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Opening Arguments

L of an offense

In a sure sign that the silly season is upon us, the editor of the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper has apologized to "anyone offended" by this headline:

Fright 214

At least 2 die, 181 taken to hospital after S.F. crash-landing

It's explained that the Asian American Journalists Association says: 

“Some who saw the tabloid’s cover took offense, contending that the headline – ‘Fright 214′ — perpetuated the oft-used stereotype of an Asian accent.”

Really? Because the stereotype is that Asians substitute 'r' for 'l'? Anybody honestly think that was the motivation rather than the opportunity to make a silly pun, or that anybody in the world except the "looking to be offended by everything" crowd will find it the least bit offensive?

On the other hand, a silly pun on top of a story about death and destruction is a little off-putting.  I will now be offended for 10 seconds. There, all better.

Posted in: Current events


Jim Neill
Tue, 07/09/2013 - 5:46pm

As an editor, would you have approved that headline to lead this story? Just wondering.

Leo Morris
Wed, 07/10/2013 - 9:59am

Probably not. Puns are awlays tricky in headline -- too often they sacrice accurancy or clarity for a cheap laugh. And putting one on a story about a disaster involving deaths is pushing the boundaries of bad taste.