An essential guide to this week's inessential news
What is the world coming to, when the 'Enquirer' cover story is shockingly fact-based, albeit sensationalized?
"Stop Your Lies!" screams the front page. "Livid Queen Publicly Shames Harry & Meghan!"
It's a surprisingly accurate spin on the Queen dropping her "never complain, never explain" policy and hitting back at Harry and Meghan's falsehoods, disinformation and distortions.
Buckingham Palace officials, with the full blessing of the Queen, let it be known that despite Harry and Meghan's claim to have secured her approval before naming their newborn daughter Lilibet – the Queen's private personal nickname – in fact no such approval had been sought or given.
Okay, the 'Enquirer' probably overstepped the mark by suggesting that the Queen told Harry and Meghan to "Shut Up Already!" but that captures the essence of Her Majesty's thinking.
But judging by the rest of the week's offerings, it seems that story's accuracy was an aberration, an editorial glitch, just a road bump on the path to fabrication, falsehood and speculation elsewhere.
The possibility of live bats being experimented upon at China's Wuhan Institute of Virology sparks the lurid headline: "Bats Out of Hell!"
Video of live bats allegedly kept at the Wuhan lab was aired on Australian TV recently, a story that the rag borrows and yet still improbably claims as an "Enquirer Exclusive." It alleges that the "shocking new video footage . . . if it's confirmed as genuine," contradicts claims by WHO investigator Dr Peter Daszak that there were no live bats at the lab.
Since the footage was reportedly taken from a Chinese state promotional video released in 2017, it only proves – if genuine – that bats had been present at the lab four years ago, and not that they were present when the Covid-19 outbreak began in late 2019. But the 'Enquirer' doesn't care about such petty details, just as it's not prepared to find out if the video is legitimate or a hoax before running its story.
"Sorry Not Sorry!" proclaims the story about fired and re-hired CNN reporter and infamous Zoom masturbator Jeffrey Toobin. The 'Enquirer' has run Toobin's public mea culpa through a voice stress analysis, to declare that he "lied through his teeth" and that his apology was "hogwash." Because what could be more scientifically accurate than a voice stress test taken of someone who you've never met?
"I Was Swallowed By A Whale & Lived!" Technically, Massachusetts lobster diver Michael Packard found himself sucked inside a whale's mouth and spat out, but he was never actually swallowed, since a whale's throat is too narrow to admit a grown adult. Still, it's a whale of a tale.
There was never any chance that the 'Globe' would make the same mistake as the 'Enquirer' and accidentally run something factual on its cover. "Clinton Whistleblower Murdered!" declares the splash accurately, adding wildly. "New death linked to bloody conspiracy & cover-up!"
Never having met a conspiracy theory it doesn't like, the 'Globe' unsurprisingly embraces the radical fringe who claim that the suicide of Alabama TV anchor Christopher Sign was actually a murder by the Clinton mafia cartel.
It was Sign who in 2016 had exposed President Clinton's controversial meeting with Justice Secretary Loretta Lynch while the Justice Department was still investigating Hillary Clinton's missing emails. Inspired by conspiracy theorists, the 'Globe' claims that Sign's apparent suicide was actually a murder "aimed at silencing people who pose a threat to former President Bill Clinton and his wife!"
That sounds good, but makes little sense since Christopher Sign had long ago reported on what he knew about the Clintons, and posed no threat to them whatsoever. Furthermore, while Bill and Hillary Clinton remain influential in US politics, neither of them is likely ever again to run for the presidency.
Naturally, the 'Globe' tries to prove the conspiracy theory by throwing in the death of White House lawyer Vince Foster in 1993, and cites a rent-a-quote private eye saying: "I am convinced there is a conspiracy to murder people close to the Clintons." Sure there is.
Hot off the 'Friends' TV reunion special comes this week's cover girl: "Jennifer Aniston – I'm in a Really Peaceful Place."
Aniston's also in a place where she'll talk about how she loves her dogs, her private Pilates classes, and how she enjoys the simplicity of a sunset, because she's promoting the collagen brand Vital Proteins, of which she is now chief creative officer – though how creative one can get with collagen remains to be seen. Collagen smoothies? Collagen leisurewear? Collagen sex toys?
Yes, it certainly sounds very peaceful, and the $2.5 million she reportedly pocketed for appearing on the 'Friends' reunion probably buys more than a little peace of mind.
We can't have a week go by without the British royals filling multiple pages of 'People,' and this week is no exception, with a page of the Queen at the Royal Ascot races, and four pages on her grandsons: "William & Harry – What Tore Them Apart."
It's yet another polished clippings job, along with royal historian Richard Lacey debunking rumors that Harry and Meghan's children, Archie and Lilibet, will be deprived of the titles of Prince and Princess by acn outraged Prince Charles, saying: "The royal status of Harry and Meghan's children is not in jeopardy."
"Why Archie Will Never Be Prince," declares the cover story. Don't they read 'People' magazine?
"Charles had made it very clear to Harry and Meghan that their children will not receive royal titles," says an unnamed source allegedly close to Harry and Meghan. "Since Harry formally forfeited his royal role, this really shouldn't be an issue."
The rag quotes royal historian Robert Lacey saying that Harry and Willian had a "fierce and bitter" fight, but fails to quote Lacey's belief that when Prince Charles ascends to the throne he will not allow Harry and Meghan's offspring to be a Prince and Princess, because Charles will be too busy trying to make Camilla his Queen instead of royal consort.
The headline across the inside story is "Game of Thrones," which is a lazy and obvious line but factually irrelevant since Prince Harry is not competing with Prince Charles for any throne, Iron or British.
Tom Cruise is notoriously private, but 'Us' mag takes readers on a rare dive "Inside Tom's Secret World." As if.
The 'Top Gun' star may have a secret world, but 'Us' can't see into it. Among the mag's revelations, which pretty much any celebrity magazine reader could have told you: Cruise is reportedly working hard on 'Mission: Impossible 7.' is close with his sister Lee and his two oldest children, and is looking for love. Just the sort of insight you'd expect from reporters with zero access behind the scenes.
Fortunately we have the crack investigative team at 'Us' mag to tell us that Gabrielle Haugh wore it best, that TV's 'Batchelor' alumnus Tyler Cameron is "addicted to acai bowls" (and surprise, surprise, is opening his own acai bowl store), and that the stars are just like us: they enjoy picnics, eat, walk the dog and zip-line on vacation in South Africa – just like the rest of us.
Onwards and downwards . . .