Sunday, June 10, 2007

The More Dominatrices, the Better.

There was a time when I read a handful of scripts and a book or two every week. I never really minded writing the "comments" section of coverage, but I quickly grew to hate the relentless synopsizing. I sympathized with Newman when he would rant about his job as a postal carrier:

"...the mail never stops. It just keeps coming and coming and coming."

Thankfully (warning: rationalization ahead) all that "practice" I had synopsizing has helped immensely with my copywriting work. Far more often than not, I've been hired to help the client synthesize a copious amount of copy (inc. big ideas, pertinent product factoids, wide-ranging corporate philosophy, etc) into brief bursts of text.

The briefest burst possible is the headline, which, fortunately for me, requires blending a number of my personaly predilections like wordplay, potent quotables, and... synopsizing.


One of my favorite columns in The New York Times is William Safire's "On Language"... such a great way to keep up with the vernacular (and, for fellow wordplayers, a great source of sly humor too). Today's installment featured a delicious description of the synopsizing and headline writing process borne of Safire's puzzlement at the following headline from Brit-written The Financial Times:

"Murdoch denies Beijing kowtow as Dow Jones rhetoric hots up."

No, not "heats up"... "hots up." Wondering if perhaps the editors of The Financial Times were eager to save space by cutting "ea" and replacing it with a single "o," Safire writes:

"Granted, brevity is a whip-bearing dominatrix in the discipline of headline writing."

Combining S&M imagery with wordplay hots a brother up, no?

you never know what you'll get when you google-image "kowtow"!

1 comment:

Sam said...

Our headline writers are bound to be "hotting up" any day now. They certainly went with the Brits on the phrase "x years on". As in, "Columbine, three years on". Not three years "later". Three years "on". You wouldn't have seen that outside of The Economist or FT until the last eighteen months. Now? Everywhere. Damn Brits.