The Onion makes several important arguments in favour of parody. The satirical website that can make people believe the absurd has intervened in the Supreme Court’s case on behalf of a man who was detained and charged for mocking police on social media.
The Onion’s lawyers stated in a brief submitted on Monday that their clients had a self-serving interest in preventing political authorities from jailing humorists since they are the world’s leading parodists. This brief is offered to at least lessen their potential penalty in the future.
The court document refers to the federal judiciary as “complete Latin dorks” while maintaining a mostly straight face. The Onion claimed it had 4.3 trillion readers, and 350,000 employees, and has become the most powerful and influential organisation in human history.
Anthony Novak, who was detained after impersonating the Parma, Ohio, police department in Facebook posts, is the subject of the Supreme Court case.
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The posts, which included a warning against minorities applying for new police positions, were published over the course of 12 hours. Another post advertised a hoax event where child sex abusers could be “recognised as an honorary police officer and removed from the sex offender registry.”
The individual filed a lawsuit against the police for violating his constitutional rights after being exonerated of all criminal charges. However, a federal appeals court dismissed the complaint after finding that the police possessed “qualified immunity.”
One question is whether people might have legitimately trusted what they saw on Novak’s website to be true. The Onion, however, said that Novak was not required to issue a disclaimer. The Onion noted its own propensity to copy “the dry tone of an Associated Press news item,” saying that for parody to succeed, it must convincingly resemble the original.
The Onion’s assertions have been repeated numerous times as fact, including when it stated in 2012 that Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea, was the sexiest man alive. The brief ends with a well-known request for the court to consider the matter and an unexpected twist.
“The petition for certiorari should be approved, the people’s rights upheld, and several historical wrongs rectified. Any one of the three would be appreciated by the Onion, but especially the first, according to legal documents.