Fantastic Headlines 24-28: Animals special

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.”

Oh.

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.

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9 Responses to Fantastic Headlines 24-28: Animals special

  1. Hmmmmm ‘dog eats man’s ear….’ Rob has a dog. I wonder if I could get said ear to his dog without his parents intercepting and having me locked up.

  2. John Galpin says:

    Surely you haven’t missed the most famous animal-related headline of all time? “Freddie Starr ate my Hamster”from the Sun 1986. I’ll forgive you if you have… http://sunheadlines.blogspot.com/2008/11/classics-freddie-starr-ate-my-hamster.html

  3. Flesh says:

    I think the best headline (yet to be written) is that 10bn animals are slaughtered in the US alone every year (in the UK, it’s 750m) after lives of great suffering, and with negative impact on environment, health, and resourcing a growing human population.

    Not exactly catchy, I grant you. Oh, maybe you’re right and most people on the left would prefer to forget about that and instead amuse themselves looking at an obscene picture of dead rabbits and a dead fox with a gun.

    But if you visit the RSA’s site at 6pm this evening, you’ll be able to hear why they shouldn’t.

  4. RedHead – I could not possibly comment 😉

    John – This series has usually been about headlines I find amusing in the news recently, though I daresay a post on Classic Fantastic Headlines is one worth writing. Watch this space.

    Flesh – I’m not a vegetarian, I do care about animal rights, but at risk of writing a longer blog post about left-wing humour, I’m going to quote Flying Rodent:

    “In Bad ideas, there’s little that drives me up the wall faster than The Big Waggy Finger Of Tut-Tut. There’s no shortage of people telling us all what we should be laughing at, where magazines should be kept, what we should eat, drink, watch and so on.

    I tell you now, nothing on this Earth winds up the electorate more than a lot of finger-waggy disapprovers lecturing them on what constitutes acceptable entertainment and behaviour. However well-intentioned, these campaigns will always, without exception and regardless of tactical approach, come off like a load of hair-shirted mung-bean chewers telling people how to live their lives. It’s only been in the last century or so that we’ve finally got the priests off our backs, so to speak, and misguided attempts at a new moralism are going to be met with a) the finger and b) an electoral boot up the arse.”

    http://flyingrodent.blogspot.com/2011/01/welcome-to-2011-and-now-boring-long.html

    The Fantastic Headlines series is meant to be a distraction from my other political blogs, but to say I’m arguing that instead of changing the world we should be laughing at pictures of dead animals is the dictionary definition of sanctimonious.

  5. Flesh seems to have spent so long spamming blogs they’ve lost their sense of humour….

  6. fleshisgrass says:

    RedHead – what do you mean, spamming blogs? Where?

    What a terrible faux pas I’ve committed. Obviously stamping out this disgraceful sanctimoniousness, and not than callousness about the abuse of animals for human amusement, is the burning issue here. My mistake, Paper – I didn’t realise this was all about how you live your life.

    • Obviously this isn’t all about how I live my life. Except you were objecting to a comment that I posted on my blog. Some sort of personal comment therefore seemed called for. What I was trying to get at with my reply was that this is also part of a bigger issue: that perhaps the left should not be trying to get all high-and-mighty about what people laugh at and what people do in their personal lives.

      Having read your blog, particularly this bit where you praise the nanny state, I can see we’re not going to agree on this. I think libertarian paternalism/the nanny state (and yes, you’ll need a better name for it, “libertarian paternalism” in particular sounds like a contradiction in terms) is an interesting point of view.

      It’s a view I disagree with, but I can see where you’re coming from.

      I’m sorry if you were offended, but thanks for the link to the RSA event. I missed it, but am guessing the podcast will be here soon?

      • fleshisgrass says:

        Yes I dare say – or here for non iTunes users. I recommend the RSA event for precisely you. In the question and answer session you’ll hear Jonathan Safran Foer telling animal welfare activists to stop haranguing their acquaintances about their human obligations. He says it’s a kind of vanity to attach too much emphasis to one person’s choices. He’s un-self-indulgent to the extreme – a study in unsanctimoniousness. Artfully so.

        (Re Libertarian paternalism it’s not an oxymoron but a bona fide thing coming from the soft right and used by the Tory-led government. Opt out rather than opt in for pensions. Paint a fly in a urinal and you get less piss on the floor, that kind of stuff. It’s what pragmatic social policy makers favour when they’ve become disillusioned with choice but reject authoritarianism.)

  7. I’m confused…
    PS Flesh, please tell me your screen name is a Lion King reference. That would make my day. I am simple like that.

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