It's extraordinary! Exclamation points are flying in this week's tabloids like they're going out of style!
Ellen Storms Out! RFK Junior Confronts Dad's Killer! Taliban Targets Harry & Meghan! Harry's Secret $90G Hair Transplant! Prince Was A Secret Porn Star! Eminem Turns Back on Dying Dad! It's exhausting! And that's just the National Enquirer!
Hillary Can't Walk Without A Back Brace! screams the Globe. Goldie Leaves Kurt For New Man! My Dad Ryan O'Neal Made Me A Junkie! Meghan's Plastic Surgery Exposed! Roseanne's Career Suicide! Eating Fish Won't Cause Autism! (Who thought it would?)
The celebrity mags can't help but get in on the act. "Planning For Baby!" shouts the cover of Us mag, wildly speculating about the newlywed Royals. "Roseanne Put Us Through Hell!" tell the axed sit-com's cast and crew. And there are photographs galore (Hot Pics!) of celebrities: Justin's Getaway! Zach's Snack Attack! Keeping Up With Trump! Soaking Up Some Sun! In True Gaga Fashion!
Of course, the stars are just like us: They catch up on reading! They tote luggage! They take selfies! They go for a run! Their love of exclamation points is nothing short of extraordinary!
Is People magazine above the fray? Of course not! Meghan and the Queen! Back Together! New Couple! Angelina Returns to Work – with the Kids! TV foodie Ree Drummond tells "How I Made My Dreams Come True!" Brody Jenner and bride Kaitlynn share their "Wedding in Paradise!" Even their cooking tips are exclamation-worthy: "20 Vegan Add-In Ideas!"
Like the boy who cried wolf, this continual shower of exclamation points dulls readers to the possibility that an occasional story might genuinely be extraordinary. Instead, it all becomes pablum, as commonplace as the word "Exclusive!" above so many stories that appear elsewhere in countless other media outlets.
So little of it matters, except to the participants, and as vicarious cautionary tales to middle America's aging La-Z-Boy generation.
Did TV talk show host Ellen DeGeneres really "dump" Portia de Rossi as the Enquirer cover proclaims? They've been making this claim for more than a year, and the couple seem as together as ever.
Does political pundit Jon Stewart plan a TV "comeback" in Dancing With The Stars? Just because he's a fan of the show doesn't mean he's ready to humiliate himself for our pleasure.
Are machine gun-toting guards watching over Prince Harry and bride Meghan as the Enquirer claims that "Terror Stalks Royals' Honeymoon"? Wherever the couple honeymoon – the magazine says they have been in Canada, though this remains unconfirmed – it would hardly be unusual for there to be a security detail armed with machine guns, regardless of the threat level.
Has Meghan really persuaded Harry to have $90,000 hair transplant surgery in Los Angeles? Don't hold your breath.
"Crippled Hillary's Bones Shattering!" declares the Globe, explaining that Mrs. Clinton's recent use of heavy coats during heatwaves is covering up a cumbersome back brace. "I'm worried she may have had a spinal fracture," says a doctor who has not treated Clinton, and who admits that osteoporosis is "not at all unusual in aging women."
Fortunately we have the crack investigative squad at Us mag to tell us that Katie Holmes wore it best, that Ashlee Simpson "would never jump out of a plane," that actress Carrie Preston carries Listerine strips, a Tide bleach pen, and sunscreen in her Vera Bradley purse, and that the stars are just like us – but you already knew that you're just like Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel and Chris Hemsworth, give or take a few million.
Naturally, the ads in the tabloids are equally awash in exclamation points. "Only 10,000! Hurry!" cries the ad for a car-themed cuckoo clock. "Don't Fear Your Stairs Any More!" says an ad for an automated stairlift. An ad for slippers screams: "Act Now & Get Free Shipping!" Or buy the "rotating musical glitter globe" decorated with kittens – "It Moves!"
Most extraordinary is the ad for an officially-licensed Peanuts-themed illuminated Christmas tree – in June, two weeks before the first day of summer…Complete with snowflakes, Christmas decorations, Xmas lights and Snoopy in a Santa hat, topped by a large glowing star, the ad promises it's "The Perfect Peanuts Christmas." If that doesn't deserve an exclamation mark, I don't know what does.
Onwards and downwards . . .