the ONION
September 25, 2001 7:07 PM   Subscribe

the ONION to the rescue! America's most trusted insightful ironists seem to have risen to the challenge. Dinty Moore beef stew condemns terrorism.
posted by Zurishaddai (89 comments total)
 
My first front-page link, and I can't even get the link right. Try here. I know "the ONION" is not big news per se, but in these times, some help from our friends there is a welcome comfort.
posted by Zurishaddai at 7:10 PM on September 25, 2001


I am not certain, but I feel this may be a double post. Has anyone ever linked to the Onion before? I swear, this is just like something you'd read in the Onion.
posted by anildash at 7:13 PM on September 25, 2001


Actually, they've just put out some great stuff.. "Not Knowing What Else To Do, Woman Bakes American-Flag Cake" is my favourite.
posted by wackybrit at 7:14 PM on September 25, 2001


fanTAStic - "Jerry Falwell - Is this guy a dick or what?"
posted by vito90 at 7:15 PM on September 25, 2001


Exacerbating the terrorists' tortures, which include being hollowed out and used as prophylactics by thorn-cocked Gulbuth The Rampant, is the fact that they will be forced to endure such suffering in sight of the Paradise they were expecting.

from "Hijacker's surprised to find themselves in hell"
posted by vito90 at 7:22 PM on September 25, 2001


Well, I just think, here's a package of 13 new articles, any one of which is better commentary on the present than most everything else I've been reading...
posted by Zurishaddai at 7:23 PM on September 25, 2001


ouch. Anyone else uncomfortable with this? (The Onion, not the post.) Maybe I'm just not ready to laugh at that stuff yet. (Maybe I'll never be.) But I just didn't think it was funny....
posted by mattpfeff at 7:26 PM on September 25, 2001


Definitely a double post. No wait, not if I made the poster cry. Then I take it back.
posted by jasonshellen at 7:26 PM on September 25, 2001


Zurishaddai,

Nothing personal, you are new to MeFi - But, try to link to a more definitive news page ... and not just "THE MAIN" page (ie linking to CNN.com or cbsnews.com or Blogger.com)

Those pages are extremely dynamic, and on a lesser note pretty run of the mill.
posted by a11an at 7:41 PM on September 25, 2001


Okay, it's not making me laugh out loud, but I'm definitely giggling and smiling at some of this stuff.
It might be a bit early, but I'm glad I read it.
posted by Grum at 7:43 PM on September 25, 2001


"Islamic law states, 'An eye for an eye.' By that logic, we should destroy one of Osama bin Laden's skyscrapers. Problem is, he doesn't have any, because he lives in fucking underground caves."
This will be a classic issue. I gotta find this one in print.
posted by ColdChef at 7:45 PM on September 25, 2001


Here's a link that may persist a bit longer than the one above. I would hope they'd keep this particular issue online.
posted by jjg at 7:49 PM on September 25, 2001


I didn't think the onion would touch the events of 9.11 with a 10-foot-pole.

the writing in this issue is just top-rate. I'm really impressed. the press conference with God made me weep (just at the end) and I thought the story about baking a cake was heartbreaking.

this is a weird type of satire. it's...kind. it's satire with a broken heart.

Zurishaddai, it's true, usually a link to the onion is verboten, but in this case, I'm glad you did.
posted by rebeccablood at 7:53 PM on September 25, 2001


"hugging up, 76,00 percent." lol...

this and the something awful link has made my past two days.... don't know why, but this image is just silly and true enough to mention, as well.
posted by lotsofno at 7:56 PM on September 25, 2001


Be sure to check out the TV guide. Meantime, "The Onion" has a broken heart quite frequently. How much humor comes from pain and the inexplicable or absurdity fatigue, or in reaction to it, to begin with? Nothing particularly new. It's a common feature of good satire that's just magnified many times over here.
posted by raysmj at 7:59 PM on September 25, 2001


I guess irony isn't dead.
posted by kaefer at 8:02 PM on September 25, 2001


it's satire with a broken heart.

