Fantastic Headlines 50-52 – Innuendo Edition

February 7, 2011

Apart from headlines involving Ed Balls, this series has been free of smut. I’m afraid that’s about to end with this set of three headlines. But let’s face it: you only read this for the rude bits, right?

This headline, another found by Selina, is an oldie but a goodie:

Young Boys’ Wankdorf erection woe

The sub-editor just couldn’t resist, could he? I hope believe this refers to a Swiss football team.

Next up, Charlie has surpassed herself with this find:

Tee hee!

One gets the impression that those two headlines were deliberate, however. There’s a “nudge nudge wink wink” aspect to them. God alone knows what was going through the heads of the people who thought THIS headline was suitable for a daily newspaper:

It’s just so wrong. But so fantastic. Thanks to Jim at the Daily Maybe for drawing my attention to this post by David Schneider for that.

If you have any more Fantastic Headlines, please do let me know. It’s becoming a major cottage industry.

Fantastic Headlines 47-49: Not all is as it seems

February 4, 2011

Please keep these Fantastic Headlines coming in. I’m trying to group them by themes now. The theme for this batch is that they are all headlines from a story that is a little bit misleading.

The first of these stories came courtesy of my housemate, which was an article found in the Daily Mail:

How central heating is making you fat

Experts say many of us now keep our homes so cosy that we no longer have to burn as many calories to naturally warm up our bodies.

Everyone, quick! Turn off the heating. Shiver in the cold! That will burn off some calories.

This story appeared in the Daily Telegraph as well, with a less fantastic headline. Which is all well and good, except, according to an article on the NHS website:

The Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail have reported the study accurately, but they both imply that the evidence for rising temperatures causing obesity is conclusive, which it is not.

Wait, it gets better.

the methods by which these studies were identified and selected for inclusion are not given. It may be the case that other studies not included may contradict their hypothesis.

So hang on: are you saying the results WEREN’T conclusive?

Overall, this review is not conclusive and does not prove that simply opening a window or turning down the thermostat will make people thinner.

I see.

A friend and fellow electoral reform campaigner Richard made me aware of this Sun article from a few years ago. It’s a work of utter genius:

Nazi raccoons on warpath

In case you were wondering, the Sun even provides us with a picture of what a Nazi raccoon would look like:

So, how exactly can these raccoons be classified as Nazis? Has “Mein Kampf” been translated into Raccoonish?

They are just across the Channel from Britain after marching through France, Belgium, Holland and Denmark in a furry blitzkrieg.

Hitler aide Hermann Goering had the US mammals introduced to German woods in 1934 to “enrich the Reich’s fauna”.

But numbers have soared and they are invading new territory, just like the Nazis did.


Anyway, enough of fun stories about fascist raccoons. This last headline is from Harry’s Place, and the latest target of their ire, Julian Assange:

Isn’t It Weird How Some People End Up Looking Like Their Condoms?

Er, um, well, I suppose so, but I’ve never really thought about it. Do people end up looking like their condoms?

Apparently pictures of Assange’s condom have been, er, leaked.

And the writer of that Harry’s Place post thinks that if you turn that picture sideways, it looks a bit like Julian Assange. He illustrated that point with the help of this diagram. I’m not really seeing the resemblance myself:

Well, I’m convinced. Assange must be guilty. Wikileaks is evil. And raccoons are fascist.

Fantastic Headlines 44-46

February 3, 2011

I am giving my thesis the last rites. It should be finished on Saturday, all being well, and I shall blog about stuff other than Fantastic Headlines. But I know the series is popular, so here’s a batch of some more.

Firstly, Selina has found another corker:

The origin of this story, which I found via Liberal Burblings, appears to be the Evening Standard. I must admit, it’s one of my favourite headlines so far this year.

Next, we can always rely on Sky News for shit stories, and so it proves once more:

Dog Doctor Diagnoses Bowel Cancer in Japan

Apparently dogs can detect whether someone has bowel cancer or not just by sniffing their poo. What fun that must be for them.

Finally, from Charlie, who is becoming a good source for silly animal stories:

Jumping rabbits in Harrogate for ‘grand national’ event

What more is there to add?

Fantastic Headlines 41-43: Cerebral Stuff

February 1, 2011

We’ve been trawling the tabloids for Fantastic Headlines these past few weeks. And let’s face it, it’s easily done. It’s more difficult to find Fantastic Headlines in more cerebral publications because they are less likely to cover silly stories, of the sort that lend themselves to Fantastic Headlines.

Which is why this headline, from the New York Review of Books, no less, caught my eye:

Hitler vs. Stalin: Who was Worse?

To be honest, I wasn’t aware that it was a competition. It also appealed to my sick  impish  odd sense of humour that it was styled as an “Alien vs. Predator” style competition too. The article itself is worth a read, even if it is understandably depressing.

