Scott Adams, the cartoonist who created Dilbert, has said that there are only nine news stories, constantly re-written.
Every year at about this time I like to check the newspaper with his list in mind, to see if he is right. I'll start with his wording unmodified by examples.
1. EXTREME WEATHER BATTERS SOMEPLACE
2. IDIOTS KILL INNOCENT PEOPLE
3. POLITICIAN DOES SOMETHING ILLEGAL
4. PRIMATE ATTEMPTS INAPPROPRIATE SEX
5. EXPERT WARNS OF FINANCIAL CALAMITY
6. BIG COMPANY BUYS ANOTHER BIG COMPANY
7. FAMOUS PERSON DOES SOMETHING INTERESTING
8. A SCIENTIFIC DISCOVERY MIGHT BE USEFUL IN TEN YEARS
9. GOVERNMENT FAILS TO ACHIEVE A GOAL
I surveyed the news on one day (a few days back as it happens). Just by convenience, these headlines are all from January 21st. Well, actually, I cheated a little with one of them, but I'll let you dear reader do the work of figuring out which one that is. Without further ado....
1. An extraordinary South African drought.
2. Let's not include anything fancy, like terrorism. Just old-fashioned dumbass murder.
3. I take the word "politician" here to include Vladimir Putin.
4. This time around let's celebrate the successful reproduction of a spider monkey pair.
5. Experts have started worrying whether oil companies are Too Big to Fail.
6. Foxconn offers $5.3 billion in US money for that other big company, Sharp.
7. Real-world heroics from Jamie Foxx.
8. Heck, in those ten years we might want to travel to yet another planet.
9. The switch to Flint River water? Brilliant idea, yes?
Dilbert's right. Except for those proud parental monkeys, we're in a loop.