January 04, 2009

Obama wins!

“The New York Times: The Complete Front Pages, 1851-2008" made it to No. 13 on the NYT bestseller list.

Attention, typomaniacs! The non-ironic use of exclamation points in news headlines seems to have been phased out sometime after World War II (“Japan Surrenders, End of War!”); by the time American withdrawal from Vietnam began in January 1973 (“Vietnam Peace Pacts Signed; America’s Longest War Halts”), the headline writers sounded almost as tired as the country. The practice of using apostrophes in some names in all-uppercase headlines (“Truman Relieves M’Arthur of All His Posts,” “Final Vote Condemns M’Carthy, 67-22”) hung on until 1999, when the paper’s stylebook began mandating that if a typeface lacked a lowercase “c,” one should be created electronically on the computer. As for recent momentous events, here’s hoping we don’t have to wait another century and a half to see the elegantly minimalist headline from Nov. 5, 2008 — “Obama” — preserved between hard covers.

Elegantly minimalist? I found it oddly lacking in information and would certainly have preferred something like "Obama wins." And I wouldn't even have minded an exclamation mark.

No comments: