What’s up, Onion?

by Spencer Doar

The Onion published an article yesterday about the suicide of Ariel Castro, the Ohio man sentenced to life in prison after he held three women captive for over a decade. And it's… weird and unfunny.

“Ariel Castro Failed By System” is concerned with how the prison system did not take into the account the well-being of this particular inmate. While the health of a person who committed such heinous acts may seem far-fetched (and thus Onion worthy?), the point being made about the health and safety of prison inmates is generally a valid one, especially when Castro’s attorney said that Castro was denied evaluation by a defense psychologist for suicidal tendencies.

A cursory internet search turned up no applicable “John Wolahan”s, seemingly keeping with the Onion’s penchant for fictitious sources, but that’s all that’s Onion-y about the piece.  It reads more like an editorial, a position that someone could take during a debate.  (Although the quote, “[Castro’s] death is something we all have to live with,” is closer to the Onion’s way of exaggerating a position).

When stories are like “Ariel Castro Failed by System,” it becomes easy to wonder where the Onion’s institutional voice is heading (see the Onion’s stance on Syria too).