You're a tabloid reporter and you're used to fabricating many of the "facts" and "quotes" in your stories, but there are some days when you can't even be bothered to do that with any conviction, days when your fevered imagination doesn't have the energy to get out of bed.
So you get what we see in this week's tabloids.
George & Amal Clooney are "Dating Other People!" reports the 'National Enquirer,' in an "Exclusive" inspired by the Clooneys announcing a charity fundraiser offering the winner a private dinner with the celebrity couple at their home in Italy.
The 'Enquirer' amazingly interprets the Clooneys' altruism as "an excuse to ignore their wedding vows," suggesting that the couple are wife-swapping swingers for charity, and that George has "opened the door to other men to enjoy the company of his leggy 41-year-old wife!" Expect the Clooneys to fire off an uncharitable lawsuit any minute now.
The 'Globe' cover's obligatory story about the British Royals boasts: "Explosive Police Dossier Found! Charles' Motive For Murdering Diana!" Prince Charles allegedly had Diana killed because she was scheming to have him bypassed by the Queen so that the crown would go to son William after QE!!'s death. Which makes no sense: As we've noted before, The Act of Settlement of 1701 demands that the monarch's male heir succeed to the throne no matter what anyone wants. Moreover, Diana was divorced from Charles and anathema to the Palace at the time of her demise, so there's no way the Queen would have done Diana's bidding. None of which, unsurprisingly, comes from a newly-discovered "explosive police dossier," which turns out to be the same old "secret dossier" that the 'Enquirer' has for years claimed exists, supposedly blaming Charles for masterminding Diana's fatal car crash.
"Dying Natalie Wood Screamed For Help!" claims a "Special Report" in the 'Globe,' which repeats the story that first appeared in the Los Angeles Times in December 1981, just days after the actress drowned. It's an allegation that's been repeated hundreds of times since, but this week it's "Only in Globe!" as the grammatically-challenged rag crows, presumably because everyone else wrote about this 37 years ago.
The 'Enquirer' cover story makes a rare foray into true crime, proclaiming: "Connecticut Mom Murder: Inside House of Horrors!" and promising to reveal "Her Tortured Final Minutes." It's the story of Farmington mother-of-five Jennifer Dulos, and describes her "ambush" and "execution style" murder in her home's garage. But Dulos is still missing, no body has been found, and there's been no evidence of a shooting, execution-style or otherwise. As for Dulos' "tortured final minutes" and the claim that "only the killer could hear her cries for help," that makes no sense if she was ambushed and killed execution-style: no torture, no cries for help; just a quick, cold and ruthless murder. The 'Enquirer' can't even make it up properly.
The 'Enquirer' takes aim at the royals with its story "Starstruck Meghan Infuriates The Queen!" Her Majesty allegedly "exploded in a rage" after learning that Meghan "is confessing her most intimate secrets to a psychic!" But the best evidence the 'Enquirer' can come up with is that Meghan consulted with California psychic Richard Win in 2016 – a tale told many times before. Nothing to suggest Meghan's still consulting psychics, or she would have seen this story coming.
Even more threadbare is the 'Globe' "Exclusive" claiming that Tom Cruise "Falls For Skydiving Teach." This story sees its origins in a small local newspaper in England reporting last month on skydiving instructor Sian Stokes, whose work on several movies included 'Mission Impossible: Fallout' with Cruise, but with no mention of a relationship between them. The 'Globe' has taken this earthbound tidbit and lofted it to an altitude where the air is so thin that one can barely cling to consciousness, spinning it into a story that "Tom Cruise is head over heels" for the lithe blonde skydiver. Though filming finished in January 2018 "he's still drooling over her," claims an unnamed source. Probably the first Cruise has heard of it.
The glossies continue their plunge into pure PR puffery, led by 'Us' magazine's cover story sucking up to Britain's Princess Kate: "Grace Under Pressure How the mum of three copes with rumors, responsibility and royal rifts." It's a hagiographic hymn to "overachiever" Kate: "cool under pressure," thriving on "retail therapy, self-care, communication, exercise . . . " You can almost hear the editor phoning the Palace to ask for an at-home photo shoot in the wake of this piece.
Equally sycophantic is 'People' magazine's cover story on "Mariska Hartigay & Peter Hermann: Inside Our 18-Year Love Story." It's so saccharine it should come with a health warning: Life's "beautiful," their three kids are "incredible," they have "two hit shows" and a "heartfelt promise" that "the going may get rough, but there is no backing out." Well, where's the fun in that?
'People' also does its best to ingratiate itself with the Royals, with its post-natal report on "Meghan's Return!" The mag's verdict? She's "radiant." Shocking, but true.
Fortunately we have the crack investigative team at 'Us' mag to tell us that Margot Robbie wore it best (Ellie Bamber never stood a chance), that 'People' cover-boy Peter Hermann confesses: "I love ironing" (well, who doesn't?), that Lisa Loeb carries grocery lists, song-writing notes and a caramel Tootsie Pop in her LeSportsac bag, and that the stars are just like us: they drink coffee, eat frozen yogurt, and "they read!" But not all of them, I'd imagine.
It's puns-aplenty in this week's tabloid headlines. See if you can spot the deliberate bad pun in these:
· "Rough News For Tiger: Ex-Wife's Pregnant!" (The golfer's ex may be expecting.)
· "Nic Cage Is Free Man!" (The actor was granted a divorce.)
· "Butthead Brad Has His Kids Fuming!" (Pitt won't quit smoking.)
· "Colin Hung Out to Dry!" (Actor Colin Farrell struggled to film after a hard night's boozing.)
· "Ford's Plane Crazy at 76!" (Actor Harrison went skydiving – though sadly not with Tom Cruise's instructor.)
Onwards and downwards . . .