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Editorial: Fears surrounding sandwich-beatings unfounded

There has been a lot of talk in the mainstream press lately about the so-called "Sandwich-beating epidemic." It seems every day's news features a story about some guy pounded with fists and pipes over a sandwich.

While I admit the rise of anti-sandwich hooliganism is a growing problem, it has not reached the heights fear-mongering news outlets imply.

For example, take this story from today's Cyprus Mail: Man savagely beaten as he waited for sandwich.

Reporter John Leonidou (whose work I typically admire, by the way) tells the tale of a man hospitalized by drunken youths. Despite John's focus on the sandwich-waiting angle in the lede, and some editor's sensationalistic headline, there's no indication that the beating was directly related to the victim's sandwich purchase. In fact, I doubt it was; sandwich-hate gangs barely have a presence in Cyprus.

Now consider a Sept. 3 This Is Lancashire article, which relayed the sad news that former Blackburn Rugby Union Rugby Club captain Tony Hodgson died. Although it was likely arterial plaque that killed him, the headline and lede focus on the sandwich angle, respectively saying "Sandwich shop boss dies of heart attack" and that "A popular Blackburn sandwich shop boss has collapsed and died after returning home from a jog." Again, the media attacks sandwiches as though they're the source of this misery when they're really incidental to it all.

A couple more local examples, then I'll finish my point ...

An Aug. 29 Star-Tribune (Minneapolis) story frightened readers with the headline Sandwich shop armed robber sought and the Cape Cod Times on Sept. 1 scared New Englanders, proclaiming Sandwich man slices fingers with power saw. As you can safely assume, the armed robber wasn't pointing guns at people because they worked in sandwich shops, and the sandwich man wasn't injured because he's a sandwich man. Both incidents, regrettable as they were, happened for reasons totally unrelated to sandwiches.

It is time for the media to stop blaming sandwiches for society's ills. Newspaper editors: I implore you to think about the harm you're causing the sandwich community when you write these irresponsible headlines. Because of sloppy journalism, my friends are scared to grab a sub with me, and sandysales are plummeting from Colorado to Cyprus. All I ask is that the sandwich community be considered when you write these lies, OK?

And to you news readers, I have a simple, bumper stickeresque message: Sandwiches don't hurt people, beatings and saws do.


Sarah said…
Why the hyphen in 'sandwich-beatings'?

I'm such a loser.
Alex Headrick said…
Dear Sarah,

Thank you for your concern. For all punctuation issues, our editorial team consults our in-house stylebook, which is admittedly inconsistent throughout and mostly arbitrary due to being written by drunkards. When the stylebook is insufficient, we call William Zinsser and ask him. If Bill is unavailable or we need to know how to abbreviate a state, we consult the copy of the AP Stylebook we saved from college.

It's What's Between

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