Her Majesty The Queen is a combination of Indiana Jones, the Crusaders (the Medieval Christian army, not the jazz fusion band) and the DaVinci Code's Robert Langdon, if this week's tabloids are to be believed.
"Queen Bans Raiders of the Lost Ark!" screams a 'Globe' headline. "British cops forbidden to search royal homes for stolen art treasures."
There's the merest hint of truth behind this grandiose claim: A law introduced in 2017 bars UK law enforcement from conducting searches for looted or stolen artworks in the Royal palaces and the Queen's estates at Balmoral and Sandringham, a Freedom of Information request recently uncovered.
The 'Globe' decides that this means the Queen is hiding "A secret stash of lost treasures – stolen from historic sites around the world."
It's not impossible that art treasures acquired in Britain's rapacious era of colonial conquest may have found their way into the Royal collection with questionable rights of ownership, just as the Parthenon frieze known in Britain as the Elgin Marbles resides unapologetically in the British Museum despite all attempts by Greece to repatriate the giant sculptures.
Yet the 'Globe' overplays its hand when it writes that the Queen's personal collection might be hiding lost icons including: "the Holy Grail, the Ark of the Covenant and Shakespeare's missing play!"
Right. I'll bet the Queen also has the Maltese Falcon, the gold of El Dorado and the treasure of the Black Pearl from Pirates of the Caribbean hidden in the vaults below Buckingham Palace. And what are the odds that it was her namesake ancestor, Queen Elizabeth I, who originally purloined a manuscript copy of Shakespeare's now-lost play? That sort of larceny runs in families.
"Covid Escaped From China Lab!" screams the front page of the 'National Enquirer.' "Proof Found A Year After 550,000 Americans Died!"
But there's no proof here at all. There's only the opinion of former Centers for Disease Control chief Robert Redfield, who has a hunch that the virus came from a lab, saying: "I still think the most likely etiology of this pathogen in Wuhan was from a laboratory, you know, escaped."
That's a million miles away from proof, and the 'Globe' fails to mention that Redfield qualified his statement, made in an interview with CNN, by stressing repeatedly that it was only his opinion and not proven fact. "I'm allowed to have opinions now," he said.
True, but the 'Enquirer' isn't allowed to treat those opinions as "fact" or to call them "proof."
The 'Globe' is equally slapdash with its cover story: "Epstein Sex Slave Exposes Clinton!"
No, she doesn't. It's Virginia Roberts Giuffre, one of the late billionaire convicted sex fiend Jeffrey Epstein's alleged sex slaves, who now "demands Bill bare all" about Epstein's sex crimes, according to the 'Globe.'
But Giuffre hasn't exposed anything about Clinton, and the worst she has previously said of him is that he allowed her to give him a shoulder massage in public while fully clothed and awaiting a flight at an airport.
The 'Globe' reports on Giuffre's "explosive confrontation with the ex-president," but that's a complete fiction. They have not met in years, and there has never been an explosive confrontation between them. It's simply Giuffre expressing her outrage that Bill Clinton attended a summit to empower women at Howard University in Washington, D.C., attended by Kamala Harris.
The 'Enquirer' reports on "Shocking New Epstein Charges!" in which a new 'Jane Doe' accuses the socialite pedophile of raping her in front of her eight-year-old son, threatening to feed her to alligators if she ever spoke of their liaisons, and forcing her into unwanted genital surgery – allegedly to make her appear a virgin – that left her disfigured and in pain.
So far so good: this has all been widely reported since the 'Miami Herald' first uncovered the newly-filed lawsuit last month.
But the 'Enquirer' goes too far with its tandem story on Epstein's confidant, Ghislaine Maxwell, linked to Epstein's troubled friend Prince Andrew: "Ghislaine's Legal Twist Puts Andrew In A Bind."
The "twist' is a revised indictment against Maxwell which expands the time frame of her alleged crimes from 1994 to 2004 – "a span that includes her meeting the British royal in 1999 and then introducing him to Epstein," the 'Enquirer' notes, as if this is the final nail in the prince's coffin.
An unnamed source tells the 'Enquirer': "The new indictment widens the pool for Ghislaine and her defense attorneys. Who wouldn't want to bring down all of those fat cats . . . and who wouldn't be that desperate?"
Perhaps someone like Ghislaine Maxwell, who denies all allegations and wrong-doing, would have no intention of bringing down any cats, fat or otherwise, since that could only incriminate her.
"America's Secret War With UFOs Exposed!" yells the headline across two pages in the 'Globe.'
The rag claims that a US Air Force F-22 fighter was downed in a dogfight with a UFO, and that the US Navy shot down an alien craft in another encounter. So we're at war with an alien civilization? Shouldn't Congress have been consulted on this?
