The headline to the lead story in Friday’s Tribune, plastered across the front page, read “Cable guy held in murder.” Lee Sandlin wrote to ask, “Was their headline guy punch-drunk and trying to be funny, or is ‘cable guy’ now a neutral job description?”
“Cable Guy” conjures up the 1996 Jim Carrey comedy and Larry the Cable Guy. The Trib’s “cable guy” was just charged with sexual assault and murder — the victim being a woman who’d let him into her home to upgrade her Internet service. What made the story worthy of such big play is that the suspect was already under suspicion for a similar killing in October but had been allowed to go about his business.
I can see why the headline would offend someone, but I don’t think the headline’s author was trying to be funny — only recognizing that, thanks to the movie, “cable guy” concisely conveyed the police theory of how the murder happened and who the suspect was. The phrase was too useful to resist. And maybe the Tribune‘s neutered it.