The second article is on a similar subject:

The Trouble with Dictators

Again, this is Fantastic because it seems to state the obvious. Dictators are, to put it midly, rather bad. It’s like a headline saying that APPLES ARE FRUIT or PIERS MORGAN IS ACTUALLY A BIT OF AN ARSE. In other words, it’s another example of the banality of Fantasticness.

I found the last Fantastic Headline whilst doing my day job. I am a support worker for students with a disability, assisting them with their studies at university if and when they need it. Whilst helping Chris look through some archives of the Birmingham Post, to help with his dissertation, I found this beauty of a headline:

Claim by an electric hare inventor

This was a story from the Birmingham Post on Friday October 25, 1929. It does actually seem like someone invented an electric hare that, according to the article, was ‘capable of jumping over hurdles, wagging its tail and squealing’.

I didn’t take down all the details – because Chris was there to research the impact of the British Empire on Birmingham, not to find Fantastic Headlines (alas). But it seems the case was about a breach of contract between the inventor of this hare and one of his clients.

If anyone else finds some more Fantastic Headlines, please let me know through the usual channels. And they don’t have to be from the 1920s, either.

Fantastic Headlines 37-40

January 27, 2011

Here is the latest batch of Fantastic Headlines. Suggestions are coming in thick and fast now. Thanks to everyone who keeps sending them in. I like to think of it as Paperback Rioter’s contribution to The Big Society.

The first one I found on the Daily Express website. It’s about an ongoing court case that I’m not even going to try and summarise in a sentence:

Swingers’  club link to ‘firebug police love rat’

A “firebug police love rat” is surely not a description of a person, but four random nouns put next to each other. If you want to know what one is, you’ll have to read the article.

The next headline comes courtesy of Selina, and helps answer that often-posted conundrum: what happens if you’re walking in a forest and you’re attacked by a pack of wolves, and all you have to help you is some heavy-metal music?

Creed Song Saves Norwegian Boy From Wolves

The previous Fantastic Headlines on animal stories has prompted a couple of headlines. As ever, RedheadFashionista knows a fantastic headline when she sees one. The story itself is a quite serious one: the use of animals in cosmetic experiments, which is an issue that needs to be taken seriously. It’s hard to do that, however, with headlines like:

Why mice are being gassed so YOU can look younger

The Daily Mail is bringing attention to mice that are being gassed and having their backs broken in the name of cosmetics. Nice to see them standing up for animal rights, although by the sounds of “Now even spiders, squid and lobsters could have rights” and previously equating the concept of animal rights to “nonsense upon stilts”, this is a bit of a late conversion.

Lastly, this headline comes courtesy of Charlie, and it’s another animal story:

Live chicken thrown at KFC staff in Nuneaton

You’ll be pleased to know that although the chicken was a bit distressed, it didn’t suffer any harm.

Fantastic Headlines 33-36: Man Bites Dog special

January 24, 2011

As I mentioned in a previous Fantastic Headlines blog, “Man bites dog” is given sometimes as an example of what news is. It’s no surprise, then, that media outlets tend to cover “Man Bites Dog” stories because of the, ah, significance involved. Here are four of the favourite “Man bites dog” stories I’ve found:

Strangely, it seems to be poor old police dogs that keep being on the receiving end of a man’s jaw. For instance:

Man bites dog (and a policeman)

The sub-editor on this Connecticut website wanted to put a bit more vim into this Fantastic Headline, which is much more flowery than your standard “Man bites dog” fare:

Man sinks teeth into police dog

This Canadian news story tickled me:

Man bites dog biting dog

And finally, because it’s nice to end on a high, a story with a happy ending. I love the jokey exclamation mark on this, too:

Man bites dog and wins compensation!

As ever, if you find any Fantastic Headlines please let me know.

Fantastic Headlines 31 and 32

January 22, 2011

A couple more Fantastic Headlines for your titilation.

First up is this from the BBC. You don’t often expect to see “laser” and “pirate” in the same sentence, which is precisely why this headline is fantastic:

Laser Cannon set to blind pirates

Our second fantastic headline comes from an Australian news source. Picture the scene. Your country is being devasted by tragic floods. The rivers are swelling up, and people are fearing for their lives, their possessions and their family.

What in the name of Phil Woolas would make you do this?

River rescue as sex toy ditches rider

Of course, you’d just ride a blow-up doll down a stormy river. As you do.

Just in case you were thinking of trying that at home, a police spokesman has said in a statement that “blow-up sex toys are not recognised flotation devices”.

It’s good to be reminded of that occasionally.

Fantastic Headlines 29 and 30: Pearls from the Tabloids

January 20, 2011

I have a thesis to write, but the urge to blog. I’m sure those two facts are related. Any excuse for procrastination, eh? Still, I don’t really have the time to be cranking out long blog posts: it’s much easier just to print silly pictures of what the tabloids are saying. With that in mind, here are two Fantastic Headlines published this very week.

