In the spirit of Thanksgiving we can be grateful for the tabloids' pursuit of truth, justice and the American way – as long as the American way is dedicated to speculation, supposition, suspicion and sensationalism.
Britain's royal soap opera has gone into overdrive as if it's the season finale during Sweeps Week and the writers are scheming to kill off a major cast member if salary negotiations don't work out for the following year.
"Widowed Queen, 95, Bravely Facing The End!" proclaims the cover story. What else would Her Majesty do? Hide under the covers and refuse all sustenance? Ride her stately horse-drawn carriage off a cliff?
"Elizabeth's tragic diagnosis EXPOSED!" The rag claims: "An emergency battery of tests revealed fears Elizabeth faces deadly blood cancer." Can tests reveal "fears"? The Queen either has leukemia or she doesn't. And why would Her Royal Highness require a battery of new tests, when the 'Enquirer' has been telling readers since March 2019 that she's been diagnosed with the disease? It's as if they don't believe their own reports could possibly be true.
"Charles & William FIGHT for throne." No, they don't. For crying out loud, The Settlement Act of 1701 lays down the rules of succession, and unless William plans to kill his father, or Charles meets a premature end – those soap opera screenwriters can be fickle – Charles will be the next monarch by law.
"Banned Harry will NEVER see her again!" Unless he flies to the UK, in which case he'll almost certainly see his royal granny again.
"Dying Queen Fights To Save Monarchy!" She's dying, but she's also a warrior queen girding for battle? Right. Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan's attacks on the royal family, Harry's feud with Prince William, and Prince Andrew's alleged rape scandal supposedly threaten the monarchy, and to save the institution the Queen plans to "banish certain offenders." No names mentioned (Harry, Meghan, Andrew – are you reading this?) As if banning anyone would make any difference to the royal's troubles.
"Angelina Jolie Is Killing Brad!"
Has she taken out a contract on her ex-husband and sent a team of hit-men gunning for Pitt? Nothing so exotic. Brad Pitt is reportedly "balding and battered after brutal 5-year custody battle," and "looked skeletal and washed out" on a recent night out. Apparently Pitt's frail appearance can be blamed on Jolie, rather than the fact he's filming back-to-back movies, and that he's not as young as he used to be.
"US Braces For World War 3!"
The coming Armageddon is buried on page 16, which is obviously the right place to report the century's biggest story, following more important stories on Ryan Seacrest's "man boob nightmare," Angelina Jolie's planned butt lift, and Geraldo's moves to leave Fox TV.. Evidently world war is almost upon us as "Russia readies spring invasion." That's something to look forward to. It's an "Enquirer Exclusive," because clearly the failing 'New York Times' and 'Washington Post' missed this major breaking story.
"Baldwin's Band-Aid Baby! Hilaria hopes having 7th little mouth to feed will help Alec de-stress!" Since when does adding a screaming newborn to a household reduce stress after you've accidentally killed someone?
"Bill Clinton Deathbed Divorce!" screams the cover. "Medical crisis sparks $120 million breakup. Desperate to escape Hillary after 46 years."
If the Monica Lewinsky scandal and the Starr Report and Whitewater scandal and Hillary's rumored affair with Vince Foster and the Clinton Foundation scandal didn't tear them apart, why would Bill Clinton, at the age of 75, want to divorce 74-year-old Hillary now, just because he was in hospital recently and, according to the rag, had a narrow "escape from death"?
"He's no longer willing to live a lie," says a naturally unnamed "insider." Right. A urinary tract infection will do that to you.
"Hubby Abandons Epstein Madam!" That's assuming that Scott Borgerson was actually married to Ghislaine Maxwell in the first place: he's never confirmed their marriage, and no wedding certificate has yet been found.
"Biden & Kamala's Ugly Knife Fight!"
Did the president and vice president square off in the Oval Office, their left hands tied together at the wrist by a bandana, circling one another, slashing with switchblades? As if. No, the 'Globe' is employing industrial lashings of poetic license to characterize Joe Biden's apparent distance from Kamala Harris, described by unnamed sources as an "exhausted stalemate." Otherwise known as a knife fight, one assumes.
"Stalin's Horrifying Planet of the Apes." The Russian dictator allegedly "financed evil experiments to breed humans with chimpanzees," according to "recently unearthed" government documents, the 'Globe' claims. The rag fails to mention that these newly discovered documents emerged in the 1990s, and have been repeatedly reported through the decades. The experiments took place in 1926, which qualifies as breaking news for the 'Globe.'
The shocking embryo mix-up that resulted in a tragic baby swap for Alexander and Daphna Cardinale, who gave birth to a baby girl they discovered wasn't theirs, provides this week's cover story beneath the headline: "This Isn't Our Child." Intriguingly 'People' doesn't make much of the fact that another couple also gave birth to the Cardinale's baby, and presumably were equally devastated to have spent nine months gestating and several months more loving their newborn before discovering it belonged to another family. The couples eventually swapped babies so that the babies ended up with their biological families, but it's clearly an IVF clinic screw-up that could make buying future Mother's Day cards a traumatic experience.
"Lady Gaga in Love!" It's a "life-changing romance," says the mag, which seems to be over-stating matters when it then goes on to quote an unnamed source saying the singer is enjoying "a quiet life" in Malibu with tech-investor boyfriend Michael Polansky.
"Jessica Simpson: Living a Lie" states the cover, which seems rather a harsh accusation under the circumstances. The singer reportedly "smiles for the cameras" but is "falling apart," claims the mag. "Simpson is secretly worried husband Eric Johnson needs some breathing room." She's been sober for four years, just released a new single, and recently regained full ownership of her billion dollar brand, so naturally 'Us Weekly' says "things are falling apart." Right.
"25 Things You Don't Know About The Queen." What could have possessed Her Majesty to agree to partake in this pop quiz? She didn't, of course. Among the proffered gems: "she saves rubber bands," "always wears neutral nail polish," "loves to laugh," and "regularly wanders around her homes switching off lights to conserve energy." Hardly surprising, since she doesn't even crack the Top Ten on Forbes magazine's list of the world's wealthiest women.
On this Thanksgiving week we can give special thanks for the crack investigative team at 'Us Weekly' who tell us that Sara Sampaio wore it best (delivering a rare defeat to Bella Hadid), that the Queen "was always a bit of a loner," and that the stars are just like us: they pack groceries, drink coffee, and bring an umbrella in case of rain, which on a wet November day in London seemed the only sensible course of action for former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell.
In other tabloids:
Kylie Jenner is a "Delivery Room Diva!" declares 'OK!' magazine, which is impressive considering she's not due to deliver her second baby with Travis Scott until the year's end at the earliest.
"She's out of control," claims the rag, which ratchets up the implausibility level by claiming that she is planning a "$400K birthing suite," will have an "immediate tummy tuck & butt lift," and is charging her Jenner-Kardashian clan sisters "$1 million for selfies." Seems like a bargain.
Singer Taylor Swift "Finally Speaks!" according to 'Life & Style' magazine, though it seems likely that she actually learned to speak as a child, and a number of past TV interview suggest that she mastered the power of locution some time ago. If Swift has spoken, it's unlikely to have been in a sit-down with 'Life & Style.'
While other tabloids are preparing to bury the Queen amid a fracturing royal family, 'In Touch' mag goes in the opposite direction, with its cover declaring: "The Queen's Christmas Miracle!" and predicting: "Royal Family Reuniting!" Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.
Onwards and downwards . . .