I think you nailed it, rebecca. I was trying to explain it to my roommate as I was reading aloud... how some of it was hilarious ('Carson Daly In Way Over His Head') but overall... somber and still hurting. And couldn't come up with words. You did, though. Thanks.

matt: I don't really think a lot of it was funny either; not sure some of it was even trying to be. But even the parts that weren't funny were tasteful and respectful and definitely had a point. So.... glad someone pointed us to it.
posted by louie at 8:02 PM on September 25, 2001


Just wanted to say that this issue of The Onion is mind-blowingly good. It comments on the events in a way that is less funny than it is just truly a statement of the sadness and confussion that surrounds this tragic event. Including calling Jerry Fallwell AND Osama bin Laden assholes. Fucking A!
posted by RoyalJack at 8:03 PM on September 25, 2001


I agree Rebecca, I was very touched and impressed with the way all the delicate issues were handled. The article about God was very moving, and some of the humor was just what I needed. "President Urges Calm, Restraint Among Nation's Ballad Singers" If only that bit were true!
posted by megnut at 8:03 PM on September 25, 2001


Everyone is groping for adequate words, and you just have to be impressed with writers who can convey the pain and confusion with such a nimble touch. Speaking just for myself, this is pretty close to the reality of my disturbed mind since September 11: slack-jawed idiocy meets sweeping reflections. (Oh, and the response to this my first post was gentler than I could've expected & is duly taken...)

Here's one line that seemed right to me:
When Americans finally staggered into the streets, desperate to talk to anyone to try to make sense of what they had just seen, there were no Attack On America collector cups waiting for them at Taco Bell.
posted by Zurishaddai at 8:10 PM on September 25, 2001


I'm not sure what to think of the fact that adding gratuitous obscenities still makes anything ten times funnier.

"fucking underground caves", indeed. I burst out laughing at that one.

And I'll just chip in and say: 1) I personally don't think this is an appropriate MeFi post, and 2) Thanks, Zurishaddai. I needed this.
posted by whatnotever at 8:13 PM on September 25, 2001


Oh, by the way- anyone who didn't read 'On TV Tonight'- go back and read it now. It's possibly the funniest thing I've read in two weeks.
posted by louie at 8:16 PM on September 25, 2001


I say kudos to Zurishaddai for posting The Onion to the front page - kinda like an 'all clear' siren :)
posted by obiwanwasabi at 8:18 PM on September 25, 2001


I'm pretty impressed; I usually find The Onion decidedly on the inane side, but this time they seem to have hit the nail on the head. Well done...
posted by clevershark at 8:20 PM on September 25, 2001


How is it possible that this issue of The Onion exists? The news media has been declaring for the last two weeks that irony is dead!

I told you The Onion guys were just BSing to get an extra weeks' vacation.
posted by aaron at 8:23 PM on September 25, 2001


HAHAHAHAH!!!!
"Bush Sr. Apologizes To Son For Funding Bin Laden In '80s"
BWAHAHAHA!!!!
"U.S. Vows To Defeat Whoever It Is We're At War With"
OMG!!! I can't stop laughing!!!
Seriously... there was nothing funny about WTC. But the Onion was on the money satirizing everything else.

During WWII, everyone from Bugs Bunny to the Three Stooges took on Hitler and mocked the shit out of him. While a lot of people (understandably) aren't ready to laugh yet, It's a healthy way to cope with the insanity.

It's the American Way... Thanx, Zurishaddai !
posted by EricBrooksDotCom at 8:23 PM on September 25, 2001


the onion rocks.

proud to be from madison.
posted by o2b at 8:51 PM on September 25, 2001


My favourite: this. Just because it plays it dead straight, while the "serious world" plays it something else...
posted by holgate at 8:52 PM on September 25, 2001


so does anyone know how to get a hard copy of this?
posted by sugarfish at 8:57 PM on September 25, 2001


When I moved to the US, one of the things I thought I'd miss was Private Eye. Then I found The Onion - and this edition is a classic.
posted by normy at 8:57 PM on September 25, 2001


Be sure to check out the TV guide.
Like "Extremely Uniformed Debate"? Who loves a man in uniform, baby?
posted by joeclark at 8:59 PM on September 25, 2001


sugarfish: here here. I'd like to have a copy of this so I can promptly turn around and ship it to a friend who is internet-free in Africa. Anyone know of a book store in Boston that carries print versions of the Onion?
posted by louie at 9:04 PM on September 25, 2001


God bless The Onion. God bless them.
posted by mrbula at 9:06 PM on September 25, 2001


does anyone know how to get a hard copy of this?

