Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Onion Criticizes SeaWorld

The Onion is a Chicago-based, American news satire organization. The Onion reports on real and fictional current events and reports on all events with a satirical tone. The Onion’s hilarious and often shocking posts always have a deeper meaning and insight on national and international issues.

The Onion is no stranger to poking fun at SeaWorld, a chain of animal theme parks who have often been criticized for their treatment of their animals. Some of The Onion’s SeaWorld posts include, “New SeaWorld Show - Just Elephant Drowning In Large Tank Of Water With No Explanation”, “SeaWorld Responds To California Drought By Draining Animal Tanks Halfway”, and “SeaWorld Debuts New Controversial Orca Whale Burlesque Show.”

One of The Onion’s most recent posts about SeaWorld is titled, “SeaWorld Employees Place Orcas In Plastic Bags Of Water While Cleaning Tanks”. The post is a tweet and has no article, just a simple picture of orcas waiting for their tanks to be cleaned. The orcas are photoshopped to look like they are waiting in plastic bags barely filled with water, similar to the bags goldfish are placed in after they are purchased at a pet store, so the fish can be transported home.

This picture uses the satirical technique of parody to mimic the classic scene when a new pet fish is brought home in a bag. One of the saddest facts of this post is that some people actually believed it was true - that SeaWorld really put their orcas in confining plastic bags. When searching this post online, there are related posts confirming that The Onion post is fake.

The post uses parody to open the American people’s eyes to the terrible abuse SeaWorld inflicts on orcas and other marine and land animals that they use in various park attractions. The plastic bags are almost more funny because of the fact that they are far too similar to the confining temporary tanks that SeaWorld orcas are forced to stay in during tank cleanings and non-performance hours.

This post also opens the American people’s eyes to the strange traditions regarding certain domesticated pets. Putting a fish in a plastic bag seems harmless until it is perceived on a large scale. Seeing a large whale in a plastic bag seems cruel and wrong, though it is the exact same things Americans do each time they purchase a fish at the pet store. The Onion post opens American’s eyes to the the potentially abusive and cruel aspects of confining and owning certain pets.

The Onion post reminds readers to rethink their decisions next time they go to the pet store, buy a ticket to SeaWorld, or other places that use the domestication of animals to promote amusement. Not all of these places promote proper animal care and trapping these poor animals in small confined places is often unnatural and cruel. This post promotes animals rights and shames the domestication of certain animals with just the use of a simple picture.


  1. I really like how your blog went through and picked apart your piece of popular culture. The structure of your blog also really strengthened your analysis, along with your media. Really awesome blog post! :)

  2. I remember seeing this article and I thinking it was real at first because I had heard about how abusive SeaWorld is to their animals. It is interesting to think about how domesticated pets are treated, and how it is seen as the societal norm when actually the "strange traditions" are cruel and detrimental. Great blog post!

  3. Great analysis, I liked how you brought in a variety of different sources to contribute to your argument. I was a little confused on whether you were saying Sea World specifically abuses their animals or if the rumor was made up so people would see the bigger picture of animal abuse.