Mistaking The Onion for something it’s not

So I was standing in a favorite local coffee shop, minding my own business, looking at the newspaper racks. I saw there was a new issue of the Shepherd Express, so I figured The Onion must be sitting below that, as that’s often how these racks go. I squinted through the bars of the rack, and saw the headline, “Book on Obama Hopes to Repeat Anti-Kerry Feat.”

I thought, “Well that doesn’t seem like an The Onion headline…” That said, some people do get news through satirical outlets, and it is often better than the supposedly “real” news nowadays… so maybe it is an Onion headline! It could be easily taken as an Onion article. Their “Area Man” headlines are like that — “Area Man Hopes to Score With Ann Coulter, Writes anti-Obama Book” is one possibility. And sometimes they bring real events to wider audiences through the satirical insulation (“Wal-Mart Wants Republican President“).

Looking closer at the article, expecting to have a small laugh through further recognition of the massively screwed up state of the world, I noticed the typeface that the paper was printed in looked a little funny, as if they’d just redesigned The Onion again. But the formatting looked far to stuffy, and the other headlines were completely unamusing.

Wait a second. This is the New York Times, not The Onion! What could you get from reading something like that?

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Author: Jason Haas

Jason is an elected member of the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors, occasionally moonlights as an amateur gardener, and is a proud father of two, or three, depending on how you do the math.