Friday, May 6, 2016

Headline Shatters Expectations

I don't know about you, but when I hear the word shatter, I think of flying glass. I think of movie superheroes throwing nameless villains through plate glass windows, or white-hatted gunslingers throwing black-hatted bandits through . . . plate glass windows.

I don't know much about glass. Just that I enjoy watching costumed figures flying through it, causing it to shatter, hundreds of tiny glass stars flying through the air, drawing blood, and tinkling to the ground.

It was because my mind attaches this image to the word shatter that this headline from caught me by surprise.

If you haven't heard the news, Lin-Manuel Miranda's musical Hamilton was nominated for 16 Tony awards last week, a new record. The old record, held jointly by Billy Elliott and The Producers, was 15 nominations.

Hamilton beat the record by 1 nomination. Put another way, Hamilton broke the previous record by the smallest increment possible. Not exactly an explosive event, if you ask me. Not "shattering."

Imagine this word used in a headline about another discipline:

Danica Patrick Shatters Speed Record by .0001 Seconds


'Jaws' Chestnut Shatters Hot Dog Eating Record by Half a Weiner

Words mean things, even when used metaphorically.

A more accurate headline might have been "'Hamilton' One-Ups 'Billy Elliott' and 'The Producers.'" It'd be better SEO, too.