If you ever want to doubt the goodness of humanity, I recommend you pick up a gossip magazine and look at how cruelly we treat celebrities, our greatest natural resource.
Now, most of us find at least a little fascination in some of the more unusual celebrity stories — the Katie Holmes Scientology indoctrination, Britney Spears driving with her baby on her lap, Michael Jackson in general, etc. But magazines like Us Weekly, In Touch and Life & Style take it to a higher, creepier level. These publications are page after glossy page of celebrity pics that were snapped not on the red carpet or at charity events, but while the celebs were grocery shopping or playing in the park with their children — times when they would probably rather be left alone, in other words.
Not that I feel all that bad for the stars, mind you. The trials and tribulations of being Brad Pitt are more than adequately balanced by the paychecks you get for being Brad Pitt. But honestly, what kind of people buy these magazines every week? Whose life is THAT sad and lonely, to where they have to read intrusive gossip about strangers for entertainment?
Anyway, while I was reading the magazines last week, I noticed that they tend to use a very specialized jargon, and they tend to skip over the more pertinent facts. So in the interest of public service, and to maintain my status as a non-profit tax-exempt 501c3 charitable organization, I thought I’d reprint some excerpts and offer my translations. All of these are actual quotes from the March 6 issues of Us Weekly and In Touch.
What they say: “It was ‘Sin City’ as Jessica Alba grabbed a parking ticket from her windshield after spending a little too much time at Jamba Juice and a newsstand in Beverly Hills.”
What they mean: “Jessica Alba can read? And drive?!”
What they say: “Rapper Eve kept the mood light [at an AIDS awareness campaign photo shoot], laughing with her crew and listening to UB40. ‘We’re doing something positive, so it’s important to have some fun too!'”
What they mean: “Rapper Eve thinks AIDS is boring.”
What they say: “Long lunches and lingering hugs make Hilary Swank and Chad Lowe look like a couple again.”
What they mean: “Unfortunately, her giant mouth and narrow head make her look like a horse again.”
What they say: “Leonardo DiCaprio has been dating Israeli model Bar Rafaeli since early December.”
What they mean: “Remember Leonardo DiCaprio? No, not that guy. The other one. The one from ‘Titanic.’ Yeah, him. Anyway, he’s been dating someone you’ve never heard of. Sorry. Not much of a story. I don’t know why I brought it up.”
What they say: “Luckily, Jessica Simpson still has the one thing she has relied on most: family.”
What they mean: “Luckily, Jessica Simpson still has the one thing she has relied on most: her breast. And also her other breast.”
What they say: “Are Heath Ledger and Michelle Williams’s hands glued together? They can’t keep their hands off each other!”
What they mean: “A spurned Jake Gyllenhaal could not be reached for comment.”
What they say: “Pamela Anderson was chosen to be M&M candy’s new ambassador because company execs thought the sexy star was a perfect match for the supposed aphrodisiac qualities of the melt-in-your-mouth candy.”
What they mean: “Pamela Anderson, who would endorse the Ebola virus if you gave her $10, was chosen to represent M&Ms because, like the candy, she’s artificially made and coated in a thin candy shell.”
What they say: “Soaking up the sun in Los Cabos, Mexico, a gloriously pregnant Gwyneth Paltrow showed off her growing belly while lounging around the pool.”
What they mean: “Look how FAT this woman is! Holy crap! We’ve never seen anyone so FAT!!”
What they say: “The divorce between Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey is not going to be as easy as she first hoped.”
What they mean: “There will be some math involved.”
What they say: “As Paris Hilton raised her glass of Dom Perignon at Pure nightclub in Las Vegas, all eyes were on the birthday girl.”
What they mean: “As Paris Hilton raised her glass of Dom Perignon at Pure nightclub in Las Vegas, all the fawning toadies she pays to encircle her and shower her with praise at all times were looking at her and secretly praying for death, either hers or their own.”
What they say: “Seven months pregnant, Katie Holmes travels 7,500 miles across the world to stand by her man.”
What they mean: “Neither Katie Holmes nor Tom Cruise cares about the health of their sham baby, which is why she took a 15-hour plane ride despite being seven months pregnant.”
What they say: “Eva Longoria is having a love affair — not just with basketball beau Tony Parker, but with J&Company jeans!”
What they mean: “A sex tape of Eva and the jeans has been released on the Internet.”
What they say: “Ben Affleck’s worst date ended on a sour note: ‘She went over to her car and started throwing up,’ Ben remembers. ‘I never saw her again!'”
What they mean: “Sadly, ‘she’ was Matt Damon.”
What they say: “After making her date laugh all night, ‘The View’s’ Joy Behar learned that being funny is not the same as getting the guy to call back.”
What they mean: “And being Joy Behar is not the same as being funny.”
What they say: “Jon Bon Jovi turned 40 in true rock ‘n’ roll style: He blew out candles on his cake in L.A., and then flew to NYC for a party where he sang for his guests!”
What they mean: “Jon Bon Jovi’s career is so over, the only time he gets to sing for an audience anymore is at his own birthday party.”
What they say: “Self-confessed shopaholic Nicole Richie admits that she has between 150 and 200 purses.”
What they mean: “All the money you’ll ever make in your entire life? Nicole Richie has spent that much on purses.”
I had never picked up any of these magazines before (honest!) until Glenn Beck's Fusion magazine, for which I was then a staff writer -- this was before Beck hopped aboard the crazy train -- assigned me to write an article similar to this one. I liked the idea so much I decided to use it for a column.