I understand that lately, making ironic quips about the news has got to be as hard a job as writing an original joke about Bill Clinton for Leno, and I applaud their efforts at keeping the humor topical and relevant. The headlines are good, and some are pretty funny. The articles, however, can’t carry their tune for more than a paragraph or so. The endings are making me cry, and not in the way I cried when I learned that Jim “The Cruise” Anchower thought his new Zoso tattoo was even more mystical since it got blurred when he went in the pool the day after he got it.
Take, for example, the Not Knowing What Else To Do, Woman Bakes American-Flag Cake. We can all chuckle knowingly at the memory of running out of ideas for what to do next, and smile when we remember how we had to do anything to turn away from the TV for 45 minutes or so. But that wasn’t a happy time. Sure we all know what it was like to create a Dungeons and Dragons player character, and we can laugh at the idea of Bill Gates doctoring the stats on his sheet, but this is different. Those were happy times.
God Angrily Clarifies Don’t Kill Rule closes with God’s shoulders shaking as he hangs his head and cries. With the images of the Statue of Liberty, Uncle Sam and countless non-cartoon Americans sobbing at the loss of their…anything, do we really need to think about God crying too?
Talking to Your Child about the WTC Attack doesn’t even make efforts to be humorous. Honestly, there’s nothing funny about having to explain this to your children (without treading on now-taboo comedy stylings not seen since Blazing Saddles), and there’s really not much that’s funny about it all. Death isn’t funny. Destroyed lives, cities, and buildings are not funny. A crippling sense of National Fear is not funny.
The last thing I want to do is imply that I am upset with the Onion for trying to make light of this, or that I’m “offended”, or that I think it was in poor taste. I want to reiterate in no uncertain terms that they did a pretty good job considering there is nothing to laugh at. I find it hard to read; I can’t imagine how hard it was to write. In the same way we all, deep in our hearts, wish that Arnold is going to come and save us from our new Jerry Bruckheimer Reality, I know the Onion has brought me so much in the past--I have a feeling that I hoped it would somehow make this Wednesday as bright as it did three Wednesdays ago.