America cashes in on the enemy for honest profits

Contestant Madeline Quinn was under pressure. With more than $17,000 riding on the answer to the next question, the stakes were high. Which member of the celebrity panel would she turn to for the answer to the question “What is the lifespan of the Angolan spotted hammerhead shark?” The ever-sassy Daisy Fuentes in the upper left square, the outrageous Dennis Rodman in the bottom center, or the wise-crackin’ Woopie Goldberg just next door? After a moment of hesitation, she posed her question to the wild-eyed, shaggy-bearded man in the center square.

“Well, let’s see,” said the lean and hungry fellow. “I’m no expert on sharks, but my gut reaction would be . . . Death to all infidels! Let the American Empire rot in hell!”

And so frequent celebrity guest Osama bin Laden brought laughter to another episode of the popular game show “Hollywood Squares.” With hilarious “catch-phrases” such as, “We plan more terrorist attacks every day,” and “Al Qaeda grows stronger by the moment,” the off-kilter entertainer has become one of the show’s favorite guests.

Times were once hard for the zany bin Laden. His early career projects, which involved carefully orchestrated terrorist attacks on American soldiers and civilians, were so unpopular that he earned himself the status of “Wanted Dead or Alive.”

“Osama is the comeback kid,” said fellow celebrity guest Pauly Shore. “I’ve made some bad career moves, but I’ve never had a death warrant. Whenever his eyes sparkle and he says, ‘The corrupt western imperialists are doomed to choke upon their own vomit’ it’s pure magic.”

Years after a massive military campaign was mounted in Afghanistan to find bin Laden and to bring down his Al Qaeda terrorist network, the loony agitator seemed all but forgotten until December 2006 when he was found in his secret hiding place in the basement of Cincinnati suburbanite Mark Cloddhopper. During several months of hiding, bin Laden survived by drinking several cases of Dr. Pepper that Cloddhopper won in a supermarket sweepstakes.

The game seemed to be up for bin Laden, who faced the prospect of a speedy trial and possible execution for crimes against humanity. But then the corporate board of the Dr. Pepper corporation intervened.

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“Our sales at the end of 2006 were unbelievable,” said Pepper CEO Larry Young. “Osama had instant name recognition. He was a natural spokesperson for the Pepper line of products. It would have been madness to waste an opportunity like that.”

After filing a hasty plea bargain, bin Laden went free and landed a hefty publicity contract with the Dr. Pepper Corporation, whose latest slogan, “America shall be incinerated forever in the flames of righteousness,” was a sure winner.

Although the decision to set bin Laden free was controversial, President George W. Bush stood by it in a recent press conference.

“Some people accuse this administration of not being concerned with Osama bin Laden,” said Bush, staring out at cameras and pursing his lips thoughtfully. “This is not the case. Why, I have used the name ‘Osama bin Laden’ in many of my most popular speeches, along with such words as ‘vigilance,’ ‘faith,’ ‘honor’ and ‘responsibility.’ See, in America we have rights, and if a company like Dr. Pepper has the ingenuity to make an honest profit off the ‘bin Laden’ trademark, the government isn’t going to stand in their way. Not under my watch.”

Vice President Dick Cheney was unavailable for comment.

The bin Laden phenomenon has been especially popular amongst the crucial 18-35 year demographic who have enjoyed bin Laden’s appearances on the hit VH-1 series “I Love the First Few Years of the First Decade of the Twenty-First Century,” a show which revisits the once popular trends of the years 2000-2005.

“Gosh,” said college senior Kelly Jenkins, watching an episode of the show, “I can’t believe we wore all those backless, spaghetti-strap tops back in 2000!”

“Oh, yeah,” said roommate Lisa Purle, “And look, there’s that weird Arab guy with the funny hat. Remember, he flew some planes into a building and everyone got all serious for a while?”

“Totally! Everyone was putting flags on cars and wearing ‘Never forget’ t-shirts, and crying all the time. Didn’t a bunch of people go to the Red Cross and donate urine?”

“Something like that,” said Purle. “Hey, want a beer?”

Not everyone is so charmed by the bodacious bin Laden however. On a recent episode of “Hollywood Squares,” celebrity guest Tina Yothers stormed out of her box, shouting, “I can’t believe this! Doesn’t anyone know that this guy is the personification of evil? That he’s a mass murderer? That there are some things you just shouldn’t use as part of a big marketing plan.”

There was an awkward silence before celebrity guest Gary Coleman spoke up.

“Wow, she should really chill out,” said Coleman. “After all, it’s just a game.”