Move to Chicago?

Or befriend someone who lives in Chicago?

In Chicago, Onions are free on the streets in newspaper boxes.
posted by jbushnell at 9:23 PM on September 25, 2001



Don't miss Point-Counterpoint.

"We Must Retaliate With Blind Rage"

vs.

"We Must Retaliate With Measured, Focused Rage"
posted by dack at 9:28 PM on September 25, 2001


the best one. god angrilly clarifies "don't kill" rule.

"I guess I figured I'd left no real room for confusion after putting it in a four-word sentence with one-syllable words, on the tablets I gave to Moses. How much more clear can I get?"

beautiful.
posted by grabbingsand at 9:36 PM on September 25, 2001


I think good satire always has a broken heart still beating underneath it. Strangely, this issue of the Onion gave me a lot of hope. While I was touched by the shaken reactions of veteran smart-ass comics like David Letterman and John Stewart, I couldn't help but feel a little let down, wondering when someone would have the nerve to look this incident straight in the eye and find something to laugh at - even if it was the kind of laughter that is damn close to tears. And the Onion came through for me. I think this is the first major humor outlet to deal with recent events so directly. It comforts me to know that even in the face of something like this, the Onion is still audacious enough to keep cranking out satire with teeth.
posted by varmint at 9:40 PM on September 25, 2001


kinda like an 'all clear' siren :)
agreed. the arguments about whether or not this is appropriate or not are complete bullshit. i feel like this is the first time I have taken a deep breath and felt like the world might not actually be completely ending since all this craziness. this is not a "run-of-the-mill" issue regardless of your personal feelings for The Onion. the thing that hits me the most is that it's humor, but it hurts like hell: No Austrian bodybuilder, gripping Uzis and striding shirtless through the debris, will save us and make it all better. Shocked and speechless, we are all still waiting for the end credits to roll. They aren't going to.
Thanks Zurishaddai, I really needed to see this.
posted by babydoll at 9:41 PM on September 25, 2001


erhm, as a new user, i can't post this on the main page, but has anyone else heard about Starbucks demanding payment for the water used to treat shock victims immediately after the WTC attacks? here's a link.
posted by shugashax at 9:42 PM on September 25, 2001


what a faux pas.

may I just say that there was a time when starbucks was about the most progressive company going?
posted by rebeccablood at 9:46 PM on September 25, 2001


God bless The Onion. God bless them.

Okay, I can't take it any more. I have to ask: What exactly is different about this issue from any other issue they've put out in the past? The only change is that this week's stories each include bits of treacly sentimentality tacked on to the end of them, in an obviously excruciatingly-crafted attempt to take a bit of the edge off of the preceding umpteen paragraphs of the same old ultra-snarky "ironic" parody. And it doesn't even work: Every one of those endings comes off as completely hamfisted. People would be rolling their eyes at that stuff if it was published anywhere but The Onion.

Writing jokes that use the actual photos of the WTC explosions are not examples of somebody "getting it right." They're examples of people directly making sick tasteless jokes about the murders of 6500 people. Which, you know, is not itself a problem; Lord knows I love sick tasteless humor myself. But let's just admit it, okay? This whole thread seems like a bunch of people desperately trying to rationalize a reason to be able to once again engage in the sick humor they've always known and loved, without having to the be the first one in line to actually risk getting hit with the rotten tomatoes.

The Onion has stepped up to the plate, they've taken one for the team. Now we can all be graphic and "ironic" and tasteless again. Just accept it; there's no need to try to intellectualize it.
posted by aaron at 9:52 PM on September 25, 2001



Varmint and babydoll slipped in with roughly the same idea while I was busy desperately trying to phrase my comments in a way that would keep me from getting yelled at. <grin>
posted by aaron at 9:54 PM on September 25, 2001


Aaron: I saw nothing tasteless at all about the issue. Humor -- the BEST humor -- has always dealth with real-world issues, notably race. The Onion here has taken the ridiculous aspects of this tragedy and made them moreso, and (very) gently poked fun at some of the things that, while touching in the last few weeks, would have seemed bizarre and "cheesy" otherwise.

