Written by Reg Henry on .

I am not one of those who believes that every story on a newspaper front page needs to be serious or important. There is room for something off-beat, whimsical and more of a human-interest feature than straight news. As serious as The Wall Street Journal is, it has always found room for such stories and it works very well.

Editing a newspaper is like serving someone dinner. Most people like meat and potatoes - but after that is digested, it is nice to serve dessert. To belabor the analogy, the news is the meat and potatoes, human interest stories are the dessert.

Nothing wrong with offering a bit of dessert. If you don't like dessert, you don't have to eat it - or read it on your front page.

So I have no philosophical problem with the story titled "Joke Seems to be on Apple in Regard to Naming of iPad" on the PG's front page this morning. The New York Times did an amazingly similar story on its front page this morning, so we have impressive company.

Nor do I have a problem with how the story was done in the PG. Mackenzie Carpenter is a fine reporter and lively writer. She could make a conference on natural gas pricing sound interesting.

I don't even doubt that this issue is culturally significant and has caused a sensation on Twitter and the blogosphere in general.

But that's where I have the problem: I think the only cultural significance of this news is that the basic premise - that Apple has made a huge faux pas by giving its new device a name associated with feminine hygiene products - is unbelievably stupid.

Let me count the ways. Notwithstanding the existence of Maxi-Pads, pad is not a word reserved for feminine hygiene. Students and hippies live in pads. Pads are used to scour pots and pans. Helicopters land on pads. Rockets are launched from them. Reporters and students use note pads and big and hairy football players wear them. People with muscular aches apply heating pads to them. Cats and dogs have pads at the bottom of their feet. And so forth and such like.

Now, I am a 62 year-old man, long of tooth and short of hair, so I suppose I am not going to think of the feminine hygiene angle first. But the women I have talked to today did not think of this first either, perhaps for all the reasons described above.

So I am thinking that Apple's alleged mistake was not the fact that women did not have input in the name process, but they didn't consult anyone who had their mind in the gutter.

An end-of-week word to the Reg-ulators: This is meant as a tip to the wise, prompted by a recent exchange. Without naming names, I observe that sometimes the people who comment about this blog use it as a place to be cranky. Misery loves company, after all.

My advice for dealing with them is the same as for disagreeable people who come into a bar. Ignore them. Do not encourage them. They can stew in their own dyspeptic juices without your help. In bars, such people get tired of being ignored and eventually go away.

I recognize this can be hard but ignore provocations. Everybody else here is pretty smart and civil and a non-response will speak louder than any other words. The rest of us will understand.

On happier matters, Ceijai wrote: "The Governor of Virginia reminded me of Smilin' Bob of the "natural male enhancement" commercials for Enzyte." That's it! Brilliant! I was searching my mind about who he reminded me of.

Callsigntourist suggests that we go on a field trip. I could arrange one if enough of you are interested in coming to the Post-Gazette. I am thinking some lunch hour when the weather is warmer, say in April. I could give you not only a tour but also arrange to have some editors and writers address you.

What do you think?


Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.