The Onion's 1996 Man Of The Year

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The Onion's 1996 Man Of The Year

Ever since Onion publisher T. Herman Zweibel was first awarded the honor in 1921, The Onion's Man Of The Year has ranked among the most prestigious and time-honored traditions in journalism. Though there are many who make and shape our world, only one can be chosen The Onion's Man Of The Year.

A roster of past selections reads as a veritable who's-who of history's towering figures: John Ritter, My Dad, The Guy From The Police Academy Movies Who Makes Funny Noises With His Mouth, President Bill Climpton, The San Diego Chicken, Stomach Cancer and Freakass The Wonder Skunk have all been chosen.

It is the most prestigious honor The Onion can give. It goes to the one man (or, in theory, woman) who best mirrors our hopes, our fears, our dreams.

But how could one man possibly live up to the challenge of summing up the inherent contradictions and dualities of our ever-fragmenting post-industrial society?

In 1996, one did: The Denorex Guy.

Our Information Age has brought us untold leaps in cross-cultural synergy, technology and culturo-ideological restructuring. Medicine, engineering and communication continually rise to staggering new peaks. The vast material luxuries of 1996 America beckon the emergent postmodern consumer culture to dizzying heights. On this side, we feel tingly.

Yet, at the same time, traditional cementing agents of human civilization—religion, family, marriage, community, patriotism—lie in ruin. Consumer culture mutates at an alarming rate, creating subcategorization of staggering complexity, political stagnation, widespread socioeconomic alienation and a dull, aching sense of spiritual numbness. We live out blank and empty lives, empty of passion, bereft of hope. On this side, we feel...


The Denorex Guy, 1996's Man Of The Year, embodies this central dichotomy of our age like no one else.

The Denorex Guy brings much-needed medical supplies to Zairean refugees near the Zaire-Rwanda border.

"Thank you. God bless. I would definitely pick the Denorex side," The Denorex Guy said when told of the decision.

But who is this Denorex Guy? Is he a man perpetually at war with himself, forever trapped between the left side, where he feels tingly, and the right, where he feels nothing?

No. He has chosen. And his choice is the clinically tested, scientifically proven dandruff-fighting action of Denorex medicated shampoo.

Here stands a man who, though tragically stricken by dandruff, refuses to let it best him. A man who faces a choice, but has the wisdom to know that to forgo the shampoo of his past, he must accept, in all objectivity, the truth—and face the shampoo of his future.

"There's only so many that one man can reach. But I won't rest until I've shown as many people as I can the vast superiority of Denorex over the leading brand. Skeptical? I was too, at first," the Denorex Guy said. "I prefer the way the Denorex side of my head feels. That's first hand knowledge—empirical evidence that I cannot close my eyes to."

Even now, in his greatest moment of glory, The Denorex Guy struggles to spread his message of deep-down medication, moisturization and cleansing of the scalp to as many people as he can. It is for this tireless dedication to his cause and so much more that we raise him aloft, and say to all the world: Here stands The Denorex Guy—the Man Of The Year, and a man for all time.