After phoning it in for a number of years The Onion is returning to its former glory and then some. For a while there, the only amusing part of satirical newspaper was the skyboxes with quick headlines like “Heston: We must arm ourselves to defeat the apes” and “Eddie Vedder just goes away.”
The Web site is now expanded and updated throughout the week, with important breaking news like Bush To Nominate Next Person Who Walks Through Door.
The writing is getting wittier too, after pretty much using a slightly different variation on the same stories over and over again. Some recent highlights:
Notre Dame Football Announces Improvements To Its Storied History
“I fully intend to be the primary architect of Notre Dame history’s return to prominence and relevance,” Weis said. “I inherited a program that had only won 11 national championships between 1924 and 2005. I promise you that, by this time next year, the Fighting Irish will have won at least 10 more in that same time period…”
Some of the highlights of Notre Dame’s new history:
1869: The first college football game is played this year, on Nov. 6, between Princeton and Rutgers, with the understanding that the winner will go on to play Notre Dame later in the afternoon for the national championship
1887: University board approves the Athletic Department’s request for a new sports team, and Notre Dame football is officially born on the playing fields of South Bend, IN, the same year as future Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz is born in West Virginia
1943: With the boys fighting World War II overseas, the women of Notre Dame take the reins of the football team and pummel the notorious draft-dodging Michigan Wolverines to bring home another national title to South Bend
1944: In December, the Notre Dame defense successfully holds off a German advance to win the Battle of the Bulge; meanwhile, in the Pacific theater, the Irish offense invades and retakes the Philippines; the team finishes the season ranked #2 in all polls.
1975: Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger, an undersized fourth-string transfer student, is allowed to dress for and play in the last and only game of his college career; in the final moments of the game, “Rudy” tackles the Georgia Tech quarterback, forcing a fumble which rolls into the end zone and is recovered for an Irish victory; Notre Dame jumps up 23 spots in the polls for a share of the national championship; Ruettiger is awarded the Butkus and Nagurski trophies
2005: The Oct. 15 victory of the Fighting Irish over #1 ranked USC, 27-31, is marred somewhat when Trojan Matt Leinart, who attempts to run the ball into the end zone in a last-second quarterback sneak, gets hit by the entire Notre Dame defense and is killed instantly as time runs out
Quarterback Has Normal, Healthy Son
“You see, unlike most sons of quarterbacks, Cole is completely free of multiple sclerosis, autism, leukemia, epilepsy, cancer, or cystic fibrosis. The doctors tell us it’s a miracle.”
Bob Marley Rises From Grave To Free Frat Boys From Bonds Of Oppression
“Seriously, I’m such a huge fan that I’ve practically worn out my CD copy of Legend. It’s the best expletive deleted
music,” Bonham added.
In the midst of all of this, The Onion has attracted the attention of the White House. According to a recent article in The Times, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. is not happy that the site featured the presidential Seal:
“It has come to my attention that The Onion is using the presidential seal on its Web site,” Grant M. Dixton, associate counsel to the president, wrote to The Onion on Sept. 28. (At the time, Mr. Dixton’s office was also helping Mr. Bush find a Supreme Court nominee; days later his boss, Harriet E. Miers, was nominated.)
Citing the United States Code, Mr. Dixton wrote that the seal “is not to be used in connection with commercial ventures or products in any way that suggests presidential support or endorsement.” Exceptions may be made, he noted, but The Onion had never applied for such an exception.
The Onion was amused. “I’m surprised the president deems it wise to spend taxpayer money for his lawyer to write letters to The Onion,” Scott Dikkers, editor in chief, wrote to Mr. Dixton. He suggested the money be used instead for tax breaks for satirists…
“It is inconceivable that anyone would think that, by using the seal, The Onion intends to ‘convey… sponsorship or approval’ by the president,” wrote Rochelle H. Klaskin, the paper’s lawyer, who went on to note that a headline in the current issue made the point: “Bush to Appoint Someone to Be in Charge of Country.”
You have to wonder if the White House does not have better things to do, but then again the way things are going these days maybe going after trivial stuff like this is better than the alternative.