And they offered up some of the most touching lines I've seen about the whole thing, especially in contrast to the introductions to them.

I read the whole thing with my sense of irony still "broken," and I loved every minute of it.
posted by matt8313 at 10:04 PM on September 25, 2001


I guess I had a different experience than you, aaron. this issue feels different to me. its edge is different.
posted by rebeccablood at 10:04 PM on September 25, 2001


The thing is, practically everything they write is true. Our lack of certainty about who the enemy is. The surreal quality of the planes flying into the WTC (a few writers called it "beautiful" in its way), and the shocking reality of it. The willful misinterpretation of Islam. The rest of America's not knowing what to do. The nation's anger. The TV schedule. The hugging. Falwell's idiocy. The change of opinion re: NYC (the NYTimes had a story on this actually). The Pentagon aspect being given less play. It's all true.

I think it's a good issue. I like the way they treated the subjects, and agree with a lot of what's been said here.

I just don't think it's funny.
posted by mattpfeff at 10:09 PM on September 25, 2001


It may be my silly little imagination here, but are we being a little kinder-hearted to new members posting things that are kind of, technically, sort of maybe duplicate posts but in a grey-area type of way, as long as the intent was good?

Plus, it seems many of us needed a little Onion today,
posted by kd at 10:19 PM on September 25, 2001


(a) Aaron, like, what a total drag you are.
(a.5) (And I don't think you were reading Varmint and babydoll correctly).

(b) One more vote for excellent issue (first time I'm tempted to buy a hard copy).
posted by sylloge at 10:23 PM on September 25, 2001


"According to House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL), the congressional move enables the president to declare war, "to the extent that war can realistically be declared on, like, maybe three or four Egyptian guys, an Algerian, and this other guy who kind of looks Lebanese but could be Syrian. Or whoever else it might have been. Because it might not have been them."

I'll feel guilty tomorrow when I turn on the news, but tonight that was pretty damn funny.

Best. Onion. Ever.
posted by Cyrano at 10:23 PM on September 25, 2001


Wow, aaron. I don't know what to say in response to your post. I really don't.

Except, well...I feel sorry for you.

It's not sick humor. It's satire; and it's right on the mark.

mattpfeff: Amen. That's what I've always loved about the Onion...it's good/funny because it's so rediculous, but at the same time, it's so true.
posted by CrayDrygu at 10:24 PM on September 25, 2001


Except, well...I feel sorry for you.

I suppose I'm just not as enlightened as you are, eh Cray?. Poor me. I don't know what I will do with myself now that I've learned what a lesser human being I am than CrayDrygu. Perhaps I'll go jump out of a 110-story building.

(The above, of course, is satire, not sick humor.)

Sylloge: (a) Bite me. (a.5) Bite me. (b) See response to Cray.
posted by aaron at 10:38 PM on September 25, 2001



Bush should add one more cabinet position, "Director of Homeland Sanity Check", and appoint the editor of the Onion.
posted by brantstrand at 10:48 PM on September 25, 2001


aaron, please understand many people will find you immediately suspect for not enjoying The Onion. It is genereally, if not always, a positive indicator of mental imbalance. I'm not saying Onion-haters should be hollowed out and used as prophylactics by thorn-cocked Gulbuth The Rampant, but it is a little strange.
posted by brantstrand at 10:48 PM on September 25, 2001


I have to step in and agree with aaron a bit (a bit I say). It seems he likes the Onion just fine, he's just calling it out as he sees it, and his judghement really doesn't seem all that harsh.

As for me. I'm glad I saw this. I like the Onion - not love, but like, since some of the more absurd pieces make me fall down laughing, but most articles only get me to smirk or smile a bit at best. "Ask a Bee" is an old fave (not online anymore). This weeks issue really feels like the old Onion in that way IMHO.

That said. I just laughed so damn hard at their TV listings this week...thank you all for pointing this out.
posted by kokogiak at 11:10 PM on September 25, 2001


er, um, further clarification (sorry!):

The Onion pieces are all not only true, but unironic. They are each very sad, in their own ways.

