sean keane scoops the onion



Compare and contrast the last section of my piece, The Mailman Doesn't Deliver On Sunday, with this recent story from The Onion, Todd Helton Disappointed To Be On Area Man's Fantasy-Baseball Team. Not only does The Onion use the same joke as in my feature - a real baseball player demands a trade from his fantasy baseball team - they even use the same player. This might mean I have some fans in Madison, but most likely, it's a big coincidence. Maybe, Todd Helton secretly has a keen interest in fantasy sports, and both The Onion and I have picked up on it, independently and subconsciously.

When I worked for The Heuristic Squelch, it seemed like The Onion was constantly scooping us for jokes. We once had to pull a piece about video game villainy at the last minute, after The Onion put Mario on the cover that same week with a similar premise. It was worse when we couldn't do anything about the simultaneous comedy. Because of the long turnaround time for printing, we'd often send in an issue, then groan to see The Onion hitting the same topic, four days before our magazine was going to come out. We were ripping them off enough with our newsflashes, so it was terrible when we'd also inadvertantly run identical features about the recall election.

But this time, I am 18 months ahead of those smug cheese-eaters. That's right, The Onion! You ain't all that!

Ironically, Todd Helton's terrible start nearly doomed my own fantasy baseball team last year. By making fun of Helton and the "Colofraudo Suckies" in print, then subsequently drafting Helton in the first round of my draft, I was tempting fate. When Helton hit .250 in May, with very little power, I blamed the article. I even tried to trade Helton for over a month, but got no offers. It was a good thing I didn't. In the second half, the first baseman carried my team, Operation Shutdown, to the fantasy baseball nerd title. Mr. Todd Helton, you and your altitude-inflated statistics are welcome on my imaginary baseball team anytime.


I also enjoyed that when I clicked the Squelch link, the randomly-generated top ten list had a whole line item devoted to dissing Jeeves. He's not Jeeves anymore, suckers! HA HA HA! Ha! Whew.

Good job though, Sean(e).

That recently happened to me, too. In the Tumbleweed Tinies, little Davey is interrupted in the middle of a performance of Equus. Then a week later The Onion has an article about a elementary school class performing Equus! Though they would have to have been spying on my hard drive to steal it from me.

Maybe it's not so much a coincidence--it's more that we and The Onion are not as creative as we think we are.

Other humor outlets have been scooped by the Squelch as well. David Letterman apparently made a joke about Elian Gonzales becoming a Latin pop star after our "Teen Squelch" came out with Elian on the cover as Ricky Martin. But the most bizarre was when the Harvard Lampoon ran an "embarrassing stories" piece months after our "humiliating happenstances" article, using the same random image that we did.

I've scooped The Onion a couple of times, though I can't remember ever doing it in the Squelch. I wrote a newsflash-style piece for my website blaming recent tornado-related devastation on violent tornado depictions in video games and the media, including a play on the phrase "trench coat mafia," which The Onion mirrored later that week. The Onion also did a piece on a TV remote locator that's operated by a remote which itself can be easily lost, which I had done a few years previously in a homemade version of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Finally, an Onion piece on Weird Al attempting to write a parody of "Livin' La Vida Loca" included a graphic of Weird Al's brainstorming notes. The list of possible titles inclued "something something Al Roker?" Meanwhile, Mad magazine had already published its song parody "Livin' to Feed Al Roker," written by Frank Jacobs BUT PITCHED BY ME in an editorial meeting.

If only all of us could post abridged versions of our CVs as comments on Zembla. Sean, when are you going to start posting about Art History?
Q: What's the #1 fastest way for one college humor magazine to get mirrored by another college humor magazine?
A: Use one of the first 10 pictures that pop up on Google Image Search.

Actually, the Lampoon image was something we got out of this random book of pictures that Chang gave us. The picture didn't have anything to do with embarrassing stories, they just happened to have the same book and chose the same picture. And it was a big book!

This was actually long before Google Image Search existed, Cassie. Because we are oh so old.

How long ago was it? The cover of that issue had a timely joke about Elian Gonzalez and Ricky Martin.

You went through college without Google?! AND Wikipedia? That's like the modern-day equivalent of telling your kids you walked to school barefoot in the snow uphill both ways.

when I was in school, we didn't even have faces yet. faces weren't invented until '03. and that's why I didn't know any better than to marry your grandma...

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Sean Keane published on March 12, 2006 11:30 PM.

lessons from young sean, part 4: sticking with the joke was the previous entry in this blog.

santa barbara trip, part 3: san ardo, town of lost souls is the next entry in this blog.

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