If you’re between the ages of 15 and 35, you’ve read The Onion. Who doesn’t love that satirical newspaper with its fake stories that sound like they could be true. Well, most of them aren’t true. Some of them come true later, mostly in eerily specific ways. Here are 5 Onion articles that make you wonder about their psychic abilities.
5. The RIAA Goes Rabid
The Onion story: RIAA Sues Radio Stations For Giving Away Free Music
The real story: RIAA Demands Radio Stations Pay For Song Use
It’s a little too easy to make fun of the RIAA. They’re like the Black Knight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Even though they’re basically just quadriplegic stumps on the ground, they still expect you to surrender. Here The Onion joked that the RIAA turns on its bigger provider of free advertising: AM/FM radio. 5 years later, the RIAA is calling radio a “form of piracy” and they must be paid per play.
How they predicted it: The RIAA has become so comically desperate that any joke will eventually come true.
How reality tops The Onion: The RIAA is lobbying to make it mandatory to put FM radios in all portable electronics. So not only do they love the radio now, they want it in all cell phones and iPods. Tis but a flesh wound indeed.
4. Gillette Makes An Absurd Razor
The Onion story: Gillette Makes A Razor With 5 Blades
The real story: Gillette Makes A Razor With 5 Blades
This one was done in The Onion’s Op-Ed style, where a manic and overly macho CEO talks about adding yet another razor to their already ridiculous 4-blade model. 4 blades were already kind of a joke; unless you have a beard made of twine, 3 did the job quite well. Now it just seems like they have something to prove.
How they predicted it: In a corporate culture that demands constant innovation, what the hell is a company going to do when it makes a product that has existed since ancient Egypt? The answer is more blades. One day they’ll make one with 6 blades.
How reality tops The Onion: They’re making one with 6 blades.
3. Joe The Plumber
The real story: Republicans Turn To Unqualified Schmuck For Insight
Oh what a funny joke, Rush Limbaugh gives a platform for a regular ol’ blue collar guy to spout off about the intricacies of foreign policy and economics. Funny, funny, funny. Until 2008 rolls around and John McCain decides to give 15 minutes of fame to a guy named Joe The Plumber, who is neither named Joe nor is a licensed plumber. This one gets major points for being the most ahead of its time: predicted 15 years before it happened. Also, both the real and fictional men are from Ohio.
How they predicted it: The Republican party has had a love affair with the lowest common denominator for a few decades. If I had a nickel for every time they bashed Obama for going to Harvard, I’d qualify for their tax breaks (bazing!) The Onion just followed this to it’s logical conclusion: asking the most clueless guy you can find about the most complicated things.
How reality tops The Onion: McCain also got a shill named Tito The Builder, who was supposed to appeal to Hispanics. He was also blue collar, but he was an immigrant, and inexplicably loved Sarah Palin.
2. The Media Loves Charlie Sheen
The Onion story: Charming Hollywood Bad Boy Slays Seven
The real story: Popular Hollywood Bad Boy Beats Women (I’m not even linking it.)
In The Onion article, an actor known for his off-screen problems brutally kills 7 people for no reason. The article reports it like any Hollywood shenanigans, with lots of references to the characters he’s played, and a brief history of his numerous other crimes spanning multiple decades. The actor shows absolutely no remorse and promises to do it again, calling himself “an unstoppable murder machine.” Charlie Sheen shot his fiance in the arm in 1994 and since has never met a woman who didn’t take out a restraining order. He has often referred to himself as a warlock with a 10,000-year-old brain. Here he is being called a paragon of masculinity without a trace of irony.
How they predicted it: Hollywood is famous for not really caring what money-making actors do, so long as they show up for work. As long as someone keeps on smiling, the entertainment press will chuckle knowingly at even the most heinous crimes.
How reality tops The Onion: It hasn’t yet, but it will.
1. Everything Bush Did
The real story: Identical.
I’ll just let quotes from the article, written in January of 2001, do they talking.
“Bush swore to do “everything in [his] power” to undo the damage wrought by Clinton’s two terms in office, including selling off the national parks to developers, going into massive debt to develop expensive and impractical weapons technologies, and passing sweeping budget cuts that drive the mentally ill out of hospitals and onto the street.”
“Bush also promised to bring an end to the severe war drought that plagued the nation under Clinton, assuring citizens that the U.S. will engage in at least one Gulf War-level armed conflict in the next four years.”
“On the economic side, Bush vowed to bring back economic stagnation by implementing substantial tax cuts, which would lead to a recession, which would necessitate a tax hike, which would lead to a drop in consumer spending, which would lead to layoffs, which would deepen the recession even further.”
“‘We as a people must stand united, banding together to tear this nation in two,’ Bush said. ‘Much work lies ahead of us: The gap between the rich and the poor may be wide, be there’s much more widening left to do. We must squander our nation’s hard-won budget surplus on tax breaks for the wealthiest 15 percent. And, on the foreign front, we must find an enemy and defeat it.’”
How they predicted it: Bush promised to do all these things many, many times before being elected.
How reality tops The Onion: He also let New Orleans drown.