If evidence were ever needed that the tabloids are making it up as they go along, this week’s coverage of Prince Harry and wife Meghan serves the purpose.
They’re begging to return to England, or desperately searching for work in America, or happy as clams in isolation in Canada, depending on what rag you read.
“Harry & Meghan beg the queen: 'We Were Wrong! Let us come home,’” screams the cover of the ‘Globe.’
“They’ve begged the queen to forgive them ad end the bitter taste their harsh exit left in the mouths of royal family members,” says an unidentified source.
But apparently it’s not to be, as “livid royals refuse to forgive renegade couple.”
The ‘National Enquirer’ meanwhile assures us that Meghan’s ambitious “dreams of being a Hollywood queen” are undiminished, and as its cover story explains: “Meghan Orders Harry: Get A Job - We Need Cash!”
An unnamed “high-level palace courtier” explains that the couple’s lack of income will accumulate debt that “is a massive blow to their ambitious plan to become freewheeling global billionaires!” Well, debt will do that do you.
But apparently the renegade royals’ financial independence is not to be, as the “rogue prince has no skills,” though the mag helpfully suggests that as a former British military helicopter pilot “maybe he can land back doing TV traffic reports in L.A.”
Sure: Prince Harry’s going to be reporting on SigAlerts on the I-10 and a spilled load on the 405. Right.
Yet according to ‘Us’ magazine, the young royals are loving their time away from the spotlight, hidden away at a luxury waterfront retreat on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, taking nature hikes and walking their dog.
“Inside Meghan’s Amazing New Life!” proclaims the mag’s cover. “Date nights with Harry & doting on baby Archie.” The “triumphant ex-royal is living her very best life,” claims ‘Us,’ clearly at variance with the ‘Enquirer’ and ‘Globe.’
She allegedly makes Harry breakfast in bed, practices yoga and meditates, plays with her son, and works with Harry developing their charity platform - hardly a couple desperate to return to Britain or pounding doors job-hunting.
But of course, ‘Us’ knows no more than the other tabloids about what goes on behind those very remote closed gates on the island where the couple have been practicing self-isolation for weeks before the rest of us thought to join in.
It’s all speculative nonsense, reading into tea leaves from a cup none can peer into.
Hollywood royalty comes in for similarly wild speculation when the ‘Enquirer reports on Elvis Presley’s daughter: “Lisa Marie Too Fat To Walk!”
Lisa Marie is shown photographed riding in a handicap scooter, and as if that isn’t evidence enough, they have medical experts to back up their story.
Dr. Stuart Fischer, author of ‘The Park Avenue Diet,’ “estimated that in the last three years she’s packed on 145 pounds to reach a whopping 250!” Because if you’ve penned a diet book you’re naturally an expert at judging how much a seated woman in a dress must weigh.
The story also quotes “longevity expert Dr Gabe Mirkin who calls Presley “morbidly obese” and “likely a diabetic.”
What’s so invidious about the report is the idea that Presley is “too fat to walk.” Because we’ve never seen anyone else weighing 250 pounds walking before, have we? It couldn’t be that she has a sprained ankle, or injured knee, or hip pain that’s prompted her to use a scooter? No. She’s riding a scooter because she’s too fat to walk.
Helpfully, in small print at the very end of the article, the ‘Enquirer’ adds: “The doctors quoted in this article have not treated Lisa Marie Presley.” No kidding.
The ‘Globe,’ which two weeks ago claimed to have found the cure for coronavirus, this week brings you “Coronavirus Home Remedies,” promising: “This is how you can zap the killer virus!”
