The recent redefinition of the kilogram based on quantum physics and Planck’s constant has had major ramifications in this week’s tabloids, where such weighty issues as celebrity body fat and how many Angelina Jolies it takes to make up one Brad Pitt are the subject of intense scientific debate.
But even the measurement of mass using universal verities about light and energy doesn’t come close to the level of accuracy achieved by the former Guess-Your-Weight fairground carnies who can pin-point a celebrity’s weight sight unseen with zero margin of error.
This week the tabloids bring us the formula (A - 17) x 2 = B - 20, where “A” is Angelina Jolie three months ago, 17 are the pounds she’s reportedly lost in the past few weeks, “B” is Brad Pitt in 2018, and 20 are the pounds he’s lost lately.
Jolie, who earlier this year was reportedly a slender 97 pounds, has dropped to 80 pounds according to the mathematical geniuses at the ’National Enquirer,’ who claim that her six “scared kids” are “begging her to eat.”
In the other half of the equation, the ‘Globe’ reports that “Bony Brad is Wasting Away!” Jolie’s ex may be suffering “manorexia.” says the rag, using the scientific term for an eating disorder rarely found outside of academic medical journals. If a page falls out of an atlas has it undergone a mapendectomy? Just asking. Pitt has reportedly dropped 20 pounds, so that he is now a mere 160 pounds.
All of which answers the question which has perplexed mathematicians almost as long as Fermat’s Last Theorem: how many Angelina Jolies does it take to make one Brad Pitt? With Angie at a quantum mechanically-measured 80 lbs and Brad at 160 lbs we finally know the answer that Sonny and Cher knew all along: it takes two, babe.
Now that ‘Game of Thrones’ has ended, the white walkers are vanquished and winter is no longer coming, it’s safe to finally say it: Summer’s coming, which means tabloid minds turn to celebrities in swimsuits and obsessing about readers’ weight.
‘Us’ magazine’s cover brings us the stars’ “Best Bodies,", offering nine pages of equal opportunity sexual objectification with celebrity men and women exposing acres of flesh and rippling abs. Would it be churlish to note that cover girl Kate Hudson has well-defined abs on the cover, but this musculature seems to have vanished when the identical photo appears inside the magazine, only flipped 180 degrees. This not only sparks the subconscious dissonance that occurs when you see a familiar face reversed as in a mirror, with their idiosyncratic asymmetries transposed, but also begs the question why the inside shot shows Hudson with such a smooth, fair-skinned abdomen? The tell-tale stalk of grass hovering before her midriff in a different color from the rest of the tall grass around her screams Photoshop.
‘People” magazine meanwhile devotes six pages to five ordinary women who each lost more than 100 lbs, and yet another page to all the female stars who have regained their figures after delivering babies (their own babies, that is - not moonlighting as midwives.)
Such weighty empirical issues are abandoned when this week’s tabloids dive into their more traditional speculative waters, however, such as weighing in on the British royals.
New mom the Duchess of Sussex is positively metaphysical in the ‘Globe’ cover story: “Meghan’s Confession! I Saw Diana’s Spirit in Delivery Room!” Apparently it’s “a sign” that Princess Diana will look after baby Archie “from the other side.” You can’t argue with science.
“Bickering Royals Snub Innocent Tot!" reports the ‘Globe,’ noting that Prince Charles, his wife Camilla, Prince William & Duchess Kate “have all snubbed the infant” by refusing to visit Archie. Of course, by the time this story hit newsstands it had been confirmed that Charles, William and Kate had indeed visited the newborn, and Camilla may have tagged along. Ah well. Can’t win them all.
The ‘National Enquirer’ abandons the pretense of news-gathering altogether this week by devoting its cover to “TV’s 25 Most Hated Stars,” rehashing old scandals, allegations and innuendoes, appealing to its readers’ worst instincts. Among those making the hit list: Alec Baldwin, Lori Loughlin, Kim Kardashian, Ann Coulter, Gordon Ramsay, Katherine Heigl and Kate Gosselin. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel.
Screen legend Doris Day’s death has brought the tabloids digging into her past in search of dirt, and of course they find it.
“Doris Day Took Steamy Secrets to the Grave!” reports the ‘Enquirer,’ claiming that she “hid affairs” with Ronald Reagan and “stole Joan Crawford’s boyfriend Steve Cochran!” But neither of these were exactly secrets she took anywhere, let alone the grave. Day's own 1975 memoir recalled her romance with Reagan, and her fling with Cochran was well documented over the years. “Doris Day used her squeaky-clean public image to hide the ugly truth,” writes the ‘Enquirer.’ But Day’s own memoir 34 years ago stated up front: “This image I’ve got . . . it has nothing to do with the life I’ve had.”
The ‘Globe’ reports on “Doris Day’s Sizzling Secret Doubleheader!” detailing the actress’s flings with baseball stars Mickey Mantle and Maury Wills. “Only in Globe!” proclaims banner beside the story. Except Mantle’s affair with Day was detailed in a 2008 biography of the actress to which she lent her cooperation. And her affair with Wills was revealed long ago in his own memoir. It’s “only in Globe” if you don’t bother looking elsewhere.
Thankfully we have the crack investigative team at ‘Us’ mag to tell us that Timothée Chalamet wore it best (and it’s not easy to pull off a light blue Alexander McQueen suit with a swathe of flowers across it), that Ashley Tisdale’s personal mantra is “Do your best” (though couldn’t she have tried harder to find a better mantra?), that Vanessa Hudgens carries Keto peanut butter cups, hydrocortisone cream for hives, and concealer in her Gucci bag, and that the stars are just like us: they ride bikes, buy flowers and carry books. Only not at the same time.
For genuine investigative insight, however, it’s hard to beat ‘Us’ mag’s page reporting on the “Caffeine Craze.” Is this some new-fangled phenomenon? A crazy only-in-Hollywood fad? Apparently celebrities drink a beverage known as “coffee," as testified by paparazzi shots of Busy Philipps, Hilary Duff, Whitney Port, Jordana Brewster and Katie Stevens, all holding cups of the brew. Alert the Pulitzer committee.
Onwards and downwards . . .