Ironic is stuff like the supposed religious martyrs who hijacked those planes going out for drinks and lap dances at a Florida strip club beforehand. (Which is reportedly true.) Or Man Takes BoxCutters on Plane to Convince Wife to Cancel Trip. Or a past Onion piece, "Columbine Jocks Safely Resume Bullying".

Ironic would have been, I think, something like "Bin Laden Celebrates Departure of Women Soldiers from Muslim Holy Land" (e.g.:

Some Hidden Cave in Afghanistan -- In a statement taped at an undisclosed location, suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden today expressed his "delirious joy" upon hearing word that NATO forces stationed in Saudi Arabia had been transferred to Pakistan.

"The Holy Land is free," bin Laden declared. "Now every woman in Saudi Arabia can be properly oppressed."

The NATO forces were restationed as part of Operation Kick that MotherFucker's Ass Already. Bin Laden, speaking in an over-sized kevlar vest and gas mask, behind what appeared to be 10 inches of bullet-proof glass, behind what may have been 30 Al-Qaeda operatives carrying AK-47s, while incessantly chewing on a piece of his mustache and shifting his hands from his pockets to the podium in front of him and back into his pockets again, indicated he was unconcerned about the eventuality of armed combat between his forces and the allied Western invasion force.

"America is a paper tiger. We will blow up their office buildings and their army will fall over in the wind," he said.

His further comments, if any, were lost when the soldier delivering the videotape of his statement to the Western press was blown into very small pieces by an unknown weapon military spokesmen would only describe as "this really neat missile system we're testing out", and the tape was damaged. Military scientists are working on the problem, according to the spokesman, who said there are still "a few remaining bugs" in the missile's guidance system, but that he fully expected future statements to reach the press intact.


Anyway, I'm not saying that that's funny, either, or good, for that matter, just that it's ironic. I do have some sympathy for aaron's suggestion that people would be rolling their eyes at that stuff if it was published anywhere but The Onion. The issue is very well written and in the Onion's style, and I think it gets laughs because we all know where we're supposed to laugh. I just dunno if it's actually funny. Or necessarily intended to be, actually. (E.g., "Hugging Up 76,000 Percent". "God Angrily Clarifies 'Don't Kill' Rule". You could read the whole thing with a sad spin on it, and not laugh once. (One caveat, the Lifetime TV schedule is funny, you at least have to smile.))

Well, I hope that makes sense. I do like the Onion and I guess I wanted to try and get at what's different about this one.
posted by mattpfeff at 11:22 PM on September 25, 2001


Having never read "the Onion" before I found most of it fairly funny and well written satire( TV listing: Medicating Dan Rather-funny). I just think some of us were ready for this and some were not. But then again I am not your typical 50 year old women.
posted by bjgeiger at 11:30 PM on September 25, 2001


mattpfeff: I doubt that those murderers (not religious martyrs) took lapdances then left a copy of the Qu'ran on the bar as reported.. That just stinks of bad reporting/inflammatory rumour.. Hell, I'm a moderate muslim and I don't even look at Page 3..

Back to the Onion, I found it quite amusing, and that comment on Falwell just cracked me up.. However, as satire, its bound to offend some people who are still sensitive, and understandibly so.. I've always thought that life is too serious to be taken seriously - hmm, maybe thats why nobody takes me seriously. Hmm..
posted by Mossy at 11:54 PM on September 25, 2001




> I have to step in and agree with aaron a bit

But don't you also agree that he is, like, a major drag? At least in this thread? Because in other threads he may not be a drag, or even might be really funny, but in this one he is just, like, a drag? (And also kind of a bite-orderer?)
posted by sylloge at 12:46 AM on September 26, 2001


I remember back in high school, the Challenger exploded. We were in drama class when the principal got on the loudspeaker and announced it. He then asked for a moment of silence.

This cute blonde girl, for whom I'd had a terrible crush since we were both freshmen, but I never had the balls to properly ask out on a date, started laughing. Fiendishly. Uncontrollably. Everyone else was completely silent and she just started laughing. Others told her to shush and she got defiantly abusive at them, saying how insatiably false and hypocritical we were all being by having a serious moment of silence because the first time they tried to put a teacher - a civilian - on board a space shuttle, the whole thing blows to bits. And the whole time she's trying to defend her side, she's laughing. She can barely get the words out. And it's not high-pitched, hysterical laughter either mind you. It's not the stereotypical female laughter. It was low and raucous - but just shy of sinister.

