The Onion is best known as known as a liberal-leaning fake news site, which means it’s kind of like ThinkProgress but it intends to be fake and the writing is actually sometimes pretty good.
However, “sometimes pretty good” doesn’t always mean “appropriate” or even “within the range of normal, acceptable human response.” Both of those qualify with how The Onion decided to deal with the news that Sen. John McCain was discontinuing treatment for brain cancer.
The website didn’t attack the senator, which I guess was considered too insensitive and prima facie unfunny. It instead attacked his grieving daughter … which was just as insensitive and prima facie unfunnier, because that’s how you roll when you’re a comedy website.
Oh and also, not that attacking a grieving daughter for comedy’s sake could make any sense — even when that grieving daughter is Meghan McCain, who is a public figure — but this made less sense than I think anyone could even imagine.
Take a look at this headline and see if you think makes sense in this or any universe in which humor and/or socialism are concepts sentient beings experience and can relate to:
— The Onion (@TheOnion) August 24, 2018
By the way, for those of you who don’t normally read The Onion and aren’t familiar with their photo caption stories, pieces in which the entirety of the story consists solely of a picture and (theoretically) funny caption, this was one of them.
That means there wasn’t any explication about what this caption meant and why exploiting the very public grief of a daughter is funny. I mean, making a sick joke about a daughter’s public grief over the public announcement that her public figure of a father was ending his very public battle with cancer is sort of a textbook example of the decline and fall of a decadent digital society. But to be a sick joke, it at least has to be a joke. Can you find that here?
Is it that Meghan McCain thinks that feeling empathy for sick people counts as socialism? Is it that she doesn’t feel empathy for sick people, period? Is it that empathy itself is the nightmare of socialism? Is it because John McCain’s impending death is somehow connected to socialism? Because none of these things is funny. None of these things has ever been funny, nor will any of these things ever be funny.
Or is it because The Onion wanted clicks at any cost? Because that’s actually kind of funny, since I guarantee you as many people are going to click on the “unfollow” button as on the link. So, I guess there’s some humor, albeit of the unintentional and bilious fashion.
As TheBlaze pointed out, this didn’t go quite as planned on social media, with numerous blue check-marked personalities noting that maybe this wasn’t going to make any Onion best-of compilation tomes but might make St. Peter’s book when its author eventually arrives in the empyrean.
So um this is gross https://t.co/ILhxBdG7OL
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) August 24, 2018
This is disgusting. Especially on today of all days. https://t.co/RTYqWDhZKr
— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) August 24, 2018
Oh, and non-famous people thought this was sick and mean, too:
This is not funny. Her father is dying. Please take this down.
— Sara Mannal (@SaraMannal) August 24, 2018
Does anyone associated with you have a soul please advise
— Bethany S. Mandel (@bethanyshondark) August 24, 2018
Of course, perhaps I’m overestimating the caliber of The Onion’s readership. Quoth one very humanitarian Twitter user whose slightly NSFW user name I’m not going to include in this column but which probably deserves to be seen, if just as an example of who we’re dealing with here: “it’s funny and it’s good that her piece of s— dad will be dead soon.” Nice.
In closing, I’d like to point out that we have had our numerous, numerous disagreements with Senator McCain in these pages but we actually have souls and do not like to either dance upon the graves of the recently dead or the sickbeds of the living.
Beyond his service to his country in Vietnam and public service in government, John McCain is a man with a family, and he is dying. We wouldn’t dream of taking issue with him at this very sad moment. Beyond that, however, we wouldn’t dream there would be carbon-based life-forms who would take issue with his family. Such is the state of liberalism in 2018 A.D. that this no longer can be taken for granted.
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