Saturday, July 02, 2005

"Beame Me Up, Scotty"

William J. Brink, credited with the 1975 Daily News headline, Ford to City: Drop Dead, has dropped his agenda and adjourned.

Although noting that "Those six syllables . . . almost certainly lost [Ford] New York State in his 1976 race against Jimmy Carter, and with it, the presidency," the Nyok Times omits to mention the sequel. When the City returns came in, the News ran the headline, City to Ford: Drop Dead.

The Times, noting that the headline still has legs, and how, modestly concludes,

The corresponding headline in The New York Times that day, FORD, CASTIGATING CITY, ASSERTS HE'D VETO FUND GUARANTEE; OFFERS BANKRUPTCY BILL, remains unsung.

The Brink banner's got rhythm, yes; that of a tagline to a Gershwin song. But the Times's headline is just as lyrical: it has the rhythm of something out of a libretto of an American opera, vintage John Adams.

The difference is ease of memorization. Still, I highly recommend to all my readers that we all take the trouble to memorize the Times headline. Then, the next time someone at a cocktail party says, "Remember that headline about the City fiscal crisis?" we can all look innocent and say, "Do you mean 'Ford, Castigating City, . . .'?"


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