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March 25, 2003

Security leek: The Onion phones it in more and more frequently these days, but every so often, under the pressure of great events, they rise to the occasion. This week’s issue is one of those times.

Atrios already pointed out the eerie familiarity of this. I personally enjoyed “U.S. Forms Own U.N.”:

WASHINGTON, DC—-Frustrated with the United Nations’ “consistent, blatant regard for the will of its 188 member nations,” the U.S. announced Monday the formation of its own international governing body, the U.S.U.N.

“The U.N. has repeatedly demonstrated an inability to act decisively in carrying out actions the U.S. government deems necessary,” U.S.U.N. Secretary General Colin Powell said. “Every time we tried to get something accomplished, it inevitably got bogged down in procedural policies, bureaucratic formalities, and Security Council votes.”

“I predict the U.S.U.N. will be extremely influential in world politics in the coming decades,” Powell continued. “In fact, you can count on it.”

Actually, what you can count on is that the deadliest thing in any given issue of the Onion will be one of the sidebar headlines that don’t actually link to a story. In this case: “New Bomb Capable Of Creating 1,500 New Terrorists In Single Blast.” [11:00 PM]
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Comments on Security leek::

Andy ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2003, 05:08 PM:

I loved the use of Missile Command in the top sidebar head. Oh and "I'm supporting my activist girlfriend" was fun too.

Derryl Murphy ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2003, 05:34 PM:

The Aries horoscope reading was funny and disturbing as hell. The whole thing is the best they've been since coming back after September 11.

Simon ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2003, 05:48 PM:

A much better name for the idea of the "U.S.U.N." was passed on to me:

The Bush League of Nations.

Josh ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2003, 07:12 PM:

Speaking of sidebar headlines, my favorite is still "Jenna Bush's federally-protected wetlands now open for public drilling."

Chad Orzel ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2003, 08:51 PM:

They've always done their best with the really big stories-- the issue on the 2000 election ("Clinton Declare Self President for Life") was fantastic, and "God Angrily Clarifies 'Do Not Kill' Rule" in the wake of September 11 was just about perfect.

There's always some little thing buried in one of the extras that makes me crack up, too. This week it was "I watch Al Jazeera on satellite, but turn the sound off and listen to NPR. I have no idea what the fuck is going on."

Avram ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2003, 10:22 PM:

I blogged the U.S.U.N. story last night, and emailed Ken MacLeod about it.

Chris ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2003, 01:24 AM:

"The Onion phones it in more and more frequently these days"

Perhaps, but as a comedy person myself I forgive them. Producing comedy on a weekly deadline is damn hard, and the Onion's upper-deck blasts, however infrequent, make up for any number of strikeouts.

What I think is more likely than "phoning it in" -- with the complacency that implies -- is that the Onionites are running up against the constraints of the Shitty-Gannett-paper form they've chosen.

Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2003, 09:47 AM:

After "Our Long National Nightmare of Peace and Prosperity" (http://www.theonion.com/onion3701/bush_nightmare.html) came true, it was no longer possible for them to be humorous.

rea ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2003, 02:30 PM:

These are tough times for satire, what with the administration doing things today that would have been rejected by a humorist a few months ago as too off the wall to be funny. Who would have predicted that an senior advisor to the administation on defense policy (Perle) would call for a plan for containment of . . . France?

kla. ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2003, 05:00 PM:

I've noticed of late that many of their satirical news reports come true eventually. In a portion of Bush's "get out in 48 hours...or else!" speech last week, the White House speech writers almost directly quoted an article from The Onion from the week before. It was completely bizzare. I considered laughing, but I couldn't because I realized the policies and rhetoric of those who currently run our government are a horrible, horrible joke. There's something that'll knock the breath out of you.

(I still hold that the post-September 11th Onion was the best one ever printed.)

Sylvia Li ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2003, 08:54 PM:

Yes. I also have the Sept. 26th article saved -- the one with the headline: God Angrily Clarifies 'Don't Kill' Rule. The last paragraph still makes me cry every time I read it...

Upon completing His outburst, God fell silent, standing quietly at the podium for several moments. Then, witnesses reported, God's shoulders began to shake, and He wept.
Bill Shunn ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2003, 04:33 PM:

This was certainly the best issue some time. I emailed the link to "Bush Bravely Leads 3rd Infantry Into Battle" to Bob Howe, who commented:

You know what the best part of the Onion piece is? It's just the kind of thing that would dig in under Dubya's famously thin skin. And you know his twin daughters have read it (or had it read to them).

David Frazer ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2003, 03:41 PM:

Actually, the real name of the U.S.U.N. is the International Community, a nebuluous grouping consisting of the U.S. and a couple of allies invoked in grand phrases like "the will of the international community". In such cases, the stance of the "international community" often stands in opposition to that of a majority of U.N. member nations...

David Frazer ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2003, 03:48 PM:

And another deadly sidebar: "U.S. Draws Up Plan For Post-War Transitional Dictatorship In Iraq".