Crime and pun-ishment
Dutiful editor and Sun employee that I am, I read the whole paper every day. Yesterday morning I opened up the sports section to discover this headline:
Goucher no longer a place to Gopher an easy win
Why Goucher College should have chosen a specimen of Rodentia for its mascot is beyond the scope of my imaginings, but punning in headlines — Gopher/go for, got it? HI-larious — draws my attention immediately.
I have been railing against cheap, obvious puns in headlines for years, trampling out the grapes of wrath for any copy editor using “purr-fect” in a headline about cats, or the feeble example of the godawful headline I’ve put on this post. Puns on names have always been particularly odious. (My middle name is Early, my mother’s maiden name, and perhaps years of playground wit have conditioned this reaction.)
But before I drop something heavy from a great height on the hapless wretch responsible for the Gopher headline, I pause to reconsider. I have been assured after indulging in these harangues in the past that no, these plays on people’s and teams’ names constitute the particular charm of sports sections, that readers relish them.
So I put it to you: Am I misguided? Tone deaf to the distinctive sensibility of the sports page? Wrong to bristle at the innocent playfulness of the Gopher headline and others like it? Should I lighten up? What say you?