The 'Globe' helpfully adds: "Alien hunter Scott C Waring believes photos prove the aliens have built a base on the moon, which some say could be part of an advance attack force." Makes perfect sense.
It's intriguing to note that the 'Globe' uses a photo taken by a US fighter jet of a UFO that looks uncannily like a 1950s-era flying saucer: a large disc with a bubble cockpit in its center – quite different from the blob actually captured on video released by the Pentagon. The image also appears to have been enhanced, brightened, and seems to have cloud formations in the image that also did not appear in the Pentagon video.
This unusual image, different from every other Pentagon-Ufo photo published by media worldwide, appears to have been used previously by India's right-wing media site Swarajaya. There's no suggestion that the photo was doctored in any way, but one can only assume that Swarajaya has access to Pentagon photos that even 'The New York Times' and 'Washington Post' can't obtain.
"Diana Death Flick Is Ultimate Revenge!" proclaims the 'Enquirer' above a story noting that Prince Harry and Meghan have hired Ben Browning to run Archewell Productions so that they can "bankroll a lurid movie about Princess Diana's death and the conspiracy theories that suggest the royal family was involved."
How did Fleet Street's finest miss that? They didn't.
Britain's 'Mail on Sunday' accurately reported that Browning, hired by Harry and Meghan to run their new film and television operations, had acquired the rights to a film script titled 'Inquest' in 2013. The movie has languished since then without finding any studio to back its production, and was hidden away in Browning's resumé, most likely completely unknown to the royals, who might have been more impressed with his recent run of awards nominations for producing ' Promising Young Woman.'
The tabloid obsession with celebrity weight continues with the general thesis being that the stars should be attacked for being too fat, too thin, or even too fit.
"Tim OD's On Gym!" reports the 'Enquirer,' accusing country singer Tim McGraw of being "hooked on working out". Because being fit and in shape still merits tabloid criticism.
Celine DIon, who just weeks ago was being excoriated by the tabloids for being too thin, miraculously has "her health back on track" and has "beefed up," claims the 'Enquirer,' under the headline: "Celine Fattens Up For Healthy Return." Because they can't call her healthy without getting the word "fat" in there.
"Kenya Finds Drew Hard To Stomach" reports a bad-pun-filled 'Globe' on Kenya Moore, who was "allegedly chewing the fat about 'Real Housewives of Atlanta' cast-mate Drew Sidora and tweeted, 'She needs to pay for a tummy tuck!'"
"Fears As 98-LB. Dolly Parton Wastes Away!" declares the 'Globe,' despite photographs showing that the country songbird still has her voluptuous curves and appears far from scrawny.
'Us' magazine devotes its cover to Britain's allegedly warring princes: "Royal Ultimatum – Stop The Lies. William finally snaps: Harry must choose FAMILY or FAME."
But the story inside says something quite different, and William's "ultimatum" isn't about Harry telling alleged lies.
As the mag explains: "Now, sources tell 'Us' that William is giving Harry an ultimatum: Stop talking, or else."
Quite different from a demand to stop telling lies, though a second source does claim that William has "told Harry: 'No more lies.'" But again, no ultimatum as far as telling fibs is concerned.
An unnamed insider claims: "William feels Harry has gotten too big for his boots, but he says he's willing to give him one more chance to choose between his family or fame." Why can't Harry have both? He's had both for years, hasn't he? Doesn't Prince William also have family and fame, and manages both quite comfortably? Was Harry hidden in obscurity before moving to California? It's one of those easy rent-a-quote statements that you realize is utter nonsense once you start thinking about it.
And how are insiders getting all this information about what William thinks? Could William be doing rather a lot of talking himself?
'People' gives up its cover to "Brad Paisley & Kimberly Williams-Paisley – Love, Family & Giving Back."
I wonder if they'll give me back the cost of this issue. "The singer and the actress found joy in family time," reports the mag. Well, if that isn't front-page material, I don't know what is.
Thankfully we have the crack investigative team at 'Us' mag to tell us that Kourtney Kardashian wore it best (which will teach Celine Dion, Shailene Woodley and Julianne Hough to wear the same $1,082 strapless feather top), that Topher Grace is "a cereal addict" and is "the world's worst cook" (two personality traits that explain one another), and that the stars are just like us: they carry groceries, pick up dry cleaning, and dine out – unlike the rest of us, perpetually watched by the stalkerazzi.
The 'Globe' brings us the revelation that "Hollywood tough guy Chuck Norris's first name is actually Carlos!"
True, but it's hardly been a secret, since Norris explained in his 2004 memoir 'Against Al Odds: My Story,' that he was named after his father's minister, Carlos Berry. The unstated irony is that he may as well have been named after Chuck Berry.
Onwards and downwards . . .