[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]
Marilyn Monroe's body has been exhumed, the Easter Island statues were made by aliens, and it is now "statistically impossible" for Donald Trump not to win the Republican presidential nomination.
Like the northern white rhinoceros and Yangtze finless porpoise, facts are a perilously endangered species in this week's tabloids.
The late novelist Jackie Collins' $30 million Beverly Hills home is up for sale, and in a full-page feature the Globe magazine describes her in its opening sentence as "The Valley of the Dolls writer."
In this era of Wikipedia and search engines, how does a reporter, and subsequently a sub-editor, fail to know that Valley of the Dolls was penned in 1966 by that other Jacqueline – Susann, not Collins? Mind-boggling.
"I killed Elvis," confessed George 'Dr. Nick' Nichopoulos on his deathbed last week, claims the Globe. Except he didn't. Guaranteed. Dr. Nick spent the last 38 years denying that he had contributed to Presley's death by overprescribing drugs. The tabloids routinely quote unidentified "sources," "insiders" and "pals" to lend faux credibility to statements that are often plucked from thin air. When a deathbed confession is quoted without a single source, you know the Globe has become the journalistic equivalent of the guy you see at 3 a.m. vaguely wandering the aisles of the 24-hour pharmacy dressed in pajama bottoms, stained T-shirt and flip flops: they've just given up caring.
The "real mother" of pop icon Michael Jackson's children is "revealed at last" to be singer Vanity, claims the Globe, no doubt because her death on February 15 means she can no longer sue. The Globe's informant? "A source very close to the Moonwalker" who "claims to have read sections" of Jackson's "explosive secret diary." In this one sentence, the Globe is admitting that it hasn't seen any of the alleged source material, but has simply interviewed an unnamed source making unsubstantiated allegations. Fact-checking, anyone? As if to prove its point, the Globe prints a tear-out photo of a portion of Jackson's diaries, disclosing bombshell revelations about "soda" and "cookies" . . . wait – that looks like Jackson's shopping list.
Can't argue with hard evidence like that.
Julia Roberts' husband Danny Moder has been "banished to tiny old ranch house," claims the ungrammatical National Enquirer. I can't speak to the accuracy of the Enquirer's years-long claim that this marriage is on the rocks, but I wonder how many of its readers might wish that they too were exiled to a "tiny old ranch house" when in reality it's a $6.8 million 1,770 sq ft home across the street from their Malibu oceanfront home?
Angelina Jolie has a "new hunk" according to the Enquirer, which is shocked to find her photographed "on several occasions" with a "Brad Pitt ringer" in Cambodia. Well, he's the cameraman on her latest movie, so let's be honest: it's hard to film a movie without the cameraman and star being in close proximity.
"Marilyn Monroe body exhumed!" screams the front page of the National Examiner, declaring: "New autopsy proves sexpot was murdered by the Kennedys!" It's a great story, until you open the magazine to find that Monroe has not been exhumed, and no new evidence has been found – it's simply the tabloid's tame private investigator calling for the exhumation because "it's possible" that new technology might determine if she was a victim of foul play.
I'm as tempted to believe the Examiner's claim that Easter Island's majestic moai statues were "made by alien beings," as the Enquirer's proclamation that "Trump must be president" and "it's too late in the race for the other contenders to catch him." While it's true that Trump holds a respectable lead and carries the same air of inevitability that one feels watching a movie thriller when you just know the serial killer will ultimately face off mano a mano with the lead detective in the final scene, there are many ways that Ted Cruz and even Marco Rubio could mathematically and statistically still win the nomination or a brokered convention. Yes, the bad guy almost inevitably gets nailed before the closing credits, but the Enquirer should remember that every now and then a Hannibal Lecter will get away at the end and have a friend for dinner. Not that I'm comparing Trump to Hannibal Lecter. I wouldn't want to insult Dr. Lecter.
The Enquirer has decided that the Illuminati is the "new Scientology," branding it a "cult" that is allegedly recruiting celebrities including Britney Spears, Beyonce, Miley Cyrus, Rihanna, and Celine Dion. Let's be honest: that's either a cult with very low expectations, or one orchestrated by a Las Vegas lounge booking agent.
In the celebrity glossies, People magazine's cover offers Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton's "untold love story." which proves so banal it should have been left untold, while Us magazine features TV's Bachelor Ben Higgins lamenting "I put her through hell" – though he can't tell us exactly who he put through hell, since we have to watch the can't-miss conclusion of his epic "journey" to find love before he can reveal which girl he's chosen to give his Neil Lane diamond engagement ring – which by the way isn't legally hers until the couple have been together for two years, or it reverts to Neil. So romantic.
Kate Hudson and Hilary Duff wore it best, actress Aja Naomi King (Who she, Ed?) carries nail polish, sunglasses and keys in her handbag, singer Loretta Lynn confesses that she can't swim, and the stars are just like us: they shop for flowers, eat dinner, and talk on their cell phones. Gripping revelations.
And if you weren't bored to tears by this year's Academy Awards, then race to grab your copy of People, which has 50 relentless pages of Oscars coverage – and if that doesn't reduce you to tears, nothing will, not even the thought of President Trump in reality being a northern white rhinoceros transformed by aliens into a Yangtze finless porpoise in a business suit.
Believe me. I know a source.
Onwards and downwards . . .