Chicago, Illinois, May 3rd, 2018
At an unscheduled press conference this afternoon, the Editor of The Onion, America’s Finest News Source, announced the satirical newspaper would go on hiatus indefinitely following violent virtual riots, and the subsequent mass resignation of nearly all of The Onion’s staff writers.
“Well…we knew they wouldn’t like our suggestion of toning down the profanity around here,” Chad Nackers said shakily on Thursday afternoon. “That’s why we started by suggesting they lay off the four-letter words in the article titles . . . but I don’t know what to think anymore. This was totally unexpected.”
Chad Nackers went on to explain in a rambling 30-minute monologue that could only be described as stream-of-consciousness verbal diarrhea, that the virtual riots began during the hour-long staff meeting, when the idea to reduce profanity in article titles was first introduced by the Onion’s marketing director.
Despite rare islets of coherence in the sea of inchoate babbling in the rest of the press conference, absolutely nothing else that made sense could be discerned. “It was a lot like watching Donald Trump get interviewed by the New York Times or some other fake news outlet,” one onlooker reported with a shrug.
Further investigation revealed that the Marketing Director, Madeline Albright, announced a new marketing strategy that involved trying to expand readership by targeting demographics beforehand deemed unfriendly to satire. Albright later commented, “The success of the Babylon Bee has really shown us that religious people are a possible target audience for social and political satire. And it really isn’t right that those copy-cats are doing so well. WE MADE SATIRE RELEVANT. THEY NEED TO GET OFF OUR TURF. In short, we have to destroy them. And that means we have to stop shitting on the cultural and social values of the religious people and other fuddy-duddies and stop cussing so fucking much. Oh, sorry. My bad. As you can see, it’s kind of an internal culture shift for us that needs to happen. Am I a hypocrite?”
According to several sources present, Albright instigated the riot when she took the otherwise routine all-hands’ staff meeting in a totally unacceptable direction by laying out a multi-year, multi-step plan for reducing the amount of profane content in The Onion. “Think of it like this: We’re always gonna be potty-mouths at The Onion. That’s just who we are. But we want to think about the amount of profanity and coarse language we use in just one daily issue as filling the little trash-can that sits under your desk at work, not creating your own personal landfill. That’s the direction I see the company going over the next year.”
“We just stood there and no one said anything,” an anonymous staff writer reported, visibly shaken. “I mean, like nothing, for two whole minutes. You don’t understand—we never shut up. This was totally creepy.”
Then, the company’s outdated interoffice IM (AOL Instant Messenger), exploded with vitriol, bile, diatribe against controlling creative expression, some very, very nasty pictures, the absolute dregs of gifs, but most of all, expressions of being personally wounded and rejected by how management criticized the way they expressed themselves.
“What I couldn’t get over is how hurt I was that no one wanted to see the c-word or the f-word, or even shit written like 30 times in one paragraph,” Carol Kolb reported, tears streaming down her face. “I’m sure I speak for everyone. I mean, how could they say that to us? How could they ask me to not be myself? I mean, my speech, written or verbal, is just me. That’s just how I am. I mean, how could you ask me to change who I am in a public space and a professional context, even for just like a minute, to respect another person’s beliefs or culture or even their personal preferences? I mean, they’re asking us to think about people we’ve never met and try to respect strangers that are different from us. I mean, that’s so rude! I feel so rejected! I mean, I had to quit on the spot. I mean, who could tolerate being treated like that? I mean….”
When asked whether they thought personal preference and respect was something that had to be negotiated between two parties with different feelings and values, no one agreed. “Who does that, anyway?” senior writer, Joe Randazzo, responded for the group. “People don’t actually respect people with different values than themselves. They just pretend like they do and feel criticized. Why should I be the first person to give this a try?”