Tuesday, September 04, 2007

"Onion" Abducted Girl Parody: Funny or Offensive?

The basic gist of this video from The Onion, "Missing Girl Probably Raped," is criticizing news outlets who focus on sensationalistic stories of rape & murder to boost ratings.

, where I found the piece, asks if the video didn't go a little too far:

"The video parodies the kind of news coverage that such terrible personal tragedies receive in the US, though it’s so authentic that at moments it seems eerily realistic. It was intended as a timely poke at the media for sensationalising issues such as rape in their pursuit of headlines and their careless dismissal and impatience with facts, but I wonder whether this is a subject ripe for humour. As one of the last taboos, can we expect controversial comics to work the issue into their material in a bid to shock and make a name for themselves and if so – who will be laughing?"

BREAKING NEWS: Missing Girl Probably Raped


  1. not particularly funny, but then, as satire it has to rank as effective- we're talking about it, right?

  2. On Frank Lee Delano's MySpace profile, in a little box devoted to my favorite filmmakers, is a picture of Todd Solondz.

    Clearly, I am amused at this insightful and accurate parody of modern "journalism." Reminds me why I only watch the stuff at the gym. It's great on the elliptical, where I try to hurl myself at the monitors featuring Sean Hannity or Nancy Grace, but only manage to burn many hundreds of calories with my righteous indignation.

  3. Funny. And pretty much dead on. From leaping to the absolute worst conclusions and then bombarding the parents with them to insane number of on-screen graphics, it's easily one of the best satires on modern news readers I've seen in a while. As for the comment from the site you found it on - and is it me, or was that last line phrased just right to make it clear that laughing makes you a questionable person? - I'd say the people laughing will be anybody who appreciates the Onion's humor and sees the piece for what it is rather than getting as far as the word "rape" before deciding it's wrong.

    Is the piece a bit uncomfortable? Yes. But given the target, surely that's the point?

  4. I think it manages to work both as the sort of "cautionary tale" the news outfits think they're telling (however tediously); and as a send-up of how the news outfits do it.

    It's intentionally in poor taste. It's the Onion.

  5. I am reminded of John Cleese's comment, "No one has the right not to be offended."

  6. May I suggest the British news parody show "Brass Eye" by Chris Morris, especially its "Paedophilia Special". Should be all over YouTube, and apparently a significant influence for The Colbert Report.

  7. Rich beat me to it but I was thinking ''Brass Eye''.

    Obviously some people will be offended by it but it's not mocking rape, it's mocking the overhyped media insensitivity in reporting on such crimes. (you can say this over and over though and some people still won't understand, I'm looking at you Daily Mail)

  8. Brass Eye is indeed wonderful, and should be viewed by everybody and their grandmother. And well put, Jamie.

  9. That was awful in a good way. It's only distinguishable from "real" news coverage of Hurricane Katrina coverage in that the Onion admits their news is fiction.