I could not think of a good title for this post. My first try was “An institutional model for the persistence of false belief, but I don’t think it’s helpful to describe scientific paradigms as ‘true’ or ‘false.’ Also, boo on cheap laughs at the expense of academia,” and later attempts were even worse. At one point I was using this self-referential piece of crap: “This title of this post is terrible, but at least it’s short.” That’s like Paul Auster on a really really bad day, it’s Raymond Smullyan without the cleverness, it’s just horrible.
Every once in awhile, I come up with a good title for a post (as you can see by scanning these and these). And some of my articles have good titles. But typically I struggle. On the positive side, I’m in good company. Updike was a poor titler too. Donald E. Westlake—that’s a guy who knew how to do it. In fact, hey! I’ll pick a title from that list of unused Westlake book titles. “The Trumpets of Lilliput” it is. Really too bad the man couldnt’ve lived another 50 years so he could’ve written all those books for us.
The funny thing is, I have no problems coming up with good lines. And that list doesn’t even include the classic, “Survey weighting is a mess.” Titling, though, that’s another thing entirely, a challenge all its own.