That is the question arising from a recent New Zealand Herald’s lead website story’s heading.

First, to explain. Journalists don’t write the headings for their stories the reason being to prevent repetition.

This calls on the sub-editors who compose the headings to read and understand the stories properly, which failure to do so, sometimes leads to completely inaccurate headings.

Some subs take pride in witty or clever titles which was the question which arose with a recent Herald story. Was it deliberate or taking the mickey?
This was regarding an assault story by a bloke whose wife was openly having it off with his boss, she deeming her husband inadequate.

The heading read “Assault accused told to harden up.”

As I’ve written before for sheer absurdity my all-time favourite heading was 40 years back in the Dominion.

It read “Westport Mr Whippy man chased by chain-saw wielding transvestite.”


Or the best bumper sticker “Land Rights for Gay Whales”

And that well-worn heading reporting cuts to library services in Essex: Book lack in Ongar

My favourite was after a big upset in Scottish football. The headline was “Super Caly go ballistic, Celtic were atrocious”.

Not far behind (in my opinion) was when a player was sent off in English football. Headline was “Queen in brawl at Palace”.

I’d say the sub-editor at the Herald has stumbled across a heading from the cheeky 1970’s and used that because there’s just no way in 2022 that any woke, dull and PC sub-editor at the Herald would be remotely capable of dreaming up that kind of deliberate humour.

I don’t know if its true but my favourite is when Ed Hillary and Vivian Fuchs led the trip to the South Pole in 58 I think.

The reputed headline was ” Hillary, Fulks off to Pole” If true it was sheer genius.

My favourite was during my OE in London in the late 80’s and written in The Sun. It followed a story of a police constable who had his bits chopped off and was in a tussle to remain in the London Police and duly won. It read “No Nobby Bobby keeps her Jobby” Brilliant!

I have a copy of the Northern Territory News from 14 May 2010, which has the headline “Horny Roo Stalks NT Women”. I’m not sure why an article was needed as the headline basically explains everything…

Then there was the billboard at the Basin Reserve which read: “My wife has left me for my best friend. God I’m going to miss him”.

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