Dear The Onion (and the world)

3 Feb

Dear The Onion (and the world),

You know how sometimes you’re reading an article that somebody emailed to you or posted to Facebook and you’re all, THIS CAN’T BE TRUE. And you keep reading, fascinated, and it starts to sound more and more plausible?

So you drink a little more coffee and you google some things, and you look for the author, but it’s unclear, so you look for the source, and eventually you yell at your cats about how the internet is ruining the world of credible research, and then you find the original article on The Onion.

At first you might be confused– “Why is The Onion reporting on real news now? Is the Onion New Network an actual news network?” you might ask yourself. Hypothetically.

“Maybe it’s kind of like The Daily Show,” you think, “where they make jokes, but things are generally true.”

That seems possible. Besides, those were real people given as quote sources in the article, and it was actually really well-written—

[Which takes on importance considering that article on CNN the other day that said, “we must dial back the fury of the political rhetoric,” a phrase which made your heart go cold and your blood pressure rise. “DIAL BACK THE FURY?” you screamed. “WHAT IS THIS, MIXED-DICTION NIGHT AT FAULKNER’S FAVORITE SPORTS BAR? I’ll show you fury. Now just try to dial it back.”]

Then you finish your cup of coffee and remember you’re reading The Onion and you probably shouldn’t quote it as a news source. Facebook is a better choice.

But later that day, you read this article about a woman being convicted for “grand theft” for sneaking her children into a better school district (which a friend has helpfully tagged on Facebook as “this is REAL this is NOT an Onion article”). You read it, and you wonder at the world.

After reading that, you watch this Onion report that a young white girl has been given the “harshest possible sentencing from the judge— she will be tried as a black adult” and it takes even longer to convince you that it is not factual BECAUSE THE REAL NEWS IS JUST AS WEIRD AND DISCOMBOBULATING.

And while The Onion report may not be factual, it has the ring of truth to it, something about it resonates in your allergy-swollen sinuses and ears, and you start to wonder, What is truth, anyway? Who gets to decide? What makes facts more true than truths?

Then you realize you sound like James Frey, of A Million Little Pieces fame, or at the very least a really terribly annoying writer in the midst of an existential crisis and you shut your mouth and watch some reality tv to help reorient you to the concerns of your culture. Fake it ’til you make it, baby!

Bless,

MM

P.S. But, you know, maybe the world news could stop being so easy to make fun of. It hardly seems fair that these guys are getting paid to parody this stuff anymore.

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2 Responses to “Dear The Onion (and the world)”

  1. Sam 10 February 2011 at 3:27 pm #

    is very much enjoying your foray into the world of using ALL CAPS to indicate ANGER or FRUSTRATION on your part. Now if we could just get you to CURSE in all caps… but then you’d be me.

  2. Carrie Moniz 23 February 2011 at 4:21 am #

    good sh%t 🙂

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