When I lived in New York, it was a guilty pleasure among certain supposedly educated citizens, myself included, to pick up the tabloid The Post in the morning. Frequently, the front-page headlines were so good that nothing inside the paper could possibly measure up. The most famous example, from the 1980s, is “Headless Body in Topless Bar.”
Few of my friends here, except for the novelist J.M. Servín, admit to reading Metro, the local equivalent to the Post. Most days there is a bloody corpse on the cover (as frequently the result of a traffic accident as of a murder). The headlines are priceless, although hard to translate into English. Here are a couple of the milder examples from about a month ago, in the good old days before the swine flu crisis.
The headline above, about the explosion of 60 cylinders of gas after a truck crashed, is a variation on a standard insult, ¡A su madre!, which is a sort of all purpose expletive whose meaning depends on the context. Literally it is an insult to someone’s mother. Metro’s version, !Gásumadre! combines the word gas with the insult. (Like I said, something gets lost in the translation.) The headline on top of the page alludes to the arrest of various pedophiles, one of whom was a priest.
If you read this blog regularly, you may remember a recent post about a 46-year-old systems engineer named David Mondragón Vargas. While wearing a wig and a dress, he was arrested on the metro during rush hour, in cars reserved for women only. He had been sexually accosting them. The headline here, Vestida … para tortear, is a variation on the title of a Brian De Palma film from the 1980s called Dressed to Kill, or, in Spanish, Vestida para matar. The translation of Metro's headline is, more or less, “Dressed ... to cop a feel.” (The swine flu crisis is the best thing that ever happened to Mondragón, as it literally wiped him off the pages of the newspapers.)