Wednesday, December 10, 2003

The Onion has this "news," which I'm sure strikes a cord with anyone in the Chicago area:

"Chicago Out Of Names For Subdivisions
CHICAGO—According to city planners, Chicago has run out of new names for its subdivisions. "It was bound to happen sooner or later," Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley said at a Monday press conference in front of City Hall. "Oak Dale Springs, Whispering Pines, Stonewood Creek... We have used every tree, body of water, and living thing in the almanac. You don't have to drive all the way out to Kevin Acres to know we need a new naming system." Daley announced that, beginning in 2004, all new housing developments in the Chicago area will be numbered with a positive integer."

Good times, good times. It's too bad that The Onion is so blatently political or I'd enjoy reading it more often. I don't mind poking fun at Republicans or rich people, but I think it's funnier and more genuine when there is fun poked at others as well. This week on The Onion, they present four long articles. One is about Bill Clinton (painting him in a good light), the next is about a fictitious CEO of "Union Carborundum" outsourcing his marital duties, and the third is entitled "Report: Poor People Pretty Much Fucked." The "What Do You Think" feature this week is entitled "The Worldwide AIDS Crisis." I think it's fair to say that there's a bias here.

I'm not telling The Onion how to run their business -- clearly they know what they're doing. But it's seems unfortunate - a squandered opportunity. Through parody and humor they have an opportunity to challenge their young readers to laugh at orthodoxy, but instead they use their influence in a blatantly biased manner which denigrates rather than improves national dialogue. The effect is to alienate some readers while simply reinforcing the convictions that others have. The Onion obviously isn't responsible for the "national dialogue" and they certainly aren't required to be "fair and balanced" . . . but I wonder if it's in their best interest not to be...

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