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Onion readers eagerly await Gulf oil spill satire

Posted by julescosby on May 2, 2010

All around the globe, loyal readers of The Onion are patiently waiting for the venerable satirical organization to release content based on last week’s massive oil spill in the southern United States.  This spill, currently an estimated 9000 square kilometres, has been all but absent from the organization’s normally hawkish sights.

On the street, locals were expressing their concerns at the lack of speedy satire.  “Can’t they do something about how people are already talking about breaking the Exxon-Valdez record?” wondered Adam MacLeod, a long-time Onion subscriber.  “That seems like it would be kinda funny, you know, in such a competitive society.”

“What about Drill baby, drill?”, asked another fan who wished to remain anonymous, referring to former Alaskan governor and Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s prescription for the future of American energy policy.  “I heard that they’re pretending she’d never said that.”

Indeed Sarah Palin, through her preferred medium of Facebook, has already amended her now famous campaign assertion to emphasize “Drill here, drill now”, which seems like it would be low-lying fruit for such a publication as The Onion.

A source from within the organization has confirmed that since the disaster, several editorial meetings have taken place at the NYC headquarters.  One suggestion that was on the table was using the popular Onion video format to create a Beverly Hillbillies spoof.  Another similar idea would see a harking back to an old episode of NBC’s Saved by the Bell entitled “Pipe Dreams”, where the students of Bayside High discover oil on the school’s property only to become hubristically blinded by greed.

Both ideas, however, proved to be dead in the water.

Satellite footage of the oil spill that has not yet appeared in The Onion

In actual fact, it’s not as if there has been zero content dedicated to the Gulf disaster by The Onion.  The popular “American Voices” daily segment, which showcases brief commentaries of the latest news underneath pictures of regular-looking people, had one edition titled “Oil Slick May Hit Coast This Weekend”.  But even its usually quirky and punchy format was only able to make quick references to ecosystems, gas stations, and God’s hatred of homosexuals.

“It was funny,” added MacLeod.  “But not laugh-out-loud funny.”

The confusion and desperation caused by the lack of Onion content has much more far-reaching effects than simply individual readers.  Experts are now warning about the negative effects of the economy at large.  Economists and organizational gurus have long since know about The Onion effect in the modern workplace: while eluding precise quantification, some have estimated that the time wasted by employees browsing The Onion website, which boasts several different types of media, amounts to billions of dollars drained annually from the global economy.  This figure, however large, has long been seen as acceptable.  Within the past week, however, the time that employees spend constantly refreshing their computer screens in the hope that new content has been posted.  If this trend continues, economists fear an economic drain somewhere in the trillions.

Other popular satirical institutions in America, such as The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and the Colbert Report, have already delved head-first into the comedic aspect of the spill, but Joe Randazzo, the current editor of The Onion suggested to his readers that they might be waiting longer than expected.

“The devastation to local ecosystems, as well as some maritime economies on the Gulf Coast is just tragic”, he stated.  “It’s really difficult for our staff writers to comprehend, let alone mock.”

“Truth is,” he added.  “This just really isn’t funny.”


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