Mighty Red Pen

June 11, 2012

Zombie headlinepocalypse

Filed under: Mad marketing,Overseen — mighty red pen @ 7:20 pm
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H/t to Krodamai for this, er, delicious tidbit, which he received in an e-mail from congress.org. The juxtaposition of these two headlines leaves kind of a sour taste, doesn’t it? Kind of makes you wish they had cooked up something a bit different, no?

November 14, 2011

I’m MRP and I do not approve this message

Filed under: Overseen,Wordsworthy — mighty red pen @ 7:27 pm
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Really? Gloria Cain stands by Her-man? I know it was irresistible, but really?

Seen here.

September 17, 2011

Man, she feels like a woman

Filed under: Overseen,Wordsworthy — mighty red pen @ 4:31 pm

Okay, I know, headline writing can be rilly, rilly hard sometimes. Which is why headlines such as this one get by:

Now really, “Woman Named Working Mother of the Year”? Um, obviously? I remember one of the network morning programs did something kooky one year and named a man as their mother of the year because he was a single parent who had many “motherly” qualities (I know—because apparently a father can’t be warm and nurturing and make a good, home-cooked meal, and a dude who has such abilities must be a mom). But typically, yes, working mother of the year will always be a woman. I know they are looking for something pretty pithy for this spot on boston.com, but I would have gone for the local color, something such as “Bostonian Named Working Mother of the Year” or something like that.

Eventually, it was changed to “Local Named Working Mother of the Year.”

January 11, 2011

I can see Uranus from here

Filed under: Overseen,Wordsworthy — mighty red pen @ 7:00 pm
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We interrupt your regularly scheduled and very serious MRP programming to bring you something straight out of The Little Brother’s Playbook.

I know it’s wrong (read: completely juvenile) to find this funny, but there’s just no way to write a headline about probing Uranus without provoking a festival of giggles and snickers. This is a real headline from the Christian Science Monitor.

And unfortunately, the rest of the copy doesn’t help much, especially when it gets to the part where they point out that the atmosphere of Uranus contains traces of methane:

Go on, have a giggle. You know you want to.

H/t to Copy Curmudgeon.

July 2, 2010

Here comes the bride?

Filed under: Overseen,Pop culture — mighty red pen @ 6:09 pm
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Check out this photo gone wild (originally spotted here by @saragregory, with a little nod to @andybechtel). The headline and story are about the upcoming nuptials of former first daughter Chelsea Clinton, but the photo is of a crazed Ozzy Osborne (who has surprisingly nice teeth, by the way. I’m sure they’re all his).

You might think this is a mistake. Or you might think, “This is exactly how some people feel about getting married.”

June 2, 2010

I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing

Filed under: Perilous punctuation,Wordsworthy — mighty red pen @ 6:51 pm
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Okay, I don’t think the Gulf Coast oil spill is any trivial matter, so let’s Walk This Way past the content of this for the teachable moment that it is:

See how this poorly written headline gives the impression that the Gulf oil spill threatens both bluefin tuna and Aerosmith dates? It makes me want to tell this headline writer to Dream On. Obviously, someone was on a Permanent Vacation when they wrote this.

It’s a Sweet Emotion to realize that sometimes people can learn from their mistakes. Thankfully, they refreshed the headline with something that didn’t leave me Cryin’, although they do lose something by ordering the less important item before the more important item (no disrespect to Aerosmith fans out there, I don’t want you to leave here feeling Jaded).

Spotted on boston.com.

March 18, 2010

How to build a better apostrophe: It’s vs its

Filed under: Perilous punctuation,Spellbound — mighty red pen @ 5:41 pm
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This headline spotted on wickedlocal.com:

MRP is in absolute agreement that it’s time to build a new high school, and hopefully it will be one where the difference between its (possessive pronoun) and it’s (contraction of it is or it has) is taught.


Bonus MRP moment: If you did not catch this lulu from @CopyCurmudgeon, be sure to check out the case for serial comma, if ever there was one.

December 8, 2009

Not out of the Woods yet

Filed under: Overseen,Wordsworthy — mighty red pen @ 7:58 pm
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Unfortunate headline or salacious double entendre?

Spotted here.

June 16, 2009

Making headlines

Filed under: Word wars — mighty red pen @ 7:47 pm
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Sometimes, what you think something means is not what someone else thinks something means. For example, this headline:


For some people, especially people in the Philippines, MILF means Moro Islamic Liberation Front. For others, it means, er, hot mom.

MRP wonders: What’s next for the Filipino Air Force—they start attacking the cougars?

Hat tip to Nikita.

March 8, 2009

When headlines attack: Cloud expansion edition

Filed under: Overseen,Wordsworthy — mighty red pen @ 7:20 pm
Tags: ,

Well-documented that MRP loves a headline that is not, at first blush, what it seems. This headline from Boston.com, for example, is not about Boston College’s Cloud Expansion Program:


The story is actually about how some city officials involved in the debate over the college’s expansion plans are connected to the college in a way that might be controversial. Okay. Although, come to think of it, a Cloud Expansion Program would explain where all this darned snow came from this winter.

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