Disastrously doomed dynasties dominate this week's dismally dysfunctional tabloids, personified by those two blue blooded but beleaguered clans separated by an ocean: the British Royal Family and the Kennedys.
"Palace Lured Diana Into Death Trap!" screams the 'Globe' cover, claiming that the "Princess' brother exposes chilling plot!"
Alas, the over-excited headline writer hasn't bothered reading the two-page story inside, which despite bearing the tag "Globe World Exclusive" makes no such claim that Princess Diana or her chauffeur were somehow "lured" to drive at break-neck speed through Paris and fatally crash in an underpass beneath the Pont de l'Alma.
The rag repeats the claim by Diana's brother, Charles Spencer, that Diana was tricked into agreeing to a BBC TV interview by false documents presented by reporter Martin Bashir, but there's no suggestion that the Royal Family masterminded the Princess's grisly demise.
Of course, that doesn't stop the 'Globe' from claiming that Diana was driven "to the breaking point" by a "twisted dirty tricks campaign" orchestrated by the Queen's husband, Prince Philip. The reality has always been that if Diana had told chauffeur Henri Paul to drive more slowly she would probably still be alive today to sue the makers of TV series 'The Crown' for depicting her as a neurotic bulimic serial adulterer.
Diana's brother, Charles Spencer, earlier this month alleged that BBC interviewer Bashir had concocted a series of lies – claiming that Diana was being followed, her calls tapped, her correspondence read, and being betrayed by her friends and staff – to persuade the princess to sit down for her famous TV confessional 25 years ago this month. But Spencer didn't claim, as the 'Globe' suggests, that the false claims were "planted by intelligence operatives acting on royal orders."
The 'National Enquirer' also dives into the Royal pool with: "Royal Snub Stuns Harry! Palace won't take his calls."
It has been widely reported that the Royal Family declined to place a wreath in his absence on behalf of Prince Harry at British war memorial The Cenotaph while he was stuck in his new California home thanks to the pandemic, which Harry certainly perceived as a snub. But there is no evidence of the 'Enquirer' claim that Harry's phone calls to his father Charles and brother William "have gone unanswered." Harry instead placed a wreath on a California memorial, which the 'Enquirer' compassionately deems a "pathetic PR stunt . . . " Helpfully, the story concludes: "The Duke and Duchess of Sussex did not respond to requests for comment." How surprising.
Tabloid stablemate 'Us' magazine devotes its cover to Prince William's wife Duchess Kate, promising: "At Home With Kate – The Next Queen!"
She may be the next queen, but that won't be until after Prince Charles has become king (while his wife Camilla will become Princess Consort rather than Queen) and reigned until his eventual demise – a detail that 'Us' mag glosses over.
Nor will Duchess Kate eventually become "Queen, as in The Monarch; she is set to become "Queen Consort," which is better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick, but not quite the same as being the absolute one-and-only 100 per cent genuine Queen.
Naturally, 'Us' readers learn next to nothing about Kate's life "at home." Evidently she looks regal, and after having three children she dresses more modestly than when she was a 20-year-old college student – another shocker there – and has reportedly "flourished into a queen in waiting" according to an unnamed source.
Kate is cutting more ribbons lately to train for her job as a ceremonial functionary, and apparently is more democratic as she becomes increasingly sybaritic: "Kate listens to suggestions from the cook, the gardener, the housekeeper and everyone else – and acts on them," says an insider, who one assumes is oblivious to the fact that Kate has most of her cooking, gardening, housekeeping and everything else done for her. Perfect training to become Queen Consort.. But she's also reportedly a "hands-on" mother, preparing her kids' meals and driving them to school. It's a wonder she ever finds the time.
Prince Andrew's erstwhile BFF and alleged under-age sex slave procurer is the subject of the 'Enquirer' story: "Ghislaine Maxwell Prison Suicide Watch!"
Ignoring for a moment the fact that she's in jail, not prison, this is still an ancient story that's been widely reported elsewhere for months. Maxwell has been under suicide watch since her arrest in early July – a reaction to her pedophile ex-boyfriend Jeffrey Epstein's previous suicide, rather than to any suicidal ideation of her own, apparently – and her attorneys unsuccessfully went to court in August seeking to lift the jail's suicide watch protocols which she finds onerous. Four months later the story is finally in the 'Enquirer.' Bravo.
'People' magazine, which this week is dedicated to its "Sexiest Man Alive" edition – spoiler alert: it's Michael B. Jordan – includes a special section on the "Sexiest Royal."
