‘This is’ why I don’t click on ‘these’ news headlines

I had always thought that it was just my pre-teen daughter who needed to be told every time,usually when I drove the car and she sat at the back, to not to use ‘this’ and ‘that’ while starting a conversation. A pronoun is, after all, a noun replacer and one needs to know the noun in the first instance. It is yum. It is tangy. It is soft. Yes, but what is “it’?  It is a case of sheer laziness more than a weak vocabulary in her case. But what about so many online news headlines these days?

As you scroll down the news feed I invariably come across a headline or two and sometimes even more that reads something like:  ‘this is how the mother of 3 fought the tiger’, ‘this powerful herb cures depression’, ‘this is why the actor walked off the stage’ etc. What in the correct, traditional way should really have been written as a) Brave mother of 3 fights a tiger, b) XYZ cures depression and 3) Actor in anger walks off stage. Simple. This is how it is usually. Why would you add ‘this’ and ‘that’ and their plurals.  Is it not obvious that the body of the article will explain the headlines and in a good journalistic fashion report the whys, whats, wheres, ifs and hows. And if the subject is of reader’s interest he/she would anyway click on the headlines to read further on.

I figured out the reason and maybe I am the last one to do so! It all comes down to making the readers curious and encouraging them to click on the headlines so that it takes them to their website. Clicking on the link gets them the numbers after all and in the end it is all about numbers. So if it was something like : Green Tea Cures Depression you might move on to the next news and not bother to click the headline to read the details- who said it, why, where etc. However, if it was “this” cures you of depression, this this (yes 2 ‘this’) will make you click on the headline to at least grab the name of “this”. Clever. Though many times this ‘this’ makes you feel cheated. You have after all taken the bait! How predictable of you?! And if ‘this’ turns out to be nothing as spectacular as it was made to sound in the headlines (which happens most of the time) it is very annoying.

I choose not to read such articles at all now. It is more like a revolt. Revolt against being fooled. Revolt against being sold something by playing on a human weakness called curiosity. I might be missing out on some useful information but a gimmick like this is better suited for selling new products. Selling news? No way.


(image courtesy: http://www.monkimia.de/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Moebeltattoo_this_and_that.jpg)



New Sense


Superstition precedes logic for so many of us. It is a belief,  if not widespread, that in order to keep negativity at bay one should avoid hearing negative stories of other people around you, that is their sob stories. Which I don’t see as being possible unless I stop talking to them completely! You pick up the phone and you have friends grumbling about their jobs, bosses, spouses, in-laws, health and what-not. And if my driver tells me that his daughter has typhoid, how can I just shun him away or even plainly say, ‘ok.’  And it will be all the more stupid that I cut his ‘sob story’ abruptly and start on another topic.

But what about positive news? Going by the same logic as above shouldn’t we be then spreading positivity around us by talking about it with our people. Apparently, no. That also turns to negativity once you let it flow out of your mouth. If someone was to share a positive news right away and if it goes bust later, you are the one to be blamed. The one with the ‘evil eye’! Nazar laga di, as they say in Hindi.

Agreed, that you do not go on announcing to the world about the happenings in your life unless you are an attention seeker, but what about good friends (I barely interact with most of my relatives, so they are excused) who do this? By good friends I mean who interact with you regularly, if not daily.  I still find it difficult to comprehend this. Yes, negative news I hear in abundance and perhaps let it out equally too (only that I don’t have a boss, husband and in-laws to grumble about!) but the positive ones come as a silent shocker to me. Oh, so tomorrow is your engagement! Oh, you are joining new office from Monday! Oh, you are shifting to a new house on the weekend! Wow! So all this month when we were talking daily it is strange that these things never popped up in the conversation even once! You just can’t wake up one fine morning and tell your friend that you have your engagement the next day!

In a way, if I was to look at all of this in a positive light, then I am glad that it was not shared with me after all. I surely don’t want to be the one with the ‘evil eye’! I know I am sounding ridiculous but if this is how the game is played then I can’t pretend to not understand the rules for so long. I am happy to re-wire myself and adapt to this line of thinking however illogical it is than be blamed for a broken marriage, miscarriage or redundancy at work. But house hunt? Really? Even that can’t be shared! Perhaps I need to make a list of things that I should accept as ‘normal’ to be not disclosed.


p.s: I think I am getting good at this business of being hush-hush about all kind of news now. What they say, taste of your own medicine, eh?

(image courtesy: http://www.edutopia.org/)