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When The Onion Is Seriously Peeled

Recently, a new blog was brought to my attention that chronicled a strange trend on the internet: The Onion being taken seriously. For those that don’t know, which is apparently a lot of people, The Onion is a satirical publication that during the age of the Internet, has became a shining beacon of comedy poking fun at society and all its strangeness, usually by making things more strange. If you went on the website right now for instance, you can read about NASCAR giving a driver money for making a homophobic comment, you know, because NASCAR is southern and therefore dislikes gays. You can read about how the new budget accidentally gave schools enough money to properly educate students, until Congress recognized the mistake. And depending on your mood, you can read a story about Helicopter mating season, with a picture depicting the act of Helicopter mating.

Anybody taking any of the above stories seriously would of course be hilarious, but it can also say a lot about the society The Onion so unmercifully satires. Let’s take a look, shall we?
The Israel controversy is the type of controversy that only a political junkie could love. It’s a story that involves a country that’s not our own, the US possibly making statements that it might or might not have a right in saying, and you know, it kind of involves the Middle East, which if the box office receipts of The Hurt Locker are any indication, Americans really hate looking at unless Tony Stark is there. This brings us to this man, who is clearly a political junkie since he clearly knows what the State Department is, and knows the happenings in it so much that he can clearly come to these opinions. Only thing is, you know, The Onion is fake and the government is kind of the one telling Israel to move borders. Pro-Israel supporters aren’t asking the nation to give up land, because you know, I’d think that’d be a negative action. In the end, this post confuses me more than anything. Moving on.

Can you imagine being this person? You have so little faith in your President that you feel that at any moment, on his whim, you could be evaporated in a radiated ball of nuclear glory. Yes, this is an example of somebody being so anti-Obama that he’s been driven stupidly insane. After all, it’s one thing to disagree with, and a whole bunch of giant leaps of “logic” to believe Obama is so nutty that he would destroy the whole world just for the heck of it. I imagine this guy’s picture of Obama actually resembles the Bond villain Blofeld, sitting in the Oval Office stroking his dog Bo, while burning Reagan photos while taking dumps in hallowed-out copies of his biography. Sure, this guy is on the Fringe of society and his political affiliations, but it’s kind of crazy that guys like this actually exist, and you know, vote. I wonder if this is how crazy Democrats picture Sarah Palin, with the added element of her decimating the aids-ravaged villages and poverty-striken peoples of Africa with an arsenal of chemical weapons.

Now, this is where the topic starts to get more serious. Although the blog is relatively new at chronicling these Onion reaction posts, by far the story that it captures most is called “Planned Parenthood Opens $8 Billion Abortionplex.” The story is about Planned Parenthood, recently off the high of Congress recently deciding to keep their funding, an issue this blog has already discussed, announcing plans to open a state-of-the-art “Abortionplex” in Kansas, that costs 8 billion dollars. In addition to being able to terminate a baby every 3-seconds, the complex also features a movie theater, restaurants, 3-story nightclub, retail outlets, shuttles from local schools directly to the complex, and it also has coffee shops, one of which I would assume is of course a Starbucks.

The story is of course satire, taking perceptions of Planned Parenthood to its consumerist extreme. After all, it seems crazy that anybody would build an 8 billion dollar anything nowadays, especially since the organization is non-profit. Also, the fact that anybody would go to it, or that there would be that many abortions, or that there would be a Lazy River that goes around the complex. But does that stop several people from taking the article seriously? Of course not, this is America.

First off, when you Google that quote, it comes up with pages of quotes that are attributed Mother Theresa, but were never actually said by Mother Theresa, mostly because the quote doesn’t make any sense. Secondly, is contraception really silent abortion? The Easter Bunny that was passing Condoms around my college campus would probably take issue with that. Thirdly, the war is punishment for man’s sins and repent crap reminds me a lot of the Rhetoric of Westboro Church member and frequent angry Tweeter, Megan Phelps. Fourthly, there’s a lot of stuff wrong the comment she adds afterwards. Let’s move on for time’s sake.

Your taxes will pay for a lot of stuff, but not entertainment complexes, especially ones that also happen to perform Abortions. Also notice that a separate person “Likes” the article, for reasons that are anonymous, and yet another separate person is roped into beleiving the articles validity in the comments.

Again, it’s a little Phelps-like, and again, they rope in another person to believe the article. Call me crazy, but wouldn’t “deceived” be too lite a word if this was actually taking place? I don’t know what a proper term would besides Weird, but Deceived just doesn’t seem to fit. Then there’s the part about abortions being “not normal.” Wait, that’s your argument? First off, of course “killing babies” is not normal, unless you’re in a population-controlling country like China (I kid!). Normal is one of the worst words in the English-language anyways, but used in this context just makes it fell… Wrong? Also, this person will be happy to know that this story is in fact, not true.

This post is great since it has two very different opinions by the poster and the yet-another-person roped into believing the article in the comments. First, off the poster’s comment on the last article refers to this “quote.”

“But after a couple of margaritas and a ride down the lazy river they’ve got circling the place, I got caught up in the vibe. By the time it was over, I almost wished I could’ve aborted twins and gotten to stay a little longer. I told my boyfriend we had to have sex again that very night,” Kolrath added. “I really want to come back over Labor Day.”

The interesting thing about the satire, and people taking it seriously, is that the subject-matter concerns people who would get an abortion and actually enjoying it because of the amenities in the facility. Could such a process ever be “fun” as these posters keep fearing? If it could ever be fun, could it ever be so fun that it would entice young women to have more abortions to keep coming back to the resort-like complex that is presumably paid through tax dollars and is free to them? Somehow I feel like the people that would actually partake in this as having something more than responsibility issues.

Now we come to the commenter that the poster roped in. All of these posts have had reactions that are either crazy, or have had statements that just don’t seem to fit the situation to me. This commenter seems to be the only one to take a realistic approach and reaction to it, even though they still seem to believe it, though through skeptical eyes.

The person isn’t blatantly anti-abortion like the rest of the people, but rather just uses the same language, “nauseous” in this case, to refer to the implications of it. An “Abortionplex” with a lazy river would be taking the act of abortion rather lightly, when it is anything but. Whatever take you have on the subject, I would hope that one would both take it seriously, and put some seriously thought into it. I suppose the whole issue does come down to responsibility after all, but besides the fact that it is an “Abortionplex,” it also takes a serious issue very lightly. The reasons to get an abortion usually deal with some horrific events that shouldn’t be surrounded by shopping and coffee excursions. Also, the commenter does make a good point in that the controversy surrounding it would be so great that it would never be built in the first place, privately-funded or publicly-funded. Remember the Mosque controversy? What about the Oklahoma City Bombings?

The point is, not everything should be put into an entertainment complex. Also, when you’re against something, there’s reasonable ways to approach issues that don’t either make you seem crazy, or just out there enough where the people you’re trying to persuade aren’t persuaded. See Megan Phelps on the wrong way to handle the issue. See Me for something resembling the right way.

So why do people take these clearly satirical articles seriously? That’s a whole other discussion altogether, and an also important one, but one that will be tackled at another time.

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