Monday, March 26, 2007

Dry humor still works

One of my favorite newspapers is the pink Financial Times (FT), a British-based daily that often has articles that often are buried by American media and are often very funny. British humor is usually pretty dry and the article I read from the weekend edition of the Times was no exception. (See

The article was titled "Merkel heals rift with Prague on EU celebration" and covered the divisions that occurred between the Czech Republic and Germany preceding this weekend's festivities set to mark the 50th anniversary of the EU. These divisions were apparently based on what Czech president Vaclav Klaus thought was unilateral wording regarding the establishment of a constitution in the Berlin Declaration.

The FT's article went on to characterize the high points of the Berlin Declaration with the FT's own counterpoints. Here were a few that I found very funny.

Berlin Declaration: "We are united in our aim of placing the European Union on a renewed common basis before the European parliament elections in 2009."

What it really means, according to FT: "We have to save something from the wreckage of the EU constitution by then."

Berlin Declaration: "This European model combines economic success and social responsibility."

What it really means, according to the FT: "We can have it all: economic liberalism, job security, social benefits and long holidays."

Berlin Declaration: "The European Union will continue to promote democracy, stability and prosperity beyond its borders."

What it really means, according to the FT: "But don't count on ever being allowed to join if you're Turkey, Ukraine, Belarus or Moldova."

Good writing can be humorous, witty and even slightly mocking to be effective, but of course, you must be careful. The British press is much braver than the American press in this regard, but the effective use of humor can help ensure your readers finish your latest article, commercial or advertising.

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