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May 19, 2009

Onion Video

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

Hmmm, The Onion's crew has maintained an awfully high level of humor for an awfully long time ... Do you suppose that history will one day recognize The Onion as one of the most remarkable culture-creations of our time? And if not, why?

My own hunch: Comedy and pleasure-giving seldom get the respect or recognition they deserve. See my recent posting about the '50s and '60s humorist Patrick Dennis for more along these lines.



posted by Michael at May 19, 2009


I'm with you. I can't believe the Onion is still so damn funny. It's been 15 years which is incredibly long for a satirical venture to still be relevant.

Posted by: JV on May 19, 2009 12:45 PM

That news story was so, ah, convincing, that it almost made me agree with you about kids and porn. They film everything, don't they? Of course, their porn will be as insipid, useless and uninteresting to anyone but the cops as the vids and pics of the party in the story, the party itself, and every single one of the useless insipid partygoers.

There was real poison in that portrait of the young 'uns on campus these days. There are more pictures taken by young people than there are young people worth picturing.

Posted by: PatrickH on May 19, 2009 5:57 PM

I remember when Onion was newspaper format in Madison, Wisconsin. I've always remembered this advice column and response (paraphrased)
Q.: My girlfriend and I are ages 65 and 68. When will our libidos dwindle?
A.: Stop right now! The thought of two carcasses slapping together in a burlesque of love is disgusting.

Posted by: jz on May 19, 2009 6:22 PM

I found that the liberal snark started to really get out of control a few years ago. Now for every genuinely funny piece there are 5 rude, unfunny political ones.

Posted by: ASDF on May 19, 2009 8:40 PM

I sent these to a couple of college kids I know and asked them if they recognized the style of these photos compared to the photos at their Facebook page. No answer.

Posted by: Charlton Griffin on May 19, 2009 10:01 PM

There was a while during their Al Franken period when the Onion stopped being funny. But they are back in the groove now!

Posted by: Lester Hunt on May 19, 2009 10:47 PM

Remember those great post 9-11 headlines? I paraphrase:

Nineteen Hijackers Stunned To Find Themselves In Hell.

And a few months after:
Americans Yearn To Care About Stupid Shit Again.

Nice to see the second headline has come true. Can only hope for the first one.

Posted by: PatrickH on May 20, 2009 10:17 AM

damn, that is good. One wonders what our great-grandkids would even think of it-- will they even really understand what is being mocked here?

Posted by: omw on May 20, 2009 12:12 PM

Anyway, I guess what I mean to say is that maybe comedy tends not to wear as well because the associations it rests upon tend to shift quickly. A joke you have to be carefully taught is much less funny than one you implicitly understand.

I've never minded the Onion's "liberal snark." There are some things about our heartland cultural conservatives (my people!) that beg to be mocked. That goes double for the Bush administration.

Their bit on Obama supporters not having a life after he got elected was pretty priceless, though.

Posted by: old married woman on May 20, 2009 4:05 PM

"Of course, their porn will be as insipid, useless and uninteresting to anyone but the cops as the vids and pics of the party in the story, the party itself, and every single one of the useless insipid partygoers."

Terribly sorry you're not young any more, Paddy.

I'm not quite sure which persona is more obnoxious and embarrassing: Boomer-as-curmudgeon (the new model) or Boomer-as-perpetual-adolescent (the old one). I suppose I'll have roughly another couple of decades to decide.

Posted by: Fred S. on May 20, 2009 4:07 PM

Fred, couldn't agree more. And anyway, the kind that Patrick mocks is EXACTLY the kind I prefer. DIY, baby.

Posted by: JV on May 20, 2009 5:03 PM

That's "Paddy Boy" to you, Fred.

I don't care what you find obnoxious or embarrassing, but you can't have missed (can you?) that the adjectives I used to describe the kids were used by the Onion? I guess they're too old for you too.

I must say, though, that I welcome your commitment to growing up over the next several decades, Fred. Good luck on your journey.

P.S. Shame on you, JV. Fred's extrusion was nothing more than the bile of a young prig, a kind of pimply curmudgeon you might say, barking his pimpled curmudgeonly annoyance at his elders and betters. Nothing of substance there at all. Too bad you agreed with it, thereby cementing your own status as yet another shirt-not-too-young-to-be-stuffed.

Posted by: PatrickH on May 20, 2009 5:34 PM

the kind that Patrick mocks is EXACTLY the kind I prefer.

Eeeeew! as the kids used to say so ironically just a couple of years ago. JV joins Aggie in the Creep-Out Club. And you're, like, so much older than he is, dude!

What's next, you can smell their vaginal secretions from all the way across the Internet?


Posted by: PatrickH on May 20, 2009 5:45 PM

Couldn't agree more JV? With what exactly?

When he called me "Paddy"?

When he said "too bad you're not young anymore?" Did you agree that I'm not young anymore, or that's it's too bad?

DId you agree with "obnoxious"? Or "embarrassing"? Or with young Fred's confusion as to which type of Boomer he found one or the other?

There was nothing in that comment but snide little sneers directed at me, JV. Nothing about porn, the subject, nothing. So what did you agree with so completely, so eagerly?

