Thanks for the clarification, Beeb. If only they’d identified that substance as something other than oil substance, that headline might have had some substance. Oh, wait:
Plymouth University said it was a form of polyisobutene (PIB), which was used as a lubricating additive in oils to improve performance.
No words in that sentence are more descriptive than ‘substance’ nor of similar length. Apart from ‘additive’. And ‘lubricant’.
It’s a shame that this event wasn’t live-blogged, so that we could have watched the development of this headline in real time:
The BBC today has given us a fantastic headline superhero in a fantastical situation. Meet Nepal Man: a national symbol who suffered for a crime he did not, nay could not, commit, for it does not exist. Japan Murder.
Now, last time I checked, the nation of Japan wasn’t dead at the hands of Captain America’s lesser-known Himalayan counterpart. And, more appositely, there was definitely space in that headline for two ‘-ese’ suffixes.
Column inches and pixel-millimetres-squared are precious, so truncation is natural in headlines…but, just sometimes, sense and sensitivity should come first. Welcome the latest batch of headline superheroes!
Her husband shakingly testified that she had smashed through the window, unleashing a volley of oysters, dark chocolate and tiger penis.
His professor failed him for the whole year on account of one terrible extended essay on the differences between long-cone and star-burst hose dispersal systems on foam-based fire-fighting tools.
For when ‘Man shot’ just doesn’t cut the mustard. Also a plot synopsis for the new Judge Dredd movie.
‘Hey, Rest Break!’ called Aphrodisiac Attack Wife from the back of the ambulance.
‘Look, I’ve told you. Call me Death Ambulance Technician—I don’t feel like we’re on nickname terms yet,’ responded ‘Rest Break’ Death Ambulance Technician, grouchily.
‘I can sort that out!’ she replied, unleashing a volley of oysters, dark chocolate and tiger penis.
As if it weren’t bad enough that she’s been disowned, Rape Girl has to live with her new title, which defines her by an event that not only brought her great physical and emotional pain, but also led to her estrangement. Woo!
Hartlepool stab death man story editor was ‘poor standard of English’.
‘You won’t dare admonish me when I’m a fully-grown Wipe Horror Man!’ riposted the baby Wipe Horror Man gravely, as shocked onlookers tried to grapple with the severity of the circumstances surrounding a dirty bum.
Bikini Girl was forced to call upon the declarative powers of Pervert Yeti’s arch-nemesis, Sex Claim Man (remember him?).
‘Yes! Oh, yes! Yes!’ Noisy Sex Woman told the court on being asked if she’d breached her ASBO.
Baby Death Woman wowed a capacity crowd with her signature move, the Slough Sausage Choke.
Explosions do tend to be quite devastating. Whatever the case, keep your distance, or this guy might death explode.
Skype Death Soldier’s powers include killing the conversation and causing fatal exceptions in VoIP software.
This jailbird tear-jerker will melt your heart: he was raised to be an ice-cold killer, but all that ethylene glycol put paid to that.
I bet Murder Girl Parents were proud to have their holiday summed up succinctly with just five nouns and one possessive apostrophe.
…of electrocution death bodies.
Meet Boy Bat: a very rich young bat who paid for a special boy suit to be made so he could rid his cave of evil. And guano.
If there’s one thing we’ve learnt from the headline superheroes, it’s that we’d appeal against the cutting of sentences.
The Scarborough Evening News this week carries an example of a common technique for self-refuting emphasis popular amongst journalists and idiots alike.
These shocking pictures show the ‘unspeakable’ conditions four young children from Scarborough were forced to live in…
By which, presumably, they mean:
The conditions cannot be described in words, as we are doing, so we will let the pictures unspeak for themselves.
Astute Scarborians will also have noted that the headline—‘Neglect mum is spared jail’—makes the protagonist in this particular cliché a headline superhero.
Take a tragedy, throw in a lack of name-recognition for average Joes (ironically excluding Jo), a pinch from a radioactive spider and you have…The Headline Superheroes!
In editorial meetings, subs are being snubbed in favour of hackneyed hacks who apparently think nouns are adjectives…but imagine how a grieving person must feel when they see their loved one splashed all over the day’s news, renamed as a superhero in the service of truncative expediency.
Certainly, increasing newsprint prices and decreasing sales volumes are forcing editors to covet every physical column inch, while online news perusers have attention spans so moronically short that they lose track of the plot whilst reading LOLcats or that squirrel… there, outside the window. Quick, video it on your phone and upload it to the YouTube!
Join us in our quest to honour the accidental, undeserving, offensive, and outright insane superheroes and supervillains of the modern age. Submit them to us here at Headline Superheroes, or tweet them @headheroes, or with the hashtag #headlinesuperhero. You can also stick them on our Facebook wall.
Stolen away from his parent’s missionary outpost in darkest India, young Jerry Walker soon learned amazing powers from the jungle animals—including the ability to summon a herd of Attack Elephants!
‘Sleep tight’, quipped Wisbech Mattress Death Woman, as she emerged victorious from yet another pillow fight.
‘I’m only playing dead!’ retorted Elephant Attack Man.
‘This digger death driving test is harder than it looks,’ sobbed an aspiring superhero.
‘For outsourcing our sex attacks overseas, I sentence you to 16 years in jail,’ said sex attack deportation man trial judge.
‘Ha ha, Sex Claim Man, we have you cornered now!’ said Malaysia.
‘Look, over there,’ exclaimed Sex Claim Man, ‘They’re shagging!’
‘Wh…where? Who? I can’t see…hey, where’s Sex Claim Man gone? Blast.’
‘Should we have a sex attack on Lorry Death Girl?’ mused Sex Attack Deportation Man, ‘No, probably not.’
‘I’m sick of being the fall guy,’ explained Ben Nevis, despite being in peak condition.
And despite this, he’s still referred to as Fire Death Jockey.
His powers weren’t enough to save him this time.
Pidgin English man regret his headline no make sense.
Is Girlfriend Wounds the deadly sidekick of Stab Man? What did he show her?
If only there were some kind of word for a ‘stab man’. Still, better than ‘Manslaughter man guilty of stab’.
Presumably they were trying to get the cash out.
What’s his superpower? [OK, I think we've crossed the line now. --ed]