Never underestimate the power of a good headline, I always say. Take the Daily Mail on Monday:
This is what I get for watching “Girls.” I’m missing “The Bible,” but fortunately, I have Jeff watching for me. Of course I clicked the link; if the Brits know anything, they know how to get you to look at their paper. He didn’t look exactly like Obama, but yeah, there’s a resemblance — maybe if Obama gay-married Frank Langella and they genetically engineered a baby. Well, I’d expect nothing less from the Mark Burnett production house.
How about another from the U.K.? The Scottish Sun: Meet the woman with the world’s strongest VAGINA. Yeah, “vagina” in all caps, just in case we might miss it. How do they know how strong it is? She inserts an egg-like thingamabob up there, with a hook attached. She attaches dumbbells to the hook and holds them there, with the power of her ya-ya. There’s a video; never mind the content warning, everything is discreetly hidden from view. She’s Russian, and says she’s achieved this power after “20 years of vigorous training.” OK.
Let’s pick an American newspaper at random. (Spins in circle, points finger at…The Columbus Dispatch.) “Bill would allow school safety levies.” OK, well — legislatures are notoriously difficult to brighten up, unless they’re fighting with canes on the floor. (Or fighting about vaginas.)
The problem with headlines (these days) is SEO. To attract search-engine interest — absolutely essential in this day and age — heds have to be dumb, obvious and boring. The Obama/Satan and strong-vagina stories had the advantage of being lurid stories where even dumb, obvious headlines couldn’t be boring. Although I’d like to try; I bet a few copy editors could muck those up. Groups claim depiction of demon resembles prexy, perhaps, or Russian woman lifts weights — intimately. Prexy is a great headline word, along with solon. And “intimate” has been standing in for dirty, dirty sex for a long time now.
And now here we are, and here are some less-alluring heads on some fare more interesting stories, eh?
The WashPost on the peculiar trend of “Moorish American nationals” squatting in unoccupied homes. This seems to be an African-American thing, but I recall a rural white version from my Hoosier days. I think they called themselves “sovereign citizens” and did much the same thing, declaring their homes tiny little nations.
Last year, the Michigan legislature repealed the motorcycle helmet law. Twelve months later, motorcycle deaths up 18 percent. Alan and I drove behind a couple riding a motorcycle through Grosse Pointe. Both unhelmeted, although the woman was wearing a straw hat with fluttering ribbons she was clasping to her head with one hand, the other wrapped around the man’s waist. She seemed to think she was the cutest trick in shoe leather, and she was. I hope she never does it again, however.
If, like me, you were bothered by the knee-jerk criticism of Rob Portman over his turnaround on gay marriage, please read this, about Debbie Stabenow’s personal stake in better mental health care. I take turnarounds however they come; we are all human, and shaped by the events in our lives.
And with that, I approach the hump of Wednesday.