“It’s too bad about The Onion,” said Sawyer to his drinking buddy Declan.
“It is,” replied Declan. “I see The Onion now and my eyes tear up.”
The rumblings in coffee houses and upscale brewpubs have been growing for months. The iconic humor website The Onion has lost its edge.
It was once the go-to site if you wanted a break from the dispiriting news of the world.
The Onion served irony as a full-course meal. It had fun, quirky offerings.
That was the old Onion. But something happened. Maybe the editor fell off a chair and no one noticed. Maybe the daily coffee run was canceled. Whatever, the Onion now reads like a graduate student’s thesis.
It’s as though someone at Onion Headquarters told staff members, “We prefer to let the Wall Street Journal and New York Times provide the fluff.”
Despite the intense criticism, The Onion is sticking to its new approach.
The most recent issue, devoted to important 18th century philosophers, “just didn’t do it for me,” said Lacklace Finney, a man who can be serious but wants his literary fun as well.
Another critic, Amelia Hart, said, “Most news sources try to mix some light- hearted content with their hard news. But The Onion has become very somber. The article they did on the federal budget was certainly fact-filled, but did we really need twelve paragraphs on the Department of Agriculture’s subsidy program for turnip farmers?”
Rosemary Gibbon, who teaches organic chemistry at a community college and craves some humor when she logs onto the internet, said, “Let’s be honest. It’s become boring – all facts, no life, no human interest.”
But some Onion devotees are embracing the change.
“I was waiting for them to grow up,” said Margaret Leung. “I just hope now that Saturday Night Live follows their example and starts providing serious television journalism.”
Onion staff members were close-lipped when asked for comments. But one did let slip that soon to come are articles on “raising earthworms for fun and profit” and “latest developments in the bookbinding industry.”