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 AJR  Cliché Corner

From AJR,   April 2000  issue

Cliché Corner   


By Lori Robertson
Lori Robertson (robertson.lori@gmail.com), a former AJR managing editor, is a senior contributing writer for the magazine.      

When a pop-culture catchphrase works its way repeatedly into pieces of journalism, it's hard to tell whether the writers are making fun of a societal obsession, expressing their hipness or revealing their own secret loves. Journalists went loco (sorry) over Ricky Martin's livin' la vida line late last year, and now are applying their pun abilities to "who wants to be," as in "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire"--ABC's hit game show--and "Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?"--Fox's ill-fated special. Of course, some of the headlines over stories commenting on these shows are quite funny; for example, "Who Wants to Test Limits of Game-Show Desecration?" in the Baltimore Sun; "Who Wants to Marry a Lowlife?" in the Hartford Courant; and " ' Who Wants to' unplug pathetic TV specials?" in the Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Sunday News. But inevitably our TV culture is applied to politics, fashion and anything in between. Evidence:

Who Wants To Be a Loser?
San Francisco Chronicle
over an editorial on the presidential campaign

Who wants to be Japanese?
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
over a story on America's obsession with Japanese culture

Who Wants to be a Celebrity Stalker?
New Orleans' Times-Picayune
over a story on the National Association of Television Program Executives' convention

Who Wants to Be a Milliner?
Palm Beach Post
over a story on hat makers

Who Wants to Be the Quarterback?
Nashville's Tennessean
over a story on three Syracuse University quarterbacks

Who Wants a Federal Career?
Washington Post
over a story on lack of interest in federal jobs

Who Wants to Be a Centenarian?
Cleveland's Plain Dealer
over a story on longevity

733% Gain? Who Wants to Be a Billionaire?
New York Post
over a story on the VA Linux Systems company's IPO

'Boiler Room': How Not to Be a Millionaire
Washington Post
over a review of the movie

Who wants to watch millionaire wannabes?
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
over another review of "Boiler Room"

(compiled by Lori Robertson and Jessica Leshnoff)