And if you thought that our little young etiolated, flat-of-spirit, weak-of-will, shallow-of-soul egg-white-for-blood pissy-voiced pasty-hearted stripling did say something about the subject in favour of your own tastes in the matter, why oh why did you think it was appropriate for our little puppy, our duckling, our chrysaloid, to express a disagreement of taste in such petty, low, ugly, nasty, toxic, weak, sloppy, shallow language?

I should point out that had our small, young, underdeveloped, larvous work-in-progress, our little foal, our little gamete, our runt, dared to call me "Paddy" to my face...well, let's just say a full and frank exchange of views would have ensued. Except it wouldn't have been an exchange, of course.

So tell me again, JV, just what it was in that base and ugly exercise in spit-flickage, that full expression of the SOUL OF FRED, that you found so agreeable?

Please say it wasn't the "Paddy". Really. I mean...pretty please.

Posted by: PatrickH on May 20, 2009 8:51 PM

Don't like "Paddy", huh? How do you feel about "Patty"?

Internet threats are cheap, Patty. I'm a manual labourer (feel free to use that aginst me) and, provided you aren't already collecting Social Security, I'll bet you haven't carried anything larger than your prostate in some years. I don't think you'd enjoy scrapping with me.

I didn't really respond to your insightful critique regarding pornography because your judgements are, frankly, worthless. Do we listen to a blind man's opinion of an oil painting? Why then should we attach any value to an impotent man's critique of pornography. The very fact that you seem to regard pornography as providing an aesthetic experience indicates your cluelessness.

To put it bluntly, pornography is wank-fodder and any of these girls would fit the bill. Are you seriously suggesting that, provided heavenly intercession restored to you the use of your member, the "uselessness" and "insipidity" of these girls would prevent you from become aroused by their nude, nubile bodies? Even the alluring ethnic one in the bottom left? And I'm the one with egg-whites running through his veins?

Posted by: Fred S. on May 21, 2009 4:35 AM

Fred S. -- Vigorous disagreement is enjoyed around these parts, as is flashy wordplay. But ethnic / national namecalling? No. So feel free to take swings at anyone, but cut it out with the "Paddy" and "Patty" stuff, OK?

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on May 21, 2009 9:40 AM

The boy is of no interest, Michael, but thank you for recognizing the special poison of his little ethnic-bashing phlegm-hork.

It's JV's comment that, I must confess, shook me a tad. I've had my disagreements with him, Lord knows, but that he would join in with such a worthless exercise in mucus mongering, one that contributed nothing to the discussion, was a disappointment to me. To say the least.

To think I was actually going to thank JV for his recommendation for the lecture site above! Actually, I'm going to thank him anyway.

Thanks for the rec for the lecture site, JV. Lots of good stuff there for me to peruse and enjoy...and learn from!

Good on you.

Posted by: PatrickH on May 21, 2009 11:21 AM

I was agreeing with Fred's characterization of the two stages of Boomer-ship more than anything. Of course, those are stereotypes, and probably can apply to most generations (at least the curmudgeon stage). I fully admit to having a slight case of Boomer Derangement Syndrome.

But your comment, Patrick, was also pretty old fogey, you have to admit. I highly doubt kids today are any more narcissistic than we were, they simply have the means to record and broadcast their navel-gazing (literally!) to the world. I know for certain I'd have done the same at that age. Actually, I and some friends did do the same, albeit in print.

As for the porn comment, I didn't mean I want to watch teens, I meant the DIY aspect of it. That's some fun stuff.

Posted by: JV on May 21, 2009 2:02 PM


Calling an Irishman "Paddy" is ethnic name-calling, but calling someone named Patrick "Paddy" is just using a short form of their name.

Anyway, PatrickH is Canadian - of Irish descent, maybe?

Posted by: intellectual pariah on May 21, 2009 7:05 PM

Nowhere in my comment was there anything at all about kids back in my day being less narcissistic than kids today. I simply pointed to the accuracy of the satire in the Onion piece. "Insipidity" indeed. I am indeed an old fogey, but there was nothing in that comment that talked of anything but precisely what the Onion piece poked fun at with such deadly precision.

Posted by: PatrickH on May 21, 2009 9:16 PM

but calling someone named Patrick "Paddy" is just using a short form of their name.

Sure, but given the rest of his spittle-flecked non-response to my comment, "Paddy" sure came across sounding different than a casual use of the diminutive. Perhaps the intent wasn't specifically to make an ethnic slur, but if I choose to call a black man named Dark by a contraction, like, say, "Darkie", it's probable that I'm not being all innocent and friendly-like.

Posted by: PatrickH on May 22, 2009 12:04 AM


As intellectual pariah indicates, "Paddy" was used as a diminutive and a put down. I didn't realise the Sons of Erin had a monopoly on the name; I suppose Patrick Ewing is Black Irish. Are they an aggrieved minority now too or should I take PH's comparison of my comment to anti-Black racism (ha!) as old-womanish self-pity?

I have much to learn from you New Yorkers in the ways of PC.


"there was nothing in that comment that talked of anything but precisely what the Onion piece poked fun at with such deadly precision."

Don't puss out now, Grandad. Your statement was rather more sweeping than you're allowing now. You seemed to be dismissing the rising generation in toto, not the subset represented in the Onion piece (also known as "hipsters"). Further, the Onion clip was funny and you are sad; humour counts for a lot in this country.

Posted by: Fred S. on May 22, 2009 3:16 PM

Go away Fred.

Posted by: PatrickH on May 22, 2009 4:22 PM

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