Fat-shaming is standard operating procedure for the tabloids, but this week the 'Enquirer' sheds any faux semblance of political correctness with its annual body-demeaning issue: "This year's 50 Best & Worst Beach Bodies. The Good, The Bad & The Ugly!"
There are swimsuit photos of Lizzo, Mama June, Gabourey Sidibe, Brendan Fraser, Kelsey Grammer and Gerard Depardieu. There's Jennifer Lopez, Courtney Cox, Sofia Richie, Orlando Bloom and Rob Lowe. See if you can figure out who's "good" and who's "bad" in this cavalcade of celebrity flesh "from fab to flab."
There's not a word of explanation, justification or apology for such superficial body-centric objectification: it's simply an excuse to gloat over celebrities looking preternaturally hard-bodied and sculpted, or all-too human and scorned for it.
The British royal family remains a perennial tabloid preoccupation, and this week the 'Enquirer' claims: "Homesick Harry Ain't Got Game!"
Because Prince Harry now lives in California, he is allegedly "moping in his Montecito mansion" because he couldn't attend soccer's Euro Cup final at London's Wembley stadium or the Wimbledon tennis tournament. Harry reportedly "enviously eyes brother Prince William and his family hobnobbing at huge UK sporting events." As if hobnobbing is what Harry misses most about England.
The tabloids assume that everyone else is as obsessed with royalty as they are, which is why the 'Enquirer' reports: "Tom Wants The Royal Treatment!" But does he?
Tom Cruise is allegedly "clamoring to cozy up to Britain's royal family" and views his alleged (and still unconfirmed) romance with 'Mission: Impossible 7' co-star Hayley Atwell "as his golden ticket," as if she's Willie Wonka and Buckingham Palace is the chocolate factory. Cruise is reportedly dating Atwell because of "how well connected she is in high society circles." Well, if the 'Enquirer' can routinely get its reporters inside Buckingham Palace for all its scoops, surely Atwell can slip in unnoticed with Tom Cruise. And with all the scandals plaguing the royal family these days, would Cruise really want to associate with such low-lifes anyway?
Of course, it wouldn't be the tabloids without a story about Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie: "Angie: Brad Won't Let Me Cash Out!" Yes, Angie – that's because your attorneys are still negotiating your divorce. Jolie reportedly wants to sell her share in their French winery; Brad Pitt supposedly wants to hold on to it; and a court-ordered restraining order freezing their finances has not been lifted by the judge. This really won't come as a surprise to Jolie.
You have to admire the chutzpah of the 'Globe,' flying in the face of all evidence to the contrary, to proclaim on its cover: "Kate Pregnancy Drama Exposed!"
Duchess Kate is allegedly pregnant with a baby girl, but "ravaged by acute morning sickness" and is "wasting away," her weight plummeting "to 97 lbs."
It's yet another remarkably accurate feat of psychic medical analysis by the ob-gyn—trained clairvoyants at the'Globe' who reveal that Kate Middleton has dropped to precisely 97 lbs, and not a pound more or less.
Yet there is zero evidence that Kate is pregnant, and in the absence of the usual inconclusive "baby bump" caused by wearing a bulky sweatshirt or loose dress, the 'Globe' has decided if she's pregnant and not gaining weight, it must be because she is losing weight while suffering from severe morning sickness – a condition she endured when previously pregnant with Prince George.
This story most likely originates from reports in June that Kate was poised to make a "big announcement," which was widely imagined to be a fourth pregnancy, though ultimately turned out to be the launch of a children's charitable foundation. The 'Globe' doesn't appear to have received the memo, and continues with the belief that Kate is pregnant.
"Tom Cruise Bride In Marriage Boot Camp! Actress Hayley Atwell Auditions to be Wife No.4"
How demeaning to suggest that Atwell has to audition to be Cruise's fourth wife. Surely she's had enough screen credits that she can just send in her reel without having to audition? Cruise is reportedly putting Atwell "through a grinding gauntlet" to test her before proposing. Sounds like true love.
"America on the Brink of World War 3!" It's reassuring that the 'Globe' tucks this story away in a small corner of its cover, and buries the story deep within the magazine, under the headline: "America's On Brink of Atomic Armageddon!" Just the sort of news you expect to find on page 10.
Ratcheting up the sensationalism, the story continues: "A global nuclear bloodbath is looming as Russia and China and their allies in North Korea and Iran arm to the teeth in preparation to launch World War III," claims the 'Globe,' citing "a terrifying Pentagon report."
It's one of those rare occasions when the story is based on an actual Pentagon report, and while the official document didn't use quite such inflammatory language, it did suggest that there is "increased potential" for nuclear conflict in regional or global wars.
