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Tabloid truths that enticed me today

April 14th, 2004 · 1 Comment

Jeff Jarvis today linked to a Wall Street Journal article describing how one magazine (tabloid) had altered a cover photograph of Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher, changing the colors of their clothes to white in order to match their headline story about the couple’s wedding plans.

When I read his link I had just gotten home from the grocery store, after reading a few interesting magazine covers while waiting in line. Although Demi Moore’s choice of attire usually doesn’t mean much to me, I remembered Jarvis’s post. At lunchtime I realized I forgot to buy lunchmeat, so during Abigail’s dance class in the afternoon I headed over again to Safeway.

Waiting in line once more, I noticed the Star cover did look strange. The colors of the digitally-enhanced clothes seemed more silver-satin than white and without dimension. Maybe I wouldn’t have noticed it if I hadn’t known.

But it’s not as if many of the magazines stacked in racks by the candy bars and fortune scrolls, waiting for an impulse purchase, are known for their integrity and ethics. When I learned how to use Photoshop, following the tutorial’s instructions to change the color and number of gondolas in a scene, I thought to myself – oh, that’s how the Enquirer creates those pictures! Isn’t that what tabloid means: distorted truth for sale? Cheap paper entertainment? Frills and photos for fun? Who believes them?

Yet in the only-semi-serious/half-silly mood I find myself these days, I decided to do something extraordinary and exceptional for me: take a tabloid home. I was buying wine (my favorite one on sale) and ham so the Weekly World News fit with my purchases: alcohol and baloney!

Here’s the title that enticed me:


Newlyweds found in Titanic Life Raft! Groom still kissing bride after 92 years!

Okay, it’s a bit morbid, this story about Titanic lovers discovered as two skeletons afloat. But also romantic: a bride and groom who literally did “’til death do us part!”. Ah, newlyweds so in love and alone, embracing in a life raft. But then again, if you gotta go – which we all do at sometime – wouldn’t it be great to die while kissing 😉

Oh, yeah and the other title Twelve Members of Congress are Space Aliens! was a fun one too, especially the illustration. Inside there are tips on How to Tell If Your U.S. Congressman is a Space Alien including Space aliens never quite assimilate the meanings of words in English and use words in ways that are widely nebulous and abstract and Beware of politicians who make you sleepy when they talk printed beside a picture of a presidential candidate…

This magazine is lots of fun…maybe I’ll take it on the plane with me Friday as antidote to the piles of intense techie documents I’ve already printed out…I’m sure it will help keep me sane and get me looks from my seatmates who will wonder where it is I am going….

I’m getting a good laugh and someone at Weekly World News is laughing all the way to the bank with my $1.99.

Tags: news

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 enoch choi // Apr 15, 2004 at 6:43 am

    and what’s your favorite wine?