Dude, You’re Gettin’ Derivative!

By now it’s all over the news… Benjamin Curtis, better known as Steven*, the “Dell Dude,” was busted last night in Manhattan for attempting to buy pot. This, of course, is Big News, and is getting lots of well-deserved media attention.

But what I find to be an even bigger story is the way that so many of the news agencies, having classified this story for their “Oddly Enough” columns, are slapping incredibly lame plays on the Dell pitchman’s famous slogan into their headlines.

At 4:19 PM today, I did a search on Google News for this story, and 32 results came back. (Your results may vary, as Google’s news system is continually updated.) Out of those 32, only 4 did not have the word “dude” in their headlines, and many, in fact, went beyond simply referencing the “Dell Dude” and attempted a “witty” variation on “Dude, you’re gettin’ a Dell.” Let’s look at a few. (This ought to be interesting to see how long these agencies retain their news stories, as well. I apologize if any of the links below are dead, which I assume will start happening approximately 5 seconds after I post this rant.)

CBS News
Dude, You’re Under Arrest!

A weak effort, especially for a major news outlet like CBS. I guess Dan Rather is in charge of their humor. (No, I take that back… Dan Rather actually can be funny when he wants to. Let’s blame Andy Rooney.)

Dude, You’re Getting a Record

An improvement. It’s a more accurate play on the slogan than CBS’s craptacular attempt. Makes me think that Steven’s goin’ vintage and throwing out all of his CDs in favor of vinyl, though. Next, we’ll hear, “Dude, you’re gettin’ a Texas Instruments!”

WOKR-TV and WXXA and Baltimore Sun
Dude… You’re Busted!

At least three separate sources all coming up with this same lame effort! OK, the Sun actually used a comma instead of points of ellipsis. Way to stand out from the crowd, Jack Germond!

New York Daily News
NYC Cops Tell Dell Dude: You’re Getting Arrested!

CBS should learn from this one. It’s almost as lame as theirs, but at least it gets the cadence right (sort of). As an added bonus, it allows the reader to envision the cops gleefully slapping the handcuffs on the “dude” and delivering this line without missing a beat.

Dude! Dell Pitchman Busted On Pot Charges

Not really an effort to incorporate the slogan, but this is one of the countless stories that gratuitously dropped the word “dude” into an otherwise-serious headline.

Dude, Yer’ Gettin a Cell! Dell Dude Arrested

Yes, now this is the obvious choice. I am really quite surprised that more outlets haven’t picked up on this one; it’s got everything! Spot on with the cadence of the slogan and what would seem to be the natural, obvious pun. Bonus points for actually using “yer’,” even though I would dispute that apostrophe placement.

* Update, February 12, 2003: Not surprisingly, Dell has removed their Steven page. But I’ll keep the link in the first paragraph anyway, in case they, like, mellow out, dude. In the meantime, once again Google saves the day with its cached version of the page.