Pun Alert – Tribune Gets Witty With a New Year's Eve Reference in May
Auld Linn syne
What can you say about a form of humor that elicits groans even when it’s done well?
Welcome to the world of puns, a favorite of jaded newspaper editors everywhere. Actual comedy writers try not to dwell anywhere near this format. I recently had a dentist lay a couple on me, and I told him if he continued I was going to start deducting them from my bill. So let’s look at the Portland Tribune headline celebrating Diane Linn’s departure: Auld Linn syne.
Wow, the Trib editors have actually managed to be lame in two different languages at once, here. Let's break this down:
First, it’s not easy when you’re in a twice-a-week cycle and the news world is moving at warp speed. If this headline were to work at all, it would have to be the next morning after the election. Three days after the event it comes off as ancient history. I showed it to the woman at Starbucks this morning and she said, “Let it go.” Newspapers like the Tribune are best if they’re bringing some post-election reflections such as in Phil Stanford’s column. Yes, he’s a friend, but I’d say this even if I hated his guts: He’s carrying the Trib like a suitcase up the stairs.
To give a minute by minute report of how election night went down, this far out, seems unnecessarily cruel and pointless. It makes the Trib seem to be wallowing in Diane Linn’s misery, and the dumb pun only makes it worse. Plus, if you're already struggling with the speed of the news cycle, writing headlines in a Scottish dialect from the 1700s doesn't help. Take a cup of kindness and get back to us.