"World’s toughest duck" has died, and other tabloid stunners

bloids21111

[My friend Peter Sheridan is a Los Angeles-based correspondent for British national newspapers. He has covered revolutions, civil wars, riots, wildfires, and Hollywood celebrity misdeeds for longer than he cares to remember. As part of his job, he must read all the weekly tabloids. For the past couple of years, he's been posting terrific weekly tabloid recaps on Facebook and has graciously given us permission to run them on Boing Boing. Enjoy! - Mark]

There’s an epidemic of “pot-eating pooches,” the “world’s toughest duck” has died, a dog named Archer was shot in Oklahoma by an arrow, and your cat can live in a “pur-r-r-r-rfect” replica of the Kremlin.

There’s plenty for the animal-lover to chew on in this week’s tabloids, which also include ads for an “adorable” posable realistic monkey doll, a limited edition figurine of 12 Yorkies crowded on a sofa, and two porcelain Siamese cats decorated in a willow pattern. There’s even a lovable photo of the 200 pound chimp who chewed the face and hands off his owner, and a mosquito bringing the Zita virus, because sometimes cute-and-cuddly nature will get Medieval on your ass.

So will the fact-challenged tabloids, which this week claim that Julia Roberts and George Clooney have been caught cheating, Angelina Jolie is living in “bone disease hell,” the Obamas plan to “ransack the White House,” and John Travolta is a secret “drag queen.”

How were George and Julia "caught cheating”? The National Enquirer found them both on the set of their new movie, Money Monster. Read the rest

Billionaire Peter Thiel secretly funded Hulk Hogan lawsuit against Gawker (Report)

Peter Thiel [Reuters]
Why would billionaire Peter Thiel want to bankrupt Gawker? That's the question circulating today, after Forbes reported that Thiel secretly backed Hulk Hogan's high-profile lawsuit against Nick Denton's publishing empire.

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Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling talks censorship and sponsor pressure (1959)

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Mike Wallace interviews the amazing Rod Serling, creator of The Twilight Zone, about censorship and marketers trying to push around writers of the TV shows they were sponsoring.

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Stories from the alternate universe inhabited by the tabloid magazines

bloids21111

[My friend Peter Sheridan is a Los Angeles-based correspondent for British national newspapers. He has covered revolutions, civil wars, riots, wildfires, and Hollywood celebrity misdeeds for longer than he cares to remember. As part of his job, he must read all the weekly tabloids. For the past couple of years, he's been posting terrific weekly tabloid recaps on Facebook and has graciously given us permission to run them on Boing Boing. Enjoy! - Mark]

Superstring theory suggests there are ten dimensions, while bosonic string theory posits as many as 26 dimensions of spacetime.

But I’ve discovered an additional dimension: the alternate universe inhabited by the tabloid magazines, where the laws of reality rarely apply.

What do Kim Kardashian’s new sex tape, Hollywood Madam Heidi Fleiss’s celebrity-packed little black book, Janet Jackson’s two secret love children, John F Kennedy’s secret love child and Jennifer Garner’s pregnancy have in common?

They all spring from the quantum mechanics of this week’s National Enquirer, which approaches events with the certainty of Schrodinger’s Cat. If a story could conceivably have happened, that’s good enough for these fact-challenged folk.

Inspired by allegations that Cuba’s Fidel Castro has ordered celebrities’ hotel rooms to be fitted with hidden cameras and listening devices, the Kardashian-bashing Enquirer screams: “Kim in new sex tape shocker,” claiming “she’s caught on film Havana romp with Kanye in Cuba.” But read the story, and you’ll find the Enquirer admitting that “cameras probably caught” the couple - because without evidence the story is sheer conjecture. Read the rest

Beware commercialized feminism -- or embrace it?

beyonce feminism

Laurie Penny reviews Andi Zeisler's ‘We Were Feminists Once’ and considers the progressive dilemma of popularity: how do you turn new popularity into change, when the idea of change is so easily turned into an ersatz commercial product?

