Bad Writing as a Momentary Source of Joy, Rather Than a Reason for Prolonged Disdain, Disgust, or Despair


Ulf Kirchdorfer’s post yesterday made me laugh out loud. But, as funny as his observations about persistently dismal writing are, that sort of writing itself is just terribly disheartening, especially when one is confronted with document after document that seem to suggest that it has become something close to pervasive.

If I have a choice in the matter, I prefer to focus on gaffes that might possible have been accidental or at least the result of a momentary lapse, rather than due to some ingrained insensitivity to language or a brutish lack of style (the rhetorical equivalent of Soviet-era architecture).

The following is a collection of “unfortunate” newspaper headlines collected by readers of the Columbia Journalism Review in the 1980s.

This item originally appeared at Futility Closet (  It is being re-posted with the permission of Greg Ross, who maintains that site. You can have daily updates from…

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