montage of news sources overlaying Uranus

Gotta' Love Those Headlines

By Earl H. Perkins | published Sunday, December 1, 2013 |
Thursday Review Associate Editor

It was hanging in a wire rack down near the end of the counter, looking very much like a cross between pornography and 10 pounds of candy, only much worse. There I stood in the checkout line at 7-Eleven, minding my own business and trying to get moving down the road. I had my two-liter soda and some ice, and there was somewhere else I needed to be, but the line just would not move. Trouble was starting for me already.

I kept glancing at it, then, I'd look away. The scruffy guy at the front of the line needed cigarettes, and I'm not sure the clerk was a smoker, so his transaction took a while. Then the lady in front of me asked if that was the right price on her item, and all this time, I just had too much time to think.

So I finally looked both ways, making sure nobody was watching, and then I grabbed it. It was only $1.85, but it would almost certainly add up to a mortal sin for anyone who attended school beyond the 12th grade. And its purchase was perhaps inexcusable for someone (like me) who worked hard to obtain a degree in journalism from a fine journalism department at a major university. The lady behind the counter didn't even flinch as she made change for me, hardly looking up, until I asked for a separate bag. Then she shrugged, and dropped it in the sack.

I knew it would rot my mind, but the temptation was just too much. I climbed in my truck, and looked around again, fully expecting someone to start scold me. Then I opened it up, and sure enough, it was there, in all its glory.

It was the New York Post, National Edition—not one of those other excruciatingly boring publications. Who wants the New York Times, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Chicago Sun-Times or Dallas Morning News, when you can get the real thing? At least it's not People magazine or the National Enquirer. So sue me for violating the laws of good taste.

The headlines are just over the top, although the photographs and layout are truly wonderful in their own special way. For me, you just can't beat the wordsmiths at The Post. With daily subscription numbers exceeding 555,000, how can they all be wrong? Granted, I'm sure Alexander Hamilton and William Cullen Bryant would be spinning in their graves if they could see what's been done to their baby, but I digress.

Mobster Left to be Eaten Alive by Pigs; Out, Damn Spotlight (Macbeth cancelled due to mechanical issues); Israel Court Snippy (woman fined for refusing to have baby circumcised); You're All White With Us, Sandy (Bulloch in a white outfit); Buy, Buy, I'm Going Shopping; Gals Claim Tacit Deal to Hide Chef's Coke Habit; It's a pity if you like butts...

They just go on and on, some slightly better or more shocking than others, but this is a publication that—once it is in your hands—you just can't put down. Northern Exposure—Canada Let NSA Spy on G20; Heel of a Way to Lose Leg (gal has amputation to let her wear stilettos); Naked Truth of War.

And it's certainly most fair-minded and balanced when it comes to politics. Obama's Bitter Pill; The Bad-Faith Presidency; A Deal With the Devil: Obama Bombs Out on Iran; O'Care Putting 300K New Yorkers on Medicaid; Illegal Mayors Against Guns.

The headlines, stories and photos sure are something, but somebody needs to pay the bills, so we couldn't forget those extremely tasteful advertisements. New York City's #1 Topless Sports Bar; New York City's only Body Sushi, Hot Talk—Real People, Where Fun Meets Adventure; Erectile Dysfunction Clinic Opens in New York.

This is 95 newsprint pages of everything you just can't find anywhere else, and why are all those other papers sweeping great stories under the rug? With the subscriptions of the mainstream papers falling like a rock from a cliff, you would think they might consider giving the people what they want. But, alas, no.

Now if I can convince my editor here at Thursday Review to try this headline: Deep Space Probe to Study Uranus.