The Onion is a satirical newspaper devoted to all aspects of American life and culture, frequently parodying tropes mentioned on This Very Wiki. It started in 1988 as a print newspaper by a pair of students at the University of Wisconsin, and originally distributed in Madison and Milwaukee. It has since branched off into the internet, including video clips supposedly originating from the Onion News Network. Its final print edition was published in December 2013, but the website has carried on.Some people mistakenly think The Onionis a legitimate news source, ranging from Christians against Harry Potter, Fox Nation.com, a news website operated by the Fox News Channel to the People's Republic of China.Twice. Others are aware of its parody nature.The Onion also has an entertainment/pop culture newspaper and website called the AV Club, which features pop culture news, reviews of almost every form of media (TV, albums, books, etc.) and interviews presented in a humorous but factual tone. The site's head writer was Nathan Rabin until 2013. The AV Club maintains a separate identity and has very little (if anything) in common with The Onion, mostly to avoid people mistakenly thinking that the AV Club presents fake news like The Onion.The Onion has in the past extended into a movie (critically derided, even by its own AV Club), and most recently two TV series — OSN Sportsdome on Comedy Central and Onion News Network on IFC. In 2013, a pilot for Onion News Empire, a behind-the-scenes look at the ONN newsroom, was made for Amazon.com. (It wasn't picked up.) There have also been three original Onion books - Our Dumb Century, a history of the 20th century told through fake Onion front pages, Our Dumb World, a Hollywood Atlas filled with stereotypes and Black Comedy, and The Onion Book of Known Knowledge, a mock encyclopedia of all existing knowledge.In Summer 2012, the Onion's YouTube arm debuted Onion Digital Studios, producing parodies of non-news programming ranging from nature documentaries to reality television.It's like a Transatlantic Equivalent of Private Eye (except decades younger, without the investigative journalism, and as a website) and similar to the later NJUZ and Newsbiscuit (which was created on the model "a British Onion"). Similarly, Ministry Of Harmony describes itself as "The Onion for China".The site can be found here.
In Our Dumb Century, some articles have traits of this, such as Archduke Franz Ferdinand showing up alive after World War I, Richard Nixon being killed after a manhunt around the time of his resignation, and the US not just losing The Vietnam War, but actually surrendering to them.
Animal Metaphor: An article has an entire family attempting to use the family dog as a metaphor for their relationship difficulties—The father for example saying that the dog feels confined and needs to run free, while the youngest child says the dog just wants some attention...
Antiquated Linguistics: The book Our Dumb Century loves these. For example: "Per the Mysterious Congressman's directive, the debate will held in one fortnight's time on the shores of the Tidal Basin at day's first light. It will be broadcast simultaneously by all network and cable-news channels."
Bigger Than Jesus: Published an apology in their corrections section after purportedly making such a remark, consequently revealing Inverted intentions:
"We would like to apologize for stating last week that The Onion is 'bigger than Jesus'. What we meant to imply is that The Onion is more important and influential than Jesus, not that our newspaper is in any way physically larger than He was. We regret any confusion."
Bilingual Bonus: The so-called founder's last name is Zwiebel, German for "Onion".
From Our Dumb Century, "January 30, 1969 - U.S. TROOPS PULL OUT OF VIETNAMESE PEASANT GIRL; 27th Infantry Division ordered to fully withdraw from Sia Nguyen, 14. 'That's enough for now, boys' says captain."
"At press time, government soldiers were throwing the bloodied corpses of the civilians into a large mass grave as Lena Dunham was anxiously waiting to hear if Girls would win the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series."
There's a lot of articles that involve increasingly dreadful things happening to former U.S. President George W. Bush.
Madison Daly and Tucker Hope are treated poorly by Brooke Alvarez.
Call Back: One article makes reference to an online voting system that allows millions of masturbators to take part in the voting process. Two days later, the article "Nonvoter Knew It Would Turn Out This Way" ends with the nonvoter admitting he might start voting if the online voting for masturbators was up by 2012.
Joad Cressbeckler, first introduced as an "even more grizzled and ornery" alternative to John McCain during the "War For The White House", now has his own series (The Cressbeckler Stance) parodying FOX News' primetime commentary shows.