I fell out of adolescent lust for her that day, but in hindsight I think she was the only sane person in that entire school. Frankly she was probably on some major drugs at the time too, but she managed to see the irony, and handled a tragic situation in the only way she knew how to retain her own sanity, and to hell with the rest of us.

Ask any psychologist. Laughter is practically required for any decent mental healing process to begin. Some people need an injection of laughter immediately. Some prefer to mourn for an indeterminate amount of time before they allow themselves to do so guilt-free. To those who enjoy The Onion now, I salute you and stand beside you. To those who can't, don't piss off the people who need humor to deal with sadness in their own way. When you're ready, The Onion or something else will be there for you.

I've felt sick to my stomach the past week seeing all the talk show hosts walk into this whole thing delicately like a bunch of politically correct saps, when their job is to take the bull by the horns and shed comedic light on the madness of our times. Bill Maher stuck his head out of the comedian foxhole and almost hot his head shot off by friendly fire. Where the hell was GEORGE CARLIN this past week? When we really needed the bastard!? Thank GOD for The Onion! At least they have some guts!

Mel Brooks once said that tragedy is when I stub my toe, and comedy is when you fall in a manhole and die. That is the cornerstone of the foundation of comedy. A pie in the face is not funny when it happens to you, but when it happens to somebody else it's hilarious. Pollack jokes and Aggie jokes are not funny to Pollacks and Aggies. There is a reason for that, because they're the ones getting the paper cut. They're the ones getting their toes stubbed. Think about whatever it is you've laughed at in the past. Who were you making fun of, and why is this any different?

On September 11th, we ALL fell into a manhole, and a part of us died. It wasn't the slightest bit funny to any of us. Except maybe the rare blond girl who suddenly couldn't stop laughing.

It didn't happen to someone else. It happened to Americans on American soil. It happened to each and every one of us. It happened to the entire civilized world. And when London got bombed during World War Two? It happened to the entire civilized world then too, but Winston Churchill practically ordered the british people to face the horror and laugh at it. And that's what they did. And they survived. And so will we.

If one can't laugh at oneself, one can't laugh.
posted by ZachsMind at 1:20 AM on September 26, 2001


Thank God the Onion decided to cover the disaster at last. Is satire back now, then?
posted by skylar at 1:57 AM on September 26, 2001


How very rational. Thanks, Zach. We now return you to your regularly scheduled sackcloth and ashes.
posted by Optamystic at 2:00 AM on September 26, 2001


Thank God the Onion decided to cover the disaster at last. Is satire back now, then?

Never was gone as far as I was concerned. I'm fairly skeptical of any X is dead proclamation. Except of course when X = Bob Hope.
posted by skallas at 2:12 AM on September 26, 2001


Thank God the Onion decided to cover the disaster at last. Is satire back now, then?

I hope so. I thought the only person who would ever touch a subject like this would be Chris Morris, but it seems i'm wrong. Way to go the Onion!
posted by twistedonion at 2:16 AM on September 26, 2001


Wanted: Blanket.
Must be damp (wet preferred).
Applicant will posess thorough knowledge of what constitutes politically correct mirth (training sermons available).
Applicant will have a strong desire to inflict guilt based on personal prejudices.
Applicant must be completely unable to delight in the absurd, or to appreciate the healing balm of a delinquent giggle.
Only the self-righteous need apply. (Periodic righteousness testing is mandatory)
Send applications to: The Tasteful Titterer
Serious inquiries only.
posted by Opus Dark at 4:25 AM on September 26, 2001


"Life does not cease to be funny when people die, any more than it ceases to be serious when they laugh." -- George
Bernard Shaw.
posted by revbrian at 4:52 AM on September 26, 2001


I must admit, I found it funny - but didn't feel it was especially "sad" or "heartfelt"...
posted by owillis at 5:22 AM on September 26, 2001


providing that there are any left, i can grab a few copies of the dead tree edition. drop me an email if you'd like a copy. first come, first serve.
posted by phooey at 5:48 AM on September 26, 2001


I think this is a lot tamer than their usual stuff - they clearly felt they couldn't go all the way with it. The cake story feels like a tribute to ordinary Americans rather than satire, and that's not really the Onion's remit is it? The hell story was sort of funny, but is really sending the message 'they got what they deserved'. On TV Go Home there's a story about a new reality show where the audience controls the soldiers going into war. That's got legs but they haven't done much with it.

There's plenty of other stuff going round the net if you look hard enough. One admittedly obscure example here.
posted by Summer at 6:10 AM on September 26, 2001


"The whole point of believing in God is to have a higher standard of behavior. How obvious can you get?"
Wow. Whether you're an atheist, agnostic, believer, or suffering a crisis of faith, that has to be one of the most profound sentences on the subject ever written. Bravo.
posted by whuppy at 6:38 AM on September 26, 2001


The whole point of believing in God is getting the "Get Out Of Death Free" card.
posted by websavvy at 6:57 AM on September 26, 2001


Bush told President George W. Bush. "We thought it was a good idea at the time because he was part of a group fighting communism in Central Asia. We called them 'freedom fighters' back then. I know it sounds weird. You sort of had to be there."

that. was. too. much.

Thanks for the rant, aaron. I have nothing against what you said, and don't even really care that much. But the retorts to you have been damn near as funny as the Onion itself. Then again, in all fairness, some of yours were pretty funny as well.

I was up in NYC yesterday for bizness, and stopped by to see my fiancee's grandparents on Gold Street (real close). I nearly lost my father and uncle in the event, and I thank god they made it out ok. With how sleepless and distracted we all have been lately, according to polls and such, I think this was desperately neede. I think the Onion was as tasteful as could possibly be, and they have a thin line to tread. How do you keep up your product as well as not offend? The Gen X article about cynicism was so appropriate and hit the nail on the head. I think rebecca was right on the money.
posted by adampsyche at 7:01 AM on September 26, 2001


The whole point of believing in God is getting the "Get Out Of Death Free" card.
Only for believers.
posted by whuppy at 7:06 AM on September 26, 2001


A portion of the proceeds from this issue will be donated to
The New York Firefighters 9-11 Disaster Relief Fund.


That's enough to convince me that they aren't being tasteless.
posted by adampsyche at 7:11 AM on September 26, 2001


I didn't think the onion would touch the events of 9.11 with a 10-foot-pole.

For the most part, they didn't. Most of the stories weren't about the events themselves, but rather people's reactions to those events. And as The Onion recognized, those reactions have been so varied, extreme, and confusing — in other words, so human — that some of them deserved a bit of mockery.
posted by harmful at 7:30 AM on September 26, 2001


Anybody get the feeling aaron just wants to be disliked to be different? Or maybe different just to be disliked?
posted by dogmatic at 8:23 AM on September 26, 2001


anyone get the feeling that dogmatic is dogmatic to be dogmatic, or dogmatic just to be dogmatic?
posted by adampsyche at 8:38 AM on September 26, 2001


If you liked this issue as much as I did, it might not be such a bad idea to write these folks and tell them. I'm sure this was a hard one to write, and they may appreciate some positive reinforcement. Might serve to counter some of the hate mail they're sure to get from it. I wrote them and pointed them to this thread, but more encouragement is never a bad thing.
posted by Optamystic at 8:48 AM on September 26, 2001


Wow. The Onion made me cry. And not in a laugh-till-you-cry sort of way, either. Bravo.
posted by MrMoonPie at 10:02 AM on September 26, 2001


fuckin' yeah, zach.
posted by lbergstr at 10:59 AM on September 26, 2001


I don't know if any other comedian or comedy group could have done this successfully. I have to admit I've been waiting since last week to see what they might actually publish, and I'm very impressed that they went right back to their basic shtick without a blink. Maybe it's because they're mainly an Internet thing (yes, I know about the paper, thanks), and thus aren't subject to the same level of scrutiny that television comedians have to face -- in the face of the overwhelming and intimidating public mood, who wouldn't back down from hard ironic humor? Bill Maher made a good try, but he's too mainstream now to get away with being as in-your-face as he would like to be. Letterman just proved that he really is the sappy guy underneath the gap-toothed grin that I always suspected he was. Saturday Night Live might have been able to do this waaaaaay back in the Belushi-Ayckroyd-Chase era, but not anymore.

