Archive for May 24th, 2009

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Newspaper Headline FAIL

May 24, 2009

I’ve written newspaper headlines for money. Actually, I did it for a lot of years. And I have made some serious doozy mistakes in heads, one or two of which have required a correction. Maybe five, actually. Okay, nine.

None were as bad as these, which turned up this week at failblog.org, the fifth-funniest website on the Internet:

Or this new and instant classic, a key example of why you shouldn’t use text to fill space in Quark or InDesign templates:

This resembles an error I made once, early on; I composed a cutline for a photo while the photog was processing it (this is pre-digital), using XX to placehold the two people’s names until the photog could give me his notes (and the PMT). He did, and I added the names, but the version of the Quark page that went to production was the original. The photo ran the next day, starring XX and XX. I was embarrassed, but the people in the photo, more so.

This taught me a big lesson: don’t fuck up.

Headline-wise, I tended to lean toward tabloidy heads, big, bold declaratives, rather than more straighforward Man bites dog type of all-keyword jobs. This led to some interesting discussions with other editors over the years, and now I’m a blogger.

Writing headlines is a tricky science, and one I never quite mastered (which you know if you read this site regularly.) One guy who did get it right can be found here, in this great article.

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Today’s Moron: Paris Hilton, “Actress”

May 24, 2009

I know she’s an easy target. And really, who am I to make fun of a beautiful woman who was born a billionaire and makes $25,000 a minute to show up at parties? Nice life if you can get it …

But Paris Hilton has long wanted to be an actress. This became evident in her first film, which was pretty low-budget and was shot in a hotel room. I’ve never seen that one. I did see that one where she was the friend of the ugly girl, and the nerd loved her, or something, but I don’t remember much of it. And I think she was in the remake of House of Wax, which offered yet another reason to skip the remake of House of Wax.

Now Paris wants to act again. And she wants to act in a Quentin Tarantino movie.

“I’ve always preferred doing reality shows to acting because I can just be myself, but he’s the director I’d do it for,” she said in an interview that’s being spread around the blogosphere like E at a Hollywood nightclub. “I want to be his next Bride like Uma Thurman in Kill Bill!”

Hmmm …. Wasn’t it just a few months ago that Paris told reporters the persona she portrayed on reality shows — dumb, stupid, clueless and dingbatty — was an “act?” And didn’t she hold that out as an example of her acting ability? Yeah, this is what she told People magazine: “For five seasons I was stuck doing this character. It was kind of hard always having to play that character when it’s not who I am.”

Now she says she was being herself, and she wants to act, maybe as a ninja … I can’t keep up.

Quentin Tarantino makes big, blasting films that are characterized by snappy, hip dialogue and stylized action. Paris is not capable of either of these things. Unless, of course, Quentin’s next flick is an edgy remake of Gilligan’s Island and he needs a Ginger.

Tarantino issued a terse “no comment.”

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