One of the classic headlines (2001) from The Onion: “Family of Five Found Alive in Suburbs.” A few bits from the story tracking a family that disappeared from Chicago and was found again years later in Buffalo Grove:
Rescuers discovered the five-person clan after a survey plane spotted a crude signal fire the family had created in a barbecue grill…
To protect themselves from the elements, the Holsapples fashioned a three-bedroom, ranch-style lean-to with brick facing and white aluminum siding. During their years on the acre-and-a-half lot, the Holsapples faced many hardships, including septic-tank backups, frequent ant infestation, and the threat of rezoning to erect an industrial park across the street.
“The Holsapples were in pretty bad shape when we found them lying lifelessly on their patio furniture,” paramedic Mary Gills said. “Their stomachs were bloated from years of soda and fast food, and they were all suffering from severe cultural malnutrition.”…
According to University of Illinois– Chicago anthropologist Dr. Arthur Cox, to survive such an emotionally, culturally, and spiritually barren place, the Holsapples were forced to “go native.”
“Much like those stranded in remote islands, the Holsapple family looked to the indigenous population to learn techniques for adaptation and survival,” Cox said. “Shocking as it is, one eventually becomes acclimated and then numbed to the theme restaurants, cinema multiplexes, and warehouse-sized grocery stores.
Interestingly, this is exactly the sort of story that opponents of suburbs might write: the family disappeared into a vast wasteland with no culture. The story contains a number of typical criticisms about suburbs: spiritually dead, no culture, out in the middle of nowhere (particularly when cities are considered to be the center of the universe), primitive life, mind-numbing, requiring the ability to shop and be entertained at garish facilities, and so on.
Of course, when it is written in this style, it all sounds quite funny.