Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Headline of the Year

Throughout 2011 I've been keeping track of headlines and news stories that stand out for all the wrong reasons. Admittedly, I've forgotten to keep an eye out for most of the year, but here is what I got:

Firstly, the story that gave me the idea for this.  I confess to being a closet cheeky girl fan, so when I read the headline

"Cheeky Girl cautioned for shoplifting in Cheshire"

I was naturally taken-aback. What's so beautiful about this is that at first glance you think a non-entity has been caught shoplifting in a cheeky manner, which I find to be a pleasing image. It's also funny because they have to refer to her as a "Cheeky Girl" because no-one would know who Garbriela Imiria is, and because the Beeb found an excuse to dig out an old photo of Lembit. Plus, any BBC article that feature the words "Ms Irimia and her twin sister Monica had four top ten hits between 2002 and 2004. Their debut single Cheeky Song (Touch my bum) sold 1.2m worldwide." is funny.

Next up is this gem from 11th January. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-12160874
The article itself is rather boring, simply because the entire story is explained by the glorious headline:

"Italian man shot in head sneezes out bullet and lives"

Oh, BBC, thank you for spending our license fees so wisely.

Now we move on to an article posted to Facebook by a friend of mine. The peculiarity of this story is matched only by the peculiarity of its headline: 

"Chainsaw wielding pyjama man attacks tree in dead of night"

If the purpose of this is to entice you to read the article, it certainly succeeds, as it leaves the reader with so many questions I actually thought reading this headline had sucked some information from my brain. It refers to "pyjama man" like this is a common expression, but frankly it just made me think of Banana Man. In case you can't be bothered to read the whole thing, it features this: "One resident, who declined to be named, said: “He was in his pyjamas. I just rang the police.""

We're onto the 20th of January now, and with it comes this headline: 

"Live chicken thrown at KFC staff in Nuneaton"

One of the many fantastic things about this headline is that whoever wrote it thinks "in Nuneaton" is relevant and interesting enough to the common reader to include in the headline. It's also great because it contains the sentence "The RSPCA is now looking for a new home for the hen, which it has named Mrs Sanders." No comment needed.

The Guardian now, with a headline that I found interesting, if not side-splittingly hilarious.

"Third of Zimbabwe's registered voters are dead"

And to think, in the UK only 60% of living people can be bothered to vote.

The next one should be of interest to followers of wacky Jacqui (or iffy Smiffy, depending on which you prefer). It's the kind of headline that makes you check the date isn't April 1st.

"Jacqui Smith to investigate porn trade for the BBC"

The article includes the line "Ms Smith's earlier brush with the porn industry..." which I'm sure is designed to conjure an unpleasant image in the head of less savoury-minded readers.

We're in May now, and another headline that just seems to have been created using a random word generator on hallucinogenic drugs.

"Severed head of patron saint of genital disease on sale"

Why is there a patron saint of genital disease? I have no answer. But the article does helpfully tell you when and where the auction is taking place, in case a 17th Century head relating to genital disease tickles your fancy.

You think our Deputy Prime Minister is crazy? What about this:

"Teacher Mohamed Ibrahim quits for Somalia deputy PM job"

What's more bizarre is that the article provides absolutely no insight into why a teacher was appointed to the Government.

Former Norwich MP Ian Gibson once claimed that inbreeding was a cause of heart disease in the region. He survived that particular scandal. Unfortunately this teacher did not meet the same fate.

"Teacher Suspended Over 'Inbred' Locals Slur"

I wonder how inbred your pupils have to be for it to be legitimate to say it.

Lastly, but by no means...leastly, this absolutely terrific headline:

"Man jailed after trying to turn faeces into gold"

What's interesting about this is that it's actually misleading. Reading the headline alone, one is instilled with a sense of sympathy for the hapless gentleman involved. Surely it's not a crime to attempt faecal alchemy? Alas, it transpires he was actually imprisoned for setting alight to a block of flats, while attempting to turn his shit into gold. And of course, the article includes some beautiful lines, such as "In his ruling Judge McFarland told Moran: “You were attempting to make gold from human faeces and waste products. It was an interesting experiment to fulfil the alchemist’s dream, but wasn’t going to succeed.”" 
Erm...I'm not sure turning faeces into gold is the alchemists dream. He is also described as a man of "considerable intellectual ability". Right, before or after he set fire to some flats trying to TURN HIS SHIT INTO GOLD???

Hope you enjoyed this. Sorry I forgot about this for most of the year. I will try harder next year. My personal favourite is probably pyjama man. How about you?

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