The Ononeon takes real news headlines and presents them them in the skin of The Onion, America's Finest News Source. In other words, it uses the real world to satirize a website that satirizes the real world. Wait. What?
The Onion is an amazing satirical newspaper, which I suggest you read if you don’t already. It features headlines such as Michele Bachmann Figures Why Not, Introduces Homosexual-Beheading Bill or New Obesity Drug Delicious. In case you couldn’t tell, these headlines are fake.
But not with The Ononeon. The Ononeon is updated every day with new headlines that look like they should be from The Onion, but sadly are not. Like China Censors the word Censorship, or Phillies fan covers face with shirt; proceeds to drink beer through shirt.
I built the site with Matt Stempeck because he was about to lose control of the URL and we wanted an excuse for him to pay for another year of it. Plus we had four hours of free time. To this day it is by far our most popular project.
It works by hijacking the top rated headlines curated by the /r/nottheonion, a community that finds headlines and news articles that look like they should come from the satirical paper. For each headline our script runs an automatic google image search and saves the top image. After that takes a cloned copy of The Onion website’s layout and design and replaces all the old fake headlines with our new real ones.
The beauty of all this from an academic perspective is that it uses a blend of human curation and algorithmic search to create a pretty damn effective satirical experience. From all other perspectives it is purely hilarious.
Papers, Posts, and Press
- Stranger Than Fiction: Meet Two MIT Grads Who Built The Onion’s Non-Fiction Dopplegänger (Cultivated Wit)
- The Ononeon: Your One Stop Real-Life Onion Stories Shop (Gawker)
- “Real” Onion parody rips off Reddit’s funniest headlines (Daily Dot)
- The On1on Is Like The Onion, But Real (Animal)
- Front page of Hacker News
Kick them out of school
– Steve Hannah, Onion CEO