The Junk Drawer: Dead sources who refuse to talk, the use of dead kids as a marketing campaign and other mistakes to avoid

As we noted in an earlier post, the Junk Drawer is usually full of stuff that didn’t fit anywhere else but you still need, so let’s enjoy a few of the more awkward moments sent in by the hivemind and other friends out there:

DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES: When you’re doing breaking news live, you often find yourself on an adrenaline high and you also try to tell people all the important stuff you did to get them as much information as possible. In the case of KTLA’s Sara Welch, she went above and beyond to get as much information as she could regarding a fatal crash:

I have no idea whom Welch was trying to reach, but I’m guessing she really wasn’t shaking down a dead guy for answers. Then again, this approach sometimes works in the movies: (Probably NSFW)


Speaking of shaking down the dead…

MASS SHOOTINGS AREN’T MARKETING OPPORTUNITIES: Certain names or terms are so indelibly linked with horrible things (Nazis, Jeffrey Dahmer, Virginia Tech shooting) that they are essentially the third rail of marketing: You just don’t step on them if you want to make it out of here alive. We have mentioned a few marketing failures in this regard, such as the “coolest monkey in the jungle” sweatshirt and the “pillows and skirt by Auschwitz” fashion movement. However, the folks at Bstroy decided to up the “what the hell is wrong with you?” fashion movement by creating hoodies with the names of school shooting sites on them. Naturally, they were laced with bullet holes:


Look, I have a hard enough time understanding why my kid (and seemingly everyone else in her demographic group) wants clothes with holes in them, but I’m pretty sure nobody with an inkling of human empathy or at least one-third of a brain thought this was a good idea.

As the internet freaked out on the “edgy company,” the owners issued a statement that violated “Filak’s First Rule of Holes:

“Sometimes life can be painfully ironic,” the statement reads. “Like the irony of dying violently in a place you considered to be a safe, controlled environment, like school. We are reminded all the time of life’s fragility, shortness, and unpredictability yet we are also reminded of its infinite potential.”

Mmmhmm… Speaking of bad ideas poorly executed…

WORD CHOICE MATTERS: Case in point, the questioning of a ship captain whose boat exploded into flames:


I like my captain grilled medium-rare, with a little pink… Speaking of conception:

DID THE KID SHANK SOMEONE AT HIS BIRTH?: Misplaced modifiers end up causing all sorts of problem, as does awkward structure and horrible punctuation. These things all deserve attention, even if you’re “just on Twitter.”


The first two times I read this, it sounded like an infant was found dead in his jail cell and all I kept thinking was, “How the hell did a 6-month-old kid end up in jail? Did he hold the delivery room hostage or something?” Eventually, I read it the right way, but honestly, this is an easy clarification.

Two commas solve this problem:

A XX-year-old man, awaiting trial for the death of his 6-month-old son, was found dead in his jail cell, authorities say.

Remember, Twitter did this really nice thing for us in doubling the number of characters we can use to explain things. (Personally, I still don’t like the 280-character limit, as I explained in the “Fat Pants Theory,” but I’m getting used to it.) That said, you should feel free to write in complete sentences and maybe include a little more punctuation as needed.

Have a good start to your week!


(a.k.a. The Doctor of Paper)


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