Saturday, October 5, 2013

Holy Fucking Shit

 If you've been thinking that the satirical web site The Onion has been more strident and less funny in their lampooning of American mores, you're not alone.  Slate's Farhad Manjoo describes their busier, faster, louder, more extreme version in an article in Slate.  It's a good dissection of a funny magazine in the process of losing what makes it funny. For me, the Onion peaked shortly after the 9-11 attack, when the web site called their mock-coverage of the catastrophe "HOLY FUCKING SHIT!" It was a brilliant and angry poke in the eye at the media that tries to give a dramatic reading to events however inane or tragic they happen to be; there was no convenient narrative axiom like "America Under Attack" with which to make unfolding events barely comprehensible in an entirely false light. I pulled up the Onion , wondering how a site dedicated to the idea that there is nothing too cruel or horrible in human cruelty that cannot be made fun of, would react to what seemed like the end of the world. React they did, and I laughed, a hard, extended laugh, an hysterical series of gulping guffaws and belches that left me breathless, near tears. The Onion cut away a veneer and and gave us a headline that was hysterical , stupified and terrified with the revealed truth that suddenly, brutally, absolutely we thought we knew for certain mattered. The Onion took the whole shooting match.