[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]
A sensational medical breakthrough means you'll never have to go to a doctor or psychiatrist again for an accurate clinical diagnosis.
How else does one explain the extraordinary medical assessments of the stars in this week's supermarket tabloids, based on just a photograph or two?
AMA could learn a few things from these tabloids medical experts.
TV's Friends star Matthew Perry is suspected of a "drug relapse because the actor "looks horrible," says Dr. Stuart Fischer, "who has not treated 46-year-old Matthew but reviewed recent photos of the actor," according to the National Enquirer. "He looks ill-kempt and homeless," says the doc, which as any dedicated tabloid reader will tell you, is a dangerous medical condition.
Angelina Jolie is an "anorexic wasting away," alleges the Enquirer, riding one of its favorite rail-thin hobby horses. They enlist Dr. Art Mollen of Arizona to determine, based on photographs, that Angie needs hospitalization "immediately," plus a team of "psychiatrists, cardiologists, nutritionists and even the family" to save her life. The Enquirer adds, in stark red headlines almost two inches tall, that she weighs "82 lbs" – an assessment that can only mean they are now hiring former fairground hucksters who used to "Guess Your Weight" at carnival midway stands. That, or Enquirer reporters slipped a bathroom scale onto a red carpet while Angie wasn't looking.
Oscar winner Michael Douglas, looking thinner than in recent months, "has three months to live as cancer returns," the Enquirer claims – though it goes on to say that this is only "his worst fear." Well, isn't that the worst fear of even the healthiest person in the world? Dr Art Mollen, proving his value to the Enquirer yet again by giving them a two-for-one special, says: "There's definitely a possibility of a recurrence of cancer here." But isn't that always a possibility for any former cancer patient?
When medical experts aren't available, the Enquirer is happy to accept clinical diagnoses from passing strangers.
Another Oscar winner, Warren Beatty, "seems headed for a breakdown," according to an eyewitness who saw the star in Los Angeles last week. After all, who needs a team of psychiatrists performing weeks of studies, when an untrained paparazzi can see a patient from across the street and reach a diagnosis of mental capacity?
The Globe magazine uses its team of eyewitness citizen medics to determine that Angela Lansbury "could be facing the end" after seeing the 90-year-old actress walking in the street. "Her age is showing, for sure," says the observer, using their psychic powers to determine: "It looked as if she was having a heart attack."
It's another fact-challenged week in the wishful-thinking tabloids. The hardest working man in the rock 'n' roll graveyard, James Brown, "was murdered" by poison, the singer's son Daryl Brown reportedly tells the Globe, based on the irrefutable logic that: "It just seems strange to me that everybody said he was fine, and then all of a sudden he was dead." Yep, that definitely sounds like poison.
The "bathtub murders" of singer Whitney Houston and daughter Bobbi Kristina "are related," claims the Enquirer, elevating both deaths to the certitude of murder and noting that the demise of both involved drugs, a bathtub, and Bobbi Kristina's boyfriend Nick Gordon, "who was either near or at both death scenes." Bad timing, yes, but by the same logic you'd have to consider Ted Kennedy a suspect in the deaths of JFK, Bobby Kennedy, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy and Mary Jo Kopechne . . . okay, scratch that last one.
People magazine goes back to the future with its cover on O.J. Simpson's slain ex-wife, promising "shocking new details" and "justice for Nicole." Those shocking new details? Despite Nicole being portrayed during O.J.'s trial as as a drug- and alcohol-loving party girl, People tells us: "She was actually a homebody . . . she loved hanging out with the kids." I'm shocked, shocked, I tell you.
Us magazine trumps the tabloids with its cover story by wannabe First Lady Melania Trump: "The Donald Only I Know." But either she barely knows The Donald or she's not telling, because the interview reveals next to nothing. What do they disagree on? "I will keep it private," she says. What suggestions has she made for his campaign? "I give him my ideas." Anything she can share? "No, I will not." Politics? "I don't discuss politics." What about Michelle Obama? "I don't want to talk about that."
Melania admits: "He's on the road a lot and not home much." Well, that could explain why "The Donald Only I Know" is pretty much a blank slate.
Fortunately, Us mag's crack team of reporters tells us that Amber Heard wore it best, DJ Khaled's favorite animal is a lion "because I am a lion," actress Lisa Edelstein carries scripts, a thermos of hot tea and headphones in her faux leather purse, and the stars are just like us: they bargain shop, they cruise the streets on bikes, they walk their pets, and focus on their cell phones.
And everywhere they go, the stars can take comfort in knowing that their medical health is being continually assessed by trained teams of psychic paparazzi.
Onwards and downwards . . .