Saturday Afternoon Funnies

A song and some passing thoughts on supermarket tabloids.

James Joyner’s post, National Enquirer Voters, reminded me of this gem, an early Weird Al original, Midnight Star (which will not embed for some reason, so you’ll have to click through). It is from his second album, Weird Al Yankovich in 3-D from 1984 (which I had on vinyl back in the day). It still is quite amusing.

I am also reminded that I remember being told by my mother when I was a wee lad that the Enquirer and like publications were utter nonsense and I have long struggled to understand their appeal. I remember being a kid and marveling that the National Enquirer had a circulation of over one million (and I still remember their “Inquring Minds Want to Know” ads from the 80s). All of this is just an example of how the current meme-cultural on social media is not so much a new phenomenon than it is a new manifestation of long-standing gullibility in some segments of the population.

Another favorite to go along with the batboy:

More via Mother Jones: Hillary’s Alien Baby And 7 Other Out-of-This-World Tabloid Tales.

In my youth, I thought, “surely, no one takes this seriously.” Deep into my middle age, I have to accept the grim fact that a lot of people probably did.

FILED UNDER: Media, US Politics, , , ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. CSK says:

    As Rolling Stone pointed out, World Weekly News is a spoof tabloid. It’s a joke, a parody of the National Enquirer. I don’t think anyone took it seriously.

    The National Enquirer itself is different. It intends itself to be taken seriously.

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  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The world became a lot poorer when the Weekly Weird… Ooopps, I mean World News closed up shop.

    Once upon a time I had a small collection of lead pages with SATAN SEEN IN… some cloud formation, tornado, bomb mushroom cloud etc etc. I still lament their loss. Some real gems in it.

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  3. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    One of my fave headlines from WWN:

    WAS THE LAST SUPPER REALLY A CELEBRITY ROAST?

    http://www.weeklyworldnews.com

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  4. Andy says:

    20 years ago, my oldest brother would get me a subscription to the Weekly World News for my birthday, and I got him a subscription to the National Enquirer. It was a fun in-joke between us.

    Beyond the tiny minority of people with substantial “issues”, I seriously doubt anyone took anything in the WWN seriously.

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  5. Kingdaddy says:

    The Weekly World News gave us many hours of hilarity. Some highlights:

    The columnist Ed Anger, who was always madder than something (e.g., a wet hen who backed into a thornbush).

    The woman who inadvertently married Bigfoot.

    The Vatican desperately searching for the Pope, who had wandered off.

    Every bizarre “scientific” claim came from a Russian scientist.

    The headline, RAGING TEENS BOP MOM WITH CRUCIFIX.

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  6. Gustopher says:

    @Kingdaddy: Ed Anger might be a mainstream Republican now.

    I always loved “Dear Dottie”, the advice columnist from hell.

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  7. CSK says:

    @Gustopher:
    Oh my God. Dottie Primrose.

    @Kingdaddy:
    And Ed Anger.

    @Andy:
    My mother gave me a subscription as a birthday gift.

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  8. CSK says:

    A guy named Justin Mitchell was actually Ed Anger, Dotti Primrose, and Serena Sabak, “the world’s sexiest psychic.”

    Mitchell’s favorite headline: AMAZON TRIBE WORSHIPS WISCONSIN BOWLING TEAM AS GODS.

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  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Andy: @CSK:

    Sniff, sniff… Nobody ever loved me that much…

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  10. Just nutha says:

    In the early days of the innertubes, WWN was said to have published a website that explained how their front page photos were created. I never found it but never looked hard either.

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  11. Andy says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Lol!

    One year instead of the usual, I decided to get my brother a subscription to Playgirl and sent it to his work address (he owns a construction business). He was amused but made it clear that I shouldn’t do that again.

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  12. Matt Bernius says:

    @Andy:

    One year instead of the usual, I decided to get my brother a subscription to Playgirl and sent it to his work address (he owns a construction business). He was amused but made it clear that I shouldn’t do that again.

    You are my new hero. That is next level in terms of pranks.

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  13. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK: I used to send it to a friend who was in the Peace Corps in Fiji at the time. I wonder what her local friends thought of the fact that President George H. W. Bush was controlled via an implant by the grey aliens?

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  14. CSK says:

    @MarkedMan:
    They probably thought: “Those wacky Americans…”

    I can just see the staff of the editorial and photo departments of the WWN trying to outdo one another coming up with insane story ideas and rolling on the floor laughing.

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  15. de stijl says:

    Man, I miss Weekly World News.

    It was so bonkers! Man Trapoed In Hedge For Three Days.

    Ed Anger, Miss Dottie, Bat Boy….

    If you want to get big brained about it, Weekly World News was a meta criticism on a news media culture trending towards shit. Selling bs to willing rubes for dollars. Sophistry, manipulation, group think. Sought and bought by the government.

    Ed Anger preceded and predicted Bill O’Reilly. Bill was a pale imitation.

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  16. Ed says:

    @de stijl: still here.
    weeklyworldnews.com. FB weeklyworldnews

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  17. Jax says:

    The tabloids in the grocery aisle are the same as these Facebook “satire” groups….nobody expects people to really believe it, but it turns out there’s a whole-ass group of them that do, and….they can’t tell the difference between truth and reality, whether it’s in print, on the internet, or on the radio.

    And they vote.

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