Every headline should have six words

By John Laird, Columbian Editorial Page Editor

Published:

 

Brevity is the new norm. For that, we can thank Twitter’s 140-character limit. Another communication straitjacket is the increasingly popular six-word maximum. The best arbiter for this is Smith Magazine, which has published several books with six-word memoirs. For details, visit http://www.smithmag.net.

In the magazine’s “work” category, creative contributors described their jobs and offices in exquisite brevity, each with just six words. Examples: “Beware the ears of the watercooler.” And: “Billing always brings the best casseroles.” Plus my favorite: “Italian company: NEVER criticize your boss!”

Here in the Northwest and Clark County, the six-word theme is in full flourish. It guides our local Hounds of Whinerville through their doctrine of BANANA (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything). Here are other six-word maxims that should resonate with Columbian readers:

Gov. Chris Gregoire looks into her crystal ball: “Budget deficits or retirement? Tough choice!”

Habitual statewide candidate Dino Rossi confesses: “Three strikes batting against liberal women.”

Six-word secret about the 3rd Congressional District’s representative: “Herrera can’t spell Jamie or Butler.”

Frequently blurted by oratorically challenged Clark County Commissioner Tom Mielke: “Oops! Did I really say that?”

Back-slapping brainiac County Commissioner Steve Stuart often claims after Mielke’s gaffes: “Honest, I wasn’t rolling my eyes!”

County Commissioner Marc Boldt knows his role: “Swing vote! County’s most powerful politician!”

Six words from former Vancouver Mayor Royce Pollard: “Tim lied. I lost. You’re tolled!”

Pollard’s legacy: “Downtown revitalization: Esther would be proud!”

The truth about Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt: “Flamboyant wardrobe can’t hide unraveled leadership.”

Snarled by lame-duck Vancouver City Councilor Pat Campbell: “I don’t need no stinkin’ charisma!”

Shrieked by short-fused Vancouver City Councilor Jeanne Harris: “Please stop calling me Jeanne Vesuvius!”

Proposed six-word slogan for Yacolt residents: “Shaddap! Tonya Harding thinks we’re normal!”

This one would fit Battle Ground: “Hey, next to Yacolt, we’re Paris!”

And for Camas: “Intellectual, cultural epicenter of Clark County.”

Washougal’s motto: “Like Camas, only not so snooty.”

Ridgefield’s boast: “Countless migratory birds’ favorite bombing range!”

La Center: “Hey, Vancouver! We took your cardrooms!”

The Cowlitz Tribe on a casino: “We gotcher Manifest Destiny right here!”

Six words from federal-government-bashing presidential candidate Rick Perry: “Wildfires change one’s hatred of government.”

From Sarah Palin: “Five colleges makes you quintuply intelligenter.”

Michele Bachmann: “Typos prove God hates editorial writers.”

President Barack Obama finally grows a backbone: “I’m through compromising! OK, maybe not …”

Golf advice from the president: “How many more years? Fore, Baby!”

Marital advice from Tiger Woods: “My ex swings a mean 2-iron.”

The Columbia River Crossing’s secret, inner-office motto: “A few dozen experts; umpteen advisers.”

The Hounds of Whinerville want the world to know: “Our crusade is simple. Oppose everything.”

Each Hound’s marching orders at Vancouver City Council meetings: “Three unending minutes of excruciating redundancy.”

Local conservative kingpin David Madore’s frequent warning: “Disagree with tycoons? You’re an elitist!”

Madore’s least favorite comparison: “Civic activists good! Community organizers evil!”

Six words to keep in mind about The Columbian: “Clark County’s leading source of information.”

Embossed on columnist John Laird’s business card: “Protecting finer bird cages since 1968.”

The battle cry of Laird’s readers: “Immigration reform now! Deport anchor Texans!”

Six words most often heard from bloggers: “Just bring breakfast down here, Ma!”