Wednesday, July 9, 2014

My New Career Writing for the Tabloids

The tabloid press is in a rut. It has become boring. I plan to change that in my new job writing for them. I have entirely new slants to bring to these important stories of the day and I expect my issues to go flying off newsstands, both real and virtual. Of course, they ahem, haven't actually made me the job offers yet but it surely is just a matter of days before the offers start inundating me after they read my below proposed new story lines.

First thing I would do is hire a psychiatrist as a consultant. The tabloids hire plastic surgeons all the time for analyzing changes in stars' faces and bodies. I plan to go deeper. You say no one wants to know the inner depths of the tabloid kings and queens, or, that they have no hidden depths? I say there is some shrink out there who can be properly utilized by me and my tabloid employer. For the moment, we will call him Dr. Feelgood.

My first story will be about Kanye West, the rapper and Kim Kardashian's newest husband. He was just booed while performing live onstage because he stopped performing his musical numbers to address the crowd in his signature tirade fashion, while wearing a bejeweled face mask, shown below.

As usual, he needed to share the things which were pissing him off in his life. He had done the same when giving his recent wedding toasts. Here is my currently imaginary coverage with Dr. Feelgood's commentary, which will become real the moment I am hired by the first tabloid. FYI, the legal protections for me are the best in the world so the sky is the limit here. America's First Amendment requires a public figure like Kanye to prove actual malice if he sues me for libel. Below is Kanye's mother's death and funeral in 2007 which will figure in our discussion.

After consulting the legitimate press, People Magazine, from 2007,  Dr. F. and Carol begin talking about Kanye.

Carol: Doctor F, I've done some digging and found that Kanye's mother died in 2007 as a result of plastic surgery for which Kanye paid (reported here). Do you think his wearing this mask could be connected to the way she died?

Dr. F: Yes, he is acting out his torture over his part in her death. The jewels on the mask represent the money which was at the heart of why he lost her. I would diagnose him as having post traumatic stress disorder.

Carol: How does his marriage to Kim Kardashian figure into this?

Dr. F:  He replaced his mother with her so she is his mother substitute.

Carol: You think Kim and his mother are alike?

Dr. F: Underneath, of course.

Carol: They certainly don't seem anything alike to me.  His mother was a PhD, a university professor, which seems quite different from Kim's limited educational background, not to mention their being different races, religions and socio-economic upbringings.

Dr. F: That's all just superficial. Underneath the two women are identical.

Carol: Well, that's a bit glib.

Feelgood just stares at Carol.

Carol: How would you treat Kanye?

Dr. F: I think primal scream therapy would be very good for him.  He needs to let it out. He has swimming pools. I find that the patient's diving down to the bottom of the pool and then screaming there with all of his might is very therapeutic.

Carol looks uneasily at Feelgood, obvious skepticism written all over her face.

Carol: Let's move on, Doctor, to our next star, Clint Eastwood.

Carol pulls out below collage of Eastwood's women and plants it in front of Feelgood's face.

Carol: Dr. F, in this image the woman with the grocery cart is Clint's new girlfriend. He is now in his 80s. She is 51. Shown also are pictures of his first wife, Maggie, both when they were married and present day. There are also pictures of his longtime girlfriend and co-star, Sondra Locke, all taken when they were both considerably younger. Any comments?

Dr. F: Wow, they are dead ringers for one another!

Carol (grinding her teeth): I meant psychiatric comments, Dr. F.

Dr. F: Oh, yes, sorry. Do you have any pictures of Clint's mother?

Carol, as she passes photo to Dr. F: Only as an older woman. She went to the Oscars with Clint and was photographed there. see below

Dr. F (after studying photo): Well, this tells the whole story. He's replacing his mother every time he picks a "new" woman. In reality, he is picking the same woman over and over again.

Carol: You're not going to suggest the swimming pool screaming again for treatment?

Dr. F: No, I think he's a very good candidate for analysis.

Carol: Are you a Freudian?

Carol gets a blank stare from Feelgood.

Carol: You know, Sigmund Freud?

Dr. F: He was considered passé by the time I was getting my medical training.

Carol: Well, are you a Jungian or did you throw Carl Jung out too?

Dr. F: Gee, you're really into all these long gone dudes.

Carol is beginning to smolder.