As a founding editor of Bitch Magazine, which was first published as a zine in 1996, Zeisler understands the fraught relationship between feminism and pop culture. It’s a relationship of toxic codependency. Activists need the media to help spread the word, even as it pumps out sexist stereotypes; the media, meanwhile, cannot risk losing touch with the zeitgeist. In her introduction, Zeisler describes her book as “an exploration of how the new embrace of marketplace feminism — mediated, decoupled from politics, staunchly focused on individual experience and actualization — dovetails with entrenched beliefs about power, about activism, about who feminists are and what they do.”

However, Penny writes that things have become more nuanced, less monolithic, and that feminists are one again engaging the in the "time-honored tradition" of being too hard on their own movement -- and especially on grassroots creativity that's succeeded despite media indifference.

Granted, as she points out, this newfound feminist populism hasn’t stopped the relentless conservative assault on abortion rights in the United States. Given the tireless work of abortion rights activists, however, perhaps it’s time we stopped blaming feminists for that and started blaming Republicans. The women’s movement has always been good at rebuking itself for every imperfection. The “confidence” promised by Dove body lotion may not be the revolution we have waited for — but feminism could use a little more faith in itself.

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In power, Trump will punish the media first

trumppppppp

Last night, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump blithely threatened Jeff Bezos over The Washington Post's investigations of him. It's a preview of exactly what form Trump's authoritarianism would take in government: the use of federal power to intimidate media.

Amazon is getting away with murder, tax-wise. He’s using the Washington Post for power. So that the politicians in Washington don’t tax Amazon like they should be taxed. He’s getting absolutely away — he’s worried about me, and I think he said that to somebody ... it was in some article, where he thinks I would go after him for antitrust. Because he’s got a huge antitrust problem because he’s controlling so much. ...

I’ll tell you what: We can’t let him get away with it. So he’s got about 20, 25 — I just heard they’re taking these really bad stories — I mean, they, you know, wrong, I wouldn’t even say bad. They’re wrong. And in many cases they have no proper information. And they’re putting them together, they’re slopping them together. And they’re gonna do a book. And the book is gonna be all false stuff because the stories are so wrong. And the reporters — I mean, one after another — so what they’re doing is he’s using that as a political instrument to try and stop antitrust, which he thinks I believe he’s antitrust, in other words, what he’s got is a monopoly. And he wants to make sure I don’t get in. So, it’s one of those things.

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Secret White House economic analysis foresees new Great Depression within months, and other tabloid stunners

bloids21111

[My friend Peter Sheridan is a Los Angeles-based correspondent for British national newspapers. He has covered revolutions, civil wars, riots, wildfires, and Hollywood celebrity misdeeds for longer than he cares to remember. As part of his job, he must read all the weekly tabloids. For the past couple of years, he's been posting terrific weekly tabloid recaps on Facebook and has graciously given us permission to run them on Boing Boing. Enjoy! - Mark]

How sick do you have to be to love celebrity magazines?

People mag this week boasts ads promising to treat migraine, lung cancer, psoriasis, exocrine pancreatic deficiency, irritable bowel syndrome, aging, protein deficiency, blisters, allergies, pneumococcal disease and clogged nasal pores. Presumably the advertisers know their audience.

Yet the mag also seems intent on hurrying readers to an early grave with artery-clogging recipes for mustard barbecue ribs and grilled corn with cheese and cayenne, along with ads for cherry and chocolate s’mores, fudge stripe cookies and caramel macchiato.

When Us magazine insists that the stars are just like us - this week they walk their dogs, slurp soup and buy in bulk - it doesn’t mention that they’re also fighting depression and chugging diet pills, both of which are advertised in its pages.

But if you’re not already sick, this week’s tabloids will get you there.

