The Onion’s J.K. Rowling ‘interview’ isn’t satire
Humourless personal attacks are now the basis for comedy, apparently
Satire is supposed to be funny. It can be shocking, like Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal, and it is sometimes cruel. What it shouldn’t be is a cover for an outpouring of envy and malice. You might think that the publishers of a satirical magazine would know that, given that it’s their stock-in-trade. But the current top ‘story’ on the website of The Onion is a fabricated ‘interview’, with the author J.K. Rowling, whose sole purpose is to launch a series of attacks under the guise of satire. This isn’t the first time the site has mounted a lazy attack on her, either.
The interview opens with Rowling, or at least the website’s imagined version of her, demanding to know “which genitals you have right now”. The joke is actually on The Onion, because it’s trans activists who are obsessed with pronouns and how people ‘identify’; I’m sure Rowling belongs to the mass of humanity that is able to correctly recognise someone’s sex without even thinking about it, let alone believing it requires a discussion.
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An obsession with her wealth and success is not even thinly disguised, while the ‘questions’ are just an excuse to insult her. (“Why are you such a huge fucking hateful dork?”) The whole thing could have been written by a 14-year-old with mummy issues who thinks it’s clever to throw around words like ‘penis’ and ‘vagina’.
At one level, it’s just further evidence of how far gender ideology has spread in the US, where The Onion is published. Preposterous figures such as Dylan Mulvaney, a man who posts TikTok videos of himself posing and pouting in a caricature of teenage femininity, are treated as icons and even get invited to the White House. It would take a brave author or producer to laugh at a group of people who have acquired a sort of secular sainthood.
It’s much easier and safer to take aim at women who oppose gender ideology, pretending that sarcasm and ageism are a species of wit. It’s not the first time that satire has been used to excuse misogynist attacks, as the suffragettes discovered to their cost. An image from 1900 showed a bawling baby above the phrase ‘Mummy’s a Suffragette’, while another from 1909 has a husband up to his elbows in a washing tub. ‘I want to vote but my wife won’t let me,’ the caption says.
The ideas behind them are as old as the hills — a woman’s place is in the home and men are emasculated by feminism — but they can always be recycled. It’s a familiar reversal, attributing excessive power to women who actually don’t have much, and it’s traceable all the way back to Juvenal’s sixth Satire — a great resource if you like Roman mother-in-law jokes.
Satire works when the target has something to hide or is guilty of hypocrisy. Neither is true of Rowling or most gender-critical women, who offer a reasoned critique of the claims of trans activists. It’s not feminists who threaten to kill or rape people they disagree with, while attacks on Rowling’s wealth look ridiculous in light of her huge charitable donations.
Mean-spirited personal attacks are not satire. Social media is full of trans-identified individuals claiming to be ‘better’ women than those of us who were born female. That’s a subject for satire if ever I saw one, but I don’t expect The Onion will publish that interview.
The Onion lost its sense of humor when it decided to take sides and lecture instead of pursuing good satire.
The Babylon Bee has taken over. They have a conservative perspective, but sometime poke fun at their own “side” as well.
100% agree. Fake news you can trust!
As with many odd things post 2016 you can see a radical non woke leftist such as me love the Babylon Bee.
The Musk takeover of Twitter skit was classic.
It’s astounding how unfunny the onion became (trump only accelerated it, as he did with most leftists), but I agree Babylon Bee is a laugh-out-loud funny replacement
Humour never has been a strong point for wokeists.
The article in question sounds very much like the majority of mainstream so-called ‘comedians’ that fill the airwaves with their vapid attempts to plug into the zeitgeist, without realising the current has been switched off.
I used to enjoy the Onion years ago. Sigh.
I’d forgotten all about the Swift parody. Thank you for getting me to read that again.
I’m told The Onion used to be funny – many years ago.
If you can find old issues, 20 years ago was perhaps their prime, it’s worth your time. Those old issues would be time capsules in themselves.
The Woke seem to be Puritans redux. They must have their witches to burn. Apparently one has to undergo a sense-of-humour bypass in order to join.
“pretending that sarcasm and ageism are a species of wit”
In the right hands, they can be. The alternative would be to say, like the most dreary of tedious scolds, that nothing can be funny if there’s a chance that it could hurt one person’s feelings.
Humor in the US has long become partisan, simplistic, vulgar and unfunny. Audiences laugh dutifully out of a sense loyalty to leftist dogma. (South Park excepted!)
I clicked on the link to the Onion hoping to find something like one of Craig Brown’s ‘As told to’ parodies. It’s more like an unfunny and boring version of ‘Me and My Spoon’. I gave up on the 4th slide.
I fear the Private Eye here in the UK is going in the same direction, I’ve been a subscriber for over 30 years and have just cancelled my subscription because I just don’t find it funny anymore.
Private Eye has become a peevish and rather obsessive home for resentful Remainers.
… while attacks on Rowling’s wealth look ridiculous in light of her huge charitable donations.
So the attacks would not look ridiculous if there were an absence of huge charitable donations?
I have read many mean-spirited attacks on men by feminists. But that’s fine, apparently. It’s just words etc.
And I don’t know if “emasculate” is the right word but to claim that feminism does not and has not had a negative impact on men is ludicrous.
Agreed, it is not that funny. disappointing as “The Onion” usually skewers their target every time….They had one of the funniest headlines after 9/11 I ever saw…”:Dinty Moore condemns terrorism”…For those unfamiliar with Dinty Moore, the complany makes beef stew which they put into a can…….
I thought they hit their all-time high after the disputed 2000 Florida election. I can’t find them all, but here is one (“. Excerpt: “the drowned bodies of more than 200 Young Republicans in the National Mall’s cyanide-laced reflecting pool. It is unknown whether the deaths are a mass suicide or the work of a Democratic guerrilla group operating out of the Gore-controlled territory of Maryland.”
