Thursday, 3 January 2008

The Richard Madeley Award For Headline of the Week

The first recipient of my highly prized 'Headline of the Week' award is to be found over at the United Nations Population Fund website. I love a good prosaic headline and the United Nations do them better than anybody.

Delivering Hope in Nigeria: Natalie Imbruglia Visits Newly Launched Fistula Project

I think what makes it work so well is the internal rhyme. Which has led me to launch The Official Richard Madeley Rhyming Couplet Competition. You've got the rhyme, now I want you give me a couplet.

For example:

There once a pretty singer called Imbruglia
Who did charitable things for the fistula.


AxmxZ said...

My best friend works at UNFPA. Our little joke is that it stands for "On fait pas." But funny name aside, the fistula thing is actually both utterly damaging and very easy to repair, so it's a good place to concentrate efforts.

Anonymous said...

But it is not true - she was there for Koala bears suffering from chlamydia... honestly do read more carefully!!

Happy New Year by the way!! I Trust Judy is still as randy as ever?

Richard Madeley said...

Axmxz, so wierd the connectedness of things. I find it just amusing when these organizations inadvertently make comic headlines such as this. I couldn't have made this one up.

Mutley, those Koala bears do need saving. And Judy's fine. Thanks for asking.

AxmxZ said...

From what I hear, English language skills at UNFPA are kind of lacking. Of all the examples I hear from my friend, my favorite has to be:

"With reference to your above, see my below."

It takes a very real effort of the will not to amend this construction instantly with

"...and suck it."

Richard Madeley said...

It never fails to amaze me how the intelligent people hired by these operations don't have an ear for turning a phrase. Perhaps many of them are trained lawyers or just adopt a tone that they think suits their status.

It's what makes me laugh about the headline. The juxtaposition of the trivial and serious never fails to create a wonderful bathos that’s always enjoyable.

AxmxZ said...

With regards to the headline - I think it's not just the juxtaposition of the trivial and the serious - it's also how the phrase actually looks and sounds. There's an unnecessary abundance of u's, a's, and i's. Visually, most of them stick out like sore thumbs; aurally, they are sour notes.

Richard Madeley said...

You're right. Too many vowels. I keep reading the line and thinking it's just me. Then I try to imagine a 'newly launched fistula' and I start laughing again. I know I shouldn't but there you have it. I'm easy to amuse.

AxmxZ said...

OK, you're right. The 'newly launched fistula' didn't really register with me until you pointed it out - it just affected me subconsciously.

This could be an interesting regular feature: one takes a headline/blurb/soundbite and MSTs it.

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