in the world. Their eagerness to become part of the comedy-industrial complex is understandable (after all, there are billions to be made), but in the process, they are probably killing the goose that lays the golden egg. These moves are dangerous. Who cared about American Bandstand after it moved from Philadelphia to L.A.? Motown Records never put out another good record after it moved from Detroit to the West Coast. The Mike Douglas Show killed itself by moving from Cleveland to Philadelphia. "The Honeymooners" was nothing after Jackie Gleason moved his entertainment empire to Florida from New York. Is Creem magazine still published out of Detroit? If not, it probably sucks. I'm sure other MeFiers can come up with dozens of other (and probably better) examples of institutions that lose their regional flavor, and souls, once they leave the town or city of their birth.
posted by Faze at 9:19 AM on May 19, 2004

Seeing as how most entertainment comes from LA or New York and most of the people there aren't originally from LA or New York, I'd say your transplant idea doesn't hold much weight.

Anyhow, the Onion is still good. It's not like their charging extra for what you usually read.
posted by destro at 9:31 AM on May 19, 2004

Ahh, poor baby! Just gonna have to content yourself with listening to your illegal MP3s. ;-P
posted by mischief at 9:33 AM on May 19, 2004

the onion jumped the shark around the end of 1999 when they moved from Madison to New York.

I interviewed at the onion's chicago office in 2002, and they told me that most of the work (namely, the writing) is still done in madison. From what I could gather, the New York office is in charge of ad sales and placement for the new york edition. much like the chicago office is in charge of ad sales and placement for the chicago edition.

anyway, the special election coverage included in the annual fee isn't gonna seem so hot when it comes time for people to renew in a year.
posted by chrisege at 9:43 AM on May 19, 2004

Ironic Times is still ad-free. Plus it's only headlines, with no boring filler articles.
posted by donth at 10:06 AM on May 19, 2004

Area Man Angry at Onion.
posted by zaelic at 10:19 AM on May 19, 2004

I have nothing against ads, premium subscriptions, etc., but I have noticed that they tend to happen after the publication has gone downhill, or while it's in the process. It's the same thing restaraunts do just before they go broke: raise the price and lower the quality.
posted by dagnyscott at 10:44 AM on May 19, 2004

Stupid TV website, be more funny!
posted by turaho at 11:25 AM on May 19, 2004

I always wanted to make one of those web-filter things where you'd type in a name and it would generate some template-driven Onion articles every week. Then I realized the Onion was already doing that for me.

posted by patgas at 11:35 AM on May 19, 2004

I'm going to subscribe with the money I was using for Salon. I let my Salon subscription lapse after I realized I could get the same effect by opening two browser windows: one of Slate, and the other of softcore porn.

(I'd gladly accept all you cheap bastards at Dateline: Hollywood, though.)
posted by 4easypayments at 11:45 AM on May 19, 2004

Local Mexican Restaurant Now Charging for Tortilla Chips
Ice Water Holding Steady at Five Cents a Glass
posted by dfowler at 11:59 AM on May 19, 2004

Why do you somehow assume that you are entitled to everything for free? The Onion is a business, trying to make profits. You are now outraged that they have provided you this non-vital, quality service, something free for years, and now begin to charge?? What is wrong with you!

And, it is still funny. AND the main page is still free!
posted by ac at 1:56 PM on May 19, 2004

ac, et. al.: the thread was started in a spirit of sarcasm. Perhaps you didn't read the Movable Type thread. I love The Onion!
posted by josh at 3:30 PM on May 19, 2004

When I have to start paying for the paper version, then I'll worry. The AV club is always worth reading.
posted by drezdn at 3:36 PM on May 19, 2004

The MAD spoof took the words from my mouth and then reiterated them more eloquently. All I read these days are the headlines and the AV club. Soon enough, I predict it'll just be the AV club. Great interviews there.
posted by Evstar at 4:54 PM on May 19, 2004

posted by sciatica at 6:14 PM on May 19, 2004

Unbelievable comedy?
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:09 PM on May 19, 2004

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