In its 30-year history, The Onion has supplanted itself as the gold standard for modern satire. The website receives over 10 million unique visitors every month, its content gets shared like wildfire, and it has since branched out to several different domains and sub-publications.
We’ve seen some real doozies from The Onion over the years, from sharp political commentary, to criticisms of religion, and what we believe is an overabundant amount of stories about McDonald’s. Seriously, guys. What gives?
These are the most famous The Onion articles ever written:
Harry Potter Books Spark Rise in Satanism Among Children
The Onion has been around for a very long time (it was founded in 1988), but few of its stories led to more real-world controversy and consequence as the now-infamous 2000 article, “Harry Potter Books Spark Rise In Satanism Among Children.”
The article was quoted as fact in chain emails and by religious fanatics the world over, who humorously-but-definitely-not-that-humorously quoted it to support their actual claims that Harry Potter was a Satanism recruitment tool. Hell, Snopes even had to debunk the myth. Story
Johnson & Johnson Introduces ‘Nothing But Tears’ Shampoo To Toughen Up Newborns
In 2008, The Onion released an article titled, “Johnson & Johnson Introduces ‘Nothing But Tears’ Shampoo To Toughen Up Newborns,” and the world went bonkers over it. The premise of the article is that today’s infants are too “soft,” and the soap was an introduction to the harsh realities of an unforgiving world.
“We at Johnson & Johnson have been making bath time a safe and soothing experience for far too long,” says J&J CEO William C. Weldon in the article (but not really). “Years of pampering have left our newborns helpless, feeble, and ill-equipped for the arduous road ahead. It’s time our children got the wake-up call that’s been coming to them. It’s time they cried their precious little eyes out.”
You can see from that excerpt alone why clueless people lost their minds over it. It’s just as funny as it sounds. Story
Fun Toy Banned Because Of Three Stupid Dead Kids
We’ll be the first ones to admit The Onion isn’t exactly an international bastion of sensitivity, but this one is rough even for Onion standards. The article talks about how a toy named “Aqua Assault RoboFighters” was recalled after “three dumb kids managed to kill themselves playing with [it], ruining the fun for everybody else.”
The point of the article, clearly, is to demonstrates how heartless people can be in the wake of a tragedy if it means they are inconvenienced as a result.
Though we find their use of the word “retard” inappropriate, we still can’t help but laugh at the premise (and masterful execution). Plus, to this day, the article, first published in 2000, is on every “Onion’s Best” article on the internet. We have to agree. Story
‘Nothing Would Surprise Me At This Point,’ Says Man Who Will Be Shocked By 8 Separate News Items Today
“Local man” Alex Seidman is a 36-year-old who says he was so shocked by President Donald Trump’s electoral win that, “None of it even fazes [him].” He goes on to say, “Maybe a few months ago it would have upset me, even frightened me. But today, I’ll click on The New York Times and it’ll feel pretty [startling, with each piece of news more surreal and flabbergasting than the last, every article seemingly rewriting the rules of reality and slowly convincing me that there may no longer be any such thing as] normal.”
Lol. If only Seidman knew what was to come. Story
Heartwarming: When This Subway Employee Had To Walk 20 Miles To Work Because He Couldn’t Afford A Car, The CEO Of Subway Drove Alongside Him To Cheer Him On
Clickhole is a subsidiary of The Onion. While The Onion is a critical and satirical response to investigative news and the state of journalism, Clickhole was invented to lampoon clickbait style websites like the Buzzfeed of yore.
This particular article ranks highly on almost every fan forum and top Onion article roundups. The mere thought of a big-money CEO in a pricey car following alongside a lowly employee and encouraging him to keep moving forward is just so hilarious—and actually kind of sad, given how accurate it feels deep down. Story
Fuck Everything, We’re Doing Five Blades
On the surface, there’s really nothing special about “Fuck Everything, We’re Doing Five Blades.” The article is essentially geared toward poking fun at the then-ongoing battle between razor companies to stay relevant and innovative. The article, penned by Gillette Company CEO and President James M. Kilts, is basically an announcement that they’re going to skip meeting the rest of the industry at four blades and just skip right to five.
This article reached cult status a little over a year later, when Gillette actually announced the release of their five-blade “Fusion” razors. Suddenly, it was the article that hysterically predicted the future. Story
Universe Honors David Bowie With Emotional Starlight Vigil
This article is a perfect example of how The Onion really specializes in making light of some pretty upsetting situations. In fact, it his so close to home for so many people that it was one of the most popular pieces of content for all of 2016 for the website.
Losing Ziggy Stardust, really hurt a lot of people. But somehow, this photo—seriously, it doesn’t even have an accompanying news story; just a headline and a beautiful photo—helped millions of us cope with what was happening in a way that only The Onion can manage to do. Story