Friday, August 22, 2008

Worst-Headline-of-the-Week Award

Obama's rise in politics may be spectacular, but it can't be meteoric, despite the title of this article on

Barack Obama: A meteoric rise

Meteors fall, they don't rise. Anybody have an idea for a more physically sound title?



  1. Worse for Obama fans, meteors burn out before impact. If they actually manage to land, they're meteorites.

    However, "meteoric" is widely accepted to mean "like a meteor in speed, brilliance, or ephemeralness". The use of "or" implies validity if any one of those criteria is met.

  2. I see your point, but I would argue that while speed, brilliance, and ephemeralness have nothing to do with direction, the word "meteor" itself implies a direction. Because meteors come to us from space, they have to fall down. I'd be fine with a "meteoric fall" but not a rise.

    As you point out, "meteoric rise" is a common phrase, and I probably wouldn't mention my objection to it if somebody used it in a casual conversation. But I tend to hold journalists to a higher standard, primarily because they are more influential than most of us due to the fact that so many people read news articles. In this case, why choose a title that abuses physics when there are plenty of perfectly sensible ways to say it?