Could "The Onion" be a Bad Thing?

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Re: Could "The Onion" be a Bad Thing?

Postby Princess Marzipan » Mon Mar 12, 2012 3:58 am UTC

lutzj wrote:This article is another that's incredibly effective mainly because it's, sadly, not very made-up.
I read that one the other day. Amusing in a chuckle-so-you-don't-cry sort of way. There are real stories like that, I'm sure, but no one ever reports on them because they're not interesting. And yet the effect we have on the lives we touch is certainly a bit more important and immediate than what Snooki's up to or minute-by-minute updates on the aftermath of today's natural disaster.
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Re: Could "The Onion" be a Bad Thing?

Postby lutzj » Mon Mar 12, 2012 8:49 pm UTC

Princess Marzipan wrote:
lutzj wrote:This article is another that's incredibly effective mainly because it's, sadly, not very made-up.
I read that one the other day. Amusing in a chuckle-so-you-don't-cry sort of way. There are real stories like that, HULK sure, but no one ever reports on them because they're not interesting. And yet the effect we have on the lives we touch is certainly a bit more important and immediate than what Snooki's up to or minute-by-minute updates on the aftermath of today's natural disaster.


And that's been my favorite part of The Onion since I first read it. They've evolved a bit since "Area Man Does X" was their bread and butter, but poking at the disconnect between "stuff that affects a lot of normal people" and "high drama that is all over the news" is still a strong theme.
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Re: Could "The Onion" be a Bad Thing?

Postby Cubethulhu » Sun Mar 18, 2012 6:56 pm UTC

I think that The Onion is so blatantly fake that if someone believes anything in it that just says something about them. Example a few months ago I was downtown. I saw an Onion news box that wasn't empty for once. I was so happy every time I see one of those it’s obviously been empty for days. Anyways I grabbed a copy and began to read. I was with my cousin who is an effing doctor and my grandma who is getting on in years who use to be an award winning journalist. Oh and my mom was there. Anyways I read the paper while we get some food. I start snickering and they ask what’s so funny. I showed them an article about an old woman that learned she was a piano protégé shortly before her death. They each in turn read it and just totally believed the completely asinine story. I mean it’s clearly a fake story. I think the more formal something looks the more were willing to believe it. I think that’s probably a pre established law...
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Re: Could "The Onion" be a Bad Thing?

Postby Princess Marzipan » Thu Mar 22, 2012 1:09 am UTC

But what's unbelievable about that particular story? The way you just told it, it sounds believable enough to me.

Form and presentation do factor very highly into decisions, and tend to act as a shortcut for determining legitimacy. If it looks like a duck and talks like a duck... In this case, it looks like a newspaper and reads like a newspaper. I'm really not willing to write people off as idiots for falling for a very well executed prank. Hopefully that's not what you were implying...
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Re: Could "The Onion" be a Bad Thing?

Postby philsov » Fri Mar 23, 2012 7:10 pm UTC

Princess Marzipan wrote:But what's unbelievable about that particular story? The way you just told it, it sounds believable enough to me.

Form and presentation do factor very highly into decisions, and tend to act as a shortcut for determining legitimacy. If it looks like a duck and talks like a duck... In this case, it looks like a newspaper and reads like a newspaper. I'm really not willing to write people off as idiots for falling for a very well executed prank. Hopefully that's not what you were implying...


Especially once it leaves the Onion.

Some time ago a lot of meta-news sites (news.google.com, e.g.) carried over the onion article about how Neil Armstrong was finally convinced that he didn't go to the moon. It proliferated across relatively legit news sites until a lot of people actually read the full article and saw the source and it was shortly pulled. All it takes to deceive a lot of people is to deceive a select few.

And, so, yes, the sort of stories the Onion runs could be a bad thing, but the good far outweighs imo.
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Re: Could "The Onion" be a Bad Thing?

Postby Lucrece » Sun Mar 25, 2012 6:20 am UTC

Rachel Maddow got fooled by Christwire, if I recall correctly.

Even when Swift's A Modest Proposal was published, there was huge backlash as most people took it seriously. Satire can be fun for those in the know/with a taste for the genre, but many times it can do more harm than good as a complete surprise to the author. Hell, even when something is satire doesn't absolve the work of any elements that may have been drawn out of ignorance, such as Aristophanes.

