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