TopOfTheCircle.com

Serving the scholastic field hockey and lacrosse community since 1998

Aug. 13, 2015 — No longer weird

Strange news items, ones which detail true events in small towns around the world having to do with dumb criminals, natural phenomena, or publicity stunts, have been part of the newsgathering business for the last century.

Indeed, the Associate Press used to make it easy for editors to find some of these weird news stories by putting the word “LITE” in the designated slug of the story on the newswire so that you could find a story that could put a smile on someone’s face.

Much of the phenomenon of weird news started 97 years ago when a man named Robert Ripley started aggregating tales of coincidence and kismet that became Ripley’s Believe it or Not! What had originally been a newspaper cartoon feature became a radio show, more than one TV series, a series of oddball museums, and anthology books for people who missed the daily panels.

Other news entities such as the News of the Weird syndicated column and the Weird News section of The Huffington Post have jumped in with their own takes. Other news entities have done similar things in the past; one news radio station used to stock one of its web pages with an entire newsfeed full of stories about monkeys.

But as the writer of this story has observed, there is a point where news is, frankly, no longer weird.

Indeed, let’s look at some recent headlines:

  • A man who has never held political office is leading his party’s polling for the Presidency.
  • And that man rented out one of his apartments to a corrupt sports executive for the exclusive use of his cats.
  • One of the best quarterbacks of his generation is suspended for four games because he was accused of conspiring to underinflate footballs in a league championship game his team won by 37 points.
  • Also in sports, a key player who had been arrested for domestic violence and whose husband was arrested for DUI for stealing a van is allowed to contribute to her team’s world championship run.
  • And then, there is the Olympic decathlete and motivational speaker who has undergone a series of treatments and operations for the purpose of gender reassignment.

These are all mainstream headlines.

Ponder that the next time you turn on the news on your radio or TV, or access a newspaper or website.

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