December 6, 2000 10:24 AM   Subscribe

This would be funnier if it wasn't so close to the truth. And I thought the Onion made up their fake news.
posted by norm (15 comments total)
To anticipate:

You're right! The non-Onionized subject was here before!
I just thought it was weird that there wasn't really even much of a twist on the story -- as I recall one of the other articles even had quotes from administrators that were sort of like the fake ones. And I'm positive they knew about it. Hmm.

posted by norm at 10:28 AM on December 6, 2000

Perhaps they're running out of ideas? Or maybe they intended it as an homage.
posted by beth at 10:36 AM on December 6, 2000

Probobly the first one. My all time favorite Onion article - Census 2000 shows major drop in population. That stuff is great, lately they've been writing stuff that's just too silly and into too much detail.
posted by tiaka at 12:25 PM on December 6, 2000

I thought it was still funny. especially the picture of the before and after images. Some nice photoshop work they pulled on that one. Speaks volumes for Iowa State. :)
posted by howa2396 at 12:38 PM on December 6, 2000

Let's take this to the next logical step.
posted by alan at 1:28 PM on December 6, 2000

Pretty funny, although I heard a story from a marketing person at a big real estate company that for their end of year report one of the directors had her 'color in' one of the white guys in the photo because it wasn't diverse enough... Truth is indeed stranger than fiction...
posted by zeoslap at 3:50 PM on December 6, 2000

On a side note: 'coloring in' actually works better than you'd think.
posted by ikalliom at 4:23 PM on December 6, 2000

Oddly enough, I used to do a lot of compositing work on the covers of my school's sports media guides. I would take fake backgrounds and photoshop students in and out of them, all for the greater glory of the sports section (and the invisible hand, of course).

The only problem was that they kept testing my patience by coming up with more and more photographs not amenable to the task I was attempting to accomplish (namely -- provide an interesting cover where there was no possibility of same before).

Now, this wasn't exactly the same thing as what was going on in these other instances.

The people I used in my compositing did actually participate prominently in each sport they represented, and thus graced the covers of the media guides for good reason.

I eventually just started refusing to do anything more than the occasional dust scour on their photo of choice. No time for a good round of compositing, anyway...
posted by Kikkoman at 5:41 PM on December 6, 2000

It's not that odd. The story happened in Madison in September. The Onion is based in Madison and the satire appears 2+ months after the actual event.
posted by Buddha at 8:31 PM on December 6, 2000

Took the words right out of my mouth, Buddha. Wasn't it a Daily Cardinal reporter who first scooped the story? Or a UW student?
posted by evixir at 9:32 PM on December 6, 2000

Ah, Buddha caught it too. This is a very deliberate tweak -- the only measurable difference with reality is that the fictional school openly believes it's promoting diversity by doing this.

Still, I well remember discussions at my small Midwestern libarts college about increasing black enrollment. The first thing that came out of students' mouths in rejecting the school was always "not enough minority faculty", while the first thing that professorial applicants said was "not enough minority students". Bootstrapping past that is difficult. I sympathize, but it shouldn't have been impossible to get a picture if they'd thought it out in advance.
posted by dhartung at 11:45 PM on December 6, 2000

I think part of the joke is that this kind of photoshopping is the bread-and-butter of the Onion's art department, except that most of theirs look better than the one they did for this article.

Two of my favorites: Alzheimer's Sufferers Demand Cure For Pancakes.
ZZ Top Grants Clinton Keys to Magic Hot Rod.
posted by straight at 10:28 AM on December 7, 2000

I'd be pretty pissed if I were an adminsitrator at Iowa State, since they have not, to my knowledge, been implicated in anything like this. Universities like UW who have actually gotten caught doing it lend more than just a grain of truth to the story.

When this parody, as it inevitably will, gets cut-n-paste emailed around the Net without attributiuon, there could be one phat defamation suit in the works with ISU as plaintiff.
posted by mikewas at 1:11 PM on December 7, 2000

Would parody laws not come into play?

I don't think many of the public targets of The Onion's articles actually do the things the Onion suggests they do, but it's parody, so it's legally acceptable.
posted by cCranium at 1:40 PM on December 7, 2000

remember when "photoshop" wasn't a verb?
posted by th3ph17 at 2:34 PM on December 7, 2000

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