Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Today's best headlines

I was mildly amused - despite the tragic story it related to - by this headline (above) in the morning issue of Tuesday's London free Metro newspaper. Then, just a couple of pages on in the same paper I found this:

Now, I was never very good with numbers but that says to me that last year they were executing 3.5 people a day. Can you execute half of a person? However, these two clippings paled to insignificance besides this gem of a headline from the Sun:

That's a story you just have to read don't you? It reminded me of that hugely mad headline that was published in the News of the World back in the late 1970s. It stated:

'Nudist Welfare Man’s Model Wife Fell For The Chinese Hypnotist From The Co-op Bacon Factory'

That will take some beating and is still, to my knowledge, the best headline ever. Interestingly, the story behind the headline was even more bizarre than the headline suggests. According to journalist Jon Slattery, 'It had all the elements of a Whitehall farce and starred the welfare services chief of a large London borough who was a practising naturist and walked round his home in the buff. His wife, a part-time model, had had an extra-marital relationship with a gentleman of Oriental extraction who did indeed work in a Co-Op bacon factory and was an amateur hypnotist and therapist in his spare time. The nudist welfare chief had actually encouraged his wife's friendship with her Chinese paramour in the belief that he was treating her for problems in their marriage – until, that is, one day he climbed into the loft, drilled a hole in the bedroom ceiling and observed his good lady and the hypnotist indulging in some practical therapy on the bed below.'

He then goes on to explain that 'The one fact the otherwise admirable headline omitted was that the welfare chief had managed to get up into his loft despite having two artificial legs, so he was actually a legless nudist welfare man … Unfortunately, the sub-editor later admitted he couldn't work the word ‘legless’ into the headline for lack of space.'



Persephone said...

This was a post that appeared in my blog a little over a year ago:

I love the headlines at the BBC news web site. Two favourites from November 1st: "Excrement curry wife admonished" (a woman put doggy-doo in her husband's curry -- the marriage is now over); and (this isn't exact, but I'm remembering the gist) "Council concern over illegal deaths on roadway". As opposed to the perfectly legal deaths on the roadway? Today, a brand new favourite: "Wards closed by vomiting bug". Sounds worthy of a Doctor Who episode...

chris hale said...

I remember the bacon factory headline! But this throws up (sic) the broader isue of how tabloids present news. A fire is always a 'blaze'. A policewoman will be a 'Girl Cop'. And don't forget how 'Judge raps blaze girl cop in shock horror probe'. Oh to be a tabloid journalist! The puns! The smutty innuendo! The almost entirely misrepresentative version of the truth!

Stevyn Colgan said...

Persephone, Chris - Great observations from both of you (as we'd all expect). I have a bit of an issue with the word 'exclusive' as all of the tabloids seem to use it to describe the same story that they're all carrying. Does 'exclusive now mean 'ubiquitous'?


Frank Kelly said...

With regard to the 14 killed in graveyard plane crash - convenient indeed. I looked into this, it gets stranger - it happened in Butte Montana, big catholic Irish/American population - It seems the plane crashed into an infant memorial, and one of the victims was the CEO of a nationwide abortion clinic!