Let us pause, remove the hats from our collective heads, place them over
our hearts and observe a moment of silence as the hearse rolls by, carrying
the remains of an old friend.
That friend is the Weekly World News, which was to supermaket checkout
lines what the New York Times is to international reporting. It will cease
publication on Aug. 3 of this year, according to its publisher, American
American Media is headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida, and is best known
as the publisher of the National Enquirer. The company announced last month
it was exploring the sale of five of its 16 magazines as part of a strategy
to focus on celebrity weeklies and lifestyle magazines
That's what they say.
But we know WWN was in fact killed by brain-eating zombies from outer
And its demise has left the world a much more boring place.
Where else but the WWN could you find stories like, "Hillary Clinton
Adopts Alien Baby" or "Termites Eat the Eifel Tower," "Hard Up Sheik Sheds
His Wives, 200 Woman Harem to be Sold on eBay." or "Mink Coat Comes Alive and
Bites Rich Widow to Death."
Where else can we learn that French President Jacques Chirac has announced
a plan for France to surrender retroactively in all of history's previous
wars or that the Pope wants Mel Gibson as successor or that Dick Cheney is a
robot or that a cruel surgeon re-attached a pair of conjoined twins after
they failed to pay their medical bill for the initial surgical separation he
Where else do you read "Doomsday Dragons Heading for Earth!'' "Gal Uses
Dead Hubby's Ashes for Breast Implants!'' "Painting of Elvis Weeps Real
Tears!'' or "Oprah to Replace Lincoln on $5 Bill!"
Where else do you find a columnist like Ed Anger. His book, "Let's Pave
the Stupid Rainforests and Give School Teachers Stun Guns," could have served
as a primer for right wing radio talk show hosts.
The Economist once described Anger as a man who "hated foreigners, yoga,
whales, speed limits and pineapple on pizza; he liked flogging,
electrocutions and beer."
There was never a slow news day at the WWN. That's because there was no
need for news. While it never publicly questioned the accuracy of its own
stories, even billig itself as "the world's most reliable paper," it did
begin stating several years back that "the reader should suspend disbelief
for the sake of enjoyment."
As if we had to be told.
Sal Ivon, former managing editor, said, "If someone calls me up and says
their toaster is talking to them, I don't refer them to professional help, I
say, 'Put the toaster on the phone'."?
Perhaps the most famous character to appear in the pages of WWN was Bat
Boy, a half bat, half boy found in a cave.
According to published reports, Bat Boy was first featured in a 1992
issue. He since has led police on a high speed chase, fought in the war on
terror, led the troops to capture Saddam Hussein, bitten Santa Claus and
traveled into outer space. In 2000, he gave his endorsement to Al Gore. It is
fortold that he will become president in 2028.
We could do worse. And have.
A personal favorite was WWN's cover story following the Northridge
earthquake, headlined "Earthquake Releases Demons From Hell." It was
illustrated by an alleged photo showing a couple of T-Rex looking dudes
terrorizing San Fernando Valley residents while hanging out besides a
I think the folks who conceived these stories were geniusus and the
writers were worthy of Pulitzer consideration, a view probably shared by no
other human being.
Well, there was one other person. In the film "Men in Black, Tommy Lee
Jones refers to WWN as the "best damn investigative reporting on the planet."
Now, all are left with for comic relief is the Fox television network.