You go away to Burning Ban for a couple of weeks of desert heat, wind, dust and EDM-fueled contemplation, and return to find the tabloids in dire need of a personal transformative experience of their own, still spouting the same fever dream imaginings as before.
There’s a Scientology scandal, a British Royal scandal, a Kennedy murder mystery scandal, and a foray into Brad & Angelina’s private life: all perennial tabloid fodder for flights of fancy about as grounded in reality as the deathless meme that Daft Punk will be playing at the Burning Man trash fence each year.
“Scientology Sex Scandal Explodes!” shouts the ‘National Enquirer’ cover, branding a lawsuit by four women alleging sexual assault and human trafficking against the self-styled church as “Tom Cruise’s Nightmare.” The ‘Mission Impossible’ actor isn’t mentioned in litigation, but the ‘Enquirer’ reports “He’s considered a deity within the church,” and in its desperation to link Cruise to the litigation quotes an unnamed “insider” claiming: “There are fears Tom could be pulled into the suit!”
Because the tabloids feed on fears, not facts.
“Buried bunker found at church hides darkest secrets,” claims the ‘Enquirer,’ though on closer inspection it’s just an ariel photo of the Scientology base near Hemet, CA, showing steps leading underground. They could lead to a laundry room or an electrical generator, an air filtration system or simply a storage room. Or if you’re an ‘Enquirer’ reporter with X-Ray vision, you see a stairway to “an underground lair” and quote unnamed sources who “believe files on Scientology members are stored there.” Right. Maybe Jimmy Hoffa’s down there too playing Go Fish with Elvis.
“Prince Andrew Exiled!” screams the cover of the ‘Globe,’ claiming that in the wake of recent revelations about billionaire pedophile sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein’s death the British royal scion h been “banished to Bermuda to save the monarchy” after “William and Kate convinced the queen.”
While Andrew, aged 59, has been accused by Epstein’s “sex slaves” of having sex with at least one under-age girl, and displayed remarkably poor judgment in socializing with Epstein long after the New York billionaire's initial 13 months in jail on sex charges, there has been no suggestion that the scandal could bring down the British monarchy, nor that the Prince might be sent packing to Bermuda - as if that would keep him out of the way, or keep him free from scandal.
The ‘Globe’ speculates that Andrew will be appointed Governor of Bermuda, doubtless inspired by the Prince's scandal-plagued forebear King Edward VIII, who was named Governor of the Caribbean isle after abdicating to wed American Wallis Simpson.
What’s laughable is that Andrew’s “exile” has supposedly been plotted by Prince William and wife Kate, even though The Queen indubitably controls the Royal Family, and her son and heir Prince Charles is next in line to have a say in such matters.
As an afterthought, the ‘Globe’ throws in the shocking allegation that Epstein’s hanging death in prison last month was in fact a murder “by a hit squad sent by high-ranking British officials.” Just imagine the complexity of getting an MI6 or Secret Armed Services team inside a New York city jail cell in a conspiracy involving prison guards and the FBI or CIA - all for an insignificant member of the British Royal family. Dream on.
In other Royal news, the ‘Enquirer’ reports: “Harry & Meghan Moving To Malibu!” It’s a story that’s been doing the rounds ever since the couple went public almost three years ago, and the ‘Enquirer’ has no new information or sources making this anything other than sheer speculation. Wait long enough, however, and this story could ultimately be proven true - but the ‘Enquirer’ doesn’t have the goods yet.
As for Meghan? ”She wants to live like a queen in her own stomping grounds,” says an unnamed source. Doesn’t everyone in Malibu?
“RFK Killer Sirhan Silenced By Prison Murder Attempt!” reports the ‘Enquirer,’ claiming that Robert F Kennedy’s assassin was attacked after he belatedly “threatened to finally tell all!” But if somebody wanted to silence Sirhan Sirhan, they would have had him sliced and diced with a jailhouse shiv 50 years ago. Who would order such a hit? “The intelligence community could be behind Sirhan’s stabbing,” says rent-a-quote private investigator and regular tabloid source Paul Huebl. Or it could just as easily be Prince William and Kate behind the attack. Makes just as much sense.
“Angie’s Aching To Adopt Again!” claims the ‘Globe,’ which seems to believe that as Angelina Jolie's adopted 18-year-old Pax is going to university in Korea, she must want to maintain her six-pack of kids by adding another adoptee. “The plan is to have a baby in her arms by the year’s end at the latest,” says an unnamed insider. At least Jolie can take small comfort from the fact that they’re not reporting on her weight (or lack of it) for a change.
‘People’ magazine again reverts to the British Royal Family as a guaranteed lure for readers with its vapid cover story on “Princess Kate: The Mom Who Will Be Queen.” She’s reportedly found her calling - motherhood - and has grown more confident in her role as a Princess. Again, it seems slightly premature to be anointing her a future Queen when we still have Elizabeth on the throne and her son Prince Charles ready to wear her crown the moment QEII sails into the sunset.
‘Us’ magazine devotes its cover to the well-trodden territory of the college cheating scandal, focusing on Felicity Huffman’s sentencing court date of September 13, with the story: “Felicity Faces The Judge: Secrets, Lies & Justice?” Since it’s published before the sentencing hearing, it’s mostly a summary of old news, hardly cover material.
Fortunately we have the crack investigative squad at ‘Us’ mag to tell us that Kate Bosworth wore it best, that ‘The Hot Bench’ judge Tanya Acker “could eat sushi every day,” that actress Alex Borstein carries pressure socks, detachable upper-arm sleeve covers, and balm for airline-dessicated cuticles in her Frances Valentine bag, and that the stars are just like us: they buy make-up, shop for produce and ride bikes. Extraordinary.
We haven’t had Halloween, let alone Thanksgiving yet, but already it’s Christmas in the tabloids, with ads enticing readers to buy a Charlie Brown Peanuts tabletop Xmas tree, a Nightmare Before Christmas light-up tree, and even a 25-inch high "White Christmas Santa” which plays the “beloved classic” song. Can Easter Bunny ads be far behind?
Onwards and downwards . . .