Ten pages jam-packed with Bill Clinton’s alleged mistresses, sex harassment victims and even discredited accusers fill the National Enquirer, which explains “Why Hillary can never be president” because “she covered up predator Bill’s sex crimes.”

It’s a claim that bears consideration, but the Enquirer’s full-nuclear-option attack listing Bill Clinton's 36 alleged victims and “Hillary’s decades of terror and threats against women” may seem just a mite politically motivated. Read the rest

Angelina Jolie on a secret hunger strike to call attention to Syrian refugees, and other tabloid stunners

bloids21111

[My friend Peter Sheridan is a Los Angeles-based correspondent for British national newspapers. He has covered revolutions, civil wars, riots, wildfires, and Hollywood celebrity misdeeds for longer than he cares to remember. As part of his job, he must read all the weekly tabloids. For the past couple of years, he's been posting terrific weekly tabloid recaps on Facebook and has graciously given us permission to run them on Boing Boing. Enjoy! - Mark]

Pictures never lie, do they?

So there’s no arguing with the graphic video footage that the National Enquirer’s latest edition offers showing singer Prince’s last moments dying in an elevator at his Minnesota mansion, and of a suicidal O.J. Simpson trying to hang himself in his prison cell.

Dramatic images indeed - if the video actually existed, and if the Enquirer had it. Which it doesn’t.

But somehow that doesn’t stop the from littering its cover with photos of Prince sprawled lifeless on an elevator floor, and of prison guards cutting O.J. down from his hand-crafted noose (apparently an impromptu concoction of towels, sheets and old shirts like you might find at a Maker Faire run by Dr Kevorkian.)

Beneath the blazing “World Exclusive” headlines you have to look really closely to find the hidden words: “Photo Recreation” on these pictures. And it’s far from certain that they are recreating video that even exists. Prince had video surveillance at his home studio, but were there cameras in his elevator, and did they film his demise? Prison CCTV cameras may cover hallways, but rarely peer into individual cells. Read the rest

Satirical column removed

summon-stock-lawyer

Yesterday, Esquire published this satirical column by @ProfJeffJarvis, a Fake Steve-style parody of journalism professor and media visionary Jeff Jarvis. The real Jarvis did what any self-respecting open-culture advocate would: he issued a vague legal threat and got it removed, thereby ensuring that something humorless and obscure was read by a far larger audience than it deserved.

If you think a journalism professor could be more thick-skinned and less eager to abuse the norms that protect his trade, you would not be alone. In his response to the imbroglio Jarvis writes that "They are not free — and it most certainly is not responsible journalism — to try to fool the audience about the source of content and to impugn the reputation of a professional along the way."

Alas, he is mistaken. Popehat's Ken White writes that satire does not require that it be identified as such.

Bradbury's Esquire satire is very clearly protected by the First Amendment. I wrote about a case frighteningly on point. Esquire previously did a satirical article with mock quotes from Joseph Farah of WorldNet Daily and author Jerome Corsi. They sued, claiming defamation. The United States Court of Appeal for the D.C. Circuit crushed their arguments. Remember: only things that could reasonably be understood as provably false statements of fact can be defamatory. Satire is not a statement of fact. In deciding whether something could reasonably be taken as an assertion of fact rather than satire, courts look to what an audience familiar with the publication and players would understand.

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Torrents of lava will gush across the Western United States, and other tabloid stunners

bloids21111

[My friend Peter Sheridan is a Los Angeles-based correspondent for British national newspapers. He has covered revolutions, civil wars, riots, wildfires, and Hollywood celebrity misdeeds for longer than he cares to remember. As part of his job, he must read all the weekly tabloids. For the past couple of years, he's been posting terrific weekly tabloid recaps on Facebook and has graciously given us permission to run them on Boing Boing. Enjoy! - Mark]

