[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]
Pictures never lie, do they?
So there's no arguing with the graphic video footage that the National Enquirer's latest edition offers showing singer Prince's last moments dying in an elevator at his Minnesota mansion, and of a suicidal O.J. Simpson trying to hang himself in his prison cell.
Dramatic images indeed – if the video actually existed, and if the Enquirer had it. Which it doesn't.
But somehow that doesn't stop the from littering its cover with photos of Prince sprawled lifeless on an elevator floor, and of prison guards cutting O.J. down from his hand-crafted noose (apparently an impromptu concoction of towels, sheets and old shirts like you might find at a Maker Faire run by Dr Kevorkian.)
Beneath the blazing "World Exclusive" headlines you have to look really closely to find the hidden words: "Photo Recreation" on these pictures. And it's far from certain that they are recreating video that even exists. Prince had video surveillance at his home studio, but were there cameras in his elevator, and did they film his demise? Prison CCTV cameras may cover hallways, but rarely peer into individual cells. There's some wild speculation at play here, which is business as usual in this week's tabloids.
Katie Holmes is expecting Jamie Foxx's love child, and singer Rihanna is pregnant with Leonardo DiCaprio's baby, claims the Enquirer. I don't think we'll have to wait nine months to discover the truth of these speculative allegations.
Imaginations simply run wild at the Enquirer this week, where the ever-thin Angelina Jolie is now reported to be "on a hunger strike to call attention to the plight of Syrian refugees."
There's only one small problem with that scenario: Jolie would have to be publicizing her hunger strike in order to draw worldwide attention to the refugee crisis. Having a hunger strike in secret defeats the object of the exercise. Or could this just be more wishful thinking on the part of the Enquirer?
The Globe claims to have uncovered Prince's "tragic suicide note" in the vault at his Paisley Park home, allegedly writing about his loneliness and desire for someone in his life.
But this purported note doesn't include any mention of wanting to kill himself – traditionally the hallmark of a suicide note – and in fact sounds remarkably like what is known in the music industry as "ideas for a song." The Globe also boasts a remarkable photo of Prince laying dead on the autopsy table, though the small print says – you guessed it – "photo re-creation."
Britain's Prince Harry tells People magazine "I don't play Xbox or PlayStation any more," and that "There's been times I've been put off having children." After all, why have children if you can't be bothered to play Xbox games with them?
And Us magazine reveals that Ashley Madekwe (Seriously – Who she, Ed?) wore it best, that Billy Idol was kicked out of the Boy Scouts at age ten, and that Cyndi Lauper carries Burberry perfume, Mac lipstick and a copy of Reza Aslan's Zealot (as if she didn't know she'd be emptying her purse for a photoshoot and dumped the Jackie Collins novel) in her MZ Wallace tote. The stars are still just like us, says Us mag: they sunbathe, walk their dogs, and carry bags. The revelations never end.
Thankfully the National Examiner gives us two pages of photographs of dogs eating peanut butter – and why not? – and reveals that wooly mammoths will "walk the earth once more," as "scientists use DNA to recreate massive mammoths for a real-life Jurassic Park in Russia."
Who cares that this story first broke in March 2012, when even the BBC jumped on board? Some stories are simply too much fun not to repeat once everyone seems to have forgotten about them. Performing this experiment in Spielbergian cloning is the implausible-sounding Mammoth Museum in Yakutsk, which against all tabloid logic actually exists – which is more than can be said for Prince's suicide note and video evidence of his death, O.J. Simpson's suicide bid, and the pregnancies of Katie Holmes and Rihanna.
Onwards and downwards . . .