I opened this morning’s Daily Herald to read coverage of the storms that blew through the Chicago suburbs yesterday. On the front page there was a teaser for Burt Constable’s column that read: “And I Feel Fine?”

Of course, this was a meta-reference to the R.E.M. song “It’s The End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine).” And it made me sigh.

A few years ago in this blog I wrote about how using rock lyrics as a headline– especially that line from that song– is a sign of laziness on the part of the writer. I quoted Orwell and his advice against using “dying metaphors,” and admonished the writers of several articles, including these:

“It’s the end of Windows as we know it, and I feel fine”
“It’s the end of Geekcorps as we know it, and we feel fine”
“It’s The End Of Capitalism As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)”
“It’s the end of Testing as we know it, and I feel fine”
“It’s the end of democracy as we know it??…. and I feel fine!”
“It’s the end of baseball as we know it, and I feel fine”
“It’s the End of QA as We Know It, and I Feel Fine”

Despite my call for a stop to the madness, it has only spread. A search performed today (filtering out REM and Harold Camping) yields:

“It’s the End of Social Media as we know it (and I feel fine)”
“It’s the End of Planning as We Know It (and I Feel Fine)”
“It’s the End of AdSense as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)”
“It’s the End of the Marketing As We Know it and I Feel Fine”
“It’s the End of Stock Photography as we know it, and I feel fine”
“It’s The End of SXSW As We Know It…And I Feel Fine”
“It’s the End of the Cinema, as we know it (then and now) ….And I feel fine.”
“It’s the End of the Book as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)”
“It’s the end of space-time as we know it, and I feel fine”
“It’s the End of GM as we Know It, and I Feel Fine”
“It’s the End of IPv4 as We Know It, and I Feel Fine.”
“It’s the End of the Summer As We Know It.. …And I feel fine”
“It’s The End of the Tequila World as we know it.. and I Feel Fine”

…and a very timely reference to the end of The News of the World.

I also found references to the end of Star Trek, squirrels, the internet (a couple thousand of those, I reckon), Saddam, Skype, the year, the Euro, Usenet, Bonnaroo, the kilogram, judo, school, the thread, organized atheism, and Morocco. Wait, Morocco?

I still hold my position that this is an overused device. It’s not clever, it’s certainly not edgy (the song was released in 1987), and only exposes the laziness of the writer. After all, why bother coming up with something original when you can automatically plop in 13 of someone else’s words and include only one of your own?

After I published my original rant, I received a very cordial e-mail from Kenneth Hass, the author of “It’s the End of QA as We Know It, and I Feel Fine.” He blamed his use of the phrase on the fact that readers are no longer able to be ensnared with humble phrases as “On the topic of virtue in modern America…” and writers are “forced into such deplorable acts as ‘I’m talking de-Nile, and that ain’t no river, baby!’ to ever hope to gain readership.” Mr Hass certainly has a point, and I agree that in a way readers are somewhat to blame.

But let’s not blame the victims here. I once again appeal to the writers out there: knock it off. I think even Michael Stipe would agree with me.

And lay off Morocco.

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