Nearly every major-news-venue article I've seen about California's Proposition 19 (the one to legalize marijuana) has used the word “hazy” and/or some other pun about marijuana smoke or getting high. Some samples:
- Details hazy
- California's future under legal pot would start off hazy—note that this version of this AP article says “the future gets cloudy,” where another version says the future gets hazier
- Pot initiative's issues too hazy
- Prop. 19 going up in smoke?
- Is Proposition 19 Going Up in Smoke?
- pot industry could go up in smoke
- Prop. 19 could flicker out (“a lot of heat and light without any smoke”)
- Where there's smoke
- Reefer sadness for pot growers (I kinda like this one, perhaps because it's the only time I've seen this particular joke)
And so on.
It's like the puns are addictive. It's like the writers (or the editors) are giddy. They can't resist, like a stoner can't resist snacking. It's like the prospect of a pun has clouded their minds. It's like—
Never mind. You get the idea.
It makes me want to do an ad: “This is your article. This is your article on cheap obvious puns.” Or: “Friends don't let friends litter serious news articles and headlines with cheap dumb jokes.”
I know this is nothing new. Headline writers in particular have always loved puns. And articles about sports games and box-office results have always featured puns relevant to the teams or movies involved.
But something about Prop 19 really seems to bring out this tendency in a way that other propositions don't seem to do.
What are these writers smoking?
(PS: Just to be clear: I love puns. What bugs me about these is that they're obvious and ubiquitous and not terribly funny.)