I thought I’d give this post a title which combines the obsession of the blogosphere with the obsession of the entire internet, because Max Sawicky has been complaining that some of our post titles have been a little bit off-putting of late, in particular, “Was Foucault a closet Habermasian?”. Max has a point; Foucault is all right but Habermas is ratings death. I actually own a book called “Hegel, Habermas and Hermeneutics” which I bought secondhand out of sheer admiration for the publisher’s gall at such a commercially suicidal title. It was standing next to a row of ten other copies, mint and unopened.
It got me to thinking though; what would be the most off-putting title in the world? So far, my suggestions are “Insurance Accounting in the Communist Countries”, “Comitology in the EU” and “The Role of Telecommunications Standards in the WTO Negotiations”.
The thing is, all three of these issues are actually rather interesting, and so was “Was Foucault a Closet Habermasian?”. It just goes to show you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, I suppose. Furthermore, I am in the mood to get all contrarian and say that off-putting titles can be a virtue. Henry’s title of the Foucault post might have scared off readers who didn’t care about Foucault and Habermas, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, given that it was about Foucault and Habermas. Certainly, the posts with popular and whizzy titles often seem to attract the most ferocious morons to their comments sections.
So what would be the most genuinely off-putting title for a potentially interesting post? Suggestions are welcome in comments with one proviso: I am not looking for fictitious posts. Anyone suggesting a post title had better be able and prepared to write 250 words on the subject without being boring (or even better – link to a real-world example on their own blog). I will be making a few quasi-randomly selected calls of “bullshit” to keep you honest.