Earthquakes, floods, fire, nuclear war and the promise that “the world as we know it will end” in the next 100 days is the cheering news from this week’s National Examiner. You’d think this might warrant the front cover, but buried on page 42 is the news that “Torrents of lava will gush across the Western United States,” and “an earthquake off the coast of Hawaii . . . triggers a tsunami that lashes both sides of the Pacific.” This naturally unleashes “flooding and mudslides” that rupture the San Andreas fault and ignite volcanos at Mount St Helens and Yellowstone Park, igniting a “lake of fire” across Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. And that’s just by June. By August expect "a civil uprising” leading to “nuclear holocaust” that “devastates entire countries.” Definitely a good time to stock up on sunscreen, sturdy shoes and an ample supply of burgers.

That’s the optimistic forecast from “the country’s most trusted psychic consultants and religious scholars.” Well, that’s good enough for me. I’m cancelling my Hawaiian vacation and perhaps I’ll spend the summer building an underground shelter. Read the rest

“Ted Cruz Father Linked to JFK Assassination!” and other tabloid stunners

bloids21111

[My friend Peter Sheridan is a Los Angeles-based correspondent for British national newspapers. He has covered revolutions, civil wars, riots, wildfires, and Hollywood celebrity misdeeds for longer than he cares to remember. As part of his job, he must read all the weekly tabloids. For the past couple of years, he's been posting terrific weekly tabloid recaps on Facebook and has graciously given us permission to run them on Boing Boing. Enjoy! - Mark]

All politics is showbusiness these days, so it’s no surprise that this week’s tabloids and celebrity magazines are knee-deep in matters of state, displaying their usual gifts for gravitas, balance and fairness.

Ted Cruz’s father is linked to JFK’s assassination, Michelle Obama is working to destroy Hillary Clinton, Angelina Jolie plans to run for Congress, and Hillary reveals that she likes Goldfish and hot sauce, we are told in what passes for political coverage.

“Ted Cruz Father Linked to JFK Assassination!” screams the National Enquirer’s typically ungrammatical cover, boasting a “world exclusive investigation.” Photos obtained by the Warren Commission purportedly depicting Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald distributing Communist-leaning pro-Castro pamphlets three months before he shot the president show the killer posed next to a man who for 52 years has remained unidentified by federal investigators - but who the Enquirer now claims is Ted Cruz’s father, Rafael Cruz. The magazine employed “a group of world-renowned experts in photography and facial recognition” to reach their verdict: “The man in the frame is indeed Rafael."

How positive are these experts? Read the rest

Stone Age mummy has claimed seven lives since his discovery! and other tabloid stunners

bloids21111

[My friend Peter Sheridan is a Los Angeles-based correspondent for British national newspapers. He has covered revolutions, civil wars, riots, wildfires, and Hollywood celebrity misdeeds for longer than he cares to remember. As part of his job, he must read all the weekly tabloids. For the past couple of years, he's been posting terrific weekly tabloid recaps on Facebook and has graciously given us permission to run them on Boing Boing. Enjoy! - Mark]

You think it’s hard being a celebrity? Try being friends with a celebrity - it’s a life fraught with fear.

That’s evident from this week's tabloids, which repeatedly tell how “friends fear” for the well-being of stars.

“Portia de Rossi’s terrifying appearance has friends fearing she is on the verge of a life-threatening anorexia relapse” claims the National Enquirer.

“Pals fear” that Kelly Osbourne “can’t stop eating,” and “may be eating herself to death” according to the Enquirer, which evokes images of Monty Python’s spheroid Mr Creosote indulging one more wafer-thin mint, though Kelly seems slender by that comparison.

Michael Douglas is allegedly looking thin, and “friends fear his cancer has returned,” says the Globe. Because who needs oncologists to carry out scans and tests when we have friends to live in fear for our health?

When friends aren’t available, there are plenty of others around who can worry about the stars for them.

