Saturday, August 22, 2009

A couple of (unintentionally) amusing headlines

As I’ve said before, I generally avoid critiquing newspaper headlines. Because they are severely restricted as to length, newspaper headlines are not strictly prose. Like telegrams, Twitter tweets and PowerPoint slides, they are a form of shorthand.

However, I can’t help chuckling at the occasional amusing headline that slips into print. Here are two recent examples:

“Rise of the Super-Rich Hits a Sobering Wall”
The New York Times, August 20, 2009

"Julia joins the conga line of imperialist running dogs"
The Australian, August 21, 2009

The Takeaway: It’s not fair to hold newspaper headline writers to the standards of discursive prose. These writers are often forced, by length restrictions, to commit errors in grammar and even logic. If you are a sharp-eyed reader – and I hope you are – you will frequently spot unintentionally amusing headlines.

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