[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]
How sick do you have to be to love celebrity magazines?
People mag this week boasts ads promising to treat migraine, lung cancer, psoriasis, exocrine pancreatic deficiency, irritable bowel syndrome, aging, protein deficiency, blisters, allergies, pneumococcal disease and clogged nasal pores. Presumably the advertisers know their audience.
Yet the mag also seems intent on hurrying readers to an early grave with artery-clogging recipes for mustard barbecue ribs and grilled corn with cheese and cayenne, along with ads for cherry and chocolate s'mores, fudge stripe cookies and caramel macchiato.
When Us magazine insists that the stars are just like us – this week they walk their dogs, slurp soup and buy in bulk – it doesn't mention that they're also fighting depression and chugging diet pills, both of which are advertised in its pages.
But if you're not already sick, this week's tabloids will get you there.
Ten pages jam-packed with Bill Clinton's alleged mistresses, sex harassment victims and even discredited accusers fill the National Enquirer, which explains "Why Hillary can never be president" because "she covered up predator Bill's sex crimes."
It's a claim that bears consideration, but the Enquirer's full-nuclear-option attack listing Bill Clinton's 36 alleged victims and "Hillary's decades of terror and threats against women" may seem just a mite politically motivated. Especially when followed by a spread headlined: "We're backing Donald all the way!" in which "ex-wives Ivana and Marla reveal why Trump's the only man for the White House." Because he's done so much to advance women's rights, one assumes.
How sick must you be to believe the Enquirer's "world exclusive" claiming that Tom Cruise has not seen ten-year-old daughter Suri since September 2013 because he "has been brainwashed into believing that an 'evil spirit' is controlling his innocent little girl"? What the Enquirer actually means is that Cruise hasn't been photographed in public with Suri in three years, which isn't exactly the same as not seeing his daughter. But as the Enquirer will tell you, if they don't see it, it never happened. (And if they report it, it probably never happened either.)
It's a similar logic that has the Enquirer show a photo of Drew Barrymore, freshly split from husband Will Kopelman, in a baggy sweater which prompts an "insider" to say: "It looks like she has a baby bump!" Let's get this straight: a Kalahari tribesman could look at this photo and say: "It looks like she has a baby bump!" It's a baggy sweater, fer cryin' out loud. We don't need an "insider" to speculate on why an actress wears loose-fitting clothing. An "insider" would actually know. And the Enquirer simply doesn't, which is par for the course.
Beyonce "is rocketing toward a blockbuster $1 billion divorce" from husband Jay Z, claims the Globe, flying in the face of all evidence that she has overcome whatever concerns she may have had over her husband's alleged infidelity. The Globe also claims that Ted Kennedy's first wife Joan is writing a "deathbed tell-all," "feverishly scribbling page after page during the wee hours of the night in a race against time." A "deathbed" normally conjures up images of hospital ventilators, intravenous drips and painkillers, but evidently to the Globe it means writing long into the night. Which naturally gives the Globe carte blanche to dredge up every Kennedy clan scandal it can think of, because speculation is always more interesting than reality.
Kelly Ripa tells "My side of the story" in People magazine, revealing her shock at co-host Michael Strahan's departure from TV show Live, and I really couldn't care less.
Us magazine brings us Prince's "final days" hiding his prescription pill addiction from loved ones, and "his last-ditch plea for help." But that's just wishful headline writing: Us mag's story reveals no last-ditch plea for help by the rocker – it was worried aides who called an addiction specialist, and Prince's lawyer confirms that "the hope was to get him stabilized . . . and convince him" to go to a rehab clinic.
Fortunately we have Us mag's crack investigative team to tell us that Lily Aldridge (Who she, Ed?) wore it best, Caitriona Balfe (Seriously, who she – Ed?) carries mascara, highlighter and an In-N-Out Burger gift card in her Miu Miu satchel, Trevor Noah admits "I love cuddling," and that Kim Kardashian had an epiphany on her recent trip to Cuba: "Living in the moment having no phone service was so amazing!" If a visit to Cuba stops her posting relentless selfies, I for one would happily donate generously to a fund to keep her there.
The ever-optimistic National Examiner reveals details of a "secret" White House economic analysis which foresees "a new Great Depression within months or even weeks," with U.S. unemployment hitting 40 per cent, average annual salaries dropping to less than $10,000 and uncontrolled inflation. I can't imagine why the Wall Street Journal hasn't picked up on this yet.
Onwards and downwards . . .