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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Happy Birthday, The Onion!

One of the Internet's first satirical news sites is having its birthday: The Onion turns 25 today, making everyone who knows what a 56k bps modem is feel extremely old! Despite its age, reputation, and the rather obvious nature of its headlines and stories, articles reported on The Onion are picked-up and treated as fact-based reports by "real" news sources on a pretty regular basis.

The Onion began as a local Midwestern newspaper that was basically circulated to "sell pizza coupons," according to Editor-in-Chief, Will Tracy. The organization behind the paper soon turned to the Web, where The Onion quickly established itself as one of the leading voices in online humor, alongside such contemporaries as Suck.com and Salon. The Onion's print version has folded but The Onion News Network remains, as does the venerable website itself. The Onion is updated daily and estimates 90% of its readers are between the ages of 18 and 44. It is thought to draw nearly 7.5 million visitors each month.

The Onion also gave rise to a non-satirical department which now has its own website and is considered a critical darling. The A.V. Club reviews film and carries interviews with film stars and celebrities. It also discusses music and, increasingly, pop-culture of all kind.

Some other things turning 25 this year include Jane's Addiction's "Nothing's Shocking;" Bruce Willis' silver screen debut, Die Hard; Who Framed Roger Rabbit?; Photoshop; Sega Genesis; Mystery Science Theater 3000; and Prozac.

© C Harris Lynn, 2013

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