The Onion is known as the most satirical newspaper in history. It started in Chicago in 1988, and circulated their hysterical papers all over the country. By 1996, they started posting the newspaper online, and today they have a massive social media presence that has overruled their newspaper income. Of course, newspapers have almost gone the way of the dodo bird, but The Onion has a small, loyal following that they still print for.
What The Onion Talks About
On social media today, The Onion talks a lot about human quirks and behavior problems in hilarious ways. Like today’s headline on Facebook reads, “Woman Totally Out of Touch About Who She Should Hate Since Giving up Facebook.” Of course, this is like a triple threat; not only are they mocking her for giving up Facebook (a cultural sin in this day and age), but also teasing the fact that many people only keep Facebook friends so they know how much to hate them. Then, of course, there’s always the social dynamic added in. When you actually go out and someone says, “Oh did you see so-and-so’s Facebook photo changed? Her boyfriend is hideous!”
Naturally, The Onion focuses on trivial things like this in life to make it sound like it’s just as newsworthy as, say, “Trump Shaping General Election Strategy With Team Of Most Trusted Erratic Impulses.” The Onion also spotlights various new trends in society, like Pokemon GO! And how to properly use a dishwasher. All satirical and all hilarious, of course.
But what stands out about The Onion is that they take it almost too far with each article, passing lines of propriety fairly quickly. And yet, millions of people read their articles every day. It’s an amazing feat, considering the “political correctness” tone of the times. My guess is that The Onion speaks to something in people that wants to be called out, even if it’s embarrassing and hilarious. We all do the things that The Onion spotlights, such as “Man Old Enough to Know How the Rest of his Life Plays Out” or “Rest of the World Not Biting on Couple’s Open Relationship” (my personal favorite, as it’s accompanied by a really creepy picture of an unfortunate looking couple).
Why What The Onion Does Matters
You might be thinking it’s just all play at The Onion, but the truth is that the style used to create these satirical articles is 100% journalism at its finest. They get journalism more right than actual journalists who just give in to the media circus at every opportunity.
Look at traditionally taught journalism and newspaper structures, and you’ll see that the art is very much alive at The Onion. Also keep in mind that The Onion provides a satirical way to see world issues, so people are not getting the same media input on the same topic day after day. It provides a new view, and opens people’s eyes when they realize what they’re laughing about; real stuff.