“Medical experts” are “fearful” that former Friends star Matthew Perry has suffered a stroke, reports the Enquirer, based on a recent TV appearance in which he appeared to be slurring words. Read the rest

Tom Cruise intends to "dethrone the Queen” and other tabloid stunners

bloids21111

[My friend Peter Sheridan is a Los Angeles-based correspondent for British national newspapers. He has covered revolutions, civil wars, riots, wildfires, and Hollywood celebrity misdeeds for longer than he cares to remember. As part of his job, he must read all the weekly tabloids. For the past couple of years, he's been posting terrific weekly tabloid recaps on Facebook and has graciously given us permission to run them on Boing Boing. Enjoy! - Mark]

It’s another fact-challenged adventure into the wonderful world of fiction in this week’s tabloids.

“Ted Cruz named in Madam’s black book!” screams the National Enquirer, following its recent unsubstantiated allegation that Cruz has five mistresses, with the new but entirely predictable claim that he was among the clients of the late Washington, D.C. madam Deborah Palfrey.

The madam’s former attorney claims the little black book, long-sealed under court order, contains “information relevant to the upcoming election.”

That’s enough for the Enquirer to say that it “could sink Cruz’s waning White House hopes.” But despite its front page headline, the Enquirer admits that it has no idea if Cruz is in the book. It’s just wishful thinking.

Tom Cruise is “out to dethrone the Queen,” claims the Enquirer, alleging that the actor will donate $21 million for renovations of the Church of Scientology’s “castle fit for a Scientology king” in West Sussex, England. The property is large, but hardly palatial, yet that doesn’t stop the Enquirer claiming: “Tom’s goal now is to have his cult replace the monarchy out of spite for being ignored by the British upper crust.”

That’s what passes as logic in the world of tabloids. Read the rest

64% of women prefer country music stars to creepy evangelical hypocrites

bloids21111

[My friend Peter Sheridan is a Los Angeles-based correspondent for British national newspapers. He has covered revolutions, civil wars, riots, wildfires, and Hollywood celebrity misdeeds for longer than he cares to remember. As part of his job, he must read all the weekly tabloids. For the past couple of years, he's been posting terrific weekly tabloid recaps on Facebook and has graciously given us permission to run them on Boing Boing. Enjoy! - Mark]

What’s in Lukensia’s lunch box?

That’s the burning question on the lips of Us magazine’s crack investigative team. The hard-hitting reporters who week after week delve into the heart of Hollywood darkness to expose the handbag contents of a celebrity you’ve barely heard of, this week bring us an earth-shattering exclusive: the contents of TV fitness trainer Jillian Michaels' five-year-old daughter’s lunch box.

“She just likes snacks,” says Jillian, in a revelation sure to break the Internet and push Isis bombers off the front page. “Crackers and popcorn, cheese sticks and beef jerky.” Lukensia - her name supposedly means “bringer of light,” and let’s face it, sounds better than calling your daughter “Bic Lighter” - carries it all in a Frozen lunchbox, with a Doc McStuffins thermos.

Is this a new low in celebrity journalism? Perhaps, but I’m confident that with dedication, Us mag can stoop even lower. They tell us that Diane Kruger and Rita Ora wore it best, and the stars are still just like us: they dine out, stroll on the sand, they walk and talk - in other words: they’re boring. Read the rest

Brain-eating cannibal going free, and other tabloid stunners

bloids21111

[My friend Peter Sheridan is a Los Angeles-based correspondent for British national newspapers. He has covered revolutions, civil wars, riots, wildfires, and Hollywood celebrity misdeeds for longer than he cares to remember. As part of his job, he must read all the weekly tabloids. For the past couple of years, he's been posting terrific weekly tabloid recaps on Facebook and has graciously given us permission to run them on Boing Boing. Enjoy! - Mark]

The stars are just like us - they ride bikes, pump gasoline and shop for kitchenware. It’s a perennial conceit at Us magazine: celebrities are just regular folk like you and I/

It’s why Us mag says in this week’s cover story that Britain’s Prince William and wife Kate are giving their two children “a normal childhood.”

