[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]
The stars are just like us – they ride bikes, pump gasoline and shop for kitchenware.
It's a perennial conceit at Us magazine: celebrities are just regular folk like you and I/
It's why Us mag says in this week's cover story that Britain's Prince William and wife Kate are giving their two children "a normal childhood."
Because what could be more "normal" than escaping from your ten-bedroom English country mansion to vacation in the French Alps in a six-story, seven-bedroom rental home with a nanny, ski instructor and security squad? Nothing says "normal childhood" more than a holiday home's indoor pool, game room and movie theatre. If Prince George behaves well on outings with his mother, "Kate will usually buy him a small, inexpensive toy," because nothing is more "normal" than parental bribery. And when William and Kate travel to India next month, what could be more normal than dumping the kids on his in-laws, while the Prince and his Duchess tour the Taj Mahal and Mumbai?
What's "normal" for the stars?
As Us mag demonstrates, celebrities also go to jail (reality TV's Joe Giudice), come out as transexual (director Lilly Wachowski), and deny they are being held prisoner against their will (fitness guru Richard Simmons.)
People magazine devotes its cover to TV's polyamorous Bachelor star Ben Higgins, who dated 27 women simultaneously, slept with three of them, said "I love you" to two, and now says of new fiancé Lauren Bushnell "She was always the one" – which makes one wonder if the entire show wasn't just a giant waste of everyone's time.
Fortunately we have this week's tabloids to show us what life is really like for the stars.
"Cancer ravaged" Michael Douglas is "close to death," claims the National Enquirer, based on the expert opinion of "a host of medical experts" who haven't actually treated the actor . . . or seen him . . . but have been shown photos of the 71-year-old. Says oncologist Dr Jerome Spunberg: "He looks gaunt and weak." Well, that certainly sounds like a recurrence of cancer to me, and I should know – like any good reporter I've watched several episodes of Grey's Anatomy and House.
The Enquirer's "medical team" has a field day with post-pregnancy Kim Kardashian, who is reportedly at risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, "and 63 other diseases" – more varieties than Heinz! – because she hasn't yet lost her baby weight. The Enquirer helpfully diagrams a photo of Mrs West with arrows pointing out her "saggy and baggy" stomach, "bulging backside," "bustin' out" chest, "thunder thighs" and "cankle cursed" ankles. All technical medical terms, I assume.
The Globe devotes a staggering 12-page hagiography to the death of Nancy Reagan, and the "inspiring untold story" of her love for Ron, mostly drawn from her memoir My Turn – which hardly makes it an "untold story." I expect to see future stories dedicated to the miracles performed in her name – perhaps prayers to Nancy will give Donald Trump a new head of hair – followed by demands for her canonization.
"Brain-eating cannibal going free!" is a great headline in the Examiner, but let's face it, David Allen Chapin has already served 38 years behind bars for his indiscretion – and he only ate "portions of his buddy's brain," the Examiner notes. In recent years society has grown to love Hannibal Lecter and brain-eating zombies, so perhaps the parole board will look kindly upon Chapin's bid for release. He could always pray to Saint Nancy, the patron saint of ignoring viral epidemics.
Speaking of epidemics, the Examiner also warns us about the "shocking global epidemic" of heavy drinkers spontaneously combusting, or as it neatly puts it: "Boozers Bursting Into Flames." There have allegedly been 200 cases worldwide in recent years, which may not exactly qualify as an epidemic, and may conceivably afflict known alcoholics simply because they have greater difficulties playing with matches. About a quarter of all burning deaths in the U.S. evidently result from cigarettes, cigars, crack pipes and joints not being safely extinguished – yet another good reason why you're better off shooting up, perhaps?
Thankfully we have Us magazine to tell us the real news: that Jessica Biel wore it best, actor John Goodman reveals his secret to losing 100 pounds – "I decided to stop stuffing food in my mouth every five minutes" – and actress Cecily Strong (Who she, Ed?) carries lip balm, perfume, candy, heartburn pills, cough drops, Aleve, an iPhone, pencil, makeup, a "lucky" necklace, Kind bars, deodorant, crossword puzzles, mints, and way, way too much crap in her handbag.
And Ted Cruz tells Us mag "25 things you don't know about me," including such gems as "I'm on level 350 of Candy Crush," "I wear cowboy boots almost every day," "I was once bitten by an octopus" (it was not in his boots, apparently) and "My favorite movie is The Princess Bride." Inconceivable.
Onwards and downwards . . .