I have mentioned before in this series about the “banality of fantasticness”. On Twitter, the Spectator’s Alex Massie posted this Daily Express front page, which may well be the most fantastically banal front page of all time.

The second headline in our “silly tabloids week” comes from the amazing, talented, beautiful… (etc etc) RedHeadFashionista, who is a fellow connoissour of rubbish printed in Britain’s newspapers:

Please send all answers on a postcard to the Daily Mail, London, England, Europe, Earth, The Solar System.

As ever, if you find any more Fantastic Headlines then please let me know by carrier pigeon, or even leave one in the comments boxes if you’re feeling very adventurous.

Fantastic Headlines 24-28: Animals special

January 17, 2011

A bumper edition of the Fantastic Headlines series today. We have five of the cheeky beggars, and what’s more, they all involve animal stories. Harold Evans, when he was editor of the Sunday Times, said that “News is people.” Here are some examples of news stories that challenge that assertion.

24) Another often-used quote about the nature of news is that “Dog bites man” isn’t news, but “Man bites dog” is. By the same token, “Man shoots fox” isn’t a story but

Fox shoots man

Most definitely is.

25) You would have thought that the German government had better things to do in 1941 than investigate whether Hitler was being mocked by a performing dog. Apparently not though, judging by this from the Jewish Chronicle:

“Hitler” the insubordinate Nazi-saluting dog

What’s even stranger is that there are more recent cases of dogs being trained to make Nazi salutes.

In 2007 a German pensioner was jailed for five months for teaching his dog called, er, Adolf (they are all given such imaginative names) to make a Nazi salute.

26) Let’s face it: willies make good headline material. Call me immature, but the chances are you’re going to chuckle at a headline which has “penis” in it. Add in the fact that there’s litigation and a hungry rat involved, and you have the gem of a story. This next headline is a classic example of the school of thought that says you should just pile every random fact into the headline and implore the reader to read more:

Judge rules inmate ‘bitten on penis by rodent’ may sue 

You’ll be grateful to know I haven’t got a picture for this one.

27) We end this bumper edition of animal headlines with two examples from the Metro. For Paperback Rioter’s overseas readers all 4 of you,the Metro is a free paper given out to commuters on trains, buses etc. Its soul purpose is to print nonsense headlines to brighten up the terrible journeys of commuters, but I found these two wonderful headlines and couldn’t resist. First, is this:

Olly the stray cat bombarded with postcards by admirer 

Well, who hasn’t had a stalker secret admirer sending postcards from all around the world? I demand to know who the anonymous postcard-writer is!

”We suspect it could be someone who has visited one of the companies with an office in Olympic House, although with 19 million passengers a year and 20,000 people working on site, I suspect we’ll never find out.”


28) Lastly, but by no means leastly, is this gem. This time I’ll just let the headline do the talking:

Dog eats man’s ear after girlfriend bites it off

As ever, if you have any Fantastic Headlines please let me know through the usual channels, and thanks to Richard, John and Charlie for making me aware of some of the headlines I used in this post.

Fantastic Headlines 20, 21, 22 and 23

January 5, 2011

I have lots of half-formed posts to write over the next week or so. As well as finishing off my thesis, and preparing for an interview. It’s going to be a busy start to 2011. For now, let’s ease into the blogging groove with four fantastic headlines.

To badly mangle Hannah Arendt’s words, not enough has been said about the banality of fantasticness. This is a fantastically banal headline on what must have been a slow news day for the Daily Express:

Prince William works on Christmas Day

Not content with one Fantastic Headline about Prince William, the Daily Express made it a double with another story that’s funny because it’s true:

Hairloss firm wants Prince William as a spokesman

I think the best thing about this story is that the Express haven’t even bothered to rewrite the press release, so you could be forgiven for thinking you’ve stumbled across Private Eye’s “Wedding Balls” section by mistake.

Next is a story from the Huffington Post, which sounds like a load of random words strung together in the vain hope that they might make some sense:

Jacqueline Gold poisoned: Sex Toy Queen’s Food Targeted

For a start, what is a “Sex Toy Queen”? Is Jacqueline Gold the head of state of some mythical land populated entirely by dildos and furry handcuffs? I think we should be told.

(And yes, I am well aware that the question I posed could well feature in a more distinguished long-running blog feature, namely John Rentoul’s “Questions to hich the answer is No”.)

Before I reluctantly leave the world of sex toys, I should mention that the aforementioned monarch’s nanny has been charged with “three counts of administering poison with the intent to annoy”; quite possibly my favourite name for a criminal offence.

One final headline for you, from the Guardian’s arts blog this time:

Van Gogh would never have won the X Factor

This is undoubtedly true because, as some wags in the comments section have pointed out, he had a bloody awful voice.

I would suggest, though, that if Jonathan Jones can’t find some great music or art around at the moment, he probably isn’t looking hard enough.

That’s enough Fantastic Headlines for now. As ever, if you have a suggestion then please contact me through the usual channels.


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