An essential guide to this week's inessential news
If it didn't happen, it's in this week's fact-challenged tabloids, which are rife with more speculation and supposition than usual – and a rare apology.
"Epstein Madam Sold Out!" is the sort of headline you might expect on a blow-up sex doll website, but it's the cover story in this week's 'National Enquirer,' claiming that the late billionaire pedophile sex criminal Jeffrey Epstein's right hand woman Ghislaine Maxwell has been incriminated by former aides giving evidence against her.
It might be intriguing if true, but there is no evidence to suggest this has happened. The 'Enquirer' bases its story on prosecutors recently indicating that they plan to add statements by "unindicted co-conspirators" to their case against Maxwell.
The 'Enquirer' has decided this must mean Epstein's lieutenant Sarah Kellen Vickers and sex slave Nadia Marcinko are testifying against Maxwell, but that's pure speculation. "Unindicted co-conspirators" was the coincidentally phrase used in Epstein's 2008 slap-on-the-wrist conviction for procuring a child for prostitution, throwing a wide legalistic net covering virtually everyone who wasn't named Jeffrey Epstein.
Every conversation is an argument, every disagreement is a battle, and every conflict goes nuclear in the 'Enquirer' world view, which brings us to this week's headline: "Kate Wins War With Meghan!"
Duchess Kate's popularity has soared in the UK, so she's the winner and Duchess Meghan is the loser, explains the 'Enquirer,' which once again treats Britain's royal family like a TV soap opera, judging winners and losers by audience ratings. A "high-level palace courtier tells the 'Enquirer': "All hail Kate the Conqueror! She's won this war!" As if even a palace scullery maid would ever use such loaded language, let alone someone employed in the plush carpeted corridors of Buckingham Palace.
The 'Globe' wouldn't know a smoking gun from a smoking jacket, but that doesn't stop the rag from screaming in this week's cover story: "Joe & Hunter's Smoking Gun!"
They publish a photo purporting to show Joe Biden and son Hunter pictured with former Kazakhstan president Karim Massimov and Kazakhstan businessman Kenes Rakishev, allegedly proving that Joe Biden discussed business matters with his son's business associates, despite his protestations that such conversations never took place.
But the photo does nothing more than suggest that they posed for a photo together and gives no indication of what might have been discussed, if anything. It's proof of nothing, though the 'Globe' has no holds barred when it proclaims: "Biden Scandal Explodes!"
Yet the 'Globe' hardly helps its own case when it adds, without the slightest shred of shame: "The image's authenticity has not been confirmed – and investigators warn it could be a hoax." So the 'Globe' editors suspect it might be a fake photo? What the hell, run the story anyway, they apparently decided. They can always apologize later – as if.
"Stevie Wonder Saved By Kidney Transplant. I'm stronger than ever." What makes this 'Globe' cover blurb especially interesting is the small print: "We were wrong: See Page 4 Inside."
Sure enough, tucked away in the corner at the bottom of page 4 is the headline: "Retraction & Apology." Evidently a 'Globe' report in July 2019 claiming that singer Stevie Wonder "was dying and had seven months to live and was planning his funeral . . . turned out to be incorrect." No kidding. And there could be dozens more stars still alive who were given "just months to live" several years ago by the 'Globe,' whose attorneys might be reading this retraction with interest.
"Shut Up! You're Killing the Queen!" Prince William reportedly fears that brother Harry's verbal attacks on the royal family will be the death of their 95-year-old grandmother. William is concerned that Harry's criticism of royal racism and emotional abuse "has sapped their grandmother's will to live." Right, because she's such a delicate exotic bloom.
"Elvis' Odd Sex Life Was All Shook Up!" The King of rock 'n' roll's ex-wife Priscilla Presley allegedly claims she remained a virgin from the age of 14 when she started dating Elvis until they married when she turned 21, saving herself until their wedding night. And we're supposed to believe this.
"He worked his art of foreplay without penetration," she allegedly writes in her memoir, 'Elvis and Me.' "In love-making, as in entertaining, Elvis' outstanding talent was oral." Intriguing, if distasteful, but hardly news: Priscilla's memoir was published in August 1986. And that's what passes as breaking news in this week's 'Globe' – a story that's almost 35 years old.
"Obamas Go Hollywood! Michelle and Barack are spending like there's no tomorrow."
The 'Globe' claims that the former president and his First Lady "are spending like drunken sailors," buying "diamonds and pearls and designer clothes" (is that really what drunken sailors buy?) while acquiring "chauffeurs, assistants to carry briefcases, private jets and multiple mansions." What are they supposed to do after both wrote bestselling books and are producing hit films and TV shows under their $100 million Netflix deal? Drive around in a beat-up Volvo and wear Barbara Bush's hand-me-downs and a MAGA baseball cap?
"Meghan & Harry" dominate the cover, no last names necessary. "An American Royal Baby!"
And that's about all there is to it. The couple had a baby. She's Royal. And she's American. Wow.
"Howie Mandel – My Anxiety & OCD Nightmare."
"Every day is a struggle," says the host of America's Got Talent, "but I still have joy." And one of the most lucrative jobs on TV, which may help ease the pain a little.
"Idris & Sabrina Elba – We're Learning Every Day." They've apparently learned how to cash in by launching S'able Labs, a "lifestyle brand focused on relationship," whatever that means. "S'able" is their name spelled backwards, and 'People' mag tags the interview "Double talk," which could be taken a number of different ways.
It's yet another royal cover story, with the misleading headline: "America's First Princess." For cryin' out loud, Lilibet is not a friggin' princess. She doesn't have a library card, let alone a single royal title. 'Us' mag promises to tell readers about "The gifts, the nursery & who they told first!" Yes, it's that deep and insightful. "Sources tell 'Us' Harry and Meghan are head over heels with their new bundle of joy." The magazine must have really good inside sources to get that kind of detail.
"Brad Pitt – Turning to Therapy." After a lengthy custody battle "he's doing some intensive therapy to deal with the stress" claims an unnamed source. Is there anyone in Hollywood who isn't in therapy, even if they're not going through a horrendous divorce?
"Is Matthew Starting To Spiral?"
Okay, so actor Matthew Perry looked a little heavy during the recent 'Friends' TV reunion special, and his fiancée just broke off their engagement – but is that reason enough for unnamed "pals" to "fear he's headed for a breakdown"? As if that's his only option.
Fortunately we have the crack investigative team at 'Us' mag to tell us that Olivia Culpo wore it best (she's carrying a bag – how hard can that be to "wear it best"?), that Mario Lopez is "a huge breakfast guy," and that the stars are just like us: they buy groceries, cook, they drink, they order in – is food all they ever think about?
Onwards and downwards . . .