Not that it makes an argument for dismissing satirical pieces, but I feel it does call for a heightened level of responsibility on the author's part compared to other genres.
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Re: Could "The Onion" be a Bad Thing?

Postby Jorpho » Sun Mar 25, 2012 4:01 pm UTC

Lucrece wrote:Even when Swift's A Modest Proposal was published, there was huge backlash as most people took it seriously.
Good call. I'd almost forgotten about that.
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Re: Could "The Onion" be a Bad Thing?

Postby maxh » Tue Apr 10, 2012 5:41 am UTC

Beyond the times when The Onion just can't make something up because reality really is that absurd, the key to good satire is that it is realistically absurd. That's why The Onion predicted Gillette's five-blade razor a year before it was officially announced. It's hardly surprising that people would believe The Onion.
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Re: Could "The Onion" be a Bad Thing?

Postby lutzj » Tue Apr 10, 2012 12:53 pm UTC

maxh wrote:Beyond the times when The Onion just can't make something up because reality really is that absurd, the key to good satire is that it is realistically absurd. That's why The Onion predicted Gillette's five-blade razor a year before it was officially announced. It's hardly surprising that people would believe The Onion.


Don't forget the last paragraph of that article:

Stop. I just had a stroke of genius. Are you ready? Open your mouth, baby birds, cause Mama's about to drop you one sweet, fat nightcrawler. Here she comes: Put another aloe strip on that fucker, too. That's right. Five blades, two strips, and make the second one lather. You heard me—the second strip lathers. It's a whole new way to think about shaving. Don't question it. Don't say a word. Just key the music, and call the chorus girls, because we're on the edge—the razor's edge—and I feel like dancing.
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Re: Could "The Onion" be a Bad Thing?

Postby Роберт » Tue Apr 10, 2012 5:37 pm UTC

lutzj wrote:
maxh wrote:Beyond the times when The Onion just can't make something up because reality really is that absurd, the key to good satire is that it is realistically absurd. That's why The Onion predicted Gillette's five-blade razor a year before it was officially announced. It's hardly surprising that people would believe The Onion.


Don't forget the last paragraph of that article:

Stop. I just had a stroke of genius. Are you ready? Open your mouth, baby birds, cause Mama's about to drop you one sweet, fat nightcrawler. Here she comes: Put another aloe strip on that fucker, too. That's right. Five blades, two strips, and make the second one lather. You heard me—the second strip lathers. It's a whole new way to think about shaving. Don't question it. Don't say a word. Just key the music, and call the chorus girls, because we're on the edge—the razor's edge—and I feel like dancing.

Yeah, the fact that they predicted Gellette would go straight from 3 blades 1 strip to 5 blades 2 strips only a year before it was announced suggests that they stick pretty close to reality at times.
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Re: Could "The Onion" be a Bad Thing?

Postby Vninect » Fri May 04, 2012 12:20 pm UTC

They included The Onion in Forbes' list of top news sources. And currently it is the number one news source for people in New Mexico, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

http://www.forbes.com/special-report/20 ... a-map.html

Satire is sometimes a more accurate depiction of reality than the parody that is the news.
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Re: Could "The Onion" be a Bad Thing?

Postby lizkatz » Mon May 14, 2012 2:35 am UTC

Jorpho wrote:I do enjoy the articles on http://www.theonion.com , to be sure. But then the other day I was introduced to the spectacle that is http://literallyunbelievable.org/ : cataloging the Facebook commentary of those who think that The Onion is real.

The thought crosses my mind: as hilarious and unapologetic as The Onion may be, do we perhaps live in a time when people are so willing to completely give themselves over to hysteria and exaggeration that a site of this nature actually does people a disservice? Or am I just thinking about this too hard?


*facepalm* If someone takes the information be given to them from any single source of media whether it be a joke like the onion, or FOX news reporting falsely that is just a testate to as how a society we believe anything spewed at us as fact. Do research and think... on that note, I think the Onion id hysterical! ^.^
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Re: Could "The Onion" be a Bad Thing?

Postby Jorpho » Fri Aug 22, 2014 5:48 am UTC

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