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Posts Tagged ‘funny headlines

Click bait…

 

From the ever-exquisite xkcd.

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As we linger over listicles, we might send almost-but-not-quite existential birthday greetings to Albert Camus; he was born on this date in 1913.  A Nobel Prize winning author (The Plague, The Stranger, among others), journalist, and philosopher, he was a creator of Absurdism… a resonant but different variety of philosophical thought from Existentialism.  Indeed, Camus firmly rejected the Existentialist label: “I am not an existentialist.  Sartre and I are always surprised to see our names linked…”

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Written by LW

November 7, 2013 at 1:01 am

In praise of punctiliousness…

On August 10 the website of the Athens [Georgia] Banner-Herald ran the headline “Man asked to clean up after dog pulls gun.”

It has subsequently been changed.

Via World Wide Words, where editor Michael Quinion also quotes from an article in The Independent on 12 August about the Australian general election: “On the campaign trail and addressing a Liberal Party event in the city of Melbourne [opposition leader Tony] Abbott said: ‘No one — however smart, however well-educated, however experienced — is the suppository of all wisdom’.”

Indeed.  (And lest one think there’s little at stake, this.)

[image above, via Nora Wilkinson]

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As we disagree with Vampire Weekend, we might send addled birthday greetings to an empress of ellipses and exclamation points, Jacqueline Susann; she was born on this date in 1921.  Having been disappointed by her luck as an actress and a model, Ms. Susann turned to the typewriter.  Her first novel, Every Night, Josephine (featuring her poodle), was a best-seller.  Her second, Valley of the Dolls was the best-seller:  it topped the chart for 22 weeks, and by the time of Susann’s death in 1974, had sold over 17 million copies, making it the best-selling novel of all time.  Its current cumulative sales of 30 million puts it in a dead heat with Gone With the Wind, One Hundred Years of Solitude, and To Kill a Mockingbird).

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Written by LW

August 20, 2013 at 1:01 am

R.I.P., copy-editors and fact-checkers…

To begin this morning, a blast from the past, by way of saying Happy Mother’s Day!  Now to more serious matters…

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It’s only natural that, as traditional news organizations shutter bureaus and slash staff, “anomalies” will begin to creep into their reportage– misleading lay-outs, confusing grammar and syntax, outright mistakes…  Consider for example coverage of the big story of May 1…

The Boston Globe‘s story about Osama bin Laden’s death tripped on a homophone: “according to Islamic tradition, his body was washed, wrapped in a white shroud, and given burial rights”; while the Daily Telegraph may have confused readers about the objectives of the attack: “Mr Panetta also told the network that the US Navy Seals made the final decision to kill bin Laden rather than the President.”

(Perhaps, in the heat of the moment, the Seals muddled “Osama” with “Obama”, as some other news outlets did.)

These examples, and others, at World Wide Words.  And for a running account of the erosion underway, follow @themediaisdying. (More amusing headlines here.)

As we return to perfecting our Flipboard formats, we might recall that it was on this date in 1951, in New York City, that Hart, Shaffner, and Marx introduced a new sartorial technology: the first men’s suit made with polyester fiber– a blend of 55% Dacron and 45% worsted wool. (It was another decade before the introduction of the leisure suit, and yet another before it became a cultural landmark.)

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Freudian Slips…

From Fox News, announcing the big news story of May 1:

BREAKING NEWS
Obama Bin Laden Dead

Still, Happy World Press Freedom Day!

As we remember that, to paraphrase Craig Newmark, a free press is the immune system of a democracy, we might wish a crafty Happy Birthday to Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli; he was born on this date in 1469.  Machiavelli wrote comedies, poetry, and some of the best-known personal correspondence in Italian; but he is best remembered as a Man of Affairs, first as a servant of the Florentine Republic in a time during which Medici influence was on the wane.  His most famous work, The Prince— first published as a pamphlet in 1513– was written mid-career to gain favor with the Medici, who were at that point regaining dominance in Florence.  The essay on the exercise of power (inspired by Cesare Borgia) not only failed to win over the Medici, it alienated Machiavelli from the Florentine public; he never again played an important role in government.  Indeed, when the Florentine Republic was established in 1527, Machiavelli was effectively ostracized.

But published in book form posthumously (in 1532), The Prince began its steady growth in influence.  And indeed today, Machiavelli is considered one of the fathers of modern political theory.

Niccolò Machiavelli by Santi di Tito (source)

The Annals of Radical Juxtaposition: Special Journalism Edition…

From Jim Fallows’ always-illuminating Atlantic blog, “Many Mental Patients Simply Walk Out“:

I mentioned yesterday that I was “sure” it was an “accident” that the NYT juxtaposed two stories on its home page about artificial-heart devices. The first story said that former VP Cheney had gotten one; the second, that too many people were getting them.

Reader Mike Diehl says that I was correct to put the air quotes (OK, electronic quotes) where I did. He writes:

>>Had I seen that, I would not have had a doubt the pairing was intentional. I still have a copy of the New York Times from August 8, 1974 — one day before Richard Nixon resigned the presidency. On the front page at the bottom is a photo of Nixon, walking from the Executive Office Building to the White House, juxtaposed with an article headlined, “Many Mental Patients Simply Walk Out.”

Searching for this page, which I am delighted to have found and am attaching here, I note that quite a number of articles on mental health facilities were published in the paper that summer, several making the front page. Two front-page pieces I found are adjacent to articles on Nixon, but none so juicy as the one I cite above. However, on July 31, a front-page piece by Lawrence van Gelder headlined “Mental Patient Held As Church Arsonist” is sandwiched between two articles on Watergate, one headlined “President Surrenders 11 Tapes to Sirica,” the other a reproduction of the text of Impeachment Article III. Coincidence? I think not.

As a graphic designer, I’m aware the opportunities to make such a wry statement with mere page layout are rare, but the New York Times is no stranger to the practice.<<

click image above, or here, to enlarge

On a vaguely-related (and marginally-suitable-for-work) front, readers might enjoy “15 Funniest Accidentally Naughty Headlines,” e.g…

 

As we ponder the future of journalism, we might recall that it was on this date in 1997 that the Italian government issued the 1,000 Lire coin, the reverse side of which features a European map on which Germany (which reunited in 1990) is shown as still divided into East and West.  The coins were discontinued the following year.

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Old habits, dying hard…

From the afore-cited and ever-amusing Criggo.com (“Newspapers are going away. That’s too bad.”) TotH to Miss Cellania.

As we realize that it’s time to get to work on our New Year’s resolutions, we might pause to wish the happiest of birthdays to Samuel Langhorne Clemens, aka Mark Twain; he was born on this date in 1835 in Florida, Missouri.

Clemens began his career as a newspaper man– first as a typesetter, then as a reporter.  But he had no fear of new technologies:  he was the first author to submit a typewritten manuscript to his publisher.

photo by Matthew Brady

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