Rumor with a View

Celebrities! Who doesn’t love ’em? NOBODY, that’s who! We all enjoy reading about their triumphs, their failures, their breasts, and more of their failures. That’s why gossip magazines thrive despite being poorly written and found only at supermarket checkstands, where they are placed among the other items that people only buy unintentionally or on a whim.

But since gossip magazines owe their existence to celebrities, they often have to whitewash their stories. After all, the hottest celebs won’t give you exclusive interviews if you trashed them in last week’s issue. We have to read between the lines to get the full scoop. So here, as a public service, are quotes from the Nov. 20 issues of In Touch Weekly and OK! Weekly, accompanied by my translation of what’s really being said.

What they say: “She’s wearing pregnancy clothes again!”
What they mean: “She’s getting fat!”

What they say: “Britney wants a boob job!”
What they mean: “Getting rid of one boob wasn’t enough.”

What they say: “Jessica Simpson … re-created her sexy scene from ‘The Dukes of Hazzard’ for DirecTV’s new ad campaign.”
What they mean: “Jessica Simpson will do more or less anything for a few dollars.”

What they say: “It’s clear by the way [Madonna] cuddled [her new adopted son] at the JFK airport in NYC that she already feels a close bond with the 13-month-old.”
What they mean: “It’s clear Madonna knows a good photo opportunity when she sees one.”

What they say: “Ever since he and wife Reese Witherspoon announced their separation, Ryan Phillippe has been fighting rumors that he — and he alone — was to blame.”
What they mean: “There was another culprit besides Ryan: Ryan’s dullness.”

What they say: “[Ryan Phillippe] would never do anything to embarrass Reese or his family.”
What they mean: “Except appear in ‘Cruel Intentions.'”

What they say: “Britney Spears is noticing some changes in her body — and she’s not happy about it.”
What they mean: “‘Squeezin’ out babies done made me fatter, y’all!'”

What they say: “Nicole Ritchie’s skeletal appearance made heads turn at a recent party.”
What they mean: “Among the heads that turned: Nicole’s own, 360 degrees.”

What they say: “Courteney Cox and husband David Arquette … spent almost two hours enjoying each other’s company over dinner and wine.”
What they mean: “We’ve discovered the maximum length of time that someone can enjoy David Arquette: almost two hours.”

What they say: “Sure, Ashton Kutcher is gorgeous, but it’s his love for his family that makes us swoon.”
What they mean: “If by ‘love of his family’ we mean ‘abs.'”

What they say: “Ashton still likes to open doors for Demi. ‘I try to impress her every day,’ he admits.”
What they mean: “This just in: Demi Moore is impressed by seeing people open doors.”

What they say: “The man accused of stalking Hilary Duff was charged with making criminal threats and … told a private investigator he planned to kill the 19-year-old star.”
What they mean: “Through some loophole in the criminal code, it is illegal to kill Hilary Duff.”

What they say: “Katie [Holmes]’s last-minute wedding jitters.”
What they mean: “The drugs are wearing off.”

What they say: “Paris Hilton … says that when she’s at home, she’d ‘rather watch a movie … or eat.'”
What they mean: “From the looks of her, Paris Hilton has not been at home in several months.”

What they say: “Jennifer Aniston’s whirlwind trip to London to visit boyfriend Vince Vaughn has, it seems, left her a changed woman, glowing with love.”
What they mean: “Despite our efforts to the contrary, Jennifer Aniston appears to be happy.”

What they say: “Pamela Anderson … says she’d even one day consider adopting…. She says, ‘Any time a child gets a chance at a better life, it’s a good thing.'”
What they mean: “It is sobering to realize that there are situations over which being adopted by Pamela Anderson would be an improvement.”

What they say: “Lindsay Lohan has finally moved into the $2 million condo she bought in 2005 and has been renovating ever since.”
What they mean: “She’s been installing cocaine dispensers in every bathroom.”

What they say: “Now that it’s over with ex Chad Lowe, Hilary Swank has a new companion in her life — Karoo, her Jack Russell-and-Corgi-mix puppy!”
What they mean: “That’s Hilary on the right.”

I did one of these a few months back and got a kick out of it, so I thought I'd revisit the gossip magazines for a little sequel. And "What They Say/What They Mean" is an old MAD Magazine format, making this yet another column where the fact that I read MAD Magazine fervently as a youth comes into play.

The last joke, about Hilary Swank, really isn't fair. She looks a lot more like a horse than a dog. I can only hope that someday a gossip magazine will run a picture of her and a horse, because then the comedy will write itself.