Demonic possession on the rise in America, and other tabloid stunners

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Dark smoke rings hover in the sky over Zurich, Leamington Spa in England, and even Disneyland.

Are they naturally occurring air vortices, or thermal microbursts as some meteorologists believe?

Of course not.

“They came from another dimension!” explains the National Examiner, whose crack science team reports: “Some believe they are UFOs or a sign of some supernatural presence.”

That’s about as logical as everything else in this week’s factually-challenged tabloids and celebrity magazines.

“Hillary failed secret FBI lie detector!” screams the National Enquirer’s front page, claiming that she failed to tell the truth about sending military secrets on her private email server. Pot, meet kettle. Hillary Clinton never took a polygraph test when testifying before the FBI. Rather, the Enquirer simply fed audio of some of her public statements through a purported stress detector, which I’m guessing came with its own decoder ring, cape and mask when you send $2.99 and ten cereal box tops. It was a “secret” test because nobody except the Enquirer knew she was taking it, raising forensic science to new levels.

Just as former ‘Friends’ star Jennifer Aniston was publicly raging this week against tabloid intrusion, lies and the perpetuation of unrealistic body images, the Enquirer obliged by reporting “Aniston’s boob job to save her rocky marriage . . . “ Declared Beverly Hills dermatologist Dr Susan Evans: “Jennifer’s breasts look much fuller than they used to.” Because a plastic surgeon just won’t do. It takes a certified dermatologist to determine if mammary glands look larger. Read the rest

It’s summer, so let the tabloid body shaming begin

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It’s summer, so let the body shaming begin. The National Enquirer brings us four pages of “Celebs with Cellulite,” and Us magazine assaults us with six pages of “bikini diet tips,” which lamentably forget to include the genetic code for readers to reverse-engineer themselves to look like Gigi Hadid. People magazine sends mixed messages, offering two pages of hard-bodied stars splashing about in the ocean, along with eight pages of celebrities cooking dishes of dubious health benefit such as brown sugar bacon, honey-pepper cast-iron biscuits, and spaghetti with meatballs.

But don’t lose too much weight for the summer - the National Examiner warns that country singer Dolly Parton is 89 pounds and “wasting away."

Comedy veteran Carol Burnett “Tells all before she dies!” screams the Globe, which is good, because it’s probably easier than telling all after she dies. What does she tell? Nothing to the Globe, which is going to have to wait with the rest of us for the publication of her memoir later this year, though that doesn’t stop the Globe speculating that Burnett was saddened by her daughter’s drug addiction. Seems like a stretch to me. What parent wouldn’t be proud of their child’s drug addiction?

With all the chaos surrounding Brexit, I must have missed the abdication at Buckingham Palace and Prince Charles’ refusal to accept the crown, because the Globe splashes its cover with: “Queen Kate’s Reign Begins - and she’s pregnant with twins!” Ignoring for a moment the fact that Kate Middleton remains Duchess of Cambridge and has not been named Queen, reports of her pregnancy with twins have been circulating since April, so she should be showing a considerable baby bump by now if it were true. Read the rest

Which photos of Alton Sterling did the media use?

foxnews

There's something different about Fox News's coverage of Alton Sterling, killed by Baton Rouge cops who held him down and shot him in the back.

Can't quite put my finger on it. Read the rest

Humans and robots are on a collision course for a war, says Examiner

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When you’re attacked by an alligator, the National Enquirer has some great advice for you: “Run!”

That’s just one of the really useful survival tips in this week’s helpful tabloids.

Don’t drive - “driving can be hazardous to your health,” the Enquirer claims, noting a medical study that found motorists who drove more than an hour daily were on average six pounds heavier.

“Sleep for health,” advises the National Examiner, which also offers “10 ways to beat menopause” and how to live with “losing a limb.” Is this a problem among their sedentary readership, or has Oscar Pistorius bought a life-time subscription?

But what’s the point of staying healthy, since the world will be ending soon?

“Humans and robots are on a collision course for a war that could break out by the middle of the century," according to the Examiner, which cites experts ranging from a Canadian novelist to Stephen Hawking. Maybe now is a good time to make sure that robots have a five-day waiting period before buying guns - or might the NRA object to that?

The Globe continues its obsession with fat-shaming celebrities who dare gain an extra ounce or two. Candice Bergen is branded a “blue whale,” Jeff Bridges is “fat and sassy,” country singer Blake Shelton is suffering “fat shame” about his “soft belly and man-boobs,” and actress Tara Reid sports a “belly bulge.” “Diet lowers cancer risk” and “teen pounds are lethal,” state two articles on the Globe’s health page, all of which makes me hunger for People magazine’s recipes this week for eggs Benedict, strawberries & cream parfait, and apple rhubarb scones. Read the rest

Parasites are threatening to “destroy the human race” and other tabloid shockers

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Parasites are threatening to “destroy the human race,” claims the National Examiner, which coincidentally is what this week’s tabloid magazines also appear to have in mind.

Just like the Examiner's “evil bugs” with “the power to turn us into zombies,” the tabloids try to burrow into our brains with their latest mindless worm-like ravings.

