Seeing all the saber-rattling over Iran brings back memories of my college years. I was a student at Rutgers College in New Brunswick, N.J., during the Iran hostage crisis.
Islamic activists held 52 Americans hostage from November 4, 1979, to January 20, 1981. The crisis dragged on for 444 days, and some analysts saw it as one of the reasons why then-President Jimmy Carter lost to Ronald Reagan.
Back then, I thought the crisis made the United States appear to be weak and helpless. Then a 21-year-old senior, I hadn’t decided to become a journalist. I hadn’t even studied journalism. But I felt an urge to write and so I got out my Smith Corona typewriter and wrote a spoof about the upper hand that Iran seemed to have over the U.S.
This was before The Onion and some people didn’t know what to make of my ramblings. But someone at the college paper – the Daily Targum – liked my piece well enough to publish it on Nov. 20, 1980 (see “Iran deals for portions of Eastern seaboard”).
That was 31 years and 10 months ago. And if you must know, that works out to 1,005,782,400 seconds, which I would never have known if not for the Date Duration Calculator, something we never had at Rutgers.
In my spoof, I rename the Ayatollah Khomeini. I call him Cold Weenie, which did not lead to any rioting as far as I know.
Anyway, today in News & Feature Reporting class, we are going to talk about The Onion and other websites that feature spoofs on the news.