Sunday, June 5, 2022

Girl's team wins national title

     Northwestern University had no humor magazine when I arrived in the fall of 1978. There had been one, The Purple Parrot. But it was a dusty relic occasionally spied in a glass case in the library in displays about student life in the 1940s.
     But it did have Robert Leighton, and the future New Yorker cartoonist and professional game-meister set about creating one, called Rubber Teeth, for "biting satire that doesn't hurt." I was lucky enough to be living down the hall from him in our giant freshman dorm, and so was able to help.
     At least I hope I helped. I was there, doing stuff, for four years. Though if I had my way the thing probably would have been called "Razor Teeth."
     Flash forward 40 years.
     Facebook has devolved into a place where posting today's lunch is too cutting edge and relevant, and oldsters such as myself wallow in the warm mud of nostalgia. A classmate remembered the parody of the Daily Northwestern that we did senior year, and how it included an item that was a comment on the short shrift the student paper gave women's sports. I happened to have the parody issue at hand — thanks, again, to Robert, who went to the trouble and expense of binding up the four years worth of issues we produced into a lovely red keepsake volume, with the newsprint issue tucked inside.
     I'm not a fan of the TV character joke names. A bit much. And the misplaced possessive might be an actual error rather than a comment on the Daily's copy editing skills. But the joke conveyed in the parody story, reprinted below in its entirety, is, alas, still relevant enough to be funny. A study at Purdue University last year found media coverage of women's sports is the same now as it was 30 years ago. 


  1. I kept trying to see more of the paper, so missed the “TV character names” and the “misplaced possessive.”


    1. There's only the snippet I posted.

    2. Maybe this old copy editor and proofreader can explain it. "Girl's" means "belonging to one girl"...and is therefore incorrect in this instance. The team does not belong to one girl, and does not have just one girl as a member. It consists of multiple girls...a team of female it's "the girls' team" that won the national title. The error of the misplaced apostrophe is the "misplaced possessive" that Mister S. refers to in his final paragraph.

    3. Check the reporters names and there you will find the TV characters.

    4. I did figure it out eventually, both the references and the fact that it wasn't possible to read the rest of the article on the "girl's team." I cut my teeth on proofreading at "Funeral Directors Review."

    5. There is no rest of the article. That's it. That's the point.

  2. Classic piece, Neil. It would have fit perfectly in the early George Carlin routine as DJ, Al Sleet the weatherman, and Biff Barf the sportscaster. One of Biff bits was "And a partial score, Purdue 7." I just googled NU womens sports and got a link to The mens football team . To the unaware, Northwestern has fielded a powerhouse Womens' lacrosse team for some time.


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