Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Talking About Heads

I had front-page headline whiplash twice this morning, once for each paper.

First there was the Star Tribune, describing Obama's unannounced trip to Kabul:

Obama jets to Afghanistan, sees 'light of new day,' long war's end
What I reacted to was the word jets, used as a verb. Am I being over-sensitive to hear judgment in that word? What's wrong with the neutral goes or heads? Either one would fit.

The only people who jet places are jetsetters. And while Obama clearly travels by jet, so has every other president in the past 40 or so years. Does the Strib use the word routinely when describing presidential travel? No, they don't.

Then there was the Pioneer Press, grasping for a metaphor, I guess, to describe the Legislature's sudden change on the Vikings stadium strategy:

On 4th and 1, a GOP stadium audible
Honestly, I still have no idea what this headline means. I got the football reference at the beginning, but I'm not sure what audible means here. It just doesn't make any sense. Can a stadium that's not built yet be audible? Can a stadium (rather than the people in it) be audible at all, even after it's been built?

For contrast, here are the comparable headlines from each of the papers, both much clearer and fairer:

In Kabul, Obama declares wars of 9/11 near an end
Pioneer Press on Obama's trip

GOP throws stadium curve
Star Tribune on the stadium

1 comment:

Crystal said...

In football, when the quarterback changes the play at the last minute, after the team was already planning on running another play, he yells an audible to let his teammates know the new play. So it seems that this headline means that the GOP changed their "play" at the last minute.

Even so, the short space for the headline makes the structure awkward. My first impression was the same as yours (adjective: "stadium is audible"), not the intended one (noun). The Star Tribune version used the same format ("stadium curve"), but it is much clearer.