By Carlos Eton
Recently I was asked to write a paper that required loads of background research. In performing my due diligence, I navigated my web browser to a webpage in a major news organization’s website.
I knew I was in trouble upon reading the first paragraph.
The first words of the first paragraph were these; “Ada Limón was named the 24th poet laureate this week.”
Ada Limón was named Poet Laureate of the United States on a Tuesday. Assuming that the week started on a Sunday, that means that the rate of poet laureate assignments is 56 per week.
It must be exhausting to spend the entire week naming and reassigning poet laureates (PL’s). The Librarian of Congress must be tired!
That’s roughly 8 named PL’s per day. As such, a PL basically works a 3-hour shift—they would get better hours at Home Depot. (Although if each USPL gets paid the standard $30,000 fee, then it’s not a bad paycheck for three-hours work.)
Back to the website quote: how do such “unusual” sentences bypass the copy editor’s desk? It happens because copy editors are extinct (just like the dodo, dinosaurs, and Virgin Island unicorns). In an effort to cut costs and generate revenue many media organizations have completely eliminated copy editors and related personnel.
We really need to bring back copy editors. Maybe we could start a GoFundMeNowBecauseIAmACopyEditorAndNeedAJob page. How about a bake sale? Maybe a telethon?
Am I being nit-picky? Probably. Am I being annoying? Most likely. After all, what’s next?
Will we be forced to read stories about grandmotherly dining preferences containing such typographical wonders as “Let’s eat Grandma” instead of the correct “Let’s eat, Grandma?” [Well, maybe in the Journal of Cannibalistic Cuisine or the Donner Party News it might be correct, but I don’t have a subscription to either magazine–by design.]
I began to wonder if there is a word for sentences like these. I couldn’t really find a term I liked, so I decided to come up with one: “Flooby Nooby” (like the song from the 1992 Bill Plympton movie The Tune).
Let’s just say that a “Flooby Nooby” is a sentence, newspaper headline, or phrase that is humorous due to punctuation errors, word choice, grammar, or logic. It could be accidental or deliberate. It doesn’t really matter–either way it’s entertainment for us, right?
A “Flooby Nooby” is a sentence, newspaper headline, or phrase that is humorous due to punctuation errors, word choice, grammar, or logic. It could be accidental or deliberate. It doesn’t really matter–either way it’s entertainment for us, right?
Here are some entertaining Flooby Noobies for your consideration.
|“Marijuana issue sent to a joint committee”
|I remember this one. It was bill number US 420, right?
I can read your thoughts on this one … you want to know how you can join the committee.
|“One-armed man applauds the kindness of strangers” (Tulsa World)||I’m really not sure how to respond to this one.|
|“Forecasters call for weather on Monday”
|Like George Carlin once said, “Tonight’s forecast: dark.”|
|“Cows lose their jobs as milk prices drop”
|Do they qualify for unemployment benefits? Are they paid in cheese?|
|“Governor: Innocent man freed after 18 years shows justice system works”
|Uhm … yeah. Right.|
| “City unsure of why sewer smells”
(South Haven Tribune)
|Really? Can’t figure it out? I’m staying the heck away from South Haven until they do.|
|“Calif. DMV renews blind man’s license”
United Press International
|If you’ve ever driven California freeways, this totally makes sense.
Okay, to be fair … it’s not a total Flooby Nooby. If you read the article, the story is actually a legitimate story.
|And these are favorites among linguists.|
|“I’d like to thank my parents, Tiffany and God.”
|The ommited comma strikes again!
Remind me not to get into a heated discussion with the parents.
|“I’m sorry I love you.”||What a difference a period makes.
Unless, of course, the person really is sorry for loving the other person.
|“I find inspiration in cooking my family and my dog.”||Uhm, I think I’ll go to La Reine Chicken Shack instead.|
Time to be fair, though. Some of the Flooby Nooby headlines were deliberately worded. And that’s okay. Deliberate Flooby Noobies are fun and demonstrate fun word play.
But it is the accidental Flooby Noobies that remind us that we seriously need to reinstate copy editors. (And, yes, they’re more fun to read–I mean the Flooby Noobies, not the copy editors.)
Oh, one more thing … if I do become a copy editor, then look out for accidental Flooby Noobies, because you will see a ton of them.
After all, I am pretty much the mayor of Flooby Nooby Town.
The Random Safari Express, a serial feature column by senior UVI Communication student and humorist Carlos Eton, celebrates comedy, philosophy, and the thousand (often ridiculous) random thoughts that pop into our heads during the quiet moments of our day.