Saturday, September 29, 2012

Peeling 'The Onion'

Some days, most days now I think of it, reading actual news is like reading The Onion, "America's Finest News Source." The news has always been something of a self-parody and the daily headlines preserve that air of parody which is an inescapable part of our human condition.

Vatican in controversy over ‘drunken tourist herds’

Apparently the hordes of international tourists flooding into Italy have given new meaning to the old expression that someone's breath could peel paint off the walls. And when the walls in question are those in the Sistine Chapel, the liabilities of mass respiration threaten to obliterate an emblematic portion of our cultural heritage.

Tourists in the Sistine Chapel, where such Michaelangelic frescoes as the Last Judgment and the Creation of Adam adorn the chapel ceilings, have attained such numbers and achieved such depths of raucous, unruly inebriation that crowd control is out of the question. The manager of the Vatican's museums notes that over the past two years restorers gently scrubbed what he described as “unimaginable amounts” of dirt off the frescoes while working at night. The air extraction system designed to suck out the humid breath, sweat, skin flakes, hair, dust and pollution wafting upwards is almost 20 years old and urgently needs replacing. Air conditioning to reduce the body heat of visitors before they even enter the room is not installed.

Virginia man kills family and self over fear Obama would be re-elected 

The usual tale of mental illness and paranoia: Albert Peterson, a defense contractor with a history of paranoia, his wife Kathleen and their two sons were found dead in their home. According to a family friend, "He felt that our God-given rights were being taken away. He didn't like where the country was going." Evidently Peterson had retained enough of his God-given rights to keep a handgun in the house.

'Butt-Chugging' Case Causes Uproar 

A member of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity at the University of Tennessee was delivered to the emergency room in a coma with a dangerously elevated blood alcohol content. According to the police report in mandatory passive-voice officialese, "It is believed that members of the fraternity were utilizing rubber tubing inserted into their rectums as a conduit for alcohol."  

Open wide!

While the patient subsequently told police he remembered participating in a drinking game, he quite naturally denied having an alcohol enema. Police concluded otherwise from evidence found at the frat house, including boxes of the suggestively named Franzia Sunset Blush wine. (Presumably that particular boxed wine would give evidence of unconventional application since not even a drunken frat boy would consider actually swallowing the stuff.) "He also had no recollection of losing control of his bowels and defecating on himself," according to the report. I guess that would be the part about the blush. These truly are the end times. 

Iran news agency reprints 'Onion' story

Iran's Fars News Agency, citing The Onion, said 77 percent of rural white U.S. voters would rather have a beer with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad than President Obama. The news agency reprinted the story word for word. "77 percent of rural Caucasian voters ... would much rather go to a baseball game or have a beer with Ahmadinejad, a man who has repeatedly denied the Holocaust and has had numerous political prisoners executed, than spend time with Obama."

The Onion attributed the poll to the Gallup Organization. "According to the same Gallup poll, 60 percent of rural whites said they at least respected that Ahmadinejad doesn't try to hide the fact that he's Muslim," the Onion story said.

 Real Muslims don't drink beer

Ryan on Romney’s tax plan: ‘It would take me too long’ to explain 

Enough said.

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