National newspapers in Britain traditionally call August 'The Silly Season,' the month when news is so slow that even the most ludicrous of stories will sometimes be used to fill a hole on a page.
It's the Silly Season that led to a dead carp in Northamptonshire being memorialized on the front page of The Times in 2009, the front page exposé about a donkey forced to parasail over a Russian beach reported in The Sun the following year, and reports of the German cow on the lam from an abattoir in 2011.
We're still experiencing the tail end of the silly season, known unimaginatively in the US as 'The Slow News Season,' but for America's tabloids that short season appears to have become a year-round invitation to publish the flimsiest of stories.
"Epstein Madam Sells Out Clinton!" screams the cover of the 'Globe.' "Ghislaine Squeals to Save Herself!"
But there's no evidence that Jeffrey Epstein's former girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell has been cooperating with federal investigators while awaiting trial for sex trafficking, let alone squealing. More importantly, there is no evidence that Epstein's friend Bill Clinton had sexual relations with any of Epstein's alleged sex slaves, whether under-age or otherwise. A "shocking new book," titled 'A Convenient Death,' reportedly accuses the former president of having a sexual relationship with Maxwell – again, without evidence.
This book supposedly quotes an unnamed source saying that Clinton must have known where Epstein "hid his stash of blackmail videos of important men bedding underage girls." Why must Clinton have known this? Because it's The Silly Season, that's why.
But you won't find 'An Inconvenient Death' listed for sale on Amazon, and the 'Globe' doesn't even identify the author – perhaps because that would be inconvenient?
Do you recall that the 'Globe' only recently claimed that Prince Harry was buying a $9 million marijuana farm?
Surprise, surprise – that's not happening. Or, as the 'Globe' conveniently puts it: "that deal fell through." Shocking.
But now billionaire Greek shipping heir Alki David has reportedly offered to donate 10,000 hemp seeds to Harry and wife Meghan, inviting them to grow legal medical marijuana on their new Montecito estate in California, and share in the profits estimated at $4 million a year.
This is ludicrous on its face. Harry and Meghan would have to level acres of lush trees and manicured gardens in their back yard to expose enough land to plant on an industrial scale, and then they would have to tent much of their land for optimal marijuana production. They'd also have to live with the overpowering skunk stench of weed growing in their back yard.
And what would their armed security team make of working alongside the army of gardeners needed to maintain, pick and trim the marijuana? "The renegade royals have not publicly responded to David's offer," reports the 'Globe.' He shouldn't hold his breath.
Clutching at straws for this week's mandatory Angelina Jolie story, the 'Globe' reports: "Angie's Voodoo Rituals Before Battling Brad!"
Jolie, engaged in a long-running custody fight with ex-husband Brad Pitt, allegedly has "a meditation room with an altar, candles, incense and all kinds of paraphernalia including bowls of potpourri, jars of powders and bottles of elixirs." That sounds like a New Age safe space for Jolie, but the 'Globe' gleefully calls it "voodoo paraphernalia" and hints at the occult. An unnamed source helpfully adds: "She's not sticking pins into a Brad doll." Good to know.
"Wife Killer Scott Peterson Could Go Free!" yells a 'National Enquirer' headline. No, he couldn't. The judge who overturned Peterson's death sentence did not overturn his murder conviction
Even the 'Globe' somehow managed to get this right, reporting: "Evil Peterson Dodges Death! But sicko wife killer seethes about ruling he'll rot in jail."
The 'Enquirer' also brings us a typical Silly Season spread: "Hollywood's Oddest Couples!"
We are treated to photos of Katy Perry and Russell Brand – they divorced in 2012. Cher and Tom Cruise! That was over 30 years ago. Rupert Murdoch and Jerry Hall? They married in 2016. How many years has this feature been gathering dust in an Editor's bottom drawer before being hauled out on this desperately quiet news week?
'The 'Globe' does its part for The Silly Season by bringing readers two pages on: "Seven Scandals That Rocked Miss America!" It's hardly breaking news, with scandals dating back to 1937 when newly crowned Miss America Bette Cooper ran off the next day with her pageant chauffeur and escort Luis Off.
Another antique story is dressed up in second-hand clothes to grace the 'Enquirer' cover this week: "How Elvis' Daughter Escaped Scientology! "
Good luck finding any answers in this story about how Lisa Marie Presley actually escaped the cult's grasp. The 'Enquirer' tells readers: "In 2006 she began to break away from the religion and in 2009 she made a fresh start by relocating her family to England, insiders said."
So the basis for this week's 'Enquirer' cover story is 14 years old, which is doubtless why they've dressed it up with the dubious banner "First To Know."
College cheating scandal celebrities Lori Loughlin and husband Mossimo Giannuli, waiting to serve jail sentences of two months and five months respectively, have moved into a new home in the celebrity enclave of Hidden Hills, outside Los Angeles, prompting the 'Enquirer; to report: "New Neighbors Slam Door On Lori & Massimo!"
The future jailbirds are allegedly "getting the cold shoulder" at their new home from locals the Kardashians, Jessica Simpson and Miley Cyrus. Does the 'Enquirer' seriously imagine that the stars usually come out to greet every new neighbor by bringing apple pie and an invitation to cocktails? Try turning up at Kim Kardashian's front door asking to borrow a cup of sugar and see how long it takes for the guard dogs to be unleashed.
British heir to the throne Prince Charles gets a Silly Season nod from the 'Globe,' which reports: "Latest buzz! Charles Has New Honey!"
No, Prince Charles isn't cheating on wife Camilla. His Highgrove Royal Estate has simply launched a new line of honey from his Royal bees – insects reportedly living in the lap of apian luxury – and the 'Globe' editors can't resist a bad pun.
'Us' magazine, notably owned by the same company that brings us the 'Enquirer' and 'Globe,' ditches celebrity fluff for a serious celebrity story this week with its cover featuring photos of Tom Cruise, John Travolta and Kirstie Alley above the headline: "Trapped For Life. Scientology's Prison."
The stars reportedly "can't walk away" from Scientology, claims the rag. Why is that? "It's too late to back out now," reports 'Us,' clearly diving deep into its investigative arsenal. "And there would be serious consequences if they tried."
The consequences must be too terrible to put into words, because an unnamed source simply claims: "The risk of speaking out is too great."
That's their in-depth explanation for "why the most famous Scientologists can't seem to escape." It makes you wonder why they bothered in the first place. Didn't they read this week's 'sister publication the 'Globe,' which explained exactly how "Elvis' Daughter Escaped Scientology"?
'People' magazine justifiably devotes its cover to "Chadwick Boseman – A Hero Gone Too Soon." But then the rag falls back on old Silly Season habits with its story: "Paris Hilton: My Childhood Abuse. It was a living hell." It's the same living hell she's been talking about to everyone for the past two weeks, and now that nobody cares about her she can't stop talking about it.
Fortunately we have the crack investigative team at 'Us' mag, fresh from their Scientology scoop, to tell us that Normani wore it best (and heaven knows what she was thinking),and that comedian Whitney Cummings' "favorite jelly Belly jelly bean is buttered popcorn."
You know it's still The Silly Season when this is one of the rare weeks when 'Us' mag does not tell us that "The Stars Are Just Like Us!" There's not a single photo of a celebrity allegedly behaving "like us" in the magazine, perhaps because the stars are all locked away behind security gates avoiding the pandemic. Just like us.
Onwards and downwards . . .