The tabloids take a running jump before leaping to some pretty wild conclusions this week – one of the few things they do well.
The National Enquirer has a series of stories based on Olympic-level leaping. "Scientology horror – Suri saw it all.” No, she didn’t. Tom Cruise’s daughter saw nothing of the alleged “brainwashing,” “threats” and “bizarre rituals” at the pseudo-religion’s headquarters, because like her father, she would have been kept far from any unsightly scenes or behavior, and also because she was only a toddler at the time. I challenge any 18-month-old to say: “Daddy, that cult member has been working here for 16 hours suffering inhumane living and working conditions.” Not going to happen.
“Cops Quiz O.J. in Goldman Dad Murder for Hire Plot.” No, they haven’t quizzed O.J. about his supposed scheme to kill murder victim Ronald Goldman’s father, Fred. Even the Enquirer story claims that prison authorities have only interviewed the jailhouse snitch making the allegation that O.J. wanted to hire a hit man, and have not quizzed Simpson. And the Nevada Dept of Corrections denies any investigation whatsoever.
“Army Thanks Enquirer for Exposing Troops’ Crimes!” No, it didn’t. The Army thanked the Enquirer for agreeing to give its investigators photographs that allegedly show U.S. forces in Afghanistan abusing enemy corpses, but that’s not the same as thanking the rag for making as-yet-unproven allegations of what it terms “morally offensive crimes.” Because we all know how the Enquirer is a bastion of American morality.
“Proof Teddy Could Have Saved Mary Jo!” No, there’s no such proof. What they have is a highly dubious source: a letter written by an unidentified "private investigator" who claims to have spoken to a “young local mortician” who prepared Mary Jo Kopechne’s body for her funeral after drowning in Ted Kennedy’s car in Chappaquiddick in July 1969. The mortician claimed that because Kopechne’s mouth showed little congestion from drowning, she may have survived inside an air pocket in the car “and could have been saved.” It’s an intriguing (and hardly new) piece of speculation, but never rises to the standard of “proof.”
The Globe gets in on the conclusion-leaping act with its cover story: "Queen Hates Harry’s Bride!” and the two-page spread inside revealing: “Queen Humiliates Meghan!” What indignity did Her Majesty visit upon her future grand-daughter-in-law? She referred to Prince Harry’s future bride as “Rachel Meghan Markle” (which is, after all, her name), having in 2011 referred to Prince William’s future bride as: “our trusty and well-beloved Catherine Elizabeth Middleton.” Okay, so HRH was’t effusive in her praise, but that hardly counts as humiliation. Also, it took years before Kate Middleton was even invited to join the Royal Family at Balmoral for Christmas, whereas Markle snagged an invite after just a few months of romance. The Globe is like 10 lords a leaping to conclusions on a Royal scale.
“Trump at War With Russia!” screams another Globe headline. Did I miss the American tanks rumbling through Red Square? No, it’s “secret military ops” that are “taking the fight to America’s adversary on multiple fronts.” Right. They’re so secret that Trump can’t even say a bad word about Putin in public.
“Elvis Killed Himself!” reports the Globe, with what appears to be a straight face and curled lip. The rock ’n’ roll legend was taking copious quantities of painkillers and diet pills, and ex-wife Priscilla Presley reportedly said recently: “He knew what he was doing.” In most people’s minds that would be interpreted to mean that Elvis knew the risks he was running; the Globe decides that it means he wanted to kill himself. What this needs is a little less conversation.
“Michael Caine, 85: The Tragic End!” reports the Globe showing a photo of the Alfie star in a wheelchair, reporting what sounds like his final words: “I know my days are numbered.” As are all our days, he might have added. Caine was in a wheelchair after slipping and breaking an ankle, and has film projects lined up for the rest of the year.
It must be the week for planning ahead. “Dying Hillary Plans Own Funeral!” reports the Globe. “Dying Betty White, 96, Plans Her Own Funeral!” reports the National Examiner. Perhaps they should coordinate the timing of their demise so that they can save money on a double ceremony. Evidently Hillary Clinton wants to be interred at Arlington National Cemetery, while Betty White wants a “fun funeral.” I know which one I’ll be going to.
Us magazine devotes its cover to taking readers “Inside Kate’s Dramatic Delivery!” which would be all the more dramatic if the Duchess of Cambridge had actually delivered already – she’s due April 23. It actually promises to be the exact opposite of a dramatic delivery: every detail has been planned, from the delivery room to the ob-gyn to the security, media coverage, and the newborn’s own social media page (already up and running.) Soon to be fifth in line to the throne, the newcomer will have a nanny, house assistant and maternal grandmother on duty to assist. It’s a story about a “dramatic delivery” that hasn’t even happened and shouldn't be dramatic – another great leap to conclusions.
People devotes its cover to Mariska Hartigay: “Life, Loss & Finding Love.” The Law & Order: SVU star discusses her Hollywood childhood, motherhood, and movies. "I’ve had to keep my heart open and value my ability to feel, to connect and trust that whatever comes isn’t an accident." I’m not sure that her mother, Jayne Mansfield, would have said the same thing.
Fortunately we have the crack investigative team at Us magazine to tell us that Olivia Wilde wore it best, rapper G-Eazy bought his Ferrari by text message and eats “at least one burrito every day,” that Pretty Mess author Erika Jayne carries “the whole Vons counter” – hair ties, throat drops, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, lip gloss, lipsticks, spare underwear, hairbrush, eye drops and Band-Aids – in her Prada backpack, and that the stars are just like us: they go through airport security, take the subway, grocery shop, and enjoy a mani-pedi. Well, who doesn’t?
The best advice page this week comes courtesy of the Enquirer: “How to Succeed Like Donald Trump!” Among its priceless tips: Perform (“Be the show!”); Persevere; Brighten your smile; Keep it simple; Accept change (especially in your Cabinet, presumably); Be energetic. No mention of being narcissistic, megalomaniac or tyrannical, but those are sure to work for you too.
Onwards and downwards . . .