Our Dumb World

Onion

Our Dumb World‘ is a parody of the standard desk atlas created by the staff of ‘The Onion’ and published in 2007. It is The Onion’s first book of entirely original content since 1999’s ‘Our Dumb Century.’ The book, written in the satirical paper’s editorial voice, contains entries for nearly every country on Earth, including detailed maps and humorous stereotyped descriptions of regional history and customs. For example, Canada’s entry is subtitled, ‘For the United States, see pages 9 – 22.’ The sections devoted to the Northern and Southern Poles and Greenland, are touted as, ‘larger than Africa and South America combined.’

The visual style of the atlas has been compared to Dorling Kindersley’s ‘Eyewitness’ series. The book uses faux xenophobia to illustrate the cultural differences of various nations, often mocking racial stereotypes with satirical comments. In the ‘New York Times,’ William Grimes called it ‘an astoundingly offensive guide to the states of the union and the countries of the world, compiled on the premise that all countries are ridiculous and contemptible’ and found it ‘sophomoric, transgressive, and intermittently brilliant.’ Elements of the book have been transferred to an electronic format available on the paper’s website and as a layer on Google Earth.

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