Loss of an old friend

August 1, 2007

I read last week that The Weekly World News was ceasing publication.


I have been hooked on this paper for years. Tabloid journalism of the worst possible kind. I was never sure how much was news, and the world nature of the stories was dubious, since so many of them were obviously fiction.

But boy howdy, it was weekly. Every time I went to the grocery store, there as a new issue to stare at, while checking out. And my kids would beg for the right to read about the latest adventures of Batboy, or the world’s fattest (badly photshopped) cat, or maybe the “Invasion of hundred pound mice” that “Threatens Life on Earth.” (Which explains the world’s fattest cat, I suppose).

I remember watching a talk show, many years ago, where Geraldo, or some other appropriately tawdry interviewer, was talking to editors of all the major tabloids. Whoever it was, asked the editor of the WWN if all their stories were true.

The editor answered, “If you really believe that on an island in the South Pacific, there is a native tribe dancing around an enormous statue of Elvis and singing “Viva Las Vegas?” (pause with deadpan)

“Then, yes. It’s all true.”

Words to live by.

I kept my favorite headline, pinned on a bulletin board next to my worktable, back in the pre-writing, pre-library, theater job years. It was just a bottom of the page filler, dateline: Jakarta.

Someone had spotted a flying pig.

Thanks to WWN, I knew even then, that anything I wanted out of life was possible, now that the first pig had flown.