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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » Our Dumb Century: The Onion Presents 100 Years of Headlines from America's Finest News Source » User review

My faith in American wit is restored in 'Our Dumb Century'

  • Sep 17, 1999
  • by
Pros: Not a weak era; 100 years of hilarity

Cons: Format means the narrow-minded won't recognize the genius behind it

...one has only to hope that the next dumb century produces a similar grade of satirists.

'The Onion' is one of those things you can use as a barometer of your fellow man: if somebody doesn't get it, you probably don't want to be their friend.

I was a bit worried about this getting repetitive, or at very least running into reprints cribbed from the web site, but no: the authentic look of the 'newspaper' front pages carries over into the writing style as well. Mistake number two was skimming and concentrating on the headlines: don't; this is a full book. One of my favourite articles was a parody of the (always parodied) Charles Atlas adverts from your childhood comic: Adlai Stevenson is targeted as the 98-pounder.

If you happen to be a Brit or somebody else who enjoyed '1066 and All That,' or a Canadian " " " who " 'An Unexpurgated History of Canada,' this should do a fair bit to restore your faith in historical funniness. It's curiously educational, too; your memory is repeatedly jagged in the most pleasant way possible. There isn't a weak or overlooked era.

I made a quick perusal of other reviews before writing this one. I found three things of note:

-- the print is admittedly small, and trying at times,

-- it is truly a laugh-until-involuntary-urination book, and

-- the only people who don't like it are the ones who confuse 'they're' with 'their.'


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More Our Dumb Century: The Onion Pr... reviews
review by . August 29, 2006
This book contains the funniest satire that I have ever read. The Onion is a fictitious newspaper that contains satire of the news rather than news. The first page is dated January 1, 1900 and the last page January 1, 2000. A great deal of knowledge of history is necessary to appreciate some of the stories. For example, the headlines for August, 1914 are    *) British Croquet Mallets Prove Useless at Front  *) Belgian Forces Halt German Advance Using Cream-Topped Waffles: …
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K. Mennie ()
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About this book


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 ofThe 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 ofThe 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 ...

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ISBN-10: 0609804618
ISBN-13: 978-0609804612
Author: The Onion
Genre: Entertainment
Publisher: Three Rivers Press
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