You know we're in for a fun week with the tabloids when the National Enquirer cover on "America's Worst Sex Abuse Churches," along with its handy guide – "Is Your Priest a Pervert?" – is topped by the banner: "Flip Over The Cover For 5 More Exclusives!" You turn the page with eager anticipation, and find . . . an ad for a walk-in bathtub. Perhaps the deception is designed to make you feel dirty, boosting sales for the tub?
It's a bait-and-switch tactic that seems to embody this week's tabloid offerings.
"Dying Perv Cosby Begs for New Kidney!" proclaims an Enquirer story about newly incarcerated sex offender Bill Cosby. Wouldn't you think his defense attorneys might have mentioned this at his sentencing? Especially since his daughter Ensa died at 44 from renal disease in February. An unnamed source claims that Cosby refuses to have kidney transplant surgery at the hospital because "he's convinced the hospital staff will sedate him, steal his organs and then sell them to settle up his unpaid legal bills." Right. Because transplant surgeons are begging for organs from 81-year-old donors, and routinely offer their services to lawyers to recover debts.
The British Royal Family continues to be an easy tabloid target, famed for its reluctance to sue for libel. "Queen Destroys Diana Murder Evidence – To Prevent Charles' Arrest," reports the National Examiner. That explains everything! Criminal mastermind Elizabeth "concocted a massive cover-up" after "conniving love rat" Charles "confessed to masterminding the murder of his ex-wife." "She ordered MI6 agents to impound Diana's death car, destroy damning tissue samples and do everything to hide the truth." Right. Surely it's only a matter of time before the Queen realizes that she has to dig up Diana's body to be rid of the final evidence against Charles? Oh wait – the tabloids believe that Diana's body isn't in her grave anyway. The Queen's already got away it it!
"Buckingham Palace is a Drug Den! Enquirer Discovers the Evidence." The rag claims to have found traces of cocaine and methadone in the palace toilet used by the public during tours. Frankly, it would be surprising if they didn't find traces of drugs in a palace toilet used by tens of thousands of tourists. Drugs traces are found in just about every public toilet – they were found in toilets in Britain's Houses of Parliament back in 2013 – and a University of Surrey study earlier this year found that one in ten Brits have traces of cocaine or heroin on their fingertips. It's on 80% of US paper currency, according to a CNN report last year – down from 90% a decade earlier. And let's not forget those visitors to private Palace corridors who also enjoy getting high: the Beatles admitted smoking weed at Buckingham Palace, and comedian Stephen Fry has confessed to snorting cocaine there.
"Battlefield Earth!" screams a Globe story reporting that the US military recently sealed off a space observatory "fearing UFO attack." If you're reading this, we're still here. It's true that the Solar Telescope at Sacramento Park, New Mexico, was evacuated earlier this month, following a "security issue" under investigation by the FBI. But the telescope only watches the sun, and would be of little use observing "an alien craft hovering over Earth as if studying it for attack." Residents near the telescope were also evacuated, which only makes sense if there was a credible threat against the observatory, but would hardly be necessary if the FBI simply wanted to stop scientists watching aliens orbiting Earth with their weapony spaceships.
You can't believe your own eyes, the Globe tells us with its cover story predicting "THE END" for veteran actress Betty White: "96, 118 lbs and Dying." The Globe must be hoping that the millions who viewed last week's Emmy Awards and saw White walking, talking and joking extemporaneously will think they were having a mass hallucination. Sure, she's feeling her age, but she's not exactly on her deathbed.
Stretching credulity even further is the Globe report on Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's divorce: "Angie Begs Brad to Take Her Back!" Right. Like that's ever going to happen.
Going for broke, the Globe claims that it's not because Jolie still loves Pitt, but because she "hates being painted as the villainess in her divorce" and "feels the only way to redeem herself is to plead with Brad to come back to her." Because stars care more for their public image than their private happiness? Have these reporters ever been in a relationship with anyone who's not inflatable?
Weekly punching bag Robert Wagner is yet again attacked by the Enquirer for allegedly murdering his wife Natalie Wood aboard their yacht in 1981. "Wagner & Natalie Fought on Yacht Moments Before She Died!" reports the rag, claiming: "Two top secret, new witnesses have come forward with never-before disclosed evidence . . ." Could these be the same "new witnesses" who came forward in February alleging to have heard an argument aboard the Splendour? You betcha. Nothing new here, folks, move along . . .
So . . . "Is Your Priest a Pervert?" You might hope the Enquirer would include a comprehensive list of accused priests, or a handy-dandy Quiz: How To Tell If Your Priest Is Molesting You. The Enquirer, doubtless vying for a Public Service Reporting Pulitzer Prize, promises a "State-By-State Report" but only manages to mention ten states. Perhaps the other 40 states don't have any pedophile priests? That must be a relief to the Catholic Church.
This "bombshell National Enquirer investigation" – which looks an awful lot like a rudimentary clippings collection – claims to have uncovered "1,046 Clergy Members" on its list of "perverts." Is there a user-friendly list of all 1,046 pedophiles? The Enquirer names 12 of them. Twelve. Good luck with that Pulitzer.
Sandra Bullock "Living the Good Life At Last!" proclaims the Examiner. Perhaps they should have read this week's Us magazine, whose cover takes us "Inside Sandra's New Heartbreak . . . The tragedy that rocked the star's happy life." Her beloved father died. Is that why she's living the good life at last?
People magazine devotes its cover to supermodel Gisele Bündchen talking about battling anxiety, considering suicide (she apparently decided against it) and finding joy, in her new memoir. It's titled Lessons: My Path to a Meaningful Life, presumably because the title "Winning the Genetic Lottery, Getting Everything I Ever Wanted and Complaining About It" was taken.
People devotes a stomach-churning 20 pages to its "50 Food Faves" annual issue: page after page of recipes, restaurant recommendations, and enough fattening foods to make you regret ever buying People's Best Beach Bodies issue. Cover girl Chrissy Teigen tells all about "Food, Family & Being Fearless!" says the mag. "I cook because I love food and I love to eat," she reveals. That's worth the cover price of $5.99 right there.
Fortunately we have the crack investigative team at Us mag to tell us that Portia de Rossi wore it best, that Angela Bassett doesn't like her neck and fears poverty, that actress Wendi McLendon-Covey carries a healing crystal, a lucky coin and CBD facial spray in her Dooney & Bourke tote, and that the stars are just like us: they walk their dogs, eat food, ride bikes and pump their own gas. Groundbreaking journalism at its best.
Onwards and downwards . . .