Wednesday, August 7, 2013

"Look Who They're Keeping"

This is little but it caught my attention, which is maybe one reason you have me around – to notice things that don’t really matter.  Though I’m about to puff up its importance, to fool myself into believing it actually does.  Watch how I do this.  It’s quite interesting.  And surprisingly effectiveness.  

Okay.  Fire up the “Righteous Indignation.”  And here we go. 

It’s outrageous, I tell you!  Outrageous!  

We all know the newspaper business is in terrible trouble, and that there’s a boatload of Draconian belt-tightening going on to keep print journalism afloat. 

Foreign bureaus have been closed around the world, their international correspondents sent home.  Columnists have been let go, investigative journalism curtailed.  Experienced reporters have been bought out, prize-winning photographers pink-slipped, the entire newsroom staff pared mercilessly to the bone.  

Hey, it’s a fiscal necessity. 

“Economize or Die.”

What remains is the proverbial skeleton crew.   “Essential Personnel Only!”  No luxuries.  No frills.

Our eyes turn today to a member of the newspaper staff who’s been retained amidst the austerity and coldhearted cutbacks.

It’s the writer who comes up with the puns for the headlines in the Sports Section.

Pulitzer Prize winners – take a hike!  We can’t afford you anymore. 

But at all costs…

We gotta keep the “Pun Guy.”

And so they have.  Every morning, I open the L.A. Times Sports Section to catch up on the scores and details regarding the latest activities on the playing field.  And every morning, at least two of these stories are bannered by pun-embedded headlines. 

It’s as if the newspaper did a survey and discovered that a significant number of readers prefer their sports coverage, captioned by clever, story-related plays-on-words.

And they would be less likely to read the paper without them.

“Can’t get my day started without those puns.  It’s like my morning “cup ‘a Joe.”

The following are selected examples from a single week of reportage from the Sports Section of the Los Angeles Times.  See if they do anything for you.

Are you ready?  Here we go.

In a trade in which the Los Angeles Clippers acquire three-point specialist J.J. Redick.  the accompanying headline reads:

Redick gets a shot with Clippers

(He’s a great three-point shooter.  So they give him a “shot.”  Get it?)

The Los Angeles Angels extend their winning streak by subduing the opposition with nine singles:

Angels Streak Now A Singular Sensation

(Pleasing Angels fans and lovers of A Chorus Line at the same time.)

Early losses by top-ranking contenders at Wimbledon leaving unexciting selections for subsequent rounds elicits the two-word headline:

Droopy Draws

(Which is a “reach”, but not entirely terrible.)

Superstar center Dwight Howard exits the Los Angeles Lakers, leaving his former team’s prospects for the future dire and desperate.  So:

Things Look Pacific Grim For Lakers 

(You see, because the Lakers are in the Pacific Division of the National Basketball Association and L.A., you know, borders the Pacific Ocean.)

And finally, though there are plenty more where these come from:

The New England Patriots, a frachise both successful and cerebral (X’s and O’s are traditionally used to draw up plays), with a history of acquiring players who are talented but also considered “character risks” are stung when their troubled but gifted tight end Aaron Hernandez is arrested for murder.  The headline:

Game Of Xs and Oh-Nos

The man (allegedly) killed somebody!

“Understood.  But we still need an amusing headline.”

Are you getting tired of these?  I’m sure the cashiered foreign correspondents are.

“I risked my life on the streets of Cairo.  And they fire me and they keep the “Pun Guy”?

That’s correct.

And the way things are going, they will likely persist to the very end, sitting at their desk in an empty newsroom, tapping out their final headline, this one gracing the paper’s front page, saying,

Times Up!   

You know, that’s not half bad. 

I wonder if the “Pun Guy” can use an assistant.

I thought you didn’t like the “Pun Guy.”

Hey, Italics Man,

A job is a job.

1 comment:

Canda said...

Still can't beat the New York Post Headlines, which recently discovered that Elliot Spitzer's trip to Washington to spend time with a prostitute was submitted by the Governor as a political trip and paid by the taxpayers.

The headline: "Spitzer's Best Laid Plan".