Several stories about an "Area Man" visiting restaurants are about the same man (Don Turnbee of Erie, PA) with the same photo model.
Dinner Order Flub: In Our Dumb World's entry on Burkina Faso, there's a joke about the very low literacy rate of that country when one of their diplomats tries to order a notice that an extra gratuity may be charged for large groups.
"According to officials, at least 13 circus performers have died, with dozens more suffering severe burns as a fire spread through the mile long train, eventually igniting a fuse that launched a human cannonball 200 feet above the devastating and not-at-all amusing scene."
"Other straight-faced sources confirmed none of the accident's sights and sounds were even remotely entertaining, from the spectacular fireworks launching every few minutes to the whimsical strains of carnival music echoing endlessly through the night as a result of smoke billowing through a steam calliope."
Dysfunctional Family: Pretty much the whole point of Jean Teasdale's regular column, and strongly implied in Roger Dudek's, whose wife has grown to hate him and his jovial, neglectful stupidity ever since their third child was stillborn.
Evil Stole My Faith: One article had a Straw Loser whose very existence was an affront to both the theory of evolution (what purpose can this guy possibly serve?!) and the existence of a kind and loving god (If we're made in God's image, well...), with each side parading him around as the ultimate argument against the other.
Exaggerated Trope: Many of the articles get their humor from taking a regular trope, such as the Cowboy Cop example above, and cranking it up full blast.
Fluffy Cloud Heaven: The tendency of many editorial cartoonists to draw bland "tributes" with dead celebrities at the Pearly Gates is mocked in Kelly's panels, which often depict famous people that he hates for some reason suffering in Fire and Brimstone Hell.
Manipulative Editing: Parodied in the Raw Justice video "Man Had Sex With Wife Thousands Of Times Before Killing Her". The "real" story is about a normal couple where the husband accidentally killed his wife after they got in an argument over their financial situation. Raw Justice's version turns it into an oversensationalized crime story about a "coital boogeyman" who held his wife captive for years as a Sex Slave before he murders her intentionally. They use every editing trick in the book to make the husband seem like a monstrous rapist and the wife as a battered victim with Stockholm Syndrome, while the actual content of the story is anything but horrific.
Dean Raid's description: In the kitchen where he would eventually murder her, John would have Mary prepare him sumptuous meals. He would force the captive Mary to listen to his rambling anecdotes about his job. Sometimes John would flex his power over her, demanding she tell him about her day as well. Sometimes... they would watch TV.
"Thursday, November 3, 1995. Early afternoon. I have been working as a security guard at Clover Square Mall for two, maybe three months. The world is my oyster. I veer off my usual route and stop for a Mountain Dew at Mrs. Fields.
As I lean against the counter, shooting the breeze with Gail, I hear a distinctive clap-clap sound coming from the direction of Electronics Boutique. That sound can only mean one thing–running. Past Waldenbooks, Eddie Bauer, Lane Bryant and Sbarro runs a young Caucasian male. Paul, the assistant manager of Electronics Boutique, is pursuing him. I give chase, but I am too late. The perpetrator has escaped with a brand-new copy of Madden '96.
YOU COULD HAVE BEEN THERE. I was young, damn it. YOU COULD HAVE STOPPED HIM. I am a human being, not a god. HE IS OUT THERE STILL. I don't know that."
Negative Continuity: For example, they made this article where the Supreme Court legalizes gay marriage. The very next day they ran an article saying the Court voted unanimously to uphold the Defense of Marriage Act.
New Technology Is Evil: Kelly's cartoons often mock/demonize teenagers for using these, typically referring to the devices as "gizmos". Contrary to the intended message, it only makes Kelly himself look hopelessly behind the times (he's bemoaned the fall of VHS◊ in the past, and only embraced the DVD format when it began to concede to Blu-Ray).
Nostalgia Filter: Mocked In-Universe with "10 Things That Will Make You SUPER Nostalgic for The '90s", a 2013 slideshow with real photos of such great things as the Rwandan genocide, the firey end of the Waco siege, the Oklahoma City bombing, and Columbine. (And Alan Alda, for some reason.)
Only Six Faces: The American Voices feature has been showing the same six or so photos for over a decade, with different names and occupations each time (though one of them is often a systems analyst).
