Sunday, November 22, 2015

Hell not Large Enough for Society's Ills: Examples of Satire in The Onion

The Onion, "America's finest news source," is a a media and news company based in Chicago that mocks conventional media and news sources. The website itself mimics that of a traditional news source. For example there are various headings for topics on sport, business, politics, entertainment, etc. There is even a division of the news source called "After Birth" that calls itself a "definitive guide to parenting, providing every answer you need from the greatest moment in your life to the ensuing 18 worst years of your life." The Onion also has videos, political cartoons, and a section where voices of the American public make insightful comments.

Satire can be found throughout almost every facet in the Onion; in its articles, videos, reviews, etc. One example of one of many satirical articles is, "Tenth Circle Added to Rapidly Growing Hell."
This article makes fun of American corporate and business high level workers. The article describes Hell, and its previous nine layers adapted from Dante's Inferno, as a real entity, similar to a country with a government. The proposed plan of Hell is to create a new level to help contain the exponential growth of those damned to this inferno.

The article employs a lot of hyperbole and parody. Hyperbole is used when describing the outlandish punishments that "demographers, advertising executives, and tobacco lobbyists," have to endure. For example, as one Disney lawyer said, "I'm being boiled upside down in lard while jackals gnaw at the soles of my feet. If I could just reach the fax machine on the nearby rock, I could contact some well placed associates and work something out, but it's just out of my grasp, and it's out of ink and constantly blinking the message, 'replace toner cartridge, replace toner cartridge...'"

The overall parody of the article also adds to its satirical effect. The idea of Hell being portrayed as an actual country with leaders, in this case Satan, and political parties, such as the Hell purists, makes fun of American government, in addition to making fun of corporate society. Overall, the article brings to light the corruption of the corporate sector, with workers who deserve to be in the lowest pits of Hell. The article ends with a bit of irony with a quote from Grogar Malefic (a captain from Hell's elite Demon Corps), saying that, "Hell's future looks bright," and that "'We're are really on the grow down here, this is an exciting time to be in Hell." While based on a conventional definition, Hell cannot be 'bright' nor grow upwards, but this irony adds to the overall parody that the article attempts to bring across.

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