Sunday, May 24, 2009

Obama and Onion

After going on and on about how mainstream comedians have such a great difficulty mocking Obama, the Economist gets to some of the good stuff coming out of the Onion -- "America's Finest News Source":

The writers of the Onion are unencumbered by any obvious party loyalty. To fit in, you have to hate everything around you, muses Joe Randazzo, the editor. Hence the headline that greeted Mr Obama’s election victory: “Black Man Given Nation’s Worst Job”. The Onion News Network, an online video venture, did a segment entitled “Obama Win Causes Obsessive Supporters to Realise How Empty Their Lives Are”. The camera showed pitiful young campaign volunteers lying comatose on a couch or wandering aimlessly through a park. “Who will take care of these people?” asked the anchor. “We really don’t know. Many have already driven away their friends and family with months of endless praise for Obama’s latest speech and constant reminders to vote,” said the breathless correspondent on the scene. “That does sound annoying,” said the anchor.

The Onion lampooned previous presidents, of course. No prizes for guessing who inspired the headline “New President Feels Nation’s Pain, Breasts”, or who regaled dinner guests with an impromptu oration on Virgil’s minor works. What sets the Onion apart, however, is that Mr Obama has not blunted its barbs at all. On the contrary, the way more serious journalists fawn over the new president offers an irresistible target. “Media Having Trouble Finding Right Angle on Obama’s Double Homicide”, the Onion reported last month. “‘I know there’s a story in there somewhere’,” said the editor of Newsweek, after Mr Obama brutally murdered a suburban couple. The Onion is better at spotting good yarns, which is why, despite the recession, it is prospering. The main threats it faces are that its staff might grow up—or that the earnest papers it parodies may go out of business.


  1. Rahul Siddharthan said...

    I think they're being a bit unfair on Jon Stewart, and I don't think holding Obama to his campaign promises (i.e. expecting him to retain Arabic translators who happen to be gay) is a "colossal expectation".