Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Ummm... Wha???

Ok, as someone who gets a fair amount of news from the Fox News website, I've come to the conclusion that you often can't tell what a story is about by looking at the headline.

I've commented upon this phenomenon before....

All news providers do this, but Fox News--bless their souls--seems to do it more than most. They like writing headlines that catch the attention and make the reader think: Good grief! I wonder what that's all about? And then the reader reads the story and discovers that it's quite mundane, actually. And Fox likes to go with "cutesy" headlines: puns (usually not very good ones), cultural in-references, and the like.

So today, I saw the headline: Infant Stars Caught In Act of Feeding.

Now, maybe it was just because I wasn't awake yet. Maybe I need to start developing a taste for coffee, so I can actually wake up in the morning before I read the news. But this headline simply did not compute. I stared at it for a bit.

Infant stars? I know they have to have babies in movies from time to time, but I wasn't aware that any were regarded as stars. And they were "caught in the act of feeding?" Well, I knew the paparazzi were privacy-invading scum, but it really wouldn't be that big a deal if one of them snapped a picture of a mommy nursing her young movie star. It would be hugely impolite of them to invade the mommy's space like that during a potentially intimate moment, but aside from that, it's not like it's a scandal or anything.

Why is it a big deal if movie-star babies are "caught" feeding? Unless it's feeding on something the baby shouldn't be eating, like with the Happy Boy and rocks (or grass, or dirt, or snails, or most of the other yummy stuff in our backyard).

So I clicked on the story. I wanted to see what the big deal was: who were these infant stars, and why was their feeding such a big deal?

First line in the story:
The European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope has given astronomers their most detailed look at how infant stars feed off the disks of gas and dust that swirl around them as they grow.
Oh. Those stars.

As Emily Litella would say: Never mind.

You know, a very small and petty part of me is tempted to blame Fox News for this. After all, they do tend to put a lot of entertainment-fluff dreck and shock stories on their front page. I'm tempted to claim that this was a case of crying wolf. After becoming too accustomed to seeing these kinds of stories, the brain tends to start reading all ambiguous headlines as though it's another sensation they're trying to flog.

But as I said, this would be small and petty of me. I think the whole thing about needing to caffeinate myself before I read the news is closer to the truth.

Except these days, that might get me way too wound up. It's probably for the best that I'm taking in daily news in a semi-comatose state....

No comments: