Meta-Onion


Last week The Onion filed an Amicus Curiae in support of Anthony Novak, who created a parody Facebook page of his local police department. The context around why they felt the need to do that was written up by NPR.

The 23-page brief is well-worth reading. Not only because it’s important but because it’s a master-class in how to write well and communicate clearly. The document, keeping within the norms of the expected structure of a court document, while arguing their point..

This is just an short except of a more lengthy passage that details in chapter and verse how The Onion hones its craft, using the intended audience of the brief as its subject,

let’s assume that it is a newspaper headline—maybe one written by The Onion—that begins in this familiar way: “Supreme Court Rules . . . ” Already, one can see how this works as a parodic setup, leading readers to think that they’re reading a newspaper story. With just three words, The Onion has mimicked the dry tone of an Associated Press news story, aping the clipped syntax and the subject matter. . .

. . . what moves this into the realm of parody is when The Onion completes the headline with the punchline—the thing that mocks the newspaper format. The Onion could do something like: “Supreme Court Rules Supreme Court Rules.”

BRIEF OF THE ONION AS AMICUS CURIAE IN SUPPORT OF PETITIONER

Further Reading: More context on why The Onion filed the brief and the person who wrote it.


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