Thursday, February 17, 2011

"Onion" Event Pulls $33 Million

A doctored image of what the evening may have been.
"An Evening with The Onion," sponsored by the Tufts Lecture Series and Programming Board Thursday evening, brought to campus two alleged "employees" of The Onion, America's Finest News Source (and satirical web/print publication). In fact, as university president Larry Bacow later explained, the event was nothing more than a prank dreamt up by himself and his wife, Adele, in order to, as he put it, "go out with a bang. The metaphors were pretty clear. We, like onions and ogres, love our time in the spotlight. But having been around since 2001, we, like the Shrek movies, have decided to give it a rest."

A fictitious "raffle" for a supposed "Kindle" lured large crowds to the event, but no raffle drawing ever took place, leaving one student wondering if she really was acting prematurely when she set fire to her entire paperback collection as a method of "pre-gaming."

Efforts must have succeeded, as the lecture drew a crowd of 10,479 students and 1,165 faculty, or roughly everyone on campus but a single freshman. When asked to comment, the individual (whose identity will remain hidden, but whose Facebook ID is available by request), stated, "I just, I couldn't find Cohen Auditorium. I still kinda don't know where anything is around here." Said student then proceeded to wander off campus in search of the elusive "gym."

When pressed for comments, the Bacows revealed that the individuals masquerading as journalists had never written witty graffiti on the bathroom stalls of Dewick, let alone worked for a national publication. The two graduate students performing the roles of Onion "writers" cut together screenshots, videos, and headlines from public Onion Archive material in order to create the illusion of having worked at the publication's office.

Independent research dug up by the grad students
Students present for the event were quick to confirm these revelations, citing "weak humor" and "cheap shots" as tip-offs that the employees did not, in fact, work for The Onion. "I knew it!" insisted one sophomore, "Onion sandwiches? They had no idea where the title even came from!" One sixth-year agreed. "Those Keynote slide transitions kept freakin' out the bearded guy, and that was an obvious clue the dude was phony. Cause, ya know, The Onion predicts the future, so he would have seen it coming."

Bacow's facade was not merely for show; the actual Onion publication was persuaded to donate $33 million to the university in exchange for the free, well-advertised, and student-organized publicity being given to the publication. The endowment came at a price, as the event organizers were required to shamelessly delay the beginning of the presentation for 15 minutes while nothing but the official Onion logo was projected onto a 50-square-foot screen, inconspicuously name-drop book titles during the Q&A session (achieved with the help of planted audience members), and embed subliminal consumer messages in presidential addresses (cleverly disguised, in fact, as embedded subliminal messages).

A spokesman for The Onion denied not only their endorsement, but also the very existence of the event, insisting that they "would never allow the most dangerous campus in Boston to sponsor, pretend to sponsor, or think about sponsoring" their publication. Reports of said spokesman being assaulted with wrench-like objects recently circulated mailboxes, courtesy of of TUPD. The department also took the opportunity to test the emergency texting system, the emergency messenger pigeon system, and the emergency in-person singing telegram system. When telegram-deliverers and pigeons alike were prevented from piggy-backing into South Hall to deliver their messages, FIRE instantly promoted the campus to #11 on the anti-free-speech list. The university expects PETA to soon follow suit with anti-pigeon allegations.

In other news, the Tufts Zamboni has been bought out by Peacelight, whose following exploded to upwards of 3,600 readers per day as a result of this post.

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