Because what could be more “normal” than escaping from your ten-bedroom English country mansion to vacation in the French Alps in a six-story, seven-bedroom rental home with a nanny, ski instructor and security squad? Nothing says “normal childhood” more than a holiday home’s indoor pool, game room and movie theatre. If Prince George behaves well on outings with his mother, “Kate will usually buy him a small, inexpensive toy,” because nothing is more “normal” than parental bribery. And when William and Kate travel to India next month, what could be more normal than dumping the kids on his in-laws, while the Prince and his Duchess tour the Taj Mahal and Mumbai?

What’s “normal” for the stars?

As Us mag demonstrates, celebrities also go to jail (reality TV’s Joe Giudice), come out as transexual (director Lilly Wachowski), and deny they are being held prisoner against their will (fitness guru Richard Simmons.)

People magazine devotes its cover to TV’s polyamorous Bachelor star Ben Higgins, who dated 27 women simultaneously, slept with three of them, said “I love you” to two, and now says of new fiancé Lauren Bushnell “She was always the one” - which makes one wonder if the entire show wasn’t just a giant waste of everyone’s time. Read the rest

Pyongyang responds to Breitbart resignations

comradeunicorncommodore

North Korea has responded to the resignation of high-profile staff at Breitbart and the site's spiteful (and quickly-deleted) response.

The lies of the venomous she-bitch Michelle Fields against TrumpNation and all right-thinking peoples are thus exposed to the ridicule and contempt of the peoples. It was through the dedicated work of Mister Lewandowski that Fields was exposed as a malignant urchin posing under the good and honorable name of a Breitbart News Reporter at Large, who casts lies and deceits into the popular consciousness concerning Great Leader Donald Trump, the Lion of Trump Tower, who because of his endurance and inflexible will to win will go from conquest to conquest leaving fire in his wake. May all such traitors wither before the gaze of the unforgiving peoples of TrumpNation.

This one's custom-fit by Patrick of Popehat, who posts disturbingly convincing Juche missives as @DPRK_News, but North Korea will denounce anyone you like with our handy North Korea Press Release Generator. Read the rest

What is the celebrity uncertainty principle?

bloids21111

[My friend Peter Sheridan is a Los Angeles-based correspondent for British national newspapers. He has covered revolutions, civil wars, riots, wildfires, and Hollywood celebrity misdeeds for longer than he cares to remember. As part of his job, he must read all the weekly tabloids. For the past couple of years, he's been posting terrific weekly tabloid recaps on Facebook and has graciously given us permission to run them on Boing Boing. Enjoy! - Mark]

If Werner Heisenberg were still alive, at 114 years old, by now the German physicist would surely have developed his celebrity uncertainty principle.

Put simply, a celebrity cannot be observed and accurately reported simultaneously. The act of observing a celebrity makes accuracy impossible, and conversely getting to the truth of a celebrity makes observation impossible, most likely because they’re locked behind closed doors.

This week's peer-reviewed scientific journals known as the supermarket tabloids and celebrity magazines ably demonstrate Heisenberg’s celebrity uncertainty principle in action. The stars are just like us, proclaims Us magazine: they ride bikes, go shopping and eat snacks at L.A. Clipper games (though I can’t remember the last time I had courtside seats, to be honest.). But the act of observation has changed these celebrities: they have dressed with care, brushed their hair, and take each step in public knowing that they may be stalked by paparazzi. Actress Minka Kelly, seen walking her dogs in Us mag, has donned her tightest body-hugging leggings and hidden her eyes behind sunglasses knowing that photographers lurk.

When Taylor Swift tells Us mag “25 things you don’t know about me” spread over two vacuous pages, revealing that she kept hermit crabs as childhood pets, has double-jointed elbows and can’t spin cartwheels, she exposes nothing of herself, aware that she is under observation. Read the rest

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