Speaking of September Eleventh…

Just in case anyone hasn’t seen it, the Onion’s original response is worth revisiting. It deserved a Pulitzer.

Feeling helpless in the wake of the horrible Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that killed thousands, Christine Pearson baked a cake and decorated it like an American flag Monday.

[…]Having already donated blood, mailed a check to the Red Cross, and sent a letter of thanks to the New York Fire Department, Pearson was aimlessly wandering from room to room in her apartment when the idea of creating the confectionery stars and stripes came to her.

That article. It doesn’t snark, it doesn’t tease, it isn’t sarcastic, it simply presents a short story of coping, in article form. I’m not sure if it’s because it’s in the Onion and is thus unexpected, or if the writing is simply that good, but it gets me every time. Here’s a discussion with one of the writers:

Mel Brooks has been lampooning the Nazis, seemingly on behalf of Jews everywhere, since the end of World War II. Political satirists from Jonathan Swift to Jon Stewart and social satirists from Oscar Wilde to Sacha Baron Cohen are usually more resonant and memorable in distilling a cultural viewpoint than their more serious contemporaries. From Richard Pryor to Chris Rock to Dave Chappelle, I truly believe that the great black comedians have changed the dynamic of race relations in America (culturally, if not politically). “The Simpsons” has spent over twenty years gleefully satirizing every aspect of American life, and “South Park,” even with its tendency towards iconoclasm for its own sake, is unparalleled in its ability to illustrate a difficult cultural issue to its logical extreme and starkly point out its absurdities.

And, from the Onion writer interviewed therein:

“I’d much rather live in a country that laughed in the faces of people who try to intimidate us by flying planes into buildings. I’d much rather live in a country that laughed at cowards like that, instead of people who got angry or people who got scared and who empowered them that way.”

2 thoughts on “Speaking of September Eleventh…

  1. I can see the Oz reaction, but unlike Oz, whose edifice promised more than he could deliver, the Onion piece doesn’t promise anything–it just delivers. I thought (a) the description of South Park captures what they do pretty well, and (b) it was interesting to here some behind the scenes insight, even if the writers are better at comedy than talking about comedy.

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