Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Heady Headlines

These are tropical ferns at the Marie Selby Botanical Garden in Sarasota Florida.  The colours are startling right now with our dominant landscape of grey and brown.

Each day a headline accompanies the pictures, and I wondered about the headline today so put 'headline' into google.  First, I'm instructed that  "A headline's purpose is to quickly and briefly draw attention to the story". Then a famous newspaper headline by Vincent Musetto shows up.  He was celebrated as the writer of the greatest New York newspaper headline in history in 1983.

Here it is and its 'story':

"Headless body in topless bar"
“Headless Body” soon became the stuff of pop-culture legend. “Saturday Night Live” worked it into routines and David Letterman invited Musetto onto his late-night show to talk about it. It even became the title of a 1990s crime movie.
But Musetto, a managing editor, had to fight to get “Headless Body” into the paper. He pleaded with then-executive editor Roger Wood, who was equally appalled by the crime.
A psycho had invaded a Queens after-hours joint, shot the owner to death and then — on learning a female customer was a mortician — ordered her to cut off the victim’s head, which cops later found in the madman’s car.
Musetto stuck to his guns, and “Headless Body in Topless Bar” ran on Page 1 the next day.
It prompted witless snarking in egghead circles. The Post’s legendary metropolitan editor, Steve Dunleavy, countered, “What should we have said? ‘Decapitated cerebellum in tavern of ill repute’?” (The New York Times came close with, “Owner of a Bar Shot to Death; Suspect is Held.”)
But a few learned types fell for its dark humor. Literary scholar Peter Shaw, writing in The National Review, cited its compelling “trochaic rhythm . . . the juxtaposition of two apparently unrelated kinds of toplessness conjoined sex and death even as they are conjoined in reality.”

You can see the Letterman clip here

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