An essential guide to this week's inessential news
When you view the world as a soap opera of sex, avarice and betrayal—as the tabloids do—every word is an insult, every disagreement is a war, and every action is motivated by animus. This week's tabloids continue to dramatize the British Royal Family's dysfunctional relations as a cross between 'The Crown' and 'Days of Our Lives,' and view Bill Gates' divorce as if it's a Hallmark movie streaming on the Playboy Channel.
You'd think it was Sweeps Week at Buckingham Palace, with the plot lines dreamed up as this week's cover story: "Charles' Bitter Revenge On Meghan! Her children will NEVER get royal titles! Writes Harry out of his $100 MILLION will! Orders palace staff to NEVER mention her name!"
That's allegedly Prince Charles' reaction to son Harry's recent podcast confession that his childhood wasn't perfect due to Charles' questionable parenting skills.
Harry's erasure from the Royal Family was inexplicably missed by the entire Fleet Street royal press corps, but that's clearly what puts the 'Enquirer' head and shoulders above the competition.
In the tabloids' monomania, aggressively focused on the latest week's imaginings, they invariably forget past plot lines that would make a lot more sense as motivation for their dramas. For years the tabloids have been telling us that Prince Charles isn't Harry's biological father, and that he's the result of an affair enjoyed by his mother Princess Diana. Any daytime soap opera writers' room down-table intern could tell you that Charles cutting Harry from his inheritance and refusing royal titles to Harry's children makes a lot more sense as revenge served cold for not being his real son.
It's also surprising that the 'Enquirer' didn't suggest that Charles was putting Harry in the Tower of London, where you'll recall the 'Globe' told us the Queen had imprisoned beleaguered Prince Andrew last year. Since they haven't reported otherwise, one assumes Andrew is still there under lock and key.
The Gates divorce gets the tabloid treatment, and of course it's Armageddon: "Bill & Melinda Mansion Wars!"
The couple have already hammered out a settlement agreement, so what's the war about?
According to the 'Enquirer,' Bill wants to live at their $43 million mansion in Del Mar, California, while Melinda wants to live . . . well, evidently the 'Enquirer' hasn't the faintest idea, and doesn't even pretend to guess.
The purported "mansion wars" have arisen because Bill supposedly wants Melinda to have their $147.5 million lakeside estate in Washington for their children to inherit, but Melinda wants to sell it.
That's not exactly on the scale of the Middle East conflict, and it's hardly as if Melinda will be homeless if she rejects their Washington mansion. She could always choose to live on their island in Belize, or at their Florida equestrian compound, their Wyoming ranch, or their farmland in Louisiana, Arkansas or Nebraska.
Treating their readers like imbeciles has been a proven strategy for the tabloids, though it can be overdone, as we see in the story: "Durst Pal: He Hired Me For Hit!"
As Robert Durst's murder trial reopens after a Covid hiatus, a self-confessed jewel thief going by the pseudonym of William Steel claims that the real estate millionaire tried to hire him as a hitman. Salacious stuff, but hardly news to 'Enquirer' readers with half a mind (please resist the temptation to say that's the lot of them) who saw the identical story run in the rag in January 2019. That's when Steel revealed Durst's alleged confession that he butchered his first wife, killed and ate a prostitute who knew about the slaying, and later gunned down a friend who planned to turn him in to authorities. Inexplicably, prosecutors have chosen not to call Steel as a witness. Hard to imagine why.
You can almost hear the chants of "USA! USA!" behind the headline: "Pentagon To Stealth Foes: Bring It On!"
The 'Enquirer' portrays the Pentagon as spoiling for a fight like a dive bar drunk on a Saturday night, just wishing that Russian and Chinese hackers would try to take down American's cyber-infrastructure. Because that worked out so well when the Colonial Pipeline was shut down last week by hackers demanding—and receiving—a ransom payment.
"Epstein Madam's Trial Date Set." Yep, that's the whole story—Ghislaine Maxwell's trial will open on November 29—but the 'Enquirer' devotes half a page to that bit of courtroom housekeeping, just to keep the pot bubbling.
Worst punning headline for the story of a golfer who shot and killed a dog that snatched his ball: "Golfer Charged With Putting A Hole In One Dog."
If pedophile sex scandal billionaire Jeffrey Epstein ever took his own shirts into a dry cleaners, the 'Globe' would rage about a sex pervert washing his dirty laundry in public. So we have this week's 'Globe' cover story: "How Epstein Destroyed Bill Gates' Marriage! Tech tycoon's night at sex perv's palace!"
