Did you hear the one about Dustin Hoffman saving a joggers life?
Well he actually did earlier this year (Ba-bum-tish!), when a 27 year old Londoner had a heart attack in Hyde Park, and the Rain Man himself just happened to be first on the scene. For the same 3 or 4 details repeated and rephrased with as much originality as tulips in Amsterdam, you could see the Guardian, the Telegraph or CNN‘s articles.
Ok, so why regurgitate this old ‘news’? Well, it’s because the whole of the world’s media completely missed the biggest sitter* of an opportunity to make a pun, ever.
Firstly, I really don’t think this was news. Its just utter clap-trap. People have heart-attacks all the time and if they are fortunate, somebody nearby will call an ambulance, and hopefully they will survive. Well done Dustin and everything, your acting is lovely blah blah, but anybody who found the chap would have done the same, right?
Anyway, the media will insist on reporting a much higher percentage of clap-trap rather than news that is really important (famines, wars, corrupt politicians – oh wait, they’re all the same thing) because Joe Bloggs switches the channel when it gets too depressing. And so the mainstay of todays media outlets has become the dear old pun. I’m not going to collect examples, if you haven’t noticed them it’s because every bit of news you read is so pun-laden (no relation) that maybe we are becoming pun-dead!
But if YOUR BUSINESS is to find these lame excuses for stories and make them puntastically exciting, to keep readers engaged and encourage sharing of your content, and all that other CLAP-TRAP – shouldn’t you at least put some effort into it?
We live in a world peppered with slogans, and appended with taglines – yet I haven’t been able to find a single online publication that spotted this glaring opportunity to write a headline. Surely they were referring to IMDB for his film resume? Was it too far down the list? Or maybe the film itself wasn’t popular enough. I don’t believe for a minute that the coffee-boys who were given the task of writing this ‘story’ know Mr Hoffmans films well enough not to fact-check somewhere along the line.
Anyway, here it is, for your amusement, a film titled Accidental Hero, starring Dustin Hoffman. The headlines just write themselves!
Maybe American’s can be forgiven (for this, not anything else) as it may have been released as just ‘Hero’ in the US – but the story broke from London. Has everyone working in celebrity filmy entertainmenty news got fluff for brains? Probably. It could well be one of the required competencies.
Today, the very same Hyde Park in London has hundreds of athletes from all over the world competing in the womens Olympic triathlon.
Good luck Team GB (all of you)! I do hope Dustin is nearby in case of any emergencies, maybe he could help with some electrolyte replenishment too.
A bien tot,
*a sitter is an expression from British football which means a ball that should very easily be put in the back of the net, much like a sitting duck is a very easy target. Commonly referred to as an ‘absolute sitter’ (no mathematics implied) and also explained as clear as mud here.