The sensibility of the Net is still very different than the tastes of the general public, and so The Onion can play to a more sympathetic audience. I am SO glad they did. I really needed "Holy Fucking Shit!" as the headline.
posted by briank at 11:22 AM on September 26, 2001


Yeah, the sensibility of the net was coming up with stuff just like this, only not nearly as sensitive. Like here.

Are some of the people behind it sociopaths that don't care about the victims? Possibly. But for the most part, they're just folks trying to work through the pain.
posted by Jart at 11:52 AM on September 26, 2001


I like this issue. As biting and seemingly-dangerous the Onion can be, they usually tread pretty carefully around difficult issues, and this issue is no exception.

The sadness is palpable too. I'm laughing with tears in my eyes. It's a strange experience.

Personally, I find it more moving than most of the attempts to address the WTC attacks seriously. When someone is trying to create that feeling of sadness, I can't help but feel some resistance to that falsely induced catharsis. Here, the Onion is trying to make me laugh, and I still feel like crying. And they know it. That's powerful.
posted by speicus at 4:19 PM on September 26, 2001


Ironically (wink), while throwing out my old New Yorkers (I'm moving in a week), I came across a gem by Hendrik Hertzberg on, of course, the Onion. He writes (on May 10, 1999, p. 96):

When the Onion covers big national and international stories, it prefers the kind of thing that can be approached sideways, from a distance, and through a fog of solemn ignorance, as in

FED TO MAKE INTEREST RATES UNDULATE RELAXINGLY

WASHINGTON, DC
-- In a major step toward establishing a more "soothing and peaceful" U.S. economy by Fiscal Year 1998, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan announced yesterday that he will make the prime lending rate undulate relaxingly, moving back and forth in a restful, wavelike motion.


In that way, this is different. "Holy Fucking Shit" indeed. But Hertzberg goes on to say, along the lines of what rebeccablood and others have written here, in talking about a piece about God releasing a statement on a natural disater being "part of My unknowable, divine plan for mankind":

"There's anger, certainly, and sadness -- as there is in the Onion's bleakly funny evocations of dead-end work and empty leisure. The story is simply a restatement, in wire-service language, of the theological problem of the existence of unmerited suffering in a world supposedly ruled by a benevolent Providence -- a problem about which you can laugh or you can cry."

I, as I've said, amn't inclined to laugh at similar coverage of the recent attacks, they seem sad to me. But I'll grant that there is humor in them. I disagree with him, I guess, but Hertzberg concludes that statement by saying, "The Onion chooses to laugh."

Anyway.
posted by mattpfeff at 4:34 PM on September 26, 2001


If you've read Our Dumb Century, you know that The Onion has always been angry. The best humor emerges from anger. Humor is a way of saying that which cannot be said.

There's nothing funny about the deaths of 6,000 people. There's nothing to be satirized there. People's reactions to the events, however, are ripe for satire.

And for those who think it was a bit treacly: hell, being anything other than mawkish and earnest, at this point, is brave enough. I really do not want to see Jon Stewart interviewing yet another schmo from CNN.
posted by solistrato at 11:24 PM on September 26, 2001


dogmatic: Please insert animal penis in your mouth and suck mightily. Then please cancel your account here and never return, since you're obviously incapable of complying with the most basic rules of Metafilter. Thank you.
posted by aaron at 12:02 AM on September 27, 2001


Thanks for the rant, aaron.

The honor is to serve.
posted by aaron at 12:06 AM on September 27, 2001



And the whole time she's trying to defend her side, she's laughing. She can barely get the words out.

Do you still have her number?
posted by aaron at 12:09 AM on September 27, 2001



There are times when I fuckin' love that aaron guy.
posted by Optamystic at 4:48 AM on September 27, 2001


If phooey's out of copies, feel free to email me and I'll send you one. I just happened to be there last night when the deliveryman dropped 'em off at the local coffeeshop. I grabbed a bunch, expecting them to be gone pretty soon.
posted by sandor at 8:58 AM on September 27, 2001


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