headline humor source

Gerald Cohen gcohen at UMR.EDU
Mon Jul 29 20:04:29 UTC 2002

Here's another example. There's a Misouri town named Clever, and in
the 1980s the police chief there did something that got him arrested.
My local newspaper (Rolla Daily News) carried the story with the
headline: "Clever Police Chief Arrested."
    I'm sure there was no humor intended, but I couldn't help
thinking: If he was so clever, what was he doing getting arrested?

Gerald Cohen

>At 12:51 PM -0500 7/29/02, Mai Kuha wrote:
>I finally got a copy of that book that Larry mentioned, "Squad Helps Dog
>Bite Victim and other flubs from the nation's press", and learned from it
>that the Columbia Journalism Review has a regular feature with such items,
>called "The Lower case". It is on the inside back cover of each issue. Some
>headlines are funny but linguistically not-so-interesting typos or inanities
>("Journalists say voters hold key to November election"), but most issues
>have at least a couple of nice examples of syntactic or scope ambiguity or
>something else of interest (in the most recent issue, "Police Stop Slaying
>Suspect Look-alikes" and "Panda Lectures This Week at National Zoo").

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