Proofreading is a dying art, wouldn’t you say?

My sweet daddy sent me the funniest email this afternoon (see below) full of humorous newspaper headlines. As a former English teacher, I couldn’t believe that an editor allowed these headlines to go to press. Curiosity got the better of me. I wanted to read these articles, so the researcher in me took over, and I figured this might make a great lesson in teaching digital literacy skills (see the results of my search at the end of my post).

Man Kills Self Before Shooting Wife and Daughter

This one I caught the other day and called the Editorial Room and asked who wrote this. It took two or three readings before the editor realized that what he was reading was impossible!! ! They put in a correction the next day..

Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash, Expert Says

No, really? Ya think?

Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers

Now that’s taking things a bit far!

Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over

What a guy!

Miners Refuse to Work after Death

The good-for- nothing’ lazy so-and-so’s!

Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant

See if that works any better than a fair trial!

War Dims Hope for Peace

I can see where it might have that effect!

If Strike Isn’t Settled Quickly, It May Last Awhile

Ya think?!

Cold Wave Linked to Temperatures

Who would have thought!

Enfield (London) Couple Slain; Police Suspect Homicide

They may be on to something!

Red Tape Holds Up New Bridges

You mean there’s something stronger than duct tape?

Man Struck By Lightning: Faces Battery Charge

He probably IS the battery charge!

New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group

Weren’t they fat enough?!

>Astronaut Takes Blame for Gas in Spacecraft

That’s what he gets for eating those beans!

Kids Make Nutritious Snacks

Do they taste like chicken?

Local High School Dropouts Cut in Half

Chainsaw Massacre all over again!

Hospitals are Sued by 7 Foot Doctors

Boy, are they tall!

And the winner is…..

Typhoon Rips Through Cemetery; Hundreds Dead

Did I read that right?


While these “headlines” are humorous, to say the least, I couldn’t find a single full text article supporting any of them. I did, however, find just the headlines in a series of books written by Richard Lederer, one of which dates back to 1987. They may be actual headlines, but, without the original source, I’m still a bit skeptical.

For those of you who understand the importance of vetting sources for research (hopefully, not just my librarian compadres), I found this scholarly journal article discussing humor in ambiguous newspaper headlines. Although the author apparently is/was an English professor at Youngstown State University, his sources are a bit sketchy. Only three of the links work, but this article was published ten years ago. Nonetheless, all but three of his listed websites appear questionable simply by looking at the URLs.

Not to leave you disappointed, here are a few humorous headlines that I found:

Hershey Bars Protest

New Yorker; 2/3/1968, Vol. 43 Issue 50, p79

This article may be accessed via EBSCOHost.

Red Tape Holds Up New Platte River Bridge

Freemont Tribune 06/09/2009

And my favorite . . .

Chick Accuses Some of Her Male Colleagues of Sexism

LA Times 06/24/1996



About chuskey

I'm a Library Media Specialist at the best dadgum high school in the state of Alabama. View all posts by chuskey

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