Life Imitates “The Onion”

The Onion isn’t a real newspaper—it’s satire that sends up most all aspects of modern culture. But sometimes they’re so spot on in their mockery that they wind up predicting the future.

The Onion

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The Onion: Shortly after the Supreme Court ruled in 2013 that the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional, thereby laying the groundwork for the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage, The Onion ran the article “Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, Alito Suddenly Realize They Will Be Villains in Oscar-Winning Movie One Day.” That referred to the dissenting opinions issued by four of the nine Supreme Court justices. The Onion predicted the movie would be called “Defense of Marriage.”

Reality: In July 2015, movie studio Fox 2000 acquired the rights to a book called 21 Years to Midnight, a book by Jim Obergefell, lead plaintiff in Obergefell v. Hodges, the case that led the Supreme Court to rule on the legality of same-sex marriage.

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The Onion: In 2013, The Onion ran an article with the headline “Overstock.com Announces Plans to Develop Original Programming.” It was a riff on the fact that giant consumer-goods-moving companies like Amazon had started making their own movies and TV shows, such as the award-winning series Transparent. 

Reality: Maybe The Onion gave them the idea, or maybe it was Amazon, but nevertheless, in January 2015, Overstock (which sells wholesale consumer goods at discount prices) announced plans to start making original series.

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The Onion: In 2015, the U.S. and Iran reached an agreement on nuclear weapons called the Vienna Accord. The government of Israel (of which Iran is an outspoken critic to say the least) was among the most concerned parties, which led to The Onion publishing “U.S. Soothes Upset Netanyahu With Shipment of Ballistic Missiles.”

Reality: A day after the fake story was published, it was reported that in the wake of the Vienna Accord, the U.S. government really had offered Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu an extensive military aid package.