The most famous example, arguably, is the Chinese newspaper falling for the story about Congress threatening to leave Washington D.C. unless a better building was built (a parody of threats made by sports teams to relocate unless they received a new stadium). The one about Harry Potter sparking a rise in witchcraft, as well as the video about the boy bankrupting the Make-A-Wish Foundation with infinite wishes, have shown up in some email forwards.
Political Cartoons: Since 2006, The Onion has published an ongoing series of over-the-top editorial cartoons, drawn by artist Ward Sutton in the fictional persona of grouchy old right-wing crank Stan Kelly. Most of them feature the usual clichéd devices of the format as running gags - the Statue of Liberty weeping profusely, Kelly at his drawing board muttering a cynical pun in the corner. (A number have nothing to do with politics whatsoever, instead serving as a soapbox for Kelly to gripe about his lousy ex-wife, "today's messed-up teens", and the police officers who keep pulling him over for driving drunk.)note Due to the dead-on satirical nature, and how the source isn't immediately obvious in most of the cartoons, it's also one of the features most easily confused as being real.
Poor Communication Kills: In Our Dumb Century, World War One ends when Archduke Franz Ferdinand is unexpectedly found alive; he had apparently been living as a Croatian peasant for several years and was completely unaware that everyone thought he was dead. The Allies are obviously displeased that the war was just a big misunderstanding, so the German chancellor orders Ferdinand's real execution to appease them.
Kornfeld: 'Cause I keep my fly shit on my desk. I gots my dope spreadsheets, my hangin' file folders, my delinquent-account file, my paper clips, my Post-It note dispenser, my monthly desk planner, my Midstate Office Supply business cards, my four-color ball-point pen, my motherfuckin' dot-matrix printer address labels, and my stoopid-fresh three-hole punch. Not to mention my computer. I swear, if I see any of y'all within three feet of my computer, I'll put a Lee Van Cleef on your bitch ass. I'll come at you like a mother fuck.
Not all that fly. Kornfeld was a big fan of Chicago.
"Scrappy Band Of Lovable Misfits No Match For Rich Kids" does this in several ways, from the entire premise to more specific examples (the misfits get sued for a panty raid, and when they soak the rival camp's director and his eviction papers, he just gets another copy).
Activist Fundamentalist Antics: Millions more, however, have decried the recalcitrant Christ's apostasy, breaking ties with Him and calling His conversion "a heathen act" of "utmost blasphemy before Himself".
When the print versions need to fill a small space, they put in a small article with nothing but the repeated phrase "Passersby were amazed by the unusually-large amounts of blood." (which also appears in context during "Blood...Blood Everywhere").
Recurring article types include "[Corporation] scientists discover [related discovery]", among others. In the sports section, any article about Tim Duncan will make fun of how bland he is.
Clifford Banes has never actually appeared in his self-titled panel-discussion series In the Know with Clifford Banes; there's always a sit-in newscaster who gives a reason, often completely absurd, for Banes' absence.
The Statue of Liberty crying appears in many Kelly cartoons.
"This Week In History" always includes Professor Timothy Hendry sidetracking into a long rant. After he apparently killed colleague Eric Kaufman, he started in on some daddy issues instead. After that, he started arguing about payment with the hosts.
Dr. Eli Wasserbaum is a recurring "expert" quoted in many articles.
Taylor Swift's dating life, which thus far has included Garfield creator Jim Davis, Senator Joseph McCarthy, Suri Cruise, James Holmes, the winner of a "Win a Date with Taylor Swift" contest (which she wrote a scathing hit breakup song about), Christopher Dorner (who she got back together with after he was killed), the Watertown boat Dzokhar Tsarnaev was found in, an Alternate Universe bodybuilder George Harrison, and the Mars Curiosity rover.
A photo of Alan Alda keeps showing up in slideshows.
Ruthless Modern Pirates: Fake political cartoonist Kelly did a panel about these at the end of October 2013, not long after the release of Captain Phillips...but it presents them in a positive light, labeling them "Today's Swashbucklers" for carrying on the tradition set by Blackbeard, Captain Jack Sparrow, and Captain Morgan, suggesting that all he knows about piracy then and now comes from romanticized fiction and/or Pop-Cultural Osmosis (Sir Henry Morgan is mostly known in the 2000s as the namesake of a brand of rum).
