It's a new year, but it's sex, fat-shaming and politics as usual in this week's tabloids.
Meghan Markle is a "shameless sexpot," rages the National Enquirer, positively shocked – shocked, I tell you – that Prince Harry's betrothed wore a "daring sheer top" in official photographs. The hussy. An allegedly "stunned" Queen has decreed a makeover, and "called in tutors to spend several hours a day teaching Meghan how to be a real-life Princess." Sounds like some reporters have been watching too many reruns of The Princess Diaries.
Cameron Diaz is pregnant with a "baby miracle" claims the Enquirer, with photographic proof of her baby bump. Oh, no she isn't, reports Us magazine, using the same set of photos to demonstrate "Cameron's heartbreak" at not getting pregnant after her "secret IVF struggle."
The Globe offers "New Proof Diana Was Murdered!" This word, "proof" – I do not think it means what you think it means. A paramedic who helped transfer the Princess from her wrecked car into an ambulance says ". . . when she was put in the ambulance she was alive – and I expected her to live." Given the inability of even the best-trained doctor to assess internal injuries, these words of French firefighter Sgt. Xavier Gourmelon hardly count as proof of anything, except his optimism in the face of a horrific car crash.
The tabloids continue aspiring to be a sexed-up version of The Washington Post with further forays into politics. "What Trump's Tax Cut Means For You!" screams the Globe cover, seemingly oblivious that its low-paid working class demographic are those being screwed the hardest by the president's gift to America's top one per cent. "Trump's Tax Triumph!" reads the impartial, fair and balanced headline inside. How will the poor benefit? The Globe explains: "This tax cut should benefit many of the lower income taxpayers by simplifying the complicated process of filing one's return." Well, that's a bargain. Who wouldn't want to give tax breaks to corporations and the mega-wealthy in exchange for a simpler tax form?
The Enquirer tackles international affairs with its usual nuanced delicacy: "Nuke-Crazed Kim Signing Own Death Warrant!" The rag reports that the "North Korean kook wants World War III – but he's in over his head." An international expert tells the Globe that Jong-un will target his nukes on Trump Tower in New York, which seems a move designed only to push Trump to spend more time golfing at Mar-a-Lago in Florida.
Getting back to its roots, the Enquirer also reports on the "Real-Life Frankenstein" who "sold diseased body parts," and gives us the classic old-school headline: "Mom Sawed My Dad to Pieces!"
Nostradamus is the gift that keeps on giving, and this week the 16th-century seer is back forecasting a North Korean war with Japan, vice president Mike Pence's rise to become Trump's successor, and a stock market crash. You have to hand it to ol' Nostradamus, foreseeing the existence of Mike Pence and the creation of the stock market. All this comes courtesy of a "long-lost" notebook of Nostradamus, allegedly rediscovered by a Swedish historian who "interprets" the ancient predictions, as reported by the National Examiner.
The tabloids also continue their tone-deaf criticism of anyone who dares to have more than two per cent body fat. Actress Helen Hunt is deemed "flab-ulous" by the Globe despite looking slender in a bikini at 54, while actor Brendan Fraser is dubbed "George of the Jiggle" for not having rock-hard jungle abs at the age of 49. The Enquirer reports that Hugh Jackman is "ditching ripped for roly-poly," while the Examiner brands TV's former Dallas star Charlene Tilton "an overweight, washed-up recluse." Nothing judgmental there.
Fortunately we have the crack investigative squad at Us magazine to tell us that Jennifer Lawrence wore it best, that Lisa Rinna has "only had one cavity" her entire life, that Tyra Banks carries chewing gum, body butter, and her son's toy VW bug van named "Bong Bong" (clearly meant to be called "BoingBoing") in her MZ Wallace carryall, and that the stars are just like us: they shop for groceries, get coffee and pick up litter. Gripping.
Us devotes its cover to "The Untold Story" of Katie Holmes' romance with Jamie Foxx, and "How Real Love Changed Katie," though the "no-strings-attached romance" the mag describes makes them sound more like friends with benefits than a couple in love.
People magazine's cover features Today show co-anchors Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie, who reveal "Our hearts were broken" by the Matt Lauer sex scandal. I imagine every woman who was a victim of Lauer's sexual harassment, which Kotb and Guthrie seem to have watched silently from the sidelines, might say the same.
Onwards and downwards . . .