- Hardcover: 192 pages
- Publisher: Running Press (May 12 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0762418664
- ISBN-13: 978-0762418664
- Product Dimensions: 7 x 3.2 x 8.9 cm
- Shipping Weight: 113 g
- Average Customer Review: 201 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #424,556 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Our Dumb Century Hardcover – May 11 2004
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Every Wednesday, work at Amazon.com--along with just about every other company connected to the fantastical "information superhighway" invented by Vice President Al Gore and actress Hedy Lamarr--grinds to a halt as employees hasten to read the latest issue of The Onion, America's most popular newspaper based in Madison, Wisconsin. But most of the paper's fans have started reading it only within the last few years, and are sadly unaware of The Onion's mighty journalistic legacy. To combat this cultural illiteracy, Editor in Chief Scott Dikkers and his writing staff have assembled this collection of great front pages from the last hundred years. Here is just a sampling of the headlines:
A New Century Dawns! McKinley Ushers in Bold New "Coal Age"
Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria Boasts: "No Man Can Stop Me"
AWESOME! Nation Wowed by Tremendous Hindenburg Explosion
Martin Luther King: "I Had a Really Weird Dream Last Night"
Clinton Denies Lewinsky Allegations: "We Did Not Have Sex, We Made Love," He Says
And those are just the headlines; the stories themselves are all masterpieces of the journalist's trade. Of course, readers with delicate sensibilities may find some of these accounts a bit too risqué, and perhaps even tasteless. (Among the potential offenders: Rosa Parks's decision to "screw this bus shit" and take a cab.) But if you're looking for an antidote to all the 20th-century hoopla promulgated by stuffed shirts like Peter Jennings and Harold Evans--not to mention the best history book since 1066 and All That--then Our Dumb Century is the one for you. --Ron Hogan --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
The Onion, a weekly newspaper out of Madison, WI, has established a hugely popular presence online with its laugh-out-loud mixture of sophomoric irreverence and savage satire. This book continues the Onion's missionAfrom 1900 to 2000Awith mock front pages twisting each year's signal events. 1906: "Should U.S. Set Limits on Indian Slaughter?" 1915: "Henry Ford Unveils New Line of Anti-Semitic Autos." 1933: "Stalin Announces Five-Year `Everybody Dies' Plan." 1942: "Ladies, Negroes Momentarily Useful." 1956: "U.S. Sexual Repression Reaches Boiling Point." 1976: "Cambodia to Switch to Skull-Based Economy." 1998: "Drugs Win Drug War." Though some articles will offend the delicate and a few fail to fulfill the promise of the headlines, this is terrific stuff. Even the graphics and asides have bite, like the "Countries Overthrown by the CIA Today" list from a 1964 issue. For all public libraries and academic libraries concerned with political humor.ANorman Oder, "Library Journal"
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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04/13/1916 -- Cubist Regiment Decimated -- skewed perspective, lack of depth prove liability as non-linear soldiers are mercilessly cut down
07/20/1925 -- Scopes Monkey Trial Raises Troubling Question: Is Science Being Taught in Our Schools?
01/22/1990 -- Berlin Wall Destroyed in Doritos-Sponsored Super Bowl Halftime Spectacular
01/10/1998 -- Educators Praised As U.S. Kids Lead World in Schoolyard Shooting Accuracy
Many items are inspired one-liners, but a number enjoy lengthy front page stories that sustain the mood and the level of comedy. Ads, announcements, tv and radio schedules, cartoons and graphics are equally enjoyable. Count how many times Lady Liberty is ravaged by heathen outsiders!
A minor complaint: The only thing that would have made this book more enjoyable is an index so you could find your favorite targets more easily, but the writers have brought me so much laughter I could forgive them anything. A gentle warning: Don't leave this in the loo or you will never get in there!
Splendid. Righteous. Brilliant.
"The Onion" is a satirical publication that is a cross between Harvard Lampoon and MAD Magazine, delivered with the mischievous, Cheshire Cat-like grin of Chevy Chase in his prime on Saturday Night Live. Through the articles of "The Onion", neither tragedy nor triumph has ever seemed quite so...funny! And though "The Onion" has not been around for most of the century, this has not stopped them from doing their part to cash in on "End of the Century" profiteering with their own look back on the stories that shaped and defined the 20th Century.
The true joy of "The Onion" is to be found in these faux-retrospectives. The humor is like those times when a bunch of friends are sitting around, and someone comes up with a preposterous way of looking at something. While the comment is funny in and of itself, the humor piles on in the way all the other friends chime in with their addendums and rejoinders, milking the concept for all it is worth. "Our Dumb Century" does just that. Each headline has an article with it, an expedition into the ridiculous. Be prepared to see the Apollo moon landing, World War II, and Clinton impeachment in a whole different light. No event is too sacred. No event is too mundane. The 20th Century is ripe for historical defilement, and "Our Dumb Century" serves up a hearty dose of lunatic revisionism for your enjoyment. Bon appetite.
If you haven't been clued in to what the Onion does, it is a dead-on, straightfaced parody of American newspapers. It is beautifully crude and sophomoric in a manner Mad magazine no longer aspires to, and for readers looking for some deathly funny satire in this politically-correct, can't-we-all-just-get-along, sissified age, it is a lighthouse in a stormy sea.
So what's Our Dumb Century about? It is a parody of those fin-de-siecle commemoratives most major newspapers put out last year, ignorant of the fact that we still have a year left in the 20th century.
The book allegedly reprints the front pages of the last 100 years of the Onion during critical times in the nation's history. The writers accurately ape the style of newspapers throughout this period, from the cluttered text columns of the early 1900s to the graphic-intensive layouts of today.
Of course it's the stories themselves that hit you where you live. 1902-"Republics Negroes Still Waiting for 40 Acres, Mule--Agriculture Secretary Faults Low Mule, Acreage Availability at Present." 1918-"Corpse-Eating Rats Now Largest Military Force in Europe." 1934-"FDR Creates 300,000 Jobs With 'Tunnel to New Zealand' Project." 1945-"Hitler Commits Suicide; Ravaging of Europe a 'Desperate Cry for Help', Say Therapists." Or my favorite from 1963-"Kennedy Slain by CIA, Mafia, Castro, LBJ, Teamsters, Freemasons--President Shot 129 Times from 43 Different Angles." Oliver Stone was right!
If you're up for slaughtering some sacred cows with a smile and have more of a sense of humor than your typical Thought Police apparatchik, this may be the book for you.
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Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 7.6 x 2.8 cm
This will fit in your palm.