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
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.