Tales From A Tabloid Scholar

Some people spend their lives studying the I Ching or the Talmud, but I’ve devoted my existence to studying the tabloids. If you need to know the name of Jennifer Aniston’s dogs (Sophie and Dolly), I’m your go-to person. By the way, did you know that Jen’s pets drink non-alkaline, anti-aging water exclusively? Of course you didn’t. This is the kind of detail that only a tabloid scholar like myself can drop into everyday conversation.

I used to be coy about my tabloid-reading habits. When people asked me what magazines I subscribed to I’d say, The New Republic. Unfortunately that answer led people to believe I was knowledgeable about current affairs. Which I am. So long as those affairs are between famous film stars and their nannies.

In fact, it’s my dream to write for the tabloids because their journalistic standards are extremely lax.  If you don’t have sources to support a celebrity story, all you have to do is quote “an insider,” “a close friend” or the “star’s pet parrot.”

Also if you’re out of story ideas, just make one up. Back to Jen. How many times has she been accused of having a baby bump? Poor thing can’t drink a beer or eat a burrito without generating a pregnancy headline. Thank God I’m not a celebrity because the captions underneath my photos would perpetually read: “Is It Triplets?”

Speaking of baby bumps, another reason I want to write for tabloids is because I’m extremely proficient in tabloid lingo. For instance, once a baby bump grows into a real-live baby, the celebrity always experiences “Baby Joy.” This is a required headline, and is truth in advertising because celebrities rarely have to deal with the dreaded Baby Misery. That’s what nannies are for. Female celebrities require several nannies just in case one is too busy having an affair with their husbands.

Also when a couple is breaking up—which is catnip for tabloids; happiness between couples is dull unless it results in Baby Joy or nude selfie tweets—they are always “leading separate lives.”

On the other hand, if a divorce actually occurs, the celebrities will typically make a plea for people “to respect their privacy.” (Unless they’re promoting something, then they’ll do a tell-all in Vanity Fair.) Finally after the dust settles an “insider” will report that, “Both parties are in a good space.” That’s accurate reporting because celebrities generally live in fabulous estates with breathtaking views, in-home theaters and gold-plated microwaves. Very good spaces, indeed.

Or the celebs might move on to someone else which creates the best tabloid story ever, the Love Triangle! This is a tabloid cash cow which can be milked for years. Back to Jen again. Even after she dies, you’ll probably see headlines like, “Following Ugly Fight With Angie, Brad Summons Jen’s Ghost in a Séance.”

See how these stories write themselves? No wonder I want to work for a tabloid. And if there’s a slow news week or my imagination were to run dry, I could always write about a Duggar. There’s dozens of Duggars so I’d never run out of material. Speaking of Duggars, did you know Jill Duggar is surrounded by pregnancy rumors? Is it triplets? I hope so. Thrice the story fodder.

This article appears in the October 2016 issue of Augusta Magazine.

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