A little while ago The Chicago Tribune seemed to take a page out of The Onion’s book, and it began indulging itself in attempts at snarky humor on its Tempo page. Not fake news, just lighthearted satire about puffy in-the-news items. I don’t have an example that comes to mind, mostly because the attempts were never really that funny. No mainstream paper can be subversive, so its jokes are predestined to be pretty weak.
Recently, the jokes started infiltrating page 3 of the front section, displacing real headlines with “wacky” observations of celebrity behavior and don’t-it-make-ya-laugh news events. A fairly depressing moment in journalism history.
But they went and surprised me last Friday. I laughed. I emitted actual audible bleats of amusement while reading a funny, funny piece called “Trek personality, NPR personality or food additive?” In a multiple choice test, could you tell the difference between Khan Noonien Singh and Mandalit del Barco?
Khan. Definitely Trek. Kahn’s, on the other hand: Definitely food. (Fine encased meats from a Cincinnati meat packer.)
Well done, Tribune. Well done.
The joke reminds me of this fantastic post passed along to me via the indefatigable Sam Bennett with instructions from Lianablog for divining your NPR name. Get a smart-sounding, culturally inscrutable handle in two simple steps:
1. Shove your middle initial somewhere in your first name.
2. Choose the smallest foreign town you’ve ever visited as a last name.
Reporting from Evanston, Illinois, I’m Jandrew Partenkirchen.