Tabloid readers must be deeply religious folk, judging by the plethora of Christian-themed ads in their pages.
Readers this week are invited to purchase a 'Reflections of Hope' hand-blown glass bowl inscribed "All things are possible with God," a 'musical comfort jar' inscribed with "Faith . . . Love . . . Strength," an angel statuette to "lift your spirit," and a porcelain "memorial cross" to remember beloved pets who have "crossed the rainbow bridge" and gone to pet heaven.
Rainbow bridge? Is that only for LGBTQ pets?
This all makes me wonder how such God-fearing faithful could embrace the vitriol, deceit and shaming delivered weekly in the pages of these same publications? The stories are often the closest thing we have today to a Biblical public stoning.
"Hollywood's 25 Most Hated Stars!" screams the cover of this week's 'Globe,' in what might charitably be called a mass character assassination. "Bullies, liars, losers & cheats!" yells another headline above the story – or is that the writer's byline? It's hard to tell.
No surprises at some of the inductees into the Hollywood Hall of Hatred: Harvey Weinstein, Mel Gibson, Tucker Carlson and Lori Loughlin. But Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan? Marie Osmond? What did Charlize Theron ever do to be on this list? And Kylie Jenner? She has more than 200 million Instagram followers – that's more people than voted on November 3 for president elect Joe Biden and Narcissist in Chief Donald Trump combined. There's plenty to complain about with Jenner, but it's hard to say she's among the most hated people in Hollywood.
"Proof!" proclaims the cover of the 'National Enquirer,' though by now they should know well enough that they don't understand the meaning of the word. "Hoover Ordered JFK Murder!"
But of course the rag offers zero proof that FBI chief J Edgar Hoover ordered John F Kennedy's assassination.
"Deep State Killed JFK" shouts the headline across the inside spread, echoing present conspiracy theories about a nefarious "deep state," while claiming that in 1963 it brought about an alliance including the FBI, CIA, the Mafia, union leader Jimmy Hoffa, and Cuban dictator Fidel Castro – unlikely bedfellows at the best of times.
Hoover was the "influential puppet master" pulling together this motley crew, apparently.
The "proof" comes in documents which the 'Enquirer' fails to produce, allegedly showing that numerous officials had reason to dislike or even hate Kennedy for his political policies – but that's only evidence that he was disliked, not that he was killed by a "sinister cabal."
This conspiracy theory ropes in everyone, including Lyndon B Johnson, who allegedly "helped arrange the Dallas kill zone" by convincing Kennedy to tour Texas.
A five-man team of "ex-FBI agents and CIA killers" allegedly assassinated JFK, and set up Lee Harvey Oswald as their "patsy."
All things may be possible with God, but I suspect that this conspiracy theory is beyond even Him.
Faith, love and strength are three qualities sorely missing from much of this week's tabloid offerings.
"Cher's Heartbreak," reports the 'Enquirer.' "Tragic Reason Transgender Chaz Can't Marry."
But Chaz can marry. He just has to wait until his bride finalizes her divorce from her previous husband. It's undoubtedly frustrating, but hardly heartbreak.
The British Royal Family receive their regular dressing down by the tabloids..
"Charles Begs To See Baby Archie Again!" reports the 'Globe, seeming to forget that according to their past reports pretty much everyone in the Royal Family loathes Archie's parents Harry and Meghan. ""The aging royal is heartbroken because he can't see his little grandson Archie." Supposedly he's not alone. "Everyone in the family really misses getting to know Archie." Right.
It's reasonable to assume that a loving grandfather like Prince Charles might miss his youngest grandson, but Charles surely knows that Harry and Meghan are not traveling to Britain because of the pandemic, rather than to deprive Charles of his grandson's affection.
Meanwhile the 'Enquirer' continues its long-running narrative portraying Charles' wife Camilla as "beastly." trying to take her daughter-in-law "down a few pegs" in the story: "Kate Gets Royally Screwed by Monster-in-Law Camilla" – a headline suffused with Christian charity.
Duchess Kate is reportedly angry that "Camilla is meddling to an almost intolerable degree, inviting herself to Kate's Zoom calls and offering unsolicited advice about everything." Just like any self-respecting mother-in-law.
Rocker Rod Stewart's anatomy comes in for some unlikely scrutiny this week.
"Bionic Rod Wants Penis Enlarged!" proclaims the 'Enquirer,' in a story that is self-evidently wrong.
Stewart doesn't want his rod enlarged – he wants it straightened!
At least, that's the take from what Stewart obviously intended as a joke.
After having ankle surgery to help straighten his leg, Stewart quipped: "Then I'm going to get my knob done."
The 'Enquirer' decided that he's having penis enlargement surgery, but since the singer was having his leg surgically straightened it seems likely that his joke was about straightening his penis, not enlarging it. They can't even get their lies right.
Meanwhile the 'Globe' – first with the news, as always – addresses Rod Stewart's proboscis, in a story that first broke 30 years ago.
"Rod's Love Child Won By A Nose!" reports the rag, claiming that Stewart acknowledged his love child Sarah Streeter in 1990 after a bandmate said she had Rod's nose. How this is "celebrity news," I don't know.
'Us' magazine devotes its cover to "Queen Elizabeth – End of an Era."
No, she hasn't died. 'Us' mag is just practicing, promising to reveal "Who she'll crown King & sadness over scandals."
But as I've noted before, the Queen doesn't have a choice in the matter: under the Settlement Act of 1701 QEII has to be succeeded by Charles. It's up to him if he wants to abdicate in favor of Prince William, but given the vitriol that befell the British monarchy after Edward VIII's abdication, it's hard to imagine Charles relinquishing his throne to William.
Elizabeth is routinely described as "the dying Queen" by 'Globe' magazine, so it's surprising to see her looking so healthy and spry on the cover of stablemate 'Us.' But a little research reveals that it's an old photograph, flopped so that the Queen is facing the other direction, Photoshopped so that her wrinkles are smoothed and her diamond tiara pops, and the emerald-and-diamond necklace has been shifted sideways so that her 94-year-old shoulder appears flawlessly bare.
Katie Holmes and her new boyfriend are the subject of an 'Us' story: "Emilio & Kate – Ready To Wed?" Here's a good rule of thumb: If the mag has to ask, then they clearly don't know.
'Us' mag also carries two pages under the headline: "Remembering Alex." The answer: Trebek.
'People' magazine asks: "What Is . . . A Life Well-Lived." The answer again: Alex Trebek.
Joe Biden & Kamala Harris dominate the cover of 'People,' declaring: "It's Time for America to Unite." Try telling that to Donald Trump.
Fortunately we have the crack investigative team at 'Us' mag to tell us that Michelle Williams wore it best (though her Louis Vuitton dress is decidedly different from that worn by Riley Keough), that actress Alexandra Daddario's first car was a 2009 Nissan Sentra, and that the stars are just like us: they drive cars, grab takeout, and drink coffee. Scintillating stuff.
Onwards and downwards . . .