Literature / Our Dumb Century
Our Dumb Century
is a mock 20th-century retrospective by the writers of The Onion
. It consists of fake front pages whose look and feel parodies that of each era of the century, with headlines and articles making fun of news stories throughout the century.
This book provides examples of:
- Antiquated Linguistics: Utilized quite profusely in the earlier parts of the book.
- Bank Toaster: During The Great Depression, Herbert Hoover introduces a Free Toaster Premium Initiative (bread not included) to boost confidence in the nation's banks.
- Candid Camera Prank: "Allen Funt Lets President In on Hilarious 'Cuban Missile Crisis' Prank"
- Cluster F-Bomb: "Holy Shit, Man Walks on Fucking Moon"
- Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys: The French surrender ten minutes after Nazi Germany invades. They do it again when Pearl Harbor is bombed, and AGAIN when the Americans drop a different kind of bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
- Conspiracy Kitchen Sink / Who Shot JFK?: "Kennedy Slain by CIA, Mafia, Castro, LBJ, Teamsters, Freemasons"
- President shot 129 times from 43 different angles!
- Then all 70+ suspects were shot outside the courtroom by Jack Ruby, leaving the whole thing a mystery.
- Creepy Crossdresser: "War Rationing Board Restricts Nylon Use to Armed Forces, J. Edgar Hoover Only"
Frilly Panties and Garters Especially Needed Now, FBI Director Says
- Deliberate Values Dissonance: The cultural attitudes of each era are parodied.
- Demonic Dummy: How Howdy Doody is written about
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: "Aristotle Onassis Killed by Lone Gunman in Athens Motorcade"
- The entire Watergate scandal, which instead plays out like the Gary Tison prison break, up to and including Nixon being gunned down by police outside of a Motel (Spiro Agnew still at large).
- Every Car Is a Pinto: Which gets Ralph Nader killed when test-driving one of the Trope Namers. He is memorialized with a sculpture of a Pinto with an eternal flame rising from its exploding engine.
- Expy: Little Orphan Maggie, an orphan girl acquired by T. Herman Zweibel.
- Felony Misdemeanor: Tax evasion is the only heinous crime Al Capone is even accused of.
- For the Evulz: Why Nagasaki was nuked, according to the article.
- Have a Gay Old Time: "Earth-Quake Marks Least Gay Day in San Francisco History"
- Go Ye Heroes, Go and Die: "New President Assures Nation, 'The Only Thing We Have to Fear is a Crippling, Decade-Long Depression'".
"'All is Lost', says 32nd President in Address to Nation; America Doomed
- Heroic Bystander:"Japanese Zeroes Held Off by Boy with Dick Tracy Decoder Ring"
- I Love Nuclear Power: Deconstructed in "Boy Bitten by Radioactive Spider Dies of Leukemia."
- Karma Houdini: "Horrible Asshole Richer Than Ever"
- Political Correctness Gone Mad: Parodied; one of the news stories is about an Iowa family being attacked for having only white members.
- Poor Communication Kills: All of World War I was caused by Archduke Ferdinand picking a horrible time to do some King Incognito and not tell anybody.
- Real Dreams Are Weirder: "Martin Luther King: 'I Had a Really Weird Dream Last Night'"
- Running Gag: A number of major trials are referred to as the "Trial of the Century."
- There's also the running gag of cartoons featuring Lady Liberty being raped.
- During World War II, the French kept surrendering.
- Shown Their Work: The newsprint style of each individual decade is painstakingly reproduced. There are also lots of period-accurate historical and literary references.
- Situational Sexuality: "Let's Work Together to Pretend Our War-Time Homosexual Experiences Never Happened"
- Worst News Judgment Ever: "Death of 500,000 Somalis Momentarily Distracts Nation from Dream Team Excitement"