I've decided that I want to pursue a new second career during the New Year: tabloid headline writer. I don't know if there is any money to be had in tabloid headlines, but someone has to write that banner line on the sleazy tabloid rag you pass in the megamart checkout line, right? Besides, I think sometimes things need to be done for the love -- even the kitschy love of tabloid pop culture.
I find that writing a good tabloid headline can be a little tough. After all, I think that just anyone can come up with "Are Nick & Jessica breaking up?" or "Ben parties out while Jen sits home to pout." Don't you? Lines like that barely scratch the veneer of pop culture.
No, I want to produce something that gets closer to the pop culture marrow. I want a headline that will be endlessly debated in Internet chat rooms. I don't mean just any old Internet chat rooms, either. I mean ones so thick with insider-speak that you can almost smell the microwave popcorn, Nacho Cheese Doritos, and stale body odor.
I have determined that I must discipline myself and practice in order to reach my goal. I've established a little daily ritual in three parts. I hope to do it as often as possible during the coming year... after which, who knows? Maybe I'll be good enough to come up with eye popping lines ready for papers that even fish hesitate to be wrapped up in.
The first part of the ritual is just a basic cleansing exercise. A sort of little meditation, if you will. The idea is to give the mind a few stretching exercises to just limber up a bit. This involves repeating a few key tabloid headline words or phrases to generate a proper mind set. Some terms I like to use include "Herr Steinbrenner", "slayfest", "Wacko Jacko", "JonBenet", and "Bennifer".
After these basic stretching exercises, I then move on to some basic headline composition. These headlines are of the sort you'd see almost anywhere... though perhaps I will try to add a personal twist to develop a personal style. Phrases like "Ann Coulter and Madonna Caught Thong Shopping Together!" and "Federline furious at Britney bombshell:
'I Am Carrying Usher's Love Child!'" fall into this category.
After creating four or five such headline catch phrases, I am no ready to begin the real headline heavy lifting. I try clear my mind, breathe deeply, and then see what pops into my glacial sense of calm. This morning's efforts were rewarded with four lines:
"President Bush and Space Aliens Worship Together At Lacy Peterson White House Memorial Prayer Breakfast!",
"New DNA Evidence Shows Bigfoot Killed Nicole Brown Simpson!",
"Latest Pamela Anderson Breast Implants Actually Alien Embryos!",
"Dead Sea Scrolls Prophesy Next Generation Low Carb Diet To Be Discovered Soon!"
I'm not sure I am where I want to be yet. I think I'm headed in a good direction, though. I'm giving myself the rest of year to see what I can do. We'll see what happens.
on 2005-01-05 at 1:31 p.m.
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