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Posts Tagged ‘headlines

“You are where your brain is but not where a front-page headline is”*…

 

Headlines in newspapers, teasers for TV new stories “at 11”– from it’s birth, the press has promoted its wares with précis that pique a peruser’s interest.  The advent of online journalism has only amplified that phenomenon… and to amusing effect.

Jeva Lange illustrates in “A field guide to identifying what website that headline came from.”

* Santosh Kalwar

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As we click on the bait, we might recall that it was on this date in 1920 that the 18th Amendment took effect, and the U.S. became dry.  Under 100 years earlier, American’s had been drinking an average of (the equivalent of) 1.7 bottles of hard liquor per week– three times the average these days.  A sin tax, levied at the end of the Civil War, moderated consumption a bit– but not enough to satisfy the coalition of women and evangelicals behind the passage and ratification of “The Noble Experiment”– the national ban on the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol that was better known as “Prohibition”– was ratified.  Prohibitionists had been after a ban for decades before the 18th Amendment went through.  But until the institution of an income tax (in 1913), the federal government depended for the majority of its income on alcohol taxes… so was indisposed to let Prohibition happen.

By the time it was repealed in 1933, organized crime had become a major feature of American city life, and the American public had adopted the invented-for-the-occasion word “scofflaw.”

The Defender Of The 18th Amendment. From Klansmen: Guardians of Liberty published by the Pillar of Fire Church

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Written by LW

January 17, 2016 at 1:01 am

“When a dog bites a man that is not news, but when a man bites a dog that is news”*…

 

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From “Are Selfies Causing the Spread of Head Lice?” to “Brain Implant Lets One Monkey Control Another,” all the news that amuses:  The News Hole.

* Charles Anderson Dana, American journalist, 1819-1897

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As we read all about it, we might send ink-stained birthday greetings to Ben Hecht; he was born on this date in 1894. A novelist and Oscar-winning screenwriter (Underworld, Scarface, The Twentieth Century, Spellbound, Notorious, Monkey Business, Mutiny on the Bounty— over 70 in all), Hecht began his career as a newspaper reporter and columnist in Chicago– experience he put to good use when he co-wrote (with fellow reporter Charles MacArthur) the hit play The Front Page.

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Written by LW

February 28, 2014 at 1:01 am

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

“If one morning I walked on top of the water across the Potomac River, the headline that afternoon would read: President Can’t Swim…”*

Throughout its first fifty years, The New York Review of Books has asked many questions: What is Art? How Did it Happen? Where Do We Go From Here? Yonder Shakespeare, Who Is He? Tennis Anyone? How Dead is Arnold Schoenberg? Aimez-Vous Rousseau? Is There a Marxist in the House? How Smelly Was the Palladian Villa? Do Fish Have Nostrils?

… and exclaimed, and teased with indefinite antecedents– and just generally delighted.

Click through the highlights of NYRB‘s first half century at “Yuk! Pshaw! Excelsior! Fifty Years of Headlines from The New York Review.”

* Lyndon B. Johnson

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As we tip our hats to the tease, we might spare a thought for François-Anatole Thibault; he died on this date in 1924.  Better known by his pen name, Anatole France, he was the poet, journalist, and novelist considered the ultimate French “man of letters” of his time.  A member of the Académie Française and winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature (1921), France was active in affairs of the state– perhaps most prominently as an ally of Zola’s in the Dreyfus Affair.  But he’s in your correspondent”s Pantheon as the model for narrator Marcel’s literary idol Bergotte in Proust’s In Search of Lost Time (or, as your correspondent knew it, Remembrance of Things Past).

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Written by LW

October 12, 2013 at 1:01 am

Not-So-Superman…

 

Florida Man Florida Man@_FloridaMan 4h

Florida Man Flees After Trying To Break Into Truck; Leaves Crocs At Scene, Pisses Pants | http://buff.ly/17foFnk 

Florida Man Florida Man@_FloridaMan 20h

Florida Man Broke Into Woman’s Home, Took iPad Photos Of Himself With Her Underwear On His Head | http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2013/jun/25/deputies-burglar-left-love-notes-photos-underwear/ …

Florida Man Florida Man@_FloridaMan 25 Jun

Police Find Florida Man Naked, Revving Motorbike In Front Yard | http://feedly.com/k/18dEvBR

A Twitter feed of headlines from Sunshine State newspapers recounting the exploits of “the world’s worst superhero”…

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As we whistle Sewanee, we might recall that it was on this date in 1997 that 18,187 spectators at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas saw Evander Holyfield jump, scream, and and move away, bleeding, from his opponent, Mike Tyson in the third round of their fight.  In a move that anticipated the coming craze for zombie stories (and in a posture that presaged vampire movies to come), Tyson had bit Holyfield in the ear…  Tyson was disqualified from the match and suspended from boxing.

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Written by LW

June 28, 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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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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