"Axies" Fever is sweeping the globe, as leaders and citizens around the world eagerly anticipate tomorrow's announcement of the 2003 "Axis of Evil" inductees.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei holds Iran's Axie aloft during his acceptance speech at the 2002 State of the Union Address.
The Axis of Evil Awards -- or "Axies," as they have come to be called -- are the brainchild of US President George Bush, who distributed the first four awards during the 2002 State of the Union address. Intended to "recognize those nations who have gone the extra, evil mile," the Axies have since become one of the most coveted awards a country can receive.
World leaders have spent billions in recent months to call attention to their evil deeds, some taking out full-page ads in The New York Times, others sending videotapes of atrocities directly to the White House. In an unusual move, a top Nigerian official has sent unsolicited email to millions of people documenting his nation's practice of "setting up companies and awarding themselves contracts which were grossly over-invoiced."
But despite the fervor, not everyone is looking forward to the event. "The Axies are nothing but a big anti-popularity contest," groused Bashar al-Assad, leader of Syria, whose nation is expected to be passed over again this year. "We are way more evil than Iraq, but just because they tried to assassinate Bush's father they got the award. Suck-ups." Others have insinuated that the entire selection process is rife with corruption. "The voting is totally rigged," says Jean Chrétien, Prime Minister of Canada. "How else do you explain last year's winners: Iraq, Iran, North Korea, and wilwheaton.net?"
Still, such accusations have not dampened the spirits of the hundreds waiting outside the Congressional building in Washington D.C., many of whom camped out for weeks in the hopes of securing a seat. Delegates from France and Germany stand near the front of the line and boast about how they became Axies favorites last week. A dozen Beijing officials, clad in "Go China!" t-shirts, predict that their nation will take home a statuette. And, nearby, a dozen bureaucrats from Iceland say that, while their country's chances are slim this year, the Axies are a perfect forum to spread word of Icelandic Evil. "Maybe in 2004," President Ólafur Ragnar says wistfully.
The 2003 Axis of Evil Awards will air tomorrow on all major networks, and begins at 9:00 EST with host Whoopi Goldberg delivering the State of the Union Address.