from the world's big
Fair, Balanced Mockery
Joe Randazzo is the former editor of The Onion, the world's most popular satirical newspaper, as well as former creative director of adultswim.com. Randazzo also performs stand-up and has appeared on NPR's This American Life, PBS's Charlie Rose, and MSNBC's Morning Joe. Randazzo was awarded the Burke Medal for Outstanding Contribution to Public Discourse through the Arts by the College Historical Society of Trinity College Dublin in 2012. He is author of the book <i>Funny on Purpose.</i>
Question: How does the Onion try to avoid partisan satire?\r\n
Joe Randazzo: It’s hard to be impartial, and it’s hard to know sometimes where the line is, but I think while we are a comedy outlet that’s first and foremost is designed to entertain it does really aid with the verisimilar attitude of being a news organization. If you can appear to be as impartial as a real news organization tries to appear to be. The main I think is that nobody on the staff has a political axe to grind or ideological axes to grind. I think people get more upset about you know somebody having finished the mayonnaise than they do about genocides and Darfur unfortunately. But I try to be really aware of it we’re talking politically how many times we do jokes about Republicans and how many times we do jokes about Democrats and sort of making sure that we’re…we are walking down the middle. A lot of that work is done for us just by the sheer stupidity of politicians in general. You know we are really just trying to mock things that are stupid and people acting in stupid or hypocritical ways, and that happens on both sides of the aisle enough, more than enough, but we always get complaints from conservative readers saying that we’re not hitting Obama specifically enough or enough, but there the problem is that people get upset that we don’t criticize policy initiatives on the part of whoever is the current president based upon what their own perspective on that policy issue is. Like we’re not a left-wing organization who is trying to propagate a left-wing way of thinking, and we’re not a right-wing organization who is trying to do that either, so we can’t pick apart policy moves. We just, we’re not politicians. We’re not political, but when Republicans, for instance, you know try to portray Obama as a socialist who wants to kill your grandmother, that’s just absurd. That needs to be pointed out and ridiculed because it’s absurd and on the other hand, you know when Obama says he is going to do one thing and then sort of backs down and does another that also is… needs to be satirized. So I try to be very careful about it, mainly because I want both sides to read us and enjoy us and we do have lots of conservative readers who like us as well.\r\n
Question: Do you ever get bored with the day-to-day side of politics?\r\n
Joe Randazzo: I think the much more interesting thing for us to cover and which is what we do well is to kind of comment on what’s going on in the country rather than what specific politicians are doing. These things change from day-to-day and if you look on a historical scale politicians have been doing the same stupid things over and over again since the time of togas, so our job, and what we’re interested in as consumers in America in 2009 as individuals, and then translated into what we do in The Onion, is mocking the media, mocking Republicans, mocking Democrats. I personally went through a period a few years ago where I was intensely consuming political news and it wore me out and sort of depressed me. I read a lot less of it. I read it a lot less closely nowadays than I was say four or five years ago when every new story would throw me into a rage. You know it was a lot of energy for trying to go up against something that’s an immoveable force that’s been in motion since the dawn of man, man’s stupidity and hubris.
Recorded on November 30, 2009
Interviewed by Austin Allen
Onion editor Joe Randazzo explains how his paper maintains the highest standards of objectivity and integrity in pissing people off.
Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.
Health officials in China reported that a man was infected with bubonic plague, the infectious disease that caused the Black Death.
- The case was reported in the city of Bayannur, which has issued a level-three plague prevention warning.
- Modern antibiotics can effectively treat bubonic plague, which spreads mainly by fleas.
- Chinese health officials are also monitoring a newly discovered type of swine flu that has the potential to develop into a pandemic virus.
Bacteria under microscope
needpix.com<p>Today, bubonic plague can be treated effectively with antibiotics.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Unlike in the 14th century, we now have an understanding of how this disease is transmitted," Dr. Shanthi Kappagoda, an infectious disease physician at Stanford Health Care, told <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/seriously-dont-worry-about-the-plague#Heres-how-the-plague-spreads" target="_blank">Healthline</a>. "We know how to prevent it — avoid handling sick or dead animals in areas where there is transmission. We are also able to treat patients who are infected with effective antibiotics, and can give antibiotics to people who may have been exposed to the bacteria [and] prevent them [from] getting sick."</p>
This plague patient is displaying a swollen, ruptured inguinal lymph node, or buboe.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention<p>Still, hundreds of people develop bubonic plague every year. In the U.S., a handful of cases occur annually, particularly in New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado, <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/plague/faq/index.html" target="_blank">where habitats allow the bacteria to spread more easily among wild rodent populations</a>. But these cases are very rare, mainly because you need to be in close contact with rodents in order to get infected. And though plague can spread from human to human, this <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/seriously-dont-worry-about-the-plague#Heres-how-the-plague-spreads" target="_blank">only occurs with pneumonic plague</a>, and transmission is also rare.</p>
A new swine flu in China<p>Last week, researchers in China also reported another public health concern: a new virus that has "all the essential hallmarks" of a pandemic virus.<br></p><p>In a paper published in the <a href="https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2020/06/23/1921186117" target="_blank">Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences</a>, researchers say the virus was discovered in pigs in China, and it descended from the H1N1 virus, commonly called "swine flu." That virus was able to transmit from human to human, and it killed an estimated 151,700 to 575,400 people worldwide from 2009 to 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.</p>There's no evidence showing that the new virus can spread from person to person. But the researchers did find that 10 percent of swine workers had been infected by the virus, called G4 reassortant EA H1N1. This level of infectivity raises concerns, because it "greatly enhances the opportunity for virus adaptation in humans and raises concerns for the possible generation of pandemic viruses," the researchers wrote.
The word "learning" opens up space for more people, places, and ideas.
- The terms 'education' and 'learning' are often used interchangeably, but there is a cultural connotation to the former that can be limiting. Education naturally links to schooling, which is only one form of learning.
- Gregg Behr, founder and co-chair of Remake Learning, believes that this small word shift opens up the possibilities in terms of how and where learning can happen. It also becomes a more inclusive practice, welcoming in a larger, more diverse group of thinkers.
- Post-COVID, the way we think about what learning looks like will inevitably change, so it's crucial to adjust and begin building the necessary support systems today.
Scientists uncovered the secrets of what drove some of the world's last remaining woolly mammoths to extinction.
Every summer, children on the Alaskan island of St Paul cool down in Lake Hill, a crater lake in an extinct volcano – unaware of the mysteries that lie beneath.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought out the perception of selfishness among many.
- Selfish behavior has been analyzed by philosophers and psychologists for centuries.
- New research shows people may be wired for altruistic behavior and get more benefits from it.
- Crisis times tend to increase self-centered acts.