It's not even Christmas yet in the real world (or in Burning Man's' default world) but in the tabloid world, it's already the New Year, with this week's rags all gleefully emblazoned with the date: January 4, 2021.
Entering into the spirit of a bright, shiny New Year, the tabloids arrive newly invigorated, with fresh and innovative story ideas and fact-based investigative reporting.
It's a fake New Year and it's the same old lazy excuse for what passes as celebrity news in this week's tabloids, bringing us a crop of showbiz dross that is neither merry nor bright.
"Epstein Madam Buying Way Out of Prison!" screams the cover of the 'Globe.' "Epstein Madam's $30m Jail Break!"
It's called 'bail,' not buying your way out of prison, and it's a time-honored part of the legal system, fer cryin' out loud.
"Money men who put up $30m exposed!" crows the mag, reporting that Maxwell's bail is being put up by her husband Scott Borgerson and her brothers Ian and Kevin Maxwell.
Billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein's Girl Friday Maxwell is currently being held without bail because she's considered a flight risk, and her legal team has requested that the judge grant her bail for a $28.5 million bond — not $30 million as the 'Globe' claims — though prosecutors insist she does not merit bail at any price.
The bail money system may be one of the more socially inequitable aspects of the deeply-flawed American criminal justice system, but a "jailbreak" it ain't.
The 'National Enquirer' follows in equally questionable legalistic mode with its cover story: "What Biden's Son Is Hiding — Corruption Probe Explodes!"
But good luck trying to figure out what Hunter Biden is allegedly hiding, since the allegations all emerged months ago as part of a discredited Russian disinformation campaign, which was naturally embraced without hesitation by a Republican-led Senate report.
Hunter Biden's finances have evidently been under investigation since 2018, but only early this December did he confirm he is being probed by the FBI and IRS. The 'Enquirer' alleges a "$10m China payoff" and "$400G Burisma Secret," but doesn't appear to come up with anything that didn't originate with suspiciously Trump-friendly Russian propaganda.
The 'Globe' brings us: "The Real Reason John Lennon Died." Despite what you may have heard, apparently, it's not because Mark David Chapman shot him 40 years ago. The former Beatle actually shuffled off this mortal coil because of his penchant for traveling without a bodyguard, and because he missed an appointment with a photographer, claims the rag, concluding: "John Lennon didn't have to die!" Can't argue with logic like that.
The psychic reporting team at the 'Enquirer' have been working overtime to bring us their "Celebrity Predictions For 2021!"
These all seem to involve betting that aged or ailing celebrities will kick the bucket: "Shirley MacLaine will suffer a serious health crisis" . . . "Harvey Weinstein will die in a New York prison" . . . Bill Cosby will become seriously ill and pass away behind bars" . . . "Michael Douglas will experience a cancer recurrence."
And there are predictions of chaos in the Royal Family as well: "Prince Andrew will suffer a debilitating stroke" . . . "Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan's marriage will collapse under the weight of public criticism."
We know that we can trust these predictions, because you only have to look at how uncannily accurate were the 'Enquirer' celebrity predictions for 2020: "Celine Dion will survive a life-threatening accident" . . . "One of Mel Gibson's children will suffer a near-death drug overdose" . . . "Angelina Jolie will finally fully reconcile with her estranged dad" . . . "Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn . . . will separate before the end of the year" . . . "Faith Hill and Tim McGraw will separate" . . . "Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt will finally reconcile" . . . "O.J. Simpson will spark a national uproar when he signs on to host a reality show about murder" . . .
Well, you can't get them all right.
The 'Enquirer' reports on a fight for the ages between Britain's Crown Princes: "William & Harry's Boob Tube Battle!"
Harry and Meghan have signed a deal to produce shows for Netflix, and now that Prince William and Kate have announced their environmental competition the Earthshot Prize, they have applied for a trademark that includes, among a litany of possible uses, video and multimedia recordings.
The 'Enquirer' naturally concludes that the "bitter brothers" are "trying to show each other up with TV projects."
Because that's their only reason for living, evidently.
Returning to its core value of public service journalism, the 'Enquirer' reports: "How The Rich & Famous Get Covid Vaccine First!"
It's a legitimate story to pursue, and those who can afford "concierge" doctor service for $25,000 a year might be asking their physicians if they can find a way to speed them the front of the vaccination line. But with questionable evidence the 'Enquirer' reports that Hollywood "bigwigs" are trying to bribe medical and pharmaceutical workers to sell them vaccinations.
One producer allegedly "tried to snag 200 doses so they could throw a huge house party in the Hollywood Hills!"
But 200 doses would only vaccinate 100 people, each taking two shots several weeks apart. Even then, it would take almost two months before their immunity kicked in and they could party. This claim seems dubious at best.
"Queen Outsmarts Scheming Meghan!" reports the 'Globe.'
"Furious Queen Elizabeth" has reportedly "booted" Princess Eugenie and her husband out of Frogmore Cottage — Harry and Meghan's pad on the grounds of Windsor Castle, which they left vacant when they became runaway royals and fled to California.
Her Majesty allegedly gave Princess Eugenie her marching papers out of spite, so that Harry & Meghan remain on the hook for the home's expenses, and might be enticed to return to England sooner.
In doing so, the Queen has also reportedly made sure that "Harry still has a place to hang his hat if he decides to come back to leave his American wife."
Sure, because if Princess Eugenie had stayed in Frogmore Cottage, Harry would be sitting in his Montecito villa thinking: "I can't leave Meghan now, because there's absolutely nowhere for me to live if I return to Britain."
Makes perfect sense.
Tom Cruise famously unleashed an expletive-filled rant on the UK set of 'Mission: Impossible 7' last week after two crew members dared to stand closer than six feet apart at the height of the pandemic — an outburst that preoccupies both 'People' and 'Us' magazines.
"Why Tom Really Snapped" teases the cover of 'Us' mag, which cites his lack of a love life since divorcing Katie Holmes in 2012, and the fact that there's a lot riding on the success of 'M:I 7.' Says an unnamed insider, Cruise is "in rather a sad state and is under a huge amount of stress and strain." You think?
'People' magazine's unidentified sources agree: "It's a lot of extra stress for him . . . when he is upset he can be overwrought." Indeed.
'People' devotes its cover to "HGTV's Ben & Erin Napier — Faith, Fame & Putting Family First." Who on earth are these people? Why should I care? And why is everyone in 'People' mag either "Putting Family First" or "Living Their Best Life?"
Thankfully we have the crack investigative team at 'Us' mag to tell us that Bella Hadid wore it best (doesn't she ever get tired of wearing the same clothes as other celebrities and doing it marginally better?), that actress Jennifer Coolidge will sometimes "try to figure out how many pieces of gum I can put into my mouth at once," and that the stars are just like us: they go shopping, take public transportation, and pump gas (when they're not taking public transportation). Good luck seeing Tom Cruise doing any of those things.
The 'Globe,' always quick to bring us up-to-the-minute news, reveals that "It costs Uncle Sam 1.8 cents to make a penny." But that's actually what it cost to produce and distribute a one-cent coin in 2010, which is one of the first data points to pop up when you search Google for the cost of manufacturing a penny.
By 2020 the price had risen to 2.06 cents to make every penny, meaning that Uncle Sam loses more than one cent on every penny minted. American government at its finest.
Onwards and downwards . . .