The future of pot is hazy. Get it? Get it? I made a joke!

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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:

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.)

3 Comments

I'm sad no one asked "Is legalizing pot a 'tokin'' gesture?"

I ran into a particularly awful example recently. This article, discussing the construction of a certain cake, says "Homemade buttercream is then — literally — the icing on the entire cake."

Puns can be rated according to how clever their double meaning is. Examples like this one ape the form of the pun but fail to be puns because there is no double meaning at all. The author knows what it looks like when someone makes a pun, but doesn't understand what makes them funny or clever.

Well, and you presumably don't spend a lot of time reading the sports headlines. Weak puns with a players' name (or the team name, or as a last resort a reference to the location of the team) are absolutely a requirement. With my Giants having some stars with pun-able names (Matt Cain: Cain is able, Cain Do Spirit, etc) and the Rangers having Cliff "makes an adjective an adverb" Lee, it has been particularly bad this year.

Last night, if you weren't aware, the Giants won behind a masterful performance by the 21-year-old rookie, who's name is Madison Bumgarner. A name which should cause a little difficulty among headline writers, but they worked out things like "Giants 'Garner Control" and "Madison Avenue the Path to Victory". Alas, a quick check of the newseum doesn't show anyone using my preferred headline: Mad About the Boy!

Thanks,
-V.

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This page contains a single entry by Jed published on October 31, 2010 10:05 AM.

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