Lady Gaga and Mystery Man Arrested After Hot Air Balloon Joy Ride*

English: Lady Gaga covered in "blood"...

There, on the front page of Yahoo, was what was sure to be the biggest news story of the year.

“Bad-boy Actor Pummels Justin Bieber.”

Finally, after tormenting the world for what seems like years, some actor had taken care of Bieber once and for all. It was probably Nicholas Cage. Cage doesn’t seem to have a lot going on lately. Add that pent-up crazy to repeatedly hearing Bieber’s “Boyfriend,” and you have a situation prime for a Cage beat down.

Clearly, I had no choice but to click on the story.

Instead of a story describing Nicholas Cage screaming “Swaggie this!” as he unleashed a fury of fists on Bieber’s prepubescent face, I found a much less pleasant surprise. This was not a news story. This was just Bieber’s new video.

I had been sucked in by a misleading title. Some tricky writer at Yahoo had done their best to get more reads by crafting a perfectly sneaky headline.

After my initial disappointment dissipated, I came to realize something. I could also gain readers by using this technique. It doesn’t matter what I write. All that matters is the headline.

I began to study this headline carefully. All of the elements of a sensational story were there. You had an “important” figure. You had a terribly dramatic story. Combine the two and you are certain to get a great number of incredibly confused and mildly upset readers.

Finding someone more popular than Bieber for my headline would be hard. His soulful voice and ambiguous gender have made him the most popular singer in the world. In fact, only one other singer has the same level of voice and gender confusion as Bieber. Only one person could be as popular.

Lady Gaga.

While Bieber would have been enough to get a few clicks for Yahoo, they added a mystery. Who was the “bad-boy actor?” More than anything, I wanted to know who it was that beat him up. Even a person who could not care less about Bieber would be curious.

Following this, I added my own mystery. Whatever was going to happen, Gaga would be doing it with a mystery man. People would see it and immediately have a million questions. Is it her boyfriend? Is her boyfriend Justin Bieber? Is her boyfriend the one who beat up Justin Bieber? Does having a boyfriend make Lady Gaga a heterosexual or homosexual? These questions would lead to hundreds, nay, thousands of readers.

But what would Gaga and her mystery boy toy be doing? It has to be fantastical enough to draw people to it. If the headline had been “Bad-boy Actor Buys Justin Bieber an Ice Cream Cone,” no one would care. It has to be crazy.

Drug use is too common. Dog fighting is too Michael Vick. Wrestling zoo animals is too unbelievable. After a bit of work, I had it.

“Lady Gaga and Mystery Man Arrested After Hot Air Balloon Joy Ride*”

Of course, as a responsible journalist, I feel compelled to add the following disclaimer:

*Lady Gaga has not actually been linked to a mystery man and, to my knowledge, has never been arrested for any hot air balloon related crimes. It is a situation that is possible, though. Just imagine it. What a huge story that would be. I guess that’s probably why you clicked on this post in the first place. You thought you were about to read a huge story.

Now I feel slightly responsible to give you a real story. I just ate a Hershey’s Bliss bar for the first time and it’s pretty good. Not great, but pretty good. I know it’s not as good as the Gaga story, but at least you know of a pretty decent candy bar. I think we can all count this as a win.

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60 thoughts on “Lady Gaga and Mystery Man Arrested After Hot Air Balloon Joy Ride*

  1. Dear Nathan,

    Impressive misleading Nathan. Your choice in what is or is not good candy has already been brought into question, so the Hershey’s Bliss bar stuff doesn’t impress me.”At least you know of a pretty decent candy bar”? …please. All we know is that it is probably about as good as the other crappy candy you like. I expect a real story next time.

    Sincerely, Tired of Being Lied To

    Like

  2. You’re pretty crafty there, slick! Your headline caught my attention. Well done!

    PS eating a Hershey’s bar is way better than anything related to lady gaga!

    -Good one, Roly! Made me laugh. 🙂

    Like

  3. Ah, and here I was hoping to read about Lady Gaga getting arrested.
    So very misleading. So very misleading indeed.
    And, Justin Bieber could use a beating by a Bad-Boy actor. It would do him some good. And, give us something to laugh at.

    Love, Lilly.

    Like

    • You will never visit again… UNLESS I TRICK YOU AGAIN! Challenge accepted! Also, I prefer the term “jezebelling” over “hoe-ing.” Just a thought for any future mildly rude comments you would like to send my way.

      Like

  4. I can’t believe I totally fell for that. Actually, I can. Famous person? Check. Odd story? Check. Title making bajillions of readers suddenly curious? Check.

    Like

  5. ABCnews.com has a good one this afternoon: “Gabby Douglas’ 2 Mothers Watch Her Make Olympic History” like Gabby Douglas is from a same-sex household, when it’s actually that…(spoiler)…she lived with another family in Iowa for 2 years while she trained for the Olympics.

    Like

  6. I can’t think of two less relevant entities than Gaga and Beiber, yet you make their irrelevance magnificently relevant!

    Like

  7. Great post, Nathan. I love what you did with the headline and you’re right, I checked this out to see what happened with that balloon. I’m not mildly pissed, but thrilled to discover the truth behind your article. Excellent job!

    Like

  8. I care not about Gaga, Bieber, hot air balloons and Hershey bars (except that I did click the intriguing link!), but you managed to slip one of my favorite words into this post: fantastical. Kudos to you.

    Like

    • I don’t understand how you can say you don’t care about Hershey bars. I don’t know if you have ever had one, but it tastes pretty good. Either way, thanks for appreciating fantastical.

      Like

  9. Congrats on yet another FPing! You’ve obviously latched on to the secret to scamming the FP Panel of Judges into visiting your blog.

    Great post!

    I once did something similar with my post entitled “Big ‘Uns”… I’m still getting a dependable trickle of hits on that one!

    Like

  10. Just read this freshly pressed blog: http://anniegetyournotepad.com/2012/08/02/what-jonah-lehrer-tells-us-about-todays-journalism-industry

    Seems both of you are onto the fierce competition for clicks and attention. I was wondering how an article on Lady Gaga airballooning could be Freshly Pressed. Now I understand, and I’m glad I followed the lure to a click.

    After further ‘research,’ though, I learned the “mystery man” is actually Mystery Man, an up and coming rapper/techno artist that is collaborating with Lady Gaga on her next album. They were airballooning for inspiration.

    Like

      • Sample from the title track:
        Just me and Lady Gaga in the air,
        Gotta ask who dat there?
        Little dots, little people down below.
        Look up, and say, yo,
        Who dat? Uh. Yeah. Who dat there?
        It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s just insane.
        Who dat? Who dat there?

        Like

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