[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 America's worst nightmare.
Faced with the existential threats of terrorism, global warming, nuclear proliferation and Donald Trump, the National Enquirer reports that "America's worst nightmare" is . . . the possibility that jailed Unabomber Ted Kaczynski may have secretly fathered a child.
Sure, that's what keeps me awake at night.
There's a wealth of speculative, fanciful, thin-as-air and barely-there shock-horror stories in this week's tabloids.
Bernie Sanders could be a Russian spy, "flipped" during a 1988 visit to Moscow, says the Enquirer. "Vlad's been pulling Bernie's strings for decades," a former Secret Service agent, evidently on first name terms with Russian premier Putin, reportedly tells the Enquirer.
Actress and singer Cher "shares her dying secrets" in a new memoir, and the National Enquirer has all the details – except she hasn't written the book yet.
The unwritten memoir also reportedly reveals "why she didn't have sex with Elvis Presley and Marlon Brando." Hopefully we can look forward to sequels in which Cher reveals she didn't have sex with Albert Einstein, O.J. Simpson, and Bernie Sanders.
As for the Unabomber, the Enquirer stretches its wishful thinking to the limit, claiming that Ted Kaczynski "may have fathered a child" by having his sperm smuggled out of the Supermax prison. Some 90 boxes of Kaczynski's writings reportedly include a file of papers containing three documents on the subject of prisoners' rights to artificially inseminate women. That's enough evidence for the Enquirer to conclude that Kaczynski could have sneaked his sperm out of the nation's most secure lockup. And now that I'm writing about this, it's perfectly possible that the Enquirer will report that I may have smuggled my sperm into the Supermax prison. It could happen.
Britain's Prince Charles had a "secret fling" for two years with actress Catherine Zeta Jones, claims the Globe magazine, based on absolutely no visible evidence. But there are photos of their "trysts" – the "lovers" meeting at a charity event surrounded by dozens of others, and Charles presenting Zeta Jones with a Royal honor, during which "Charles fondled her breasts in public" – which is the Globe's interpretation of Charles simply fixing a pin to her lapel.
"Drunk Obama resigns!" says the Globe, which must be disappointed to add: "But President destroyed letter when he sobered up." Obama allegedly wrote: "Take this job and shove it" after a frustrating day, "according to a highly placed political insider." Probably Bo, Obama's Portuguese Water Dog.
Burt Reynolds is "hooked again," says the Globe. Or, as its "source close to the fast-fading actor" admits, that's just what "worried pals fear." Because what are friends for if not to speculate wildly about their "fears" in the tabloids. Maybe Burt also has a dog with loose lips.
Thankfully we have Us magazine's crack investigative team to tell us that Natalie Portman wore it best, TV's "Bachelor" Ben Higgins exclusively reveals "morning is my favorite time of the day," actress Lily James carries headphones, glasses and keys in her Burberry bag, and the stars are just like us: they hail cabs, try crossword puzzles, shower after swimming, travel by bike and check their iPads. The revelations just keep on coming.
Us mag splashes with "Madonna's nightmare," as son Rocco allegedly chooses to stay with easy-going dad Guy Ritchie rather than return to strict "disciplinarian" Material Mom. I'm sure he'll live to regret that decision when he drops out of school and has nothing to fall back on but his parents' $400 million inheritance.
People magazine devotes its cover to the Duggar megafamily's cousin Amy talking about "her wild and sexy newlywed life."
I. Could. Not. Care. Less.
The only reason that the Duggar family's 15 minutes of fame has lasted so long is because each family member demanded their own 15 minutes, and there's enough of them to drag that out for years. "I'm just a free bird," says Amy. "I was true to myself . . I play by my own rules." And she avoids clichés like the plague.
My favorite story in People mag is on Charles Manson's women – "Where are they now?"
Jail, jail and died in jail, is the answer for Patricia Krenwinkel, Leslie Van Houten and Susan Atkins. Which explains why it's such a short story. But where is Linda Kasabian? People reporters have no idea, saying that "she reportedly changed her name and lives in the Pacific Northwest." Great work, People mag. Really insightful.
Why couldn't they be more like the tabloids, and say that Kasabian may be hooked on drugs, having an affair with Prince Charles and could be a Russian spy, friends fear?
Onwards and downwards . . .