Bill Gates has certainly emerged in recent days as a man who was far from perfect: he allegedly had an affair with an employee, and clumsily pursued relationships with other female employees.
But just because Epstein was a sleazy sex-crazed slime-ball that doesn't mean that everyone who ever met him indulged in orgies with his under-age sex slaves.
Bill and Melinda Gates allegedly first met Epstein together in 2013, after Epstein had been convicted of preying on young girls, so clearly whatever distaste both had for Epstein they were willing to set aside for the chance of snagging donations to their Gates Foundation.
Gates mostly met with Epstein at business events and dinners, the 'Globe' admits, adding: "Sources say Gates was lucky to slip through Epstein's clutches without a stain." But that doesn't stop the 'Globe' smearing Gates by association. Maybe time will prove there's some fire behind that smoke.
Forget QAnon—there's a royal conspiracy afoot, according to the 'Globe': "Andrew & Harry Unite To Bring Down Monarchy!"
Both princes forced out by an unsympathetic royal family, Andrew and Harry "are hellbent on bringing down the monarchy by sabotaging future kings Charles and William," according to unnamed "palace insiders."
The "second-banana princes"—a wonderful phrase that makes them sound like second-rate clowns at a one-ring circus—are "furious at being stripped of money, status and power and facing permanent exile from the family," and so have "secretly joined forces to make their older brother pay big-time."
It sounds like a plot ripped from the pages of Bridgerton but without the gratuitous sex scenes. It also seems unlikely that either would want to destroy the monarchy when both Andrew and Harry crave its power and influence, and need their royal titles to open doors and justify their questionable existence.
"Jimmy Hoffa's Secret Hellhole! Mob lawyer says Teamsters boss is buried under golf course green."
Hoffa was allegedly murdered in Detroit, his body flown 900 miles to Wilmington Island in Georgia, and buried under a green at the Savannah Inn and Golf Country Club, presumably because the mob couldn't find a decent construction site or golf course in Michigan. This story comes courtesy of the same people who assured us that Hoffa is buried under New York's Giants Stadium, and also stuffed into a 55-gallon drum buried in a Garden State landfill. Maybe he's just a very well-traveled corpse.
"World Exclusive. Inside the Friends Reunion!"
We can only hope that the coming TV special is more interesting than this DOA feature on the sextet's reunion, in which they share such sparkling insights as: "All of us working together was like lightning in a bottle" (Courteney Cox), "When we do get together, it's like no time has passed" (Matt LeBlanc), and "It's still, to me, one of the greatest jobs I've ever had" (Jennifer Aniston). Thrilling. Perhaps this is what they meant when they said: "It's like you're always stuck in second gear . . ."
"J.Lo & Ben 'in Touch Every Day'" How romantic. "Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck are staying close from opposite coasts" following their week together in Montana, says an unnamed source. Nothing says mad passionate can't-live-without-you-love than being 2,500 miles apart.
"How Prince Harry Inspired Me."
No, it's not the tale of a spoiled millionaire who bad-mouthed his parents' child-raising skills, trashed the family firm, ran off with an actress and sold out for fame and fortune. It's the story of British squaddie Dean Stott, who trained alongside Prince Harry in the British armed forces, and now lives in California—just like Harry!—except instead of having a $100 million Netflix deal and a $14 million mansion in Montecito, Stott is a security consultant living in a small suburban home in Lake Forest. Otherwise, it's as if they were twins!
You can rely on 'Us' magazine to bring us the genuine scoop: "J.Lo & Ben – The Real Story!"
The weather in Montana has been cold, "but the chemistry between the former lovebirds was as steamy as could be," gushes the rag. "The attraction between them is still white-hot," says an unidentified source. "They've definitely been making up for lost time." Says the source: "Ben's in awe of how beautiful Jen still is both inside and out. The way in which she's taken care of her body just blows his mind." And that's the skin-deep level of insight into "the real story" behind their reunion, which according to rival 'People' magazine has already seen them depart Montana and go their separate ways. But evidently that's not a part of the "real story."
Fortunately we have the crack investigative team at 'Us' mag to tell us that Ana De Armas wore it best (eat your heart out, Ben Affleck), that Wanda Sykes is "allergic to mayonnaise," that Real Housewife of New York Ramona Singer carries lip gloss, toothpicks and a metal straw in her Valentino bag, and that the stars are just like us: they ride bicycles, pick up drive-thru coffee and snacks, and "hang with friends." Who'd have thought it?
Onwards and downwards . . .