The Onion is consistently the funniest site online, but perhaps my taste for its humor has something to do with its utter lack of social taboo and its unrefined taste coupled with rather insightful satire. Whenever I bring up my admiration for low-brow cultural fixtures such as The Simpsons or South Park, I invariably hear shock, disappointment, and bewilderment along the lines of, “How could someone like you like something like that?” I attribute those statements to ignorance of the shows—for they really are insightful entertainment. They mock what ought to be mocked, and in the process, they make some profound observations.
For instance, South Park has a cheeky episode on Mormons, “All About the Mormons?,” in which an L.D.S. family moves into South Park. They are typical Mormons—friendly, helpful, cheerful folks . . . with kooky religious ideas. The episode presents the Mormons in an exaggerated but nonetheless realistic way; it matches my own experience with Mormons over the years very well, right down to its “Family Home Evening.” It explores the peculiarities of L.D.S. doctrine, but, moreover, it explains Mormon success. A religion with absurd theological teachings can survive, sustain a society, and even grow in other societies because it prescribes and fosters sensible and good family life practices. Most people do not really care about theological truth, but most everyone is a social creature who values family, friendship, loyalty, and love. The episode is spot on, and you can watch it online (rated R) at South Park Studios.
Anyway, The Onion started a video service, The Onion News Network, last year, and it holds up to the print version’s hallmark for the “Oh, wow” factor. I’ll post some of may favorite videos in the future, but here are some timely ones for the election, “Precocious Youngster Sells Cookies to Buy Attack Ad,”
The Daily Show cannot hold a candle . . .