Thursday, November 21, 2013

"The Onion" Presents Our Dumb Century

1999, first edition, from Three Rivers Press
Edited by Scott Dikkers
The Onion Presents Our Dumb Century: 100 Years of Headlines from America's Finest News Source
Bought new for $15.00
Worn paperback

The popular satirical website (and until last year print newspaper) The Onion here covers 1900 to 2000 with fake but almost believable headlines and news stories.  Although there are pictures (including "photo-graphs"), it's a very slow read because the font is so small.  My favorite aspect was the use of pop culture, as in the four stories inspired by It's a Wonderful Life, and the article "Henley, Frey Urge Nation to Take It Easy" in 1973.  The best of these is probably the Little Rascals "gang" terror in 1932, with a young Spanky trying to look menacing in plaid knickers and matching hat.

This book won the Thurber Prize for American Humor.  I laughed out loud a few times, but I didn't find it hilarious.  It was actually most interesting from an admittedly skewed historical perspective, including a reference to Dick Cheney as Secretary of Defense, written at a time no one yet knew he'd become Vice-President.

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