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Literature / Our Dumb World

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Our Dumb World is a mock world atlas written by The Onion. It contains a section on every country on Earth, plus some places that aren't countries. It's a Spiritual Successor to Our Dumb Century.


This book provides examples of:

  • 419 Scam: The first page of Nigeria.
  • Argentina Is Nazi Land: Argentina's entry describes it as this.
  • Bait-and-Switch Comparison: The entry for Idaho seems like it's going to talk about the state's potatoes, but instead it talks about the "famous Idaho iron ore":
    When it's suppertime and Americans sit down to enjoy a hearty meal, all look to the state of Idaho for one key ingredient: the steel girders and metal studs that help to hold together their dining room table and chairs.
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  • Black Comedy: The entire book.
  • Brand X: Central African Republic is presented as a generic store brand version of an African country, with pictures of people wearing black-and-white African garb and selling generically-labeled products.
  • Crapsack World: Essentially how every country is presented, especially in the sections for Africa and the Middle East.
  • Egypt Is Still Ancient: Parodied. Instead of a country that people live in, Egypt is described as a bunch of exhibits scattered in museums throughout the world.
  • Everytown, America: The entire state of Ohio is described as this.
    The blonde-haired, blue-eyed, baseball cap-wearing patriots of Ohio live in America's most all-American state.
  • "Far Side" Island: The Pacific island nation of Kiribati is said to be one of these.
  • Girlfriend in Canada: On the map of Canada, there's a spot marked as "Location of supposed girlfriend from camp".
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  • Hollywood Atlas: Exploiting (or making up) national stereotypes for humor is the whole point of the book.
  • Hollywood Teenager: The rebellious 15-year-old country of Eritrea.
  • Hypocritical Humor: The section on Italy claims the country rudely stereotypes other cultures by loose generalizations, then derides all Italians as "greasy, filthy womanizers".
  • Joisey: Portrayed as as a place full of rude people telling others to mind their own business.
    "Demanding people shove it up their asses since 1832" Located in you know where the fuck we are, and bordered by a bunch of places that can suck it—especially you, Pennsylvania—New Jersey is one of the nation's oldest and most historic states. So fuck you.
  • Mail-Order Bride: This is portrayed as Ukraine's sole export and a booming industry.
  • Porn Names: Hungary, portrayed as solely devoted to making porn, goes by "Gary Hung" in the business.
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  • Retroactive Legacy: The cover of the book lists it as its 73rd edition.
  • Running Gag: Many Countries in Africa have a person named Mtumbe Ngoube.
  • Second Place Is for Losers: South Korea's section, titled "#1 at Being #2", describes the country as tragically not being the best at anything, beaten in every aspect by a different Asian country.
  • Skewed Priorities: India cares far more about helping Americans set up computers over the phone than fixing their own problems like pollution and malaria.
  • Take That!: The part on Minnesota is titled "Land of 10,000 Retards" and consists of over-the-top bashing of the state. Additionally, unlike the rest of the Midwest, Minnesota is classified under "The Bullshit States" along with Alaska and Hawaii. It should be noted that The Onion was founded in Madison, Wisconsin.
  • Take That, Audience!: The introduction contains "A Note to Barnes & Noble Browsers" bashing people who read the book in the store without buying it.
  • The Team Wannabe: Categorized under the Middle East, Turkey's page is titled "Totally Out Of This Atlas Section As Soon As The EU Accepts Them". The country denies its Muslim majority and genocidal history solely because it wants to be considered part of Europe.
  • Tragic AIDS Story: The page on Botswana makes note of its sky-high rate of HIV infection, and describes it as a country that, after finding out it had AIDS, got its house in order and became a legitimate Third World success story. (Swaziland, on the other hand, wasn't so lucky.)
  • Überwald: Romania is portrayed this way, with the page's subtitle reading Bram Stoker's Romania.


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