Dispatches From the Tenth Circle: The Best of the Onion

Dispatches From the Tenth Circle: The Best of the Onion

by The Onion

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“The Onion is laugh-out-loud, go-tell-your-friends, get-angry-you-didn’t-think-of-it funny.”
–Conan O’Brien

“Outside of maybe Dario Fo, an Italian who few are sure exists, the Onion people make the most consistently perfect and excoriating social commentary we currently have. But will those Nobel bastards honor them, too?


“The Onion is laugh-out-loud, go-tell-your-friends, get-angry-you-didn’t-think-of-it funny.”
–Conan O’Brien

“Outside of maybe Dario Fo, an Italian who few are sure exists, the Onion people make the most consistently perfect and excoriating social commentary we currently have. But will those Nobel bastards honor them, too? Only God, our merciless and just God, knows.”
–Dave Eggers

“The funniest publication in the United States.”
–The New Yorker

“This publication is tasteless and destructive to our shared values. Read it for yourself and you’ll see what I mean. Seriously, what else could make me laugh–much less laugh uproariously–while being offended week after week after week?”
–Al Gore

“The Onion is the funniest thing in news since Dan Rather’s spooky stare.”
–Matt Groening

“Brutal satire that rushes into the far reaches of race, class, sexuality, and culture where many publications–and critics–fear to tread.”
Chicago Tribune

“The Onion, unlike any other entity in our media culture, offers a refreshingly honest look at our complicated life.”
–Ken Burns

Editorial Reviews

Get ready for more of The Onion's brilliant social commentary in Dispatches from the Tenth Circle, a hilarious compendium of fake news articles from the weekly newspaper. From presidents to paupers, The Onion leaves no one unspoofed, showing readers the truth through fiction.
Publishers Weekly
Siegel, who began writing for the Onion in 1995 at age 23, became the satirical publication's editor by 1996, grabbing readers with such headlines as "Dolphins Evolve Opposable Thumbs," "Lutheran Minister Loves to Fuck His Wife" and "C-SPAN Releases Too Hot for C-SPAN! Video." With a surfeit of social/cultural commentary subtexts, some savage, the Onion has more layers than one might think. This collection offers thoroughly entertaining stuff like "Nation's Last Themeless Restaurant Closes" and "New Study Too Frightening to Release." Launched in 1988 as a free weekly for University of Wisconsin dorms, the nutty newspaper now has a circulation of 300,000, proclaiming itself "America's finest news source" and "the world's most popular humor periodical." Perhaps they get away with this because their first book, Our Dumb Century, winner of the 2001 Thurber Prize for American Humor, was a New York Times bestseller. To ignite future projects, the editorial staff left Wisconsin last January to open a New York office, but they didn't lose their sense of humor in the transition, as evidenced by the hilarity here, such as "Fanzine Marred by Typo" and "New Starbucks Opens in Rest Room of Existing Starbucks." Some pieces are short ("Ritalin Cures Next Picasso"), some long, and this collection, with more than 500 b&w photos, illustrations, charts and maps, garners genuine guffaws. No matter how you slice it, the Onion has appeal. (Sept. 4) Forecast: National marketing includes 16-copy floor displays and ads in alternative weeklies and college newspapers, plus a 20-city morning radio campaign. Since the Onion paid PW the highest compliment by parodying Show Daily at BEA, we must return the favor andadmit that these nutballs probably have another bestseller on their hands. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

Crown Publishing Group
Publication date:
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8.40(w) x 10.90(h) x 0.60(d)

Read an Excerpt

An Introduction by T. Herman Zweibel Publisher Emeritus

Any collection that contains the greatest news-writing of the epoch should be approached with humility, gravity, and not a little awe. How-ever, having built The Onion news-paper up from a mere market-gazette into the finest source of printed news-matter in our Republic, I have no illusions concerning the so-called romance of journalism. The collection you are holding is a sham, a fraud, and a waste of your hard-earned money. This material was intended to sell advertising space when it first ran, and now that it has served its purpose and is no longer relevant, you lot have paid for something that was initially free!

But this collection also fills my coffers with money, so I cannot object too strenuously to its printing. It also illustrates a point I often tried to make in my Publisher's Address columns in The Onion news-paper: I cannot believe the use-less things upon which you rabble will spend your precious few coppers! Wax-cylinder-recordings of the minstrel-men who sing while dressed like Negroes. Postcards of the French persuasion illustrated with daguerreotypes of ladies who are, against all common decency, from France. The medical quackery that is Mr. Salk's so-called "polio vaccine." I suppose, all things being equal, that you could do worse than to spend your meager funds on the journalistic pearls writ herein.

Which brings to mind a question often posed to me: Why do I permit people to be taught to read? After all, being a news-paper-man, I am in a better position than most to observe the results of wide-spread literacy, and I long ago concluded that letting the man on the street know what is going on in the world does far more harm than good. Is it wise to work the commoners into a lather by making them literate? Many still living remember how close this continent came to bloody, flaming destruction just a few years past, when it seemed that every brick-layer and ditch-digger would learn letters and ciphers at the iron-shod feet of that fulminating sow Laura Ingalls Wilder. Only the extreme measures of blinding her sister and putting her house to the torch were finally enough to stop that mad-woman's crusade.

Yet the damage had been done, and publishers such as myself were forced to re-work our papers. What were once organs of information serving the ruling elite now cater to a public that seems to think itself possessed of a right to know the day-to-day goings-on of the world. Thankfully, however, no matter how strenuously these squealing puddings demand to be informed, their actual desire to be informed is as slight as ever. Ruth-less plutocrats such as myself have slept much easier since deducing that the average citizen will not stir an inch to remove his rectum from the ream, so long as he is provided with sporting-pages, Sunday funnies, and gigantic, quivering bosoms somewhere above the front-page fold.

Yes, I once repented me of my news-paper-man's trade. But now, with more printed matter around than ever, I realize that my repentance was as silly and point-less as repentance always is. Now, knowing full well the common-man's taste for minstrelsy and penny-dreadful dramas, I do not fear to place the gems of daily reportage into general circulation. Instead, I took a lesson from the Mother church: By deluging you, the reader, with all manner of conflicting tripe along with a few small grains of truth, I have distracted you into settling for a much more worth-less and hope-less world than you might otherwise. This, of course, pays great dividends, as it seems to cause you to run about stabbing and looting and raping and burning, making my paper more enjoyable and exciting to read, which in turn increases sales to those like yourself.

Therefore, you will be proud to learn, you are partially responsible for what you will find in these pages as you rediscover the manifold joys and horrors of Onion issues past. Not so responsible as am I, of course, because you are but sheep and I a stone-hearted millionaire and, yes, a great employer of shepherds.

Now leave me alone!

Meet the Author

The Onion is the world’s most popular humor publication. Its first book, Our Dumb Century, was a New York Times #1 bestseller and winner of the Thurber Prize for American Humor.

The Onion can be found at www.theonion.com and on newsstands nationwide.

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