"Prison Conditions My Domain":

Is it just me, or is the headline "War court judge: Prison conditions my domain" easy to parse incorrectly? (The headline has been changed to "War court judge: Prison camp conditions my domain"; but a Google search suggests that the original headline is indeed the one I originally quoted.)

It's not just you— it's pretty incomprehensible on first read. And my understanding is that any headline which takes multiple reads violates the first rule of headline writing.
2.5.2009 11:25pm
I would be pissed if my domain was being conditioned by prisons.
2.5.2009 11:35pm
If it were, rather. Thankfully it is not.
2.5.2009 11:35pm
This here's America-- our domains are unconditional!
2.5.2009 11:38pm
Bill McGonigle (www):
Yes, I parsed it wrong the first time as well.

What really tickles me is that:

War court judge: Prison conditions my domain

is 45 characters long, and

War court judge: Prison camp conditions my domain

is 50 characters long, while:

War court judge: Prison conditions are my domain

would have been 49 characters and actually made the headline comprehensible (the revision fails to improve it much), but would have violated an arbitrary rule. Hurray for blind adherence.
2.5.2009 11:47pm
fishbane (mail):
I parsed it "correctly" the first time, but you're right - a lack of verbing doesn't seem to serve any function here, and turns a noun into a verb if read as a normal reader (as opposed to a someone conditioned to headlines) would.

In other news, I'm a little sad that using the work "verbing" came so naturally.
2.6.2009 2:25am
Whadonna More:
It's obviously in contrast to the headline ending "Masters own domain"
2.6.2009 7:51am
Anderson (mail):
How about: "War Crimes Judge: Master of His Domain"?
2.6.2009 7:55am
Tony Tutins (mail):
Verbing weirds language -- Calvin (w/o Hobbes)
2.6.2009 10:07am
Could the writer improve it somewhat by hyphenating, to emphasize that "prison camp" modifies conditions?

War court judge: Prison-camp conditions my domain
2.6.2009 10:30am
Tony Tutins (mail):
Judge: "I'll rule on prison conditions"
2.6.2009 10:58am
Dr. T (mail) (www):
Shortest headline: Prsn bads r me
2.6.2009 6:15pm
TokyoTom (mail):
It seems pretty clear to me as is. But it could be confusing if, say, courts started throwing bloggers into jail.
2.7.2009 5:45am

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