Channel 19

Todd Dills

Fair or foul?: A trucking story on Onion satirical news site

| January 11, 2011

Sandwiched between satirical headlines like “Fully Validated Kanye West Retires to Quiet Farm in Iowa” and “Virgin Mary Statue Crying for No Good Reason” today on TheOnion.com was this one: “Modern-Day Cowboy Rides 18-Wheeler Full of Entenmann’s Products Westward.”

Satirical newsmag The Onion has long been known for its lampooning of the mainstream press and, by extension, the dedicated members of its audience, and this story, about a trucker named “C.J. Hoppel,” likely fictional, who hauls baked goods cross-country, was of a piece with that description. The implied humor contained therein was centered around the contrast between the florid language painting Hoppel in the tradition of the wild wild west and the quite quotidian facts of his load, and I quote:

Hoppel’s route is long and arduous, cutting through thousands of miles of diverse terrain. But this stoic old warrior of the open road has traversed these paths hundreds of times before, and it is said that each line on his weathered face tells the story of another successful chocolate-chip muffin run.

Adolescent to one degree or another? You bet. But at once, pieces of the picture felt genuine. Minus over-written flourishes such as the above and some minor details that are just plain off, it felt at least a little like a piece right from the pages of a trucking magazine. Context is everything, eh? Read the full story here.

It’s not the first time the Onion has picked on trucking. You might remember my post about the mag’s picking up on texting-ban ironies about a year ago. Revisit it here.

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