A generic Tattle headline so as not to offend anyone

Posted: April 22, 2014

EITHER CELEBS were on their best behavior Easter weekend or the folks who chronicle the celebs' worst behavior were in church or with their families.

Perfect timing for Tattle to address last week's love and hate. And to do so, we'll drop the third-person persona we adopted long before Stephen Colbert made himself a character.

I've written a few thousand of these columns over the past decade-plus and it always amazes me what gets people in a lather.

Picking on drunk Mel Gibson when he had his infamous run-in with the law brought forth a very special brand of anti-Semitism.

An item on Jay Z brought forth accusations that I was anti-police and supportive of a drug dealer.

Mentioning Bill O'Reilly getting his book titles from God got me named "Pinhead of the Week" on O'Reilly's program and then mentioned again on "The Colbert Report" when Colbert had fun with the same story I did.

Last week, it was Tattle's philly.com headline regarding Chelsea Clinton's pregnancy that raised the hackles of readers.

The headline in question (which did not run in the paper): "Mezvinsky: I did have sex with that woman. Chelsea Clinton's pregnant."

I almost never write the newspaper's Tattle headlines and only occasionally write the Web headlines, but this one was all mine. For those of you who don't know the reference, it comes from former President Bill Clinton very publicly stating that he "did not have sex with that woman" during the Monica Lewinsky scandal 16 years ago.

Was the headline accurate? Yes. I'm willing to assume that given the pregnancy, at some point Mr. and Mrs. Mezvinsky had sex.

Did the headline mock Chelsea's pregnancy? No.

Did it mock Bill Clinton's long-ago comments? Yes, but certainly in no worse a way than he'd been mocked by a thousand comedians over the years.

Tattle, is after all, a snarky celebrity gossip column that runs in a tabloid newspaper. People who read the Daily News on a regular basis get that and respond (or don't respond) accordingly. They laugh when they think it's funny, don't when they think it's not or skip it entirely and read the sports.

Online, however, it's a very different experience, completely out of context, seen on Google as a news article in the more serious Philadelphia Inquirer.

Thus the comments:

Robert wrote: "This was not a clever headline but a perfect example of a senseless, abusive and sickening one!"

He's right. It wasn't that clever. But "abusive" and "sickening"? Abusive to who?

Josh wrote: "If she read that headline do you think it's appropriate to hamper the happiness of having her first kid with a reminder of her father's affair?"

I had no idea that concern for Chelsea's feelings was part of the job description, but she's a very bright, accomplished adult. I'm confident she can handle it.

Bruce and Betty wrote: "Totally childish and tasteless title. If she were my daughter I'd beat the snot out of you."

Unless you were president, Bruce, your daughter's pregnancy probably won't make the column.

Diane in Arizona wrote: "Why have you become so crass and vulgar just because her father behaved like trash?"

Become so crass and vulgar? The day before, the lead Tattle item was about a rapper who cut off his penis and tried to kill himself. That column and the philly.com headline ("Cock-a-doodle don't") was way more crass and vulgar, yet the email and tweets were all positive.

Where do you folks draw the line?

Later in the day on Twitter, Andrea in Texas tweeted: "I don't think @DNTattle should lose his job. But he should personally apologize to literally everyone on earth, in alphabetical order."

Katie tweeted: "I think I may have popped blood vessels in my eyeballs reading @DNTattle's disgusting headline."

Lose my job? "Popped blood vessels"? "Disgusting"?

Is there no longer any emotion between "That's not funny" and torches and pitchforks? Whatever happened to commensurate response?

The craziest part of this is that none of the haters online will ever see this response because they found the column on some search engine or via some aggregator, and the people who are regular readers of the column will wonder what all the fuss was about.

TATTBITS

* Animal rights activists protesting outside Liam Neeson's New York home say they don't agree with him that the city's carriage horses should keep working.

Neeson didn't appear Saturday as about 50 demonstrators filled the sidewalk in front of his apartment building. They held signs with such slogans as: "Liam Neeson: Stop Supporting Cruelty!"

Neeson is a vocal supporter of the city's carriage-horse industry.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has pledged to ban the horse-drawn carriages and replace them with electric vintage-style cars, commissioned by a group called NYCLASS.

Its members joined protesters from PETA on Saturday.

They say it's inhumane for the horses to be subjected to traffic, pollution and possible accidents. Granted, the horses don't have a choice, but isn't that true of almost everyone in New York? Walk your pet poodle down Park Avenue and you're both subjected to traffic, pollution and possible accidents.

* Ooh, baby, I love your case.

John Allen Papelbon, who acknowledged stealing the luggage of rock guitarist Peter Frampton at Denver International Airport, has been given a 60-day suspended jail sentence followed by two years of probation.

The Denver Post reports that Papelbon was sentenced Friday and ordered to pay $8,884 in restitution.

Wait a second, Papelbon couldn't even save the luggage?

- Daily News wire services

contributed to this report.


Phone: 215-854-5678

On Twitter: @DNTattle

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