The unidentified homeless man was quick to point out that he never lost consciousness.
If I was a real reporter I would jump through some flaming hoops to sound as un-hacky as possible. There are stories that on their face seem to make this nearly impossible. Take today’s story of LL Cool J capturing a homeless home invader in his Studio City mansion.
What’s the first thing that comes to mind?
And it’s not him licking his lips. Which song comes to mind? (Sidebar: What if Mark Zuckerberg had a tattoo of a like button? But all bad ass with snakes and skulls and shit? Or a better analogy would be a keyboard. But like a sweet wireless keyboard. With flames. He doesn’t by the way)
Obvs we’re all thinking the same thing. You even have an intro typed up in your head. It’s okay. I understand. I’d do it too. Thus I am not a professional journalist.
I’m on no deadline other than a self-imposed one. Real reporters have bosses that are always breathing heavily and rolling up shirt-sleeves and saying stuff like “I needed this LL Cool J piece yesterday, Johnson!”
It’s tough not to take the hack’s way out. I’d have a hard time. I’d write the clunkiest article ever. It would be painfully obvious what I was trying not say. I imagine it would be something like this:
LL COOL J SUBDUES HOME INVADER WITHOUT PROMPTING FROM MOTHER NOR ANY OTHER INFATUATED FEMALES
-Studio City, 8.22.2012
Rapper turned actor LL Cool J (nee James Smith) successfully captured and held a man who broke into his Studio City, CA home early Wednesday. His mother does not live in the house and as far as authorities are reporting was not on the phone with LL Cool J immediately prior to the incident. Police have not ruled out that a previous command issued from his mother and subsequently turned into a platinum selling single in the early 90′s may have provided some motivation for the star to tackle and strike with his fists (though never causing unconsciousness) the unidentified homeless man.
Mr. Smith was at home with his children and his wife who may or may not have been from the neighborhoods in New York City where LL Cool J grew up. The intruder was turned over to the police for booking.
There were no neighborhood females, enamored or not, hanging around the Smith home. Police had no comment on whether or what type of hat Mr. Smith was wearing.
It’s like the painful tooth you can’t stop messing with.
However, these journalists have no such qualms with snatching the lowest hanging fruit.
The first line from People Magazine:
Mama said knock you out!
The first line from New York Daily News:
Well, Mama did say to knock you out.
The last two lines from TMZ’s article:
We’re told LL is okay, but the suspect — who will be booked for burglary — suffered a few bruises.
Mama said knock you out.
The last line of an LA Times article:
“Mama Said Knock You Out,” indeed.
The LA Times article manages to slyly reference it in the intro too: “Tempted to visit LL Cool J’s place? Remember to knock.”
Oh, you devil.
The journalists must have had a debate in their heads on whether to lead with the MSKYO line or finish with it. (Check that meta boxing reference, yo) Personally, I would lead with it. Get it out of the way. Let the people know you are down with hip hop from two decades ago. If only there was a slick way to let the reader know that you know exactly what’s up with Todd Smith’s alias too…
From The Huffington Post:
The ladies are gonna love this: the rapper who plays a special agent on “NCIS” has made a real-life get.
Gah, the hack-ness (and wack-ness) of these articles. These reporters should feel bad. This is the journalistic equivalent to “That’s what she said.” It’s so obvious and lame that writers should be embarrassed to include it in their articles.
I’ll give you an example of how awful this reference is. In the Yahoo! comments section this happened:
Yes, Wayne Oliver replied to “Mama said knock you out!” with the same comment, verbatim. And then nine (!) people gave him the thumbs up.
Here’s a rule of thumb for professional reporters: If the reference is likely to be made by a Yahoo! commenter DO NOT, under any circumstances, use it in your article.