This is bound to cause a constitutional crisis threatening to end the monarchy (as every minor crisis is said to) as Prince Harry is named the winner. The runners-up are Prince Carl Philip, Prince Mateen and Prince Felix. You deserve to win a full DVD set of 'The Crown' if you can identify who the heck any of them are, or what country they hail from. Worst of all, bringing up the rear is none other than Harry's brother and future King, Prince William. Sexy Harry will never hear the end of this.
While 'People' mag is celebrating its sexiest man alive, along with numerous also-rans – Chris Evans, Harry Styles, Trevor Noah, Kevin Costner, Lakeith Stanfield, Brad Pitt, Paul Rudd, The Weeknd, Robert Pattinson and many, many more – the rag shockingly fails to name The Sexiest Man No Longer Alive. The magazine's bias toward the living and its blatant prejudice against the mortality-challenged and heartbeat-deprived will in future years be seen as tragic bigotry to be condemned by all right-thinking persons. We now have voting rights for women and people of all colors, and according to President Trump numerous dead people voted in this month's election, so isn't it time that 'People' magazine celebrated the Sexist Man Dead?
There are 49 painful pages of this Sexiest Man puffery, in 'People.' including the Sexiest men with dogs, Sexiest men with cats, Sexiest men's cutest babies, and the Sexiest Silver Foxes. Alert the Pulitzer Committee.
All that sexiness leaves 'People' mag with room for little else, though it's hard to miss the recipe for "Orange-Pistachio French toast," a syrup-soaked stack of stodge which looks like a lovingly-photographed heart attack on a plate. Food porn, yes, but not sexy.
Meanwhile, America's apology for a Royal Family, the Kennedys, dominate the cover of the 'Enquirer' under the headline: "The Curse Strikes Again! Kennedy Family Torn Apart! Anger as cousin Michael Skakel beats Moxley murder charge! Rape case cousin William Smith chases JFK sister's $50m fortune!"
But conflating these two very different stories comes across as a stretch that even Marvel's Mr. Fantastic or DC Comics' Plastic Man might find beyond their reach.
There is undoubtedly some anger that Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel may have used his influence and fortune to beat charges of murdering Martha Moxley in 1975, but it's not coming from within the Kennedy clan, and certainly isn't tearing the family apart.
How can Skakel's vacated murder conviction be called part of a continuing Kennedy "curse"? That's the epitome of good fortune. He's been free since 2013, and now prosecutors have decided to drop the case. Maybe he's "cursed" with good luck?
Meanwhile Kennedy scion William Smith, whose name can't be mentioned without noting that he "was acquitted of raping a woman at the Kennedy compound in Palm Beach, Fla., in 1991 – is allegedly "angling for a bigger slice of his late mother Jean Kennedy Smith's estate."
Jean, who was John F Kennedy's last surviving sibling until her death in June, reportedly left $50 million to be divided equally among her four children. Three of them have signed off on her bequest, but the absence of Smith's signature on the probate forms is interpreted by the 'Enquirer' as him demanding a bigger share. Or, as legal experts point out to the 'Enquirer,' "it's possible William had simply not gotten around to signing off on his multimillion-dollar inheritance." Indeed. So that probably isn't tearing the Kennedy family apart, either.
Musical royalty also takes its licks in the 'Enquirer,' reporting on John Lennon's widow Yoko Ono: "Yoko, 87, Gives Son $800m!" No, she hasn't. Yoko has simply handed over day-to-day control of Lennon's estate and holdings to son Sean. It's not his money – yet.
The 'Globe' Keeps Kardashian Kin Klose with its Karefully Krafted story: "Kanye Klones Are Koming!"
Kim Kardashian's husband Kanye West reportedly wants to clone himself, claim unidentified sources. While this sounds like something that bipolar failed presidential candidate Kanye might conceive, it's clearly premature: cloning of a complete human being has not yet been achieved – the closest scientists have got is a couple of macaques monkeys – and current biomedical ethics are a hotbed of contention, to say the least. We're in no immediate danger of an army of Kanye clones snatching microphones from Taylor Swift every time she takes to the stage.
Fortunately we have the crack investigative squad at 'Us' magazine to tell us that Rosie Huntington-Whiteley wore it best, that alpine skier Lindsey Vonn hates "the cold" (which makes you wonder why she took up skiing),and that the stars are just like us: they run errands, feed meters and feed themselves. Thrilling as ever.
Onwards and downwards . . .