Herbs and garlic “boost your immunity," and an extract of the gelsemium plant helped fight the Spanish flu a century ago, so why not give it a try? At least, that seems to be the mag’s well-considered medical advice. Japanese honeysuckle supposedly combats respiratory infections, so throw that in the mix. Zinc has been shown to inhibit the replication of other viruses, but though the jury is still out on coronavirus, take zinc tablets anyway. Why let science get in the way of taking a bunch of things that treat other ailments? The ‘Globe’ illustrates this story perfectly with a large photo of a market grocery stand - not a herbal medicine store, which would be too easy - selling lettuce, artichokes, green beans and brussel sprouts, presumably because the Picture Editor really doesn’t care and is forced to come into work with a bunch of mouth-breathers when they’d rather be self-isolating at home, and anyway ‘Globe’ readers won’t know a brussel sprout from a gelsemium plant.
Coronavirus only really matters when a celebrity catches it, of course, so the ‘Globe’ devotes two pages to detailing how the “Corona Crisis Rocks TInseltown Royalty!” Except they’ve set a very low bar for Hollywood royalty, which has been barely shaken let alone rocked, as it was clearly a struggle to fill out this spread.
There’s Tom Hanks and wife Rita Wilson on the road to recovery, ‘Today’ show weatherman Al Roker working from home after a co-worker contracted the illness, Heidi Klum who claimed to suffer food poisoning but which the ‘Globe’ suspects was the virus, chat show host Kelly Ripa who “made an awkward joke about the virus,” Tori Spelling complaining about the lack of toilet paper in stores, and George Clooney’s sister-in-law criticized for hawking “fashion face masks that do NOTHING to protect frightened people from the coronavirus!” (even though the masks will stop the wearer spreading the virus if they have it, which is the whole point of wearing a face mask.)
It’s clear that social isolation by celebrities has severely curtailed the tabloids’ ability to fantasize about the stars. If actresses aren’t walking the streets in billowy dresses how can the tabloids declare them to be nursing a baby bump? If celebrity friends won’t meet at local restaurants for lunch, how can the tabloids report that they’re having a romance? If the stars won’t even give friends air kisses farewell, how can the tabloids report on the illicit affair that naturally signifies?
Instead they tell us that Joaquin Phoenix “Gets His Kicks From Karate!” after he’s spotted leaving a dojo, that Miley Cyrus “Swears Off Twerking!”, that Tom Cruise is on a “new deadly ‘Mission’ filming his latest 'Mission: Impossible,’ and that David Bowie’s ex-wife Angie accepted his year-long affair with former Harlem “madame” - over 40 years ago.
There’s also a lot more “true crime,” like the “Tot Beheaded - Because she asked for cereal! (true, though to be fair, the murderous mom also explained that her little girl had been replaced by a clone and had to be killed to bring back her real daughter), the Georgia man “Shot to Death - Over A Parking Spot!”, the boy whose “Own Family Beat Him to Death!”, and the “dope” who “paid bail with cash reeking of pot!” (though, again to be fair, it was the $39,000 cash in her car and the marijuana, cocaine and THC police found at her home that probably led to her arrest.
The “explosive investigation” by the ‘Enquirer' into “America’s Dirty Clergy” enters its ninth stultifying week listing defrocked and mostly deceased priests ousted for sexual impropriety. It’s not so much an investigation as a telephone directory of former Catholic priests, but less interesting. This alphabetical trawl through the “pervy priests” of all 50 states has brought us this week to New York, which depressingly promises weeks more of these enervating lists.
Fortunately we have the crack investigative team at ‘Us’ mag to tell us that Shailene Woodley wore it best, that Rita Moreno has a “titanium knee” and reads the tabloids “for free at the supermarket line,” that Kelly Ripa keeps coconut lip oil, lipstick and vitamins in her Want Les Essentiels bag, and that the stars are just like us - but evidently the paparazzi are having a hard time finding the stars out and about lately. In fact celebrities appear to be acting just like us and staying beyond closed doors for the past two weeks, forcing ‘Us’ mag to utilize old celebrity photos: Brooke Burke working out at a gym in a pre-pandemic February; Tessa Thompson feeding a parking meter on March 10, and Kiefer Sutherland checking in for a flight - as if you can still find one of those! - on March 11. Just like us.
Onwards and downwards . . .