2:26 pm Feb. 20, 2012
Each day, the New York tabloids vie to sell readers at the newsstands on outrageous headlines, dramatic photography, and, occasionally, great reporting. Who is today's winner?
Daily News: If you happened to stop by the newsstand on Saturday, you'd have seen what was inevitable at some point from the beginning of our bout of apparently nontemporary "Linsanity": All three tabloids running the same cover line. It was "YOU CAN'T LIN 'EM ALL." Yes, the Knicks suffered a loss Friday night, after a seven-game streak.
The notion, however, that the Lin moment is fragile enough to break after a single loss was obviously dead by last night, when Lin got 28 points and a record 14 assists in the Knicks game against defending N.B.A. champion Dallas Mavericks. So we're back to more punning on "Lin."
Today's News doesn't even pun: "KING LIN" reads the big, knockout-white text against a close-up of Lin's victorious-looking face. Awkwardly, a cheap-looking plasticky Mardi Gras-type crown is photoshopped on top of his head; "Jeremy, Knicks dethrone NBA champs" reads the dek.
Also on the Lin beat: The ESPN editor who was fired by his network after he applied a headline about the Knicks' Friday-night loss to his publication's mobile site that read "Chink in the Armor: Jeremy Lin's 9 Turnovers Cost Knicks in Streak-stopping Loss to Hornets" apologizes to a News reporter. The story's advertised in a blue strip across the bottom of the page.
In other old news: A picture of Whitney Houston's grave, festooned with flower arrangements, is shown behind a silhouette of the living singer; "WHITNEY LAID TO REST" reads the headline. And so is she probably laid to rest for all eternity on the front pages of newspapers. There was so much Whitney in the week between her death and burial; I think you will find though that she passes from the front much faster than some of her recent predecessors, like Michael Jackson or Liz Taylor. The Whitney News Event is, officially, over.
New York Post: Also lingering: That other big event that lots of people watched for hours on television, the elevation of New York archbishop Timothy Dolan to the College of Cardinals. In today's Post, a two-page spread with running heads at the top reading "HIS EMINENCE" includes a report from Post correspondent Clemente Lisi from the proceedings at St. Peter's Basilica, a note about how Dolan's finger is too fat for the ring, and the sort of long personal essay by a Catholic church leader that is as boring as a sermon and must be completely mystifying to anyone who isn't a Catholic. "I pray I'll be worthy, By Cardinal Dolan" reads the text in the little box at the lower left. To its credit, it's a small little box.
"PRINCE AND THE POPPER" is the main news hed of the day, set as it is in black and white with giant all-caps (in knockout-white on a black backdrop today). One of those tiny little head silhouettes, this time of Prince Pierre Casiraghi of Monaco, pops up from the bottom of the page onto some lede text explaining the story about Grace Kelly's grandson, who apparently got into a "Meatpacking district bar brawl" with "former Hawaiian Tropic Zone nightclub owner Adam Hock." "Monaco royal hurt in NYC bar brawl" reads the dek. This is sleaze-gossip for the rich: Obscure princes in "fistfights" at fancy nightclubs. "Prince and the Popper," though, is sort of inspired, isn't it?
Back where we started. Today's Post pun on Lin's name? "Lin-phomania." As in "nymphomania," I think. "Jeremy leads Knicks past champ Mavs."
Observations: It's a holiday. I'm just proud of the News for giving up on Lin puns before they can all be exhausted. After all we may need some new ones down the line. But it's a bit like mutual assured destruction: If they leave this up to the Post they'll use them all up until there are none left for anyone. Let's see if the News can stay strong.
But really, another Linsanity story and something about yesterday's Houston funeral seems a little stale for the front. So does both the elevation of the cardinal and the "Lin-phomania" advertised on the Post. The only thing here that rises above the fray is "PRINCE AND THE POPPER," and so, believe it or not, the fighting brats win the day.
Winner: New York Post.