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Mind Openers: Peel This

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By Jack Feuer

Published Jan 1, 2011 2:19 PM


art

Photo courtesy of UCLA Live.

 

There was huge news out of China in June 2002.

The Beijing Evening News republished portions of an English-language news story headlined "Congress Threatens To Leave D.C. Unless New Capitol Is Built." The piece discussed lawmakers' threats to take flight unless Washington, D.C. built them a new capitol building with a retractable dome.

What does that article have in common with stories headlined "Oprah Invites Hundreds of Lucky Fans To Be Buried With Her In Massive Tomb" or "Obama To Make Reassuring Eye Contact With Every Last American?"

None of them are true.

All of them, in fact, were typically razorsharp, uncomfortably close to truth, phonybaloney creations of The Onion, that massively popular, hugely influential satiric newspaper and website.

The fake news newspaper is the notable precursor to such biting, faux-news programs as The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. And on Feb. 10 at Royce Hall, Onion editor Joe Randazzo and fellow staffers will present a multimedia discussion on the state of media, politics and pop culture as they offer up insight into how the paper's culture-skewering stories and hilarious headlines are created.

In its 22-year history, nothing has been sacred to The Onion (which legend has it is named for the white-bread-and-onion sandwiches that were all the University of Wisconsin students who started the newspaper could afford). And last year, The Onion News Network, an online send-up of 24-hour cable TV news, was named a Peabody Award winner and praised as "hilarious, trenchant and not infrequently hard to distinguish from the real thing."

So bring your copies of Our Dumb Century: The Onion Presents 100 Years of Headlines From America's Finest News Source or Our Dumb World: The Onion's Atlas of the Planet Earth. Maybe Randazzo and team will autograph them for you.

Or not.

The Onion Editors. Feb. 10, 8 p.m. Royce Hall. Tickets: $28-$48 ($15 for UCLA students). For more information or to buy tickets, call (310) 825-2101 or visit www.uclalive.org.

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