The Onion has been making headlines lately, as opposed to making up headlines, which is the satirical news outlet’s bread and butter.
Just after The Onion suffered an embarrassing snafu when its site was hacked — and made a great recovery with some witty self-parody — the leader in faux news is in hot water again for an article about the broken up Chris Brown and Rihanna.
Here’s an excerpt from the fabricated interview with Brown:
“It’s hard knowing that there’s some other guy out there who gets to beat her senseless. In fact, for all I know, there might be someone out there assaulting her right now. And let me tell you, that guy is the luckiest guy in the world.” A saddened Brown added that, should the couple not reconcile, he remains confident that the special someone he was meant to beat to death is still out there for him, and when he finds her, he’ll waste no time in slapping her around.
The Onion has perfected the art of skewering contemporary culture with satire that cuts to the bone, which is precisely why some people are bound to get pissed off. But the Chris Brown article seems to have drawn more than the usual share of online hate from prominent feminist voices:
— Global Fund forWomen (@GlobalFundWomen) May 7, 2013
— Jessica Valenti (@JessicaValenti) May 7, 2013
Whether the Chris Brown story is awareness-raising satire or just a tasteless cheap-shot depends largely on the reader’s perspective.
As demonstrated in some of The Onion‘s other controversial stories, there’s a fine line between comedy and tragedy.
The Quvenzhané Wallis controversy
This wasn’t an article per se, but rather a tweet that probably didn’t meet The Onion‘s usual editorial standards for comedy in the first place.
During the 2013 Oscars broadcast, The Onion tweeted that the eight-year-old star of Beasts of the Southern Wild is “kind of a c*nt.” The joke, of course, is that Wallis is actually an adorable little ragamuffin with a pure heart who was probably the least c*nt-ish person in Hollywood, but many people were outraged by the quip and launched a Twitter campaign urging people to #UnfollowTheOnion. Before long, The Onion issued a rare apology (which maintained that the joke, though not up to their usual standards, was still “biting”).
No One Murdered Because of This Image
Taking aim at the violent recriminations that have followed the publication of cartoons and other imagery depicting the Prophet Mohammed, The Onion published an editorial cartoon featuring the deities of other major religions engaging in lascivious sex acts.
The resulting satire is far more incisive than any cartoon featuring the visage of Mohammed could ever be.
The cartoon is so graphic that we’ve only published a teensy excerpt of it, but if you want to see the whole thing you can find it at The Onion.
God Answers Prayer of Paralyzed Little Boy: “No,” Says God
It seems that nothing is off-limits for The Onion, and with this one they scored a double-whammy: they poked fun at religion and a (fictional) crippled child in one fell swoop!
For as long as he can remember, 7-year-old Timmy Yu has had one precious dream: From the bottom of his heart, he has hoped against hope that God would someday hear his prayer to walk again. Though many thought Timmy’s heavenly plea would never be answered, his dream finally came true Monday, when the Lord personally responded to the wheelchair-bound boy’s prayer with a resounding no.
Read the whole story, unless you’re offended by such things. Actually, read the whole story especially if you’re offended by such things.
Fun Toy Banned Because of Three Stupid Dead Kids
We’ve all felt some resentment toward the dead children whose asphyxiation has led to our favorite toys being pulled from shelves, right? Right?
“My mom won’t let me play with my RoboFighter because of those dumb kids who died,” said 10-year-old Jeremy Daigle of Somerville, MA. “I used to set up army guys around the RoboFighter and have it run over them and conquer Earth for the Zardaxians. But now I’ll never see it again, all because three stupid idiots had to go and wreck everything.”
Daniel Tosh Chuckles Through Own Violent Rape
It’s jet-black comedy, and arguably as offensive as anything Tosh could say, but at least the butt of the joke had it coming to him.
HOLLYWOOD, CA—Embroiled in controversy following comments he made during a recent performance at the Laugh Factory in Los Angeles, comedian Daniel Tosh chuckled this afternoon while being violently raped by a group of men in a Hollywood alley. “You have to admit, this is pretty hilarious,” said the teary-eyed 37-year-old, his bloodied face slamming against a brick wall as he was brutally and repeatedly penetrated against his will for the 53rd straight minute. “Sure, I’ll be forever tormented by images of my attackers tearing off my pants and holding a knife against my throat as they viciously tear into my rectum, but c’mon, you gotta have a sense of humor about this sort of thing.”
Kidnapped Boy Found Safe, Imagines Kidnapped Boy
Usually when The Onion publishes an article about disadvantaged children, it’s done in such a way to lambaste some hypocritical aspect of adult society — organized religion, the education system, marketing, etc. This one, on the other hand, seemed to be geared toward making people cringe.
According to the kidnapped child’s imagination, (Joshua) Meyers was liberated from his abductors when 30 law enforcement agents swooped down from helicopters, crashed through the windows of the basement where he was being kept, and carried the desperate third-grader away to safety. Blocking out the sight and stench of his surroundings, the boy’s imagination went on to report that Meyers was led by authorities into the arms of his overjoyed parents—a complete fantasy the 9-year-old was somehow able to conjure up despite the fact that he was lying face down on a filthy concrete floor, his arms and legs restrained by rope.
Child Bankrupts Make-A-Wish Foundation
Once again, a sick child becomes the focal point of an Onion story. It’s super-dark, of course, but he outsmarts all the grown-ups around him, so there’s that.
By no means is this a comprehensive list, as regular readers of The Onion will surely note. Do you have a favorite offensive Onion story? Post it in the comments below.