From The 50 Funniest American Writers: An Anthology of Humor from Mark Twain to the Onion, edited by Andy Borowitz. By the way, a good number of the humorists in the book are dead. What does that say about American humor--or about this book?
And does The Onion qualify as a humorist? I wanted to know who wrote this article for the paper several years ago (and if they're now writing for the Onion News Network).
Clinton Deploys Vowels to Bosnia
Cities of Sjlbvdnzv, Grzny to Be First Recipients
Before an emergency joint session of Congress yesterday, President Clinton announced U.S. plans to deploy over 75,000 vowels to the war-torn region of Bosnia. The deployment, the largest of its kind in American history, will provide the region with the critically needed letters A, E, I, O and U, and is hoped to render countless Bosnian names more pronounceable.
"For six years, we have stood by while names like Ygrjvslhv and Tzlynhr and Glrm have been horribly butchered by millions around the world," Clinton said. "Today, the United States must finally stand up and say, 'Enough.' It is time the people of Bosnia finally had some vowels in their incomprehensible words. The U.S. is proud to lead the crusade in this noble endeavor."
The deployment, dubbed Operation Vowel Storm by the State Department, is set for early next week, with the Adriatic port cities of Sjlbvdnzv and Grzny slated to be the first recipients. Two C-130 transport planes, each carrying over 500 24-count boxes of "E's," will fly from Andrews Air Force base across the Atlantic and airdrop the letters over the cities.
Citizens of Grzny and Sjlbvdnzv eagerly await the arrival of the vowels.
"My God, I do not think we can last another day, Trszg Grzdnjlkn, 44, said. "I have six children and none of them has a name that is understandable to me or anyone else. Mr. Clinton, please send my poor, wretched family just one 'E.' Please."
Said Sjlbvdnzv resident Grg Hmphrs, 67: "With just a few key letters, I could be George Humphries. That is my dream."
If the initial airlift is successful, Clinton said the United States will go ahead with full-scale vowel deployment, with C-130s airdropping thousands more letters over every area of Bosnia. Other nations are expected to pitch in as well, including 10,000 British "A's" and 6,500 Canadian "U's." Japan, rich in A's and O's, was asked to participate in the relief effort, but declined.
"With these valuable letters, the people of war-ravaged Bosnia will be able to make some terrific new words," Clinton said. "It should be very exciting for them, and surely much easier for us to read their maps."
Linguists praise the U.S.'s decision to send the vowels. For decades they have struggled with the hard consonants and difficult pronunciation of most Slavic words.
"Vowels are crucial to the construction of all language," Baylor University linguist Noam Frankel said. "Without them, it would be difficult to utter a single word, much less organize a coherent sentence. Please, don't get me started on the moon-man language they use in those Eastern European countries."
According to Frankel, once the Bosnians have vowels, they will be able to construct such valuable sentences as: "The potatoes are ready"; "I believe it will rain"; and "All my children are dead from the war."
The American airdrop represents the largest deployment of any letter to a foreign country since 1984. During the summer of that year, the U.S. shipped 92,000 consonants to Ethiopia, providing cities like Ouaououa, Eaoiiuae and Aao with vital, life-giving supplies of L's S's and T's. The consonant-relief effort failed, however, when vast quantities of the letters were intercepted and horded by violent, gun-toting warlords.