Six months ago, in these digital pages, I bemoaned the death of the great traditional headline. With the tightening of media budgets, the demise of the crusty sub-editor and the pervasive need to bait click, a clever, seductive headline has become a rare creature. I still collect them when they appear and have three gems for you from the second half of 2021.
Only bitter bothered as arbiter declares batter better – The Guardian’s brilliant headline on cricket’s decision to replace the word “batsman” with the gender-neutral “batter”.
Sum of a preacher man – a typical classic from The Economist on an article about an extremely rich Nigerian pastor.
Avocado glut leaves Australian farmers crushed as prices hit guac bottom – smart wordplay from The Washington Post.
But the general decline of the great headline has forced me to shift from collecting fine examples to collecting bewildering ones. (Well, bewildering to me, at least.) And my digital vault for July to December 2021 has plenty of them coming from the websites of a wide variety of genuine, well-known media outlets including News24, BusinessLive, TimesLive, iol.co.za, Daily Mail, The Guardian, Sydney Morning Herald, The Telegraph, Buzzfeed, NY Times and Washington Post.
Some are weird, a few are funny, many are simply “huh?”, and a surprisingly large number are about either New Zealand or Nicki Minaj. All of them are genuine and unedited.
For starters, the highly coveted “Dullest Headline of the Year Award” goes to News24.com with:
PICS | Little to no activity outside FW de Klerk’s Cape Town home
Some Headline Questions You Never Thought To Ask
Is Nigella Lawson right to ditch the word ‘slut’ from her recipe name?
The smart toilet era is here! Are you ready to share your analprint with big tech?
Would You Have Sex In Front Of Astro, Amazon’s New Robot Dog?
Are we really giving Gwyneth Paltrow all the credit for sex toy sales exploding by 87%?
Has the latest status symbol become a vegan dog?
Could rogue oysters disrupt rowing venue?
Even the word ‘trigger’ is just too triggering for university students
Racism row at the Vegan Society: Five trustees quit over claim veganism is ‘cultural appropriation’ because it was founded by white British man but uses foods and traditions from Africa and Asia
Great British Bake Off’s first vegan star Freya Cox, 19, is forced to quit Facebook after trolls target her over her love of ‘cruel’ horse-riding
Prince Charles says his Aston Martin is powered by wine and cheese
Eat the buggers: faux-meat maggot and mealworm burgers are the future
From the politics desk
There is no Cabinet to reshuffle, says Moeletsi Mbeki
Elections 2021: Vote ANC because it is a self-correcting organisation, says Mbalula
TV news anchor joins Dagga Party, wants to be Cape Town mayor
EFF will not only take over the wine farms in Stellenbosch, it will drink the wine, says Malema
GAUTENG WATER RESTRICTIONS: It’s not a crisis; it’s a necessary inconvenience, says Minister Senzo Mchunu
South Korean politicians seek to criminalise ‘semen terrorism’
President Joe Biden allegedly farted in front of the Duchess of Cornwall at COP26
Donald Trump didn’t want to build a golf course in Africa because he was ‘too scared of lions’
Swedish inmates in a high security prison took 2 guards hostage and demanded pizza as ransom
Piers Corbyn leads flash mob of Covid deniers chanting ‘wearing a mask is like trying to keep a fart in your trousers’ as they break into song on Tube train
‘You can shove your climate crisis up your arse’: Greta Thunberg sings at Cop26
‘Is everything OK, Boris?’ PM brushes off bizarre speech to business chiefs saying it ‘went over well’ despite losing his train of thought, praising Peppa Pig World, comparing himself to MOSES and doing an impression of a car ENGINE
Boris Johnson is not unwell and has not lost his grip, says No 10
Consternation in New Zealand as native bat included in Bird of the Year poll
Bat ‘winning by quite a lot’ in New Zealand’s Bird of the Year contest
New Zealand bat flies away with Bird of the Year award
New Zealand police arrest pair trying to enter Auckland with ‘large amount’ of KFC
New Zealand minister’s TV interview interrupted by son waving phallic carrot
German modern pentathlon coach Kim Raisner thrown out of Tokyo 2020 after punching horse
Sandgren hit in groin, defaults after striking line judge with ball
Winner of Bristol half-marathon is disqualified after running wrong race because he was only meant to take part in the 10k
Joey Barton apologises for comparing Bristol Rovers displays to Holocaust
Fauci responds to Nicki Minaj vaccine claims, says vaccines do not cause swollen testicles
Trinidad & Tobago has confirmed they have no record of Nicki Minaj’s cousin’s friend’s swollen balls
Kanye West’s friend thinks he could end up learning ‘an alien language’
Jada Pinkett Smith And Willow Smith Explain Why They Decided Against Getting Brazilian Butt Lifts
Madonna’s daughter Lourdes proudly shows off armpit hair at Met Gala
‘Go f*** yourselves’ — Bonang slams tweeps telling her to have a baby soon
Andrew Lloyd Webber says he hated the film Cats so much he bought a dog
Elon Musk thinks you should die
And in other news…
Winner who paid $30m for space flight with Bezos won’t go due to ‘scheduling conflicts’
BBC Weather presenter pulled over by dog on live TV
Night crawler: Late-night visitor ringing woman’s doorbell turns out to be a SLUG
Female Spanish thriller writer Carmen Mola revealed to be three men
Spanish bishop, 52, who quit clergy to be with erotic-fiction writing sexologist lover, 38, is accused of being ‘possessed’ as he finds new job exporting pig semen. DM