Comedy legend Robin Williams’ death “is now a murder probe” claims the Globe, reporting that the case has been re-opened as “cops probe brutal murder!”

But read the story and you learn that the case has not be reopened by police; it’s merely Globe’s rent-a-quote “investigators” speculating wildly, accompanied by a disturbing photo purporting to show Williams’ corpse with horrific strangulation marks around his neck. This is the same discredited photo which in 2014 was proven not to be Williams after being traced back to a Spanish website specializing in strangulation. But that hasn’t stopped the Globe reprinting the image, even with its own caution: “the authenticity is in question.” No kidding.

Happy marriages simply aren’t allowed in the tabloids’ version of Hollywood. Jennifer Aniston’s marriage is “in crisis” because husband Justin Theroux is away filming in Australia, claims the Globe, and John Travolta’s marriage to Kelly Preston is heading toward a $275 million divorce, claims the Enquirer, which for years has repeatedly floated this story questioning the actor’s sexuality, in the forlorn hope that one day it may be proven right.

“Hillary will never be President!” screams the Enquirer’s cover, accusing her of treason for leaking US intelligence, bribery for accepting a $145 million Russian “payoff” to the Clinton Foundation, and conspiracy for the Benghazi attack. Read the rest

Gawker files for bankruptcy, will sell itself after $140 million Hulk Hogan lawsuit judgement

Gawker founder Nick Denton talks with his legal team before Hulk Hogan testifies in Florida court, March 8, 2016.
Gawker Media was crushed by the $140 million legal judgment in Hulk Hogan's invasion-of-privacy lawsuit, which we now know was financed by a bitter and resentful Peter Thiel. Nick Denton's gossip news site Gawker.com published a sex tape featuring former wrestler Hulk Hogan, and the former wrestler (real name: Terry Bollea) sued with Thiel's help.

The publishing company is now putting itself up for sale, reports the New York Times, citing an anonymous source. Gawker Media Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Friday “after a judge overseeing the suit against the company entered the full judgment and denied Gawker’s request for a stay under terms the company could meet.”

Read the rest

How to tell a victim of demonic possession apart from someone with a mental disorder

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It used to be said that photos never lie, back in those simpler, innocent days before Photoshop and Facetune made liars of us all. But as this week’s tabloids show, photos can lie even when they are the unvarnished genuine article.

Richard Simmons, the fitness ‘guru’ whose celebrity seems to continue only in the minds of tabloid editors, is pictured on the National Enquirer’s cover clad in fur-trimmed lingerie and black leggings, while wearing a long black wig, above a headline screaming: “He’s now a woman!”

“Yes, this photo shoot is real!” adds an accompanying caption - a notation that is necessary because veteran Enquirer readers will know how many of its photos are doctored fakes.

Quoting an unnamed “pal,” the Enquirer claims that Simmons has been out of the public eye for the past two years while he transitioned into a woman, having a “secret boob job” and researching “castration surgery.”

Leaving aside for a moment the appalling intrusion into the private life of anyone going through the emotional rollercoaster of gender realignment, just as the Enquirer had previously brutally forced the outing of a transitioning Caitlyn Jenner, Simmons' photo was clearly taken in jest, just as the flamboyant self-publicist Simmons has dressed in women’s attire many, many times before for the camera and on TV.

The fact that Simmons was photographed a week ago wearing a beard should be the first clue that there may be less to this story than appears. Add the fact that in March the New York Daily News reported that Simmons had been kidnapped by his maid, prompting Simmons to emerge from seclusion to assure the world he was fine, and you realize that the 'Sweatin’ to the Oldies' star is the subject of frequently wild speculation. Read the rest

What Amazon's Jeff Bezos thinks about Peter Thiel and Hulk Hogan vs. Gawker

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In this video from the Recode conference, an interesting reveal of what Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos thinks of the legal battle between Peter Thiel and Gawker, with Hulk Hogan as a most unfortunate proxy. Bezos is full of surprising insights here, and offers Thiel some tough love.

The only effective defense public figures like Thiel have against their critics, says Bezos: “Develop a thick skin.”

Read the rest

Saturn’s moon Iapetus will destroy Earth, 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]

Prince Charles is now a serial killer. Having murdered Princess Diana, he recently ordered the assassination of his “secret daughter” who claimed to be next in line for the British throne. That’s the claim in this week’s Globe magazine, which having had fun for the past two years reporting on ”Sarah” - allegedly conceived in vitro by Charles and Diana during a pre-marital fertility test, and implanted by a devious doctor into his wife’s womb - has now killed her off.

As if that wasn’t enough, the Globe declares that “Charles ordered her death.” Presumably because the Tooth Fairy was busy and the Easter Bunny doesn’t do contract hits on innocent women.

There has never been a shred of evidence that the Globe’s mystery Sarah ever existed, let alone died. She appears to have been inspired by a 2011 novel The Disappearance of Olivia, which imagined a fictionalized child of Princess Diana’s growing up in Florida.

Now - surprise, surprise - Sarah has disappeared while traveling on the Greek isle of Crete, and “a special tracking device she always kept hidden in her clothing” has stopped signaling. Read the rest

"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.

Read the rest

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.

Read the rest

In power, Trump will punish the media first

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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.

Read the rest

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

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