By Tom Shroder
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Inspired by the satiric brilliance of the Onion, I urged some friends (Gene Weingarten, Dave Barry, Rachel Manteuffel) to help me come up with Onion-style phony headlines, then sent them to Onion assistant editor Megan Ganz, who provided this critique:
Man, 29, Fails To Turn Around After Attractive Woman In Tight Slacks Passes In Hallway (Gene)
Unfortunately, I found your use of the word "slacks" to be funnier than the concept of this headline as a whole. My mom uses "slacks." A 29-year-old would never use that word, unless you rewrote this headline to be: "Man, 29, Fails To Turn Around After Attractive Woman In Tight Slacks Passes Him In Office Hallway Despite Just Waking Up From 30-Year Cryogenic Freezing Experiment." And then, well, that's too many words for a headline.
Jewish Mother Claims Unattractive Daughter Does Not Have Nice Personality, Either (Gene)
Well, you have to be careful with "Jewish Mother" jokes, as the subject has been well trodden by numerous Borscht Belt comedians. In the writers' room, I'm afraid this would get a resounding "been done!"
Obama To Hire Hog-Jowl Chef For White House (Gene)
The phrase "hog-jowl" is hilarious, so I'll give you that. But as it is, it seems to be a "Black people eat weird parts of pigs" joke, so *buzzer.* Sorry.
Newspaper Sales Stabilize On Poop-Bag Demand (Gene)
Aww, are you guys having a hard time selling papers? What's that like? We can't print the things fast enough!
Hacker Steals 138 Million Facebook Friends (Dave)
Pretty funny! Probably true, too.
All-Infant Research Team Launches 3-Month Study: Where Does Everything Go When We Close Our Eyes? (Rachel)
An all-infant research team is pretty silly, but I like it. I would reword slightly: "All-Infant Research Team Launches Study Into Where Everything Goes When You Close Your Eyes." It would be a cutesy joke, but you're talking to a fan of cutesy jokes.
68% Of Currently Crying Women Report They Never Cry (Rachel)
Funny! And very much in Onion style. Well done.
Man, Dog, 'Just Good Friends' (Me)
Sounds like it's bordering on a bestiality joke, which, since you chaps are from such a distinguished newspaper, I am guessing was not your intention. If it was, might I suggest a lucrative career in the mainstream comedy movie business?
Overall, I am very impressed by your headlines. Unfortunately, the Onion headline style is trademarked, and you will be hearing from our lawyers. Sincerely, Megan