Sunday, August 31, 2008

Hed ban alert

Here are some handy rules for those times when you're tempted to dip into pop-culture cliches for your display type:

1) Don't
2) If you must, be sure -- relentlessly, ruthlessly sure -- that the resulting cliche scans correctly
3) Nah. Just see (1)

That's the problem with The Offering by The State shown at The Top. First, it's genuinely bad-air-down-that-path stale: Find three nouns, follow with "oh my" and call it good. Second, count the meter in the original: LIons and TIgers and BEARS (beat), oh MY. If you can't match that, throw your hed out. You're drawing attention even farther away from the notional subject and toward the hed writer, always a bad move. And third -- right, see Rule 1.

"Oh my" heds are on the permanently banned list, whether you can count a dactyl or not. File 'em with "Let the games begin" and all its heirs and assigns.

Here's a seasonal reminder, while we're on the topic:

Katrina-ravaged Gulf fearing Gustav's wrath

Let's not, shall we? Someone else might think it's ...

Clearly the danger remains very real. Hurricanes are an example of nature's fury. Could we catch a break and dramatically spare most of our neighbors to the south from the destructive wrath of Gustav? Stay tuned!*

Residents along the U.S. Gulf Coast, including New Orleans, are being warned they too could soon feel the wrath of Gustav.

Cuba blasted by wrath of Gustav.

Oil industry better prepared for the wrath of Gustav.

In what must seem like a bad dream to so many of these beleaguered residents of New Orleans, who have only just begun to get their lives back together after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina which occurred three years ago, almost to the day, the reports of the wrath of Gustav as it hit Cuba’s western tip and gained speed has sent most New Orleans residents packing.

Unless and until the Atlantic season starts with Hurricane Aguirre, no more "wrath." Period.

* Somebody at Minnesota Public Radio has a bad case of the stupids today.

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5 Comments:

Blogger Denise said...

I can't believe an actual meteorologist wrote that column.

5:25 PM, August 31, 2008  
Blogger Pete said...

In the case that you might run across someone inclined to write a "wrath" hed, send them to this site.

7:17 PM, August 31, 2008  
Blogger Tybalt said...

Gustav, The Easy and Wrath, oh my!

11:55 PM, August 31, 2008  
Blogger Andy Bechtel said...

From the NYT:

Lines and Bubbles and Bars, Oh My! New Ways to Sift Data

8:25 PM, September 01, 2008  
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