From Chapter 5 of Woking Pox:-
Naturally, when data becomes gamey and purulent, the stink thereof attracts the bluebottles to come hither and lay their eggs, those fat and juicy little conspiracy theories which hatch and writhe and propagate after the beastly and unwholesome laws governing their kind. After a time the apex scavengers, the experts and placeholders, arrive and fix upon the carcass, feasting thereon with all the tokens of delight no matter how stinking it be and defiled with the maggots aforementioned.
One such placeholder jostling for the present carcass was Dr Sheila Herthey. To settle the cavill of the reluctant pedant alert to the incongruity of a lecturer-without-portfolio holding a place, it can only be insisted that the good Doctor must have been in possession of a very comfortable sinecure of some kind, although whether this was merely because of simony or of assiduousness on her part in completing research funding applications, or because she was in receipt of other forms of patronage, no matter what the explanation of the matter, an agency or body appears to have drawn a discreet veil over the precise details thereof.
Whatever the provenance of Dr Herthey’s patronage, the good Doctor in person tended to strike those having the fortune of her acquaintance as being in some under-defined way North American, such an impression being due to, besides her accent – which bobbed about in the eddies and swells of the mid-Atlantic, – a certain proclivity for self-assertion, which the good Doctor sublimated with sterling and assiduous service on a number of bien pensant committees; the accumulation of which positions having had the consequence of her becoming, to her confessed bafflement, if not exactly a fixture then at any rate a not infrequent presence at the Fish Suppers Where All The Decisions Are Made. Dr Herthey’s readiness to break bread with the Whigs of Clifton notwithstanding, it behoved her as a luminary of Mordor to identify with the implacable Idiot Left – and in truth she found such a commitment to represent no obstacle whatsoever to her participation in Fish Suppers where any number of Decisions were Made. To this end, she lent her name to all the most foolish and inane open letters, and sat on all the most vapid and asinine panel discussions.
It was therefore very little to be remarked upon if Dr Sheila Herthey should be found from time to time, as on the present lunchtime in Queen Square, in the company of Mr Milton Djugashivili. An elegantly wasted if not at all, at least in the literal sense, a dirty Wykehamist, contriving to remain the National Socialists’s Young Turk even as he flirted with his seventh decade, and an effortlessly regular fixture at the Fish Suppers Where All The Decisions Are Made, Mr Milton Djugashvili affected crumpled pastel linen, pastel skinny jeans, a supercilious pastel drawl and, if the pastel croquet lawn or whatever he chanced to be strolling upon was not too, too damp, soigné pastel espadrilles.
It would also, seeing as Queen Square lay, if after a manner that was a tad oblique, between the steel and glass edifice in Millennium Square wherein the great counting house Handjob Luncheon conducted its business, and the Toreau et Ours on Welshback where Sir Hearty Luncheon preferred to conduct his business, it would also have been almost remarkable if the paths of Dr Sheila Herthey, Mr Milton Djugashvili, and the latter-named panjandrum had not crossed.
And thus it was that this stellar configuration or aligning of the planets came about, the panjandrum in question hoving into view just as Dr Sheila Herthey thought fit to allude to current events.
“Why Sir Hearty,” drawled Mr Miton Djugashvili, shaking off with a very tasteful shudder his mild petrification, “how fortuitous. The good Doctor has been telling me how desirous she is of ‘setting up a meeting’. In order to discuss the recent mennifestations, you know.”
“Recent mennifestations,” said the great man as if from a great distance with a great glacier intervening.
“Polychrome rodents,” returned with infinite suavity the Wykehamist, “no doubt it wants a committee of nabobs all speaking flawless public sector-ese in provincial accents to pronounce their dome upon the metter.”
“Polychrome rodents,” said Sir Hearty from atop figurative Kanchenjunga, and “provincial accents”.
Dr Sheila Herthey adjudged the moment ripe for intervention.
“I think what Milton is trying to say – delighted to make your Lordship’s acquaintance by the way – I think what Milton is trying to say is that we gotta touch base about these damn rats.”
Sir Hearty Luncheon swivelled an eye or two to glare upon this female personage.
“In order to agree upon measures pertaining to the advertising and tendering of contracts,” said Mr Milton Djugashvili, admiring his own fingernails, “for a pied piper. Or similar harlequin possessed of the relevant skill set.”
There emanated now from the abdomen of the Avon Crassus a great rumbling as of tectonic shift and the splitting of rocks.
“What,” came then from on high the awful words, “is this to me? Such metters are redolent of all that is vile and nugatory, and squarely within the arena of cant. And,” was added with a withering finality, “I never did bear the cant.”
Mr Milton Djugashvili betrayed at the seigneurial curtness not an iota of souciance.
“Qui dabat olim omnia,” said he, “nunc se continet atque duas tantum res anxius optat, panem et circenses.”
The Luncheon cerebellum scanned this pronouncement for the marks of cant, and finding it devoid thereof, deigned to spare its originator both proscription and damnatio memoriae.
Richard Craven ——- BRAVO!!
Thank you very much, Nicholas.
Just what provoked all those Down votes against your pertinent and highly articulate parody?
Please will a Down-Voter explain?
I’m not sure. I don’t think it’s inappropriate to attach my own satire to an article about satire, but my guess is that the down-voters object to my comment as spam. Anyway thanks again for your kindness, it’s much appreciated.
I’ve not actually down voted it, but it’s incomprehensible… I just gave up trying to read it. Sorry
Fair enough, I guess it’s quite difficult to understand out of context.
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