Evidently Russia, China, North Korea and Iran have worked to increase their nuclear arsenals and their strategic reliance upon them. But the 'Globe' fails to mention that while the US and Russia each have more than 6,000 nuclear weapons, China has a mere 290, and North Korea and Iran boast even fewer, which hardly amounts to being armed to the gums, let alone to the teeth.
"Jill Biden Caught In Durst Murder Trial!" No, she isn't.
First Lady Jill Biden's first husband Bill Stevenson reportedly admits having an affair with New York real estate billionaire Robert Durst's wife Kathleen. Confused? Stick with me. Stevenson and Kathleen were caught together by Durst just days before she disappeared. Long suspected of involvement in Kathleen's disappearance, Durst is now on trial for the murder of her friend, Susan Berman.
The 'Globe' makes an Olympics-sized leap of the imagination to suggest that Jill Biden could be called to testify "as a key witness" in the trial. But the reality is that Jill divorced Stevenson in 1975 and married Joe Biden in 1977, more than four years before Kathleen's disappearance. Jill Biden would likely have had no knowledge of her ex-husband's affairs and movements after their divorce, so there would be no evidentiary value in calling her as a witness. It's just the 'Globe' seizing on an opportunity to smear Biden by association.
Britney Spears' fight against her controlling conservatorship continues to fascinate the tabloids, and the 'Globe' reports: "A Wedding & Baby For Defiant Britney."
They may be getting a little ahead of themselves, since neither are likely while she remains under her court-ordered conservatorship. Spears, aged 39, reportedly intends to marry boyfriend Sam Asghari and "get preggers" – a technical term for conception – even though she claims conservators force her to use birth control.
Romance and joy fills the cover, which proclaims: "Ben & J. Lo – A Second Chance at Love! . . . Why it's working this time . . . They're madly in love."
Affleck and Lopez have been reunited for three months – what could possibly go wrong? And why is their romance working this time, when it failed 17 years ago? "The stars . . . have matured and gained more in common." Sure, that'll do it. The tabloids seem to want this romance to succeed more than the couple themselves.
"Mena Suvari – I'm Lucky I Survived." The star of 'American Beauty' reveals that she "spent years in the grip of sexual abusers and battled drug addiction." Now, of course, she is "happily married and a new mom," and – surprise, surprise – has a new book to promote.
"Kate Winslet – Stronger Than Ever." In this too-brief five-question Q&A Winslet reveals her favorite red carpet dress (an Alexander McQueen number worn for the Oscars for Titanic), how she spent the pandemic (quarantined with her husband and three kids doing a lot of baking and cooking), how she's not looking forward to returning to the red carpet (hoping that "I'm not on my period") and seeing limited progress in equality and inclusivity in Hollywood ("there's still really a long way to go.")
"Britney's Revenge – Breaking Free & Getting Married" proclaims the cover story.
"She's been imprisoned inside a palace like a princess for the last 13 years," says an unnamed source who speaks fluent tabloidese. Now Spears is fighting in court to end her conservatorship. "Britney and Sam want to get married and have a baby" says an unidentified insider, who clearly reads the 'Globe' – not coincidentally a publishing stablemate of 'Us Weekly.'
Like Angie and Brad, Meghan and Kate, Tom Cruise is one of those celebrities for whom the tabloids need no surname for readers to identity, as in this week's story: "Tom's Comeback tour."
Notorious "control freak" Cruise is reportedly working to "soften his image" by being seen publicly hanging out with British soccer star David Beckham and racing star Lewis Hamilton at sporting events in the UK – as if being seen with them will somehow improve his image. Doesn't 'Us Weekly' know that Beckham and Hamilton are just stepping stones, gateway celebrities before Cruise graduates to the hard-core royal family, who we know just love to hobnob in public? His reported romance with co-star Hayley Atwell remains "rumored," but because she is not a member of the Church of Scientology there is naturally speculation that Cruise "would leave the religion for her." Right. Because Tom Cruise is an open book and everyone knows exactly what he is thinking, and he has show such little dedication to his chosen sci-fi religion.
Thankfully we have the crack investigative squad at 'Us' mag to tell us that Nikki Bella wore it best (though her 51-49 vote over Iliza Shlesinger was too close for comfort), that Margaret Cho, Photoshopped to look 17 again, only has "nine toenails," and that the stars are just like us: they go fishing, play golf, read books, drink soda, sip wine, check their makeup and take their pets to the vet – phew! No wonder they all look so exhausted.
Onwards and downwards . . .