Screwed by the Network: In-Universe. On the season finale of the show on IFC, The Cressbeckler Stance was canned so the network could introduce a new program about motorcycles in the spirit of the new American Dream.
Sex Is Evil and I Am Horny: One article commented on the scandal of the Catholic Church covering up for pedophile priests (by moving them around instead of ousting and reporting them, thus covering their tracks and giving them access to new victims) by having the Pope announce that God will forgive the children for their crime of leading his priests into temptation.
Smoove B: Lay your body down, and I will show you love. I will drape you in the finest black silks. I will travel to the finest Asian nations to attain this silk. Then, I will run my fingers through your hair. I will caress your body slowly and whisper in your ear while I do so. I will tell you such things as, "You are the most beautiful woman in the world" and "Your skin is like the most expensive Swiss chocolate money can buy" and "Your eyes are like windows to paradise," and other romantic things that will make you tremble with desire. I will hit you doggy-style.
Pretty much all of Horrifying Planet, especially this one.
The sound is heard in their small earholes. The two manatees did meander over, I assumed spurred by some rudimentary form of empathy to help their helpless brethren. This was incorrect. When they got there, the two manatees - seriously, this- this actually happened -worked together to hold the crippled one firm up against the glass of the inclosure, to help the first manatee finally succeed in fucking it in the ass.
Story Arc: In July 2009, T. Herman Zweibel sold the Onion to a Chinese salvage fishery, and the publication was quickly filled with pro-China propaganda and ads for fish byproducts. However, after a few days, the Chinese realized the collapse of the newspaper industry made their purchase worthless and gave the Onion back to its original management. This did not affect the AV Club, although they did let worried readers know that the company was indeed not sold to the Chinese.
In June 2011, a week of articles blatantly touted The Onion as deserving a Pulitzer Prize, following a Zweibel editorial stating that he hated Pulitzer and decided it would be the best possible way to piss on his grave. A lobby group was formed, whose president turned out to be an embezzler. Several celebrities appeared in YouTube videos promoting the campaign.
Straw Critic: Jackie Harvey is an inversion, as he loves damn near any movie put out.
Strawman Political: The editorial cartoons are done by a strawman conservative who draws even more ridiculous strawman liberals.
Strictly Formula: All of Jim Anchower's articles pretty much follow the same formula — first he complains about his car, then mentions he lost whatever job he had for the intermittent time between articles.
"My fellow Americans, you may have noticed some small changes in the way we're asking you to go about your daily business," said Bush, his words muffled by a brass diving helmet. "The government is not trying to scare you. We just want you to be prepared for the very remote possibility that your lives will never be the same."
"Again, I cannot stress enough what a longshot that particular unspecified scenario is," Bush continued. "We are not facing what I would call a 'credible threat,' so don't even bother worrying about it."
"Americans reported feelings of overwhelming disgust with whatever abhorrent bastard did this and with the world at large... and above all with their own pathetic goddamn selves, sitting in front of a fucking computer instead of doing fucking anything to help anyone..."
So, as managing editor of CNN.com, I want our readers to know this: All you are to us, and all you will ever be to us, are eyeballs. The more eyeballs on our content, the more cash we can ask for. Period. And if we’re able to get more eyeballs, that means I’ve done my job, which gets me congratulations from my bosses, which encourages me to put up even more stupid bullshit on the homepage.
I don’t hesitate to call it stupid bullshit because we all know it’s stupid bullshit. We know it and you know it. We also know that you are probably dumb enough, or bored enough, or both, to click on the stupid bullshit anyway, and that you will continue to do so as long as we keep putting it in front of your big, idiot faces. You want to know how many more page views the Miley Cyrus thing got than our article on the wildfires ravaging Yosemite? Like 6 gazillion more.
Following Monday's deadly terrorist attack on a Carnival Cruise Line ship, U.S. officials have had difficulty issuing a stern condemnation of the incident, saying that while any act of terrorism is inexcusable, they couldn't completely blame al-Qaeda for wanting to blow up what is essentially a giant, floating symbol of everything that is truly god-awful about America.