[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]
Vladimir Putin is a vampire, Elvis Presley's "seven secret love children" have been found, Angelina Jolie is suffering a "new cancer horror," and flamboyant "fitness guru" Richard Simmons is suffering a "mental breakdown," according to this week's fact-challenged Globe tabloid.
Accuracy, balance and logic evidently weren't among the gifts left by Santa in the Globe's Christmas stocking this year.
Photographs of Putin look-alikes from 1920 and 1941 provoke the Globe to report that "investigators suggest he's a vampire who has walked the Earth for a century or more!"
Barely more plausible are Elvis's seven love children, exposed "following an exhaustive, two-year, world-wide investigation." Or they could just have read back issues of the tabloids, where most of these claimants have previously told their stories, dating back to 1991. They range in plausibility from the offspring of women who claimed to have had one-night stands with the King, to Lisa Johansen who insists she was Presley's daughter living with Elvis at Graceland until his 1977 death, when she was whisked to Sweden for her own safety and replaced by imposter Lisa Marie.
Angelina's cancer horror, of course, hasn't happened to her at all, but has "claimed the life of her stepdad." Except that the late John Trudell was never Jolie's step-father, and the Globe ultimately admits that he simply "dated Angelina's late mother." The Globe's deception is understandable. After all, who would read a story headlined "Angelina's late mother's ex-boyfriend dies of cancer"?
Setting aside for one moment the question of why anyone would be interested in "fitness guru" Richard Simmons, the Globe shows the indisputable value of psychic medical diagnosis by reporting that he is "suffering a severe mental breakdown," because he "hasn't been seen in public since Jan. 11, 2014."
Let's get this straight: a man who "hasn't been seen in public" for almost two years is having his unseen behavior analyzed and his sanity judged by the Globe, and on the basis of this mountain of evidence it concludes that he has suffered a breakdown. "That's the analysis of a top medical expert who reviewed the bizarre antics of the once flamboyant fitness guru," it reports.
Simmons' representative allegedly told the Globe that he is "living life outside the public eye."
Well, that certainly counts as insanity in this shamelessly media-obsessed self-promoting era. I could really use a psychic doctor to offer a diagnosis whenever I feel ill, to save me a trip to the doctor's office. I see a lucrative future in this for the medical profession.
In a week of year-end round-ups, this week's tabloids and celebrity magazines continue their unhealthy obsession with weight.
The National Enquirer features its "20 best and worst beach bodies," taking cruel delight in Uma Thurman's "flabby gut" and Janice Dickerson's skin looking "like expired supermarket chicken."
With New Year resolutions looming, People and Us magazines both devote their covers to diet tips and tricks from celebrities and "real people" (because celebrities aren't real people but merely media constructs, as People magazine knows in the darkest depths of its heart.)
Us mag offers 18 pages, and People a staggering 27 pages of dieters, diets and even two pages of pets that have slimmed down to "half their size."
Of course, we still have this week's real news: Jamie King wore it best (though $2,800 for a sequined Dior turtleneck seems excessive), Debra Messing carries four pairs of reading glasses, allergy pills and lipstick in her purse, and the stars are just like us: they carry packages, wear helmets, check their watches and run errands.
Cher is still "dying" according to the Enquirer, which one day in the next 40 years will crow that it was right all along, Camilla is still demanding a divorce from "lover" Prince Charles claims the Globe, and World War III is coming according to a "Bulgarian Nostradamus," reports the Examiner.
Maybe that will give the tabloids something worth writing about.
Onwards and downwards . . .