With features such as “‘Comm Ave Runner’ Absent from Campus After Discovering Treadmill” and “Your Friend Albert From High School Now Going by ‘Just Al,’” Kevin Flynn’s Tumblr brainchild The Bunion not only brings a new level of sass to campus journalism but also provides BU with its very own Onion-esque satire.
Flynn began tossing around the idea for The Bunion last spring after becoming aware, and critical, of satire-worthy aspects of BU. He was even more motivated to make this Tumblr a reality after a summer spent working for BU. Flynn then wrote the first articles and says it’s turned out exactly as he imagined.
The Bunion has since garnered several more writers and gained a largely devoted following who offer nothing but praise, although naysayers are still out there. Flynn says, “I think if we’re reaching these people that just don’t get the humor of what we’re trying to do with The Bunion, it’s just a sign that we’re starting to tap into this larger audience, and not all of them are going to understand us.”
Flynn attributed his inspiration for The Bunion to his love of comedy, especially satire, stating that “The Onion provides a lot of inspiration in the way that they constantly manipulate and distort the mundane format of newspaper journalism … The Colbert Report is also a huge inspiration. I think Colbert is one of the best satirists of this generation, if not the best.”
Flynn credits his experience with Slow Children at Play, one of BU’s sketch-comedy groups, as well as the BU TV show, The Morning After for what he has learned about “effective storytelling and comedy in general.” He has created a bridge between these activities and The Bunion by drawing inspiration from his fellow comedians, as well as recruiting his staff from these groups.
Although all Bunion writers now get a byline on the site as of this past week, it has not always been the case. Initially, Flynn wanted to keep a certain sense of anonymity, claiming, “I wanted people to take the site seriously, and I think people are more receptive of something that’s larger than one person or a handful of people… a lot of the way I presented the site initially suggested that there were a bunch of people involved even though it was just me. Bottom line, I wanted it to be this big force, not just ‘Kevin Flynn’s satire blog.’”
As the site gained popularity, Flynn decided that it was important to claim ownership for its content. Although the writers’ names have since become public, The Bunion has maintained a collective attitude–no specific author for each article is published on the site.
According to Flynn, the goal of The Bunion remains, besides of course being a source of entertainment, “to make meaningful commentary about things that happen here and draw attention to these alternative perspectives. No institution is perfect — there are plenty of things to question and poke fun at around here.” Flynn has also entertained the idea of making his creation an official club through SAO, which potentially means a print copy of The Bunion right next to The Daily Free Press. He adds that this would be “damn cool,” and I cannot help but agree with him.