It's a fresh and shiny New Year filled with hope and possibilities, but the same ol' exaggerations, fantasy and fact-challenged nonsense as ever proliferates in this week's tawdry tabloids. And as ever, they dig deep into the past for "news" we've seen many times before.
"This Man Killed Diana in Paris Tunnel!" screams the National Enquirer cover story about the death of a Princess, naming Parisian limo driver-bodybuilder Le Van Thanh. But Thanh was identified as the driver of a Fiat Uno that possibly clipped Diana's limousine at least as far back as 2007, has been photographed numerous times, and to this day being at the scene of the 1997 accident. So much for its "World Exclusive."
"Burt Reynolds Murdered This Man – and got away with it!" proclaims the Globe cover, accusing the late Smokey and the Bandit star of battering to death business manager David Whiting in 1973. The coroner ruled the death a drug overdose, but tabloids speculated at the time that Reynolds may have killed Whiting in a love battle over British actress Sarah Miles. What's new 45 years later? Only that Reynolds is now dead and can't sue. So much for its "World Exclusive."
You want up-to-the-minute news? "Julia Roberts has abandoned long-suffering hubby Danny Moder" and has "run straight into the arms of old friend George Clooney," claims the Enquirer. For the TV-viewing millions who watched Julia Roberts cuddling, laughing and kissing with Danny Moder at Sunday's Golden Globes Awards, we can only assume that it was actually George Clooney in disguise. Or could the Enquirer be wrong?
Tom Cruise and daughter Suri, last seen publicly together in 2013, have enjoyed a "surprise reunion" claims the Enquirer. Evidently the Mission Impossible star went to Disney World with eldest children Bella and Connor, and the trio were spotted with "a little girl" who "is believed to have been Suri!" Or who in reality could have been any little girl, because the Enquirer "sources" apparently recognize Bella and Connor but haven't the faintest idea what Suri looks like?
Britain's Prince Philip, aged 97, is being "Kept Alive By Speed Cocktail!" the Globe claims, yet again relying on its reliable "royal courtier" source who in the past has revealed that the Queen has abdicated, changed her mind, abdicated again, changed her mind again, and committed Prince Charles' wife Camilla to a mental ward – so we know that this story can be trusted. Queen Elizabeth II's "dementia-ravaged hubby" allegedly "would be dead already if it weren't for a powerful drug cocktail" with "massive speedball injections – amphetamines and sedatives," claims the Globe. Yet another story inexplicably missed by the voracious Fleet Street Royal press pack. Philip is reportedly "demanding his doctors help him live long enough to see Prince Harry's first child with Meghan Markle in the spring." This is the same Prince whose racist and xenophobic comments have repeatedly landed him in hot water through the years, now holding on to see the Royal Family's first biracial child born? Right.
Us magazine promises to finally give Prince Harry's pregnant bride Meghan Markle a voice by giving us "Her Side of the Story" in its cover "exclusive." Alas, Us repeats the litany of accusations and complaints about the "greedy, shallow, social climber" Markle is viewed as by critics, without a single word in her defense from Markle or her friends. Her side of the story? "She's feeling great" a "Meghan source" tells Us. "She's still working out and doing yoga, and is trying to eat as healthy as she can." Well, that really puts her critics in their place.
People magazine reverts to its default mode as Hollywood PR machine, with a rainbows-and-butterflies puff piece in its cover story on Nicole Kidman: "Keith, Kids & Finding Happiness." The actress reveals: "Love is the greatest journey," a claim that might be disputed by Antarctic explorer Apsley Cherry-Garrard. People tells us that Olivia Newton-John, under siege by social media reports that she had lost her battle with stage 4 cancer, plagiarizes to say: "Rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated." But the magazine puts her fight against terminal disease into its proper perspective by revealing the true horror of supermodel Kendall Jenner's "struggle with acne," which naturally merits double the space allowed to Newton-John. I'm sure Olivia would sympathize with Kendall's plight.
Fortunately we have the crack investigative team at Us to tell us that Margot Robbie wore it best (then again, she could wear a black plastic trash bag and still look great); that Gina Rodriguez's "friends call me "Vag. Like va-gee-na" (so we can only imagine what her enemies call her); that model and "skincare maven" Miranda Kerr keeps sunglasses, hand sanitizer and a sticker that supposedly reduces electromagnetic radiation from her phone in her Louis Vuitton bag; and that the stars are just like us: they ride bikes, push luggage, and shop for groceries. And to prove how stars are just like us, they attend the Golden Globe Awards and are paid a fortune by designers to wear glittering gowns and jewelry, spend New Year's on a luxury yacht in Miami (Katie Holmes and Jamie Foxx), bathe in the surf in Barbados (Mark Wahlberg), and ski in Switzerland (Priyanka Chopra, Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner).
For those who think that the famous "Martin & Lewis" $5 milkshake at Jack Rabbit Slim's in Pulp Fiction was overpriced, the National Examiner brings us its report of a $100 milk shake from New York that allegedly "has set the Guinness World Record for Most Expensive Milkshake." The confection includes milk from Channel Islands cows, Tahitian vanilla ice cream, and edible gold, served in a custom bejeweled glass.
Would Vincent call that "a pretty f—king good milk shake" – or just a shake-down?
Onwards and downwards . . .