[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 another fact-challenged adventure into the wonderful world of fiction in this week's tabloids.
"Ted Cruz named in Madam's black book!" screams the National Enquirer, following its recent unsubstantiated allegation that Cruz has five mistresses, with the new but entirely predictable claim that he was among the clients of the late Washington, D.C. madam Deborah Palfrey.
The madam's former attorney claims the little black book, long-sealed under court order, contains "information relevant to the upcoming election."
That's enough for the Enquirer to say that it "could sink Cruz's waning White House hopes." But despite its front page headline, the Enquirer admits that it has no idea if Cruz is in the book. It's just wishful thinking.
Tom Cruise is "out to dethrone the Queen," claims the Enquirer, alleging that the actor will donate $21 million for renovations of the Church of Scientology's "castle fit for a Scientology king" in West Sussex, England. The property is large, but hardly palatial, yet that doesn't stop the Enquirer claiming: "Tom's goal now is to have his cult replace the monarchy out of spite for being ignored by the British upper crust."
That's what passes as logic in the world of tabloids. I'm only surprised that the Enquirer didn't suggest that the Royal Family has hated Scientologists ever since John Travolta swept Princess Diana across a ballroom floor.
"Cruise Cult Invades Britain!" screams the Globe, telling a similar story about Scientology's UK center at St Hill Manor. One small detail: church founder L Ron Hubbard bought the property in 1959. The "invasion" happened 57 years ago – but that's evidently "news" to the Globe.
Only weeks after the tabloids were warning us that actor Michael Douglas was "wasting away" and days from death, the Globe runs a photo of him looking fit and youthful on a beach, with a small belly hanging over his swimsuit, prompting a caption saying he "is letting it all hang out." So, is Douglas wasting away, or overweight? Maybe the tabloids' indecision is what's killing him?
There are new "drug fears for mangy Macaulay" Culkin, as the former Home Alone star was spotted walking down a New York Street "unshaven, with hair hanging below his shoulders and wearing shabby clothes," claims the Globe.
Unshaven? Shocking! What are young people coming to these days? No wonder the Globe decides that "his haggard and strange appearance is piling on the fears that he's in the grips of a drug nightmare."
I for one am grateful that the Globe's crack team of reporters are trained in the field of sartorial psychoanalysis.
It's not that Ted Cruz couldn't possibly be in Palfrey's little black book, or that Tom Cruise isn't actually plotting to overthrow the British monarchy, or that Michael Douglas may one day shed his mortal coil, or that Macaulay Culkin couldn't occasionally be experimenting with drugs – it's just that little detail called "facts" that's missing. Call me old-fashioned.
It's hard to beat the National Examiner's cover story headline: "Angie Dickinson Tells All Before She Dies!"
It's not beyond the Examiner's powers to have TV's former Policewoman star "tell all" after she dies, through the intercession of its team of psychic reporters, but evidently they can't wait that long. So – what does Angie tell? Absolutely nothing. Inside its hallowed pages, the Examiner reveals that the actress "is being urged to complete her explosive memoirs before she dies!" Not quite the same thing as a "tell-all" when all Angie Dickinson can tell so far is probably: "I wish reporters would stop asking me when I'm going to write my memoirs."
Yet again I'm forced to wonder how sick and decrepit celebrity-lovers must be, judging by the ads in this week's People magazine for anti-aging cream, bipolar depression drugs, cholesterol drugs, menopause medication, rheumatoid arthritis pills, anti-depressants, Listerine mouthwash and skin exfoliators,
Both People and Us magazines devote their covers to Drew Barrymore's marriage break-up. "Fairy Tale Destroyed," sobs Us. "Inside Drew's Sad Split," laments People. Both mags agree: She's a free-spirited Californian; hubby Will Kopelman is a straight-laced New Yorker. Therefore it could never work. Perhaps the fact that it was Drew's third marriage might have been a red flag. Abusing drugs from the age of nine probably didn't help, at a wild guess.
Fortunately we have the crack investigative team at Us mag to tell us that Rosamund Pike wore it best, actress Kristen Bell hates goat cheese "almost as much as I love rugs," and the stars are just like us: they pick up after their kids, they run on the beach, and they talk on their cell phones. Earth-shattering revelations.
This week Us mag dives into the bamboo-handled Gucci tote of Arianna Huffington, which begs the question – what was she thinking? Left-wing intellectuals – they're just like us? Sure, if we all carry Yamamotoyama Genmai green tea bags, pink silk eyeshades and two cell phones (one to speak on, the other to surf the web) in our handbags.
I'm intrigued by the Examiner's headline "Evil Monster Cut Baby Out of Stranger's Womb!" Would it be less shocking if the attacker had cut the baby out of the womb of a close friend?
Onwards and downwards . . .