Last month, The Onion launched a new parody site called StarWipe. The site is a satirical take on the world of celebrity tabloids, like TMZ, US Weekly, and Star Magazine. On its launch, the press release described the site as “the most trusted source in the completely untrustworthy realm of celebrity gossip,” promising that StarWipe would “supply a constant stream of scurrilous, invasive information on the lives of the rich and famous.” The site has already produced some excellent satirical celebrity content, like “10 Sexy Scarlett Johansson Photos To Distract You From America’s Gun Problem,” and “Brad Pitt Apparently Popular Enough To Get Away With Buying Nazi Motorbike.”
Unlike The Onion, which tends to fabricate news based on societal observations or characteristics of public figures, StarWipe takes real events and adds imagined information or commentary, much like actual tabloids do with celebrity lives. In the case of the recent article, “Kylie Jenner Might Star In Movies, Because Evil Triumphs When Good Men Do Nothing,” StarWipe is reporting on an actual announcement by Jenner that she would pursue a film career, but the way it comments on that news, calling it a rising evil, is the vehicle for the satire. The article even links to the source of the news, which is something The Onion never does.
What separates this style of satire from that of The Onion is that it’s more pointed. The Onion usually plays on the idea of a thing, as opposed to the thing itself, which allows it to make a more broad satirical point. By fabricating news loosely based on real news, The Onion uses a degree of removal from reality to imagine the extremes of a situation. StarWipe deals directly with actual celebrity news stories, so it dwells in the realm of satirical commentary, like The Daily Show and Weekend Update. This works very well when stories are mapped on to broader issues, like “President Obama Sang ‘Happy Birthday’ To Usher, And Can’t We Just Enjoy This Without Making It Political?” which uses the lighter fare of a birthday party to mock the gun rights rhetoric of resisting politicization.
Perhaps the most important aspect of StarWipe is its ability to consistently comment on issues like Hollywood’s views of women, and the enduring problems of body issues and expectations of beauty. From absurd headlines like “Last Night’s Look: Love It Or Revert To Puritan Law And Shun The Garment-Wearer From Society?,” to pointed critiques on tabloid photo commentaries like, “This Woman Looks A Lot Like Jennifer Lopez But With Glasses â€¦ Nah, It Couldn’t Be,” StarWipe challenges the often libelous nature of tabloid culture, and subverts the narrative of women in the public eye. And sometimes it just relishes in the absurdity of it all: “So Hot Right Now: Suitcases.”
Check out StarWipe.com for more celebrity satire.