Actual Buzzfeed headline, or Onion parody of a Buzzfeed headline?


This quiz is harder than it looks. (Christopher Parsons/Flickr)

Beloved news-skewer the Onion has announced that it will launch a parody of Buzzfeed this June, to the wide acclaim of the Buzzfeed-love/hating Internet. But while the idea sounds pretty catchy, it seems to miss a critical point. Isn’t Buzzfeed already a satire of itself?

No shade intended there, of course — we like “smooth moments” and self-aware cats just as much as the next existentially listless Internet-tabber. But the reason people read the Onion is essentially the same reason people read Buzzfeed, or at least the clicky parts of Buzzfeed the Onion is targeting: mild, mindless entertainment/amusement, with the occasional dash of inoffensive news or commentary mixed in.

As for Buzzfeed, it basically operates like a parody of Internet media already: See, for instance, “The Story of Egypt’s Revolution in ‘Jurassic Park’ Gifs.” So the only substantial difference between Buzzfeed and Clickhole, the unsavory name of the Onion spin-off, seems to be the fact that readers can interpret their Clickhole indulgence as a cool, critical-distanced observation of lowbrow media … when, in fact, it’s not any more elevated or clever than “15 Hedgehogs With Things That Look Like Hedgehogs.” (Seriously though, click those hedgehogs. They are cute.)

Anyway, to further demonstrate the redundancy of Buzzfeed and its forthcoming parody, we have prepared the following challenge: Actual Buzzfeed headline — or Onion satire? The parody headlines come from material the Onion previewed at a meeting for advertisers; Buzzfeed headlines come, obviously, from the site itself. Answers are at the bottom in white. Don’t cheat!

  1. Which pizza should I have for dinner tonight?
  2. Seven pricks that defied the odds and didn’t go into finance
  3. 13 potatoes that look like Channing Tatum
  4. Which female celebrity should you have sex with?
  5. What this adorable little girl says will melt your heart
  6. Six kinds of hay
  7. A step-by-step guide for surviving a robot uprising
  8. A step-by-step guide to clicking
  9. 20 Things That Will Make You Say NOOOOOOO
  10. The 35 dumbest things ever said on the Internet

Answers (highlight to view): [ (1) Onion (2) Onion (3) Buzzfeed (4) Buzzfeed (5) Onion (6) Onion (7) Buzzfeed (8) Onion (9) Buzzfeed (10) Buzzfeed ]

Caitlin Dewey runs The Intersect blog, writing about digital and Internet culture. Before joining the Post, she was an associate online editor at Kiplinger’s Personal Finance.
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Caitlin Dewey · April 30