Top 10 ready-to-go headlines

Some headlines are like crimplene. You can drape them over a chair overnight and they're ready to go by morning – year in and year out, says Susan Erasmus.

Now actually, it's nine, since the death of the latest dictator Gaddafi. For months we had headlines such as: Uprising in Libya, Gaddafi flees his home, Gaddafi troops fight back,Gaddafi spotted in home town etc. There was never any doubt about how this was going to end, just about how long it was going to take. With dictators there is always a discernable pattern:

  • Something sparks an unexpected uprising
  • Police/troops open fire and kill protestors
  • Everyone splits into two factions
  • Lots of people die
  • Even more people die
  • The dictator holes up somewhere with loyal troops
  • He is found and killed and his body displayed in public
  • All hell continues to break loose as factions keep fighting
  • A new dictator emerges

Right, with Gaddafi off our list now, let's take a look at other perennial favourites that pop up with alarming regularity:

Volcano erupts in Iceland.This has been going on for centuries. Admittedly not the same unpronouncable volcano – Eyjafjallajokull. (Say that 5 times and watch your head explode.) Guys, this is a volcanic island. There are always going to be volcanoes erupting, whether they disrupt air traffic or not. Make peace with it.

Zuma to wed again. Just when you've got used to the merry band of wives, another one appears. As far as I am concerned, I couldn't care less if he wanted to marry another five. I just don't want to pay for it.

Your cellphone will give you cancer. Will it, won't it? Well unless people start dropping dead in the street, I can't see anyone giving up their cellphones. So this makes for a perennial scare story, because it affects everyone.

Execs on corruption charges. Are there any municipal officials/people in high positions/accountants out there who can keep their hands out of the cookie jar? If there are, it would make for a nice new headline.

Vaccine against HIV/Aids found. Everyone wants this, so whenever there is a hint in this direction, the headline reappears. Just wonder what would happen to all those HIV/Aids researchers then?

Floods in Indonesia. Or India, or Pakistan or China. It seems like these countries are permanently under three feet of water. Maybe they just weren't meant for human habitation.

Lindsay Lohan in rehab. Into rehab, out of rehab, caught doing drugs in rehab, ordered back into rehab by the court. Whatever the situation, there is always the word 'rehab' in the headline.

Thousands starve in Africa. Whether it's drought, civil wars, general unrest – there's always a food crisis somewhere on this continent. It's grim, but maybe all the interventions need a bit of a rethink. They don't seem to be working.

Malema meant no offence: ANCYL. Is there anyone left in SA who has not been insulted by this 'champion of the poor'? Indians, ANC top brass, the whites, the President, farmers, mine bosses – the list goes on.

(Susan Erasmus, Health24, October 2011)



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