The Onion: Our Dumb Century

This could be the funniest book of the 1900s. It certainly sums up the century in a unique and hilarious style.

Background: The Onion is a web- and paper-based satirical weekly, full of stories that are just slightly off from consensual reality. For example: "Terrorist Bombing Damages Bob Dole's Outer Hull", "Microsoft Patents Ones, Zeroes", "Penthouse Reader Never Thought This Would Happen To Him", or the classic "Area Bassist Fellated". Their stories are often nothing more than headlines, from which you are left to imagine the rest.

In Our Dumb Century, the Onioners have applied their deadpan sensibilities to history. Purporting to be a collection of front pages of The Onion over the past 100 years, it's actually a supremely twisted take on our culture. My favorite bit is the three-day sequence of Nixon stories:


NIXON ARRESTED IN CONNECTION
WITH WATERGATE BREAK-IN
President Handcuffed, Taken to Prison in Oval Office Bust

NIXON ESCAPES
President Kills Two, Wounds
Six in Stunning Jailbreak

FEDS GUN DOWN NIXON OUTSIDE ARIZONA MOTEL
FBI Agents Bring Down Fugitive President in Hail of Gunfire
Or how about the headline for November 22nd, 1963:

KENNEDY SLAIN BY CIA, MAFIA, CASTRO,
LBJ, TEAMSTERS, FREEMASONS
President Shot 129 Times from 43 Different Angles

As you can see, the stories take place in a slightly alternative universe. Highly recommended.

Published by Random House; 164 pages; ISBN 0-609-80461-8. Order it from Amazon.com.
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