By Ron Murdock
“Isn’t it a good feeling when you read the tabloids and realize that a lot of famous people are just as f–cked up as you are?’ – George Carlin
I have to admit to acquiring a taste for the weird and wacky in life. I got a lot of good laughs from looking at the tabloid headlines which at one time could be described as being from the fringe side. It was hard to distinguish where the kernel of truth stopped and became total fabrication. The same rule of thumb applies to the internet as to the print media.
We could argue until the end of time on what constitutes the real news from the counterfeit, but are we really wanting the truth or still willing to settle for the fictional accounts? It’s a shame that media outlets repeat the same sort of dramas like mass shootings, sex scandals and so on. It makes the world look like it’s turning into a freak show. We don’t need as much shock value as there is now; more substance is wanted by all. Cover-ups, whether from NASA or the Vatican, get plenty of attention, but exactly what it is many never be known. People from the herd mentality get a perverse pleasure when the rich and famous fall from their pedestals, but they better remember that they could be next in having their hidden secrets exposed. We all have a dark side to deal with.
To give credit where it is due, the tabloids have scooped ‘regular’ newspapers on some newsworthy items. An example is government hushing up the benefits of life saving drugs from the public. I find it credible enough as doctors are better paid when their patients are hooked on drugs, not when they’re in full health.
My favourite tabloid headline was from 1990. It read ‘Adolph Hitler captured on his way to help Saddam Hussein.’ Uh-huh. Tabloids do have some element of truth in their articles, but most of it is worth flushing down the toilet, as entertaining as it is. I can see libel and slander being a concern for the tabloids, so extra care has to be taken on what is said or printed. But, will the general public ever get tired of the gory aspects of tabloid reporting and get to the important stuff?
I wonder if tabloids appeal to their readers so they can indulge in their darkest fantasies without acting upon them. Tabloids have printed some rather bizarre stories that are more imagination than anything else. With the reputation that they have there must be some pretty good pay, incentives and benefits that attracts the writers to sign up.
Marketing is the key to selling any product, techniques that the tabloids must have been quite sufficient at. Positioning is of critical importance too. Having the tabloids right at the cashier is a great strategic move. I can see waiting in line increasing the impulsive buying. Part of the success tabloids have is the creative writing, non-conformist ways of doing or looking at how things are done. Plus having readers with a ‘twisted’ attitude is a vital part of the mix. Who knows what kinds of malignancy lies inside a person.
Pro wrestling reminds me a lot of the tabloids where embellishment can be predominant. Conspiracy theorists must get something out of the tabloids as a way of confirming that there are groups out there that want to control or destroy the world as we know it. I’m part of the group that doesn’t want to take things too seriously and appreciate the nonsense that is involved. Writing for tabloids must be good therapy in that it gives writers a chance to let loose all the craziness that has built up inside them.
Tasteless as tabloids are at times, they are still part of the competitive edge that the human spirit has. It’s too bad that the media has either become politically correct or over kills a news story. A perfect example is how CNN latches on to a story and does not let go of it for days on end. It might be a case of the media being part of a parallel universe and wound up here. Maybe this parallel world is called Bizarro Land, where fact and fiction are mingled to the point that they can no longer be separated.