The British press treat their Royal Family like a soap opera, complete with catfighting sisters-in-law, feuding brothers separating their lives, and an impatient heir to the throne, so it’s hard to fault the American tabloids for running with the soap opera theme – and doing it better.
“William Seizes Throne – from murderer Charles!” screams the Globe cover. No, the Queen hasn’t died, and Prince William hasn’t launched a Palace coup to kill his father (Charles is branded a “murderer” by the tabloids for allegedly masterminding the death of Princess Diana.) William reportedly presented the Queen with "a damning new dossier of evidence” proving that Charles had ordered Diana killed. Considering all the trouble Diana was causing for the Royal Family after her split from Charles, you’d imagine the Queen might have welcomed such initiative on the part of her son. But no. The Globe claims that Her Majesty, believing the first piece of paper set in front of her, “ordered Charles cut out of succession to the throne.”
There’s only one teeny tiny problem with this soap opera script: The Queen doesn’t get to choose her successor. This isn’t Saudi Arabia, and Prince William isn’t MBS. The Queen is obliged to adhere to The 1701 Act of Settlement, which requires by law that the monarch’s successor must be their immediate heir – and a Protestant, to boot. As long as he’s alive, that successor will be Charles. Sorry to let the facts get in the way of a good fantasy, but full marks to the Globe for imagination.
The Enquirer devotes its cover to a “Hollywood Scam Bombshell! Megastars Swindled in Billion Dollar Con Job!” If you’ve read the book or seen the movie Molly’s Game, you’ll already know this story about the celebrity-filled poker game that lured stars including Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck over a decade ago. What’s new? Very little. A self-professed “card shark” claims that millionaire trust fund kids and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs who were poor poker players lost fortunes just for the opportunity of sitting at the table with celebrities.
But there’s nothing illegal in capitalizing on people’s stupidity. What’s memorable is the stupendously badly Photoshopped two-page spread color photo of DiCaprio, Affleck, Damon and Tobey Maguire sitting around a poker table, most with heads that clearly don’t belong on their bodies. The Enquirer hasn't even gone to the effort of making the heads and necks align.
As for the cover headline’s claim that they ran a “billion dollar” scam, even these A-List stars don’t make bets that size. More fantasy. The cover also claims to reveal “the A-lister who lost $25 million!” Who is it? They are not identified, for the simple reason that there was no player – A-lister or unknown – who lost $25 million, or anything close to it, at that game. DiCaprio winced if he lost $50,000, for crying out loud.
Playboy magnate Hugh Hefner “Buried Cosby Sex Tapes at Sea!” claims the Enquirer, reporting that Hefner stashed his collection of X-rated sex tapes in a cement-lined casket and had it dumped in the Pacific Ocean. Trust the Enquirer to make the leap from there to disgraced comedian Bill Cosby, claiming: “Damning video evidence of convicted sex creep Bill Cosby’s alleged sexual assaults on women was likely dumped in the ocean by his Playboy pal Hugh Hefner!” It’s more likely that aliens stole the sex tapes – or did I just give away next week’s Enquirer exclusive?
“Noah’s Ark Found on Mountaintop!” raves the Globe, in a story which admittedly was picked up by such illustrious media outlets as Fox News, the New York Post and London Daily Express. The discovery, by a group of Chinese and Turkish explorers under the aegis of the Bible Archeology Search and Exploration (BASE) Institute, claims to have found a fossilized plank-like structure that fits the approximate Biblical dimensions of Noah’s Ark near the top of 15,000-foot Mount Takht-e-Soleyman in Iran. No, it’s nowhere near Mount Ararat, but you know how those Biblical journalists could get their facts confused.
At least the discoverers are cautious enough to admit that they are not 100% certain it’s Noah’s Ark. “We think it is 99.9 per cent that this is it,” said discoverer Yeung Wing-Cheung. Considering that Noah’s Ark has been found by at least one expedition a year for the past few decades, you’d think a little more humility might be in order.
People magazine devotes its cover and 12 sumptuous pages to the lavish marriage between singer Nick Jonas and actress Priyanka Chopra, complete with traditional Western and Indian wedding ceremonies. It’s wedding porn at its finest, complete with sexy little details about Chopra's 3.9 carat platinum ring and custom-made Jimmy Choo shoes, 29.6 carats-worth of diamond earrings, and a Ralph Lauren dress that required 1,826 hours of hand-beading and embroidery. The bride looked gorgeous. The groom, well, he looked like Nick Jonas. The happy couple marked their union with five days of celebrations in India with “elaborate musical numbers and choreography and costumes," arrangements of peonies, orchids and roses, 12 bridesmaids and groomsmen, breakfasts, lunches and dinners, drums and dancing. I’m sure the starving masses begging in the streets outside would have found it tastefully understated.
Fortunately we have the crack investigative team at Us magazine to tell us that Naomi Campbell wore it best, that Bonnie Hunt collects heart-shaped rocks and can make a Dairy Queen Peanut Buster Parfait in 25 seconds, that actress Alysia Reiner carries a lucky crystal, Tabasco and chocolates in her Elvis & Kresse x Livari bag, and that the stars are just like us: they jog, drink coffee, work at cafes and wait in line. Never. Gets. Old.
Interesting advice from the National Examiner, which promises: “Lose weight quickly & easily . . . Rearrange Your Fridge!” Apparently if you fill your top eye-level shelf with fruits and vegetables, and keep tempting sweets out of sight in the crisper drawers, the pounds will drop off. But wouldn’t it be cheaper to leave your fridge empty and not buy any food? Just watch the pounds melt away.
Onwards and downwards . . .