Carol: Did you really say dudes, doctor? (She takes a deep breath to steady herself.) Well, who or what theory do you subscribe to, may I ask?

Dr. F: I give them meds and then just rap with them, sort of light behavior mod.

Carol (burn building now): You throw out the two most prominent men in the whole field and just go off on some tangent? That's your idea of "analysis"--meds and rapping?

Dr. F: Of course.

Carol: What do you get for these services--I mean in addition to the money we are paying you for your (sneering) "professional advice".

Dr. F: I don't think that's pertinent to this conversation.

Carol: Where in the hell did you get your degrees? (rustling through the papers in his file folder)? Oh, Good Lord (holding up a page) you went to school in the Caribbean! The tabloid hired a total quack.

Dr. F: I resent that! My degrees are perfectly valid.

Carol: You couldn't get into one American medical school.  You are that stupid.

All of a sudden the studio breaks into a shouting match between the two and then they spring out of their chairs and are shoving and pushing one another around the set. Someone calls security and several security officers have to pull them off of one another.

Carol's shrieks of "Quack!" along with quacking sounds she makes at Dr. F are heard as well as his outraged sputtering of, "How Dare You?!"

Ultimately, the tabloids deem Carol unsuitable for tabloid journalism while Dr. F is kept on retainer for psychiatric commentary on high profile subjects. He has become very popular. He claims to be treating both Kanye and Clint and achieving great success with Kanye screaming underwater and at his rap sessions with Clint. Carol is writing a book about Feelgood and the tabloid industry and their psychiatric charlatanism. However, no one has expressed any interest in publishing this book.

This was another satire or spoof written by Carol for your amusement.

Kanye West's and Clint Eastwood's problems, given in this entry, are true but nothing else is. Dr. Feelgood is entirely fictional.

Philosophical Note: This has not been without its deeper implications. I had fun writing this spoof this morning before my big eye exam. It is good I did something light hearted because when I took the exam, there were complications which had set in on my retina. It is swollen and now I have to douse myself with steroids every day with the hopes of bringing the swelling down. I had Jim take a look at this writing piece later in the day, when we got home from the exam, and he told me he didn't like it, that he likes my other writings much better.

Once again, if I were younger I would probably be wracked with self doubt about whether I should go ahead and publish it or not, perhaps wanting many more opinions. But as I am on the cusp of 66 (late next month), I am at best idly curious about whether this is good or bad writing. I can't tell. I certainly amused myself so that is worth something. Today was enough of a downer that I don't have it in me to write something else.  It is this or nothing. So I am going to go ahead and publish it. If you don't like it, then look upon it as a way I amused myself prior to finding out if I was going to have a useable right eye or not. For someone who likes to write, read, do art, watch media, etc., seeing is rather a big thing, after all!

It is certainly quite possible that satire is not within my skill set. In art I likewise have a great deal more trouble drawing than I do painting. Probably if writing satire is not within my skill set at almost age 66, it likely never will be.  There is only so much time left for "artistic growth"!

I do think, however, it is quite a step forward for me to go ahead and publish it anyway even though it may be quite off the mark. Failure does seem to matter less at this juncture in life. Perhaps because my entire body is "failing" aka falling apart? It is getting increasingly hard to take failure personally and for that I am grateful.


  1. Carol, I'm so glad you posted your tabloid "adventures"! Kanye West and Clint Eastwood were good subjects. I had forgotten the circumstances of West's mother's death. Vanity...vanity...kills.

    Senior failure...writing failure...good for the prevention of Alzheimer's. Keep it up, fellow Virgo


    P. S. There's a lot of good "stuff" on Clint in the reviews of the film JERSEY BOYS. I thought the movie was a 5 star: Octogenarian watching octogenarian-directed life story of now octogenarian pop singer. But Frankie Valli still looked like a pop star and sang like a rock star on Capital Fourth.

    1. Jane, thanks. I have heard from some other readers and it appears some people did enjoy this entry. However, I must admit I now have newfound respect for those who have successfully written satire. It is not for the faint of heart!

      I developed a curious fascination with the tabloids when I discovered with my grandmother, Jim's mother, and other aged family members, what a treat the tabloids were for them. Don DeLillo also covered this in his great novel "White Noise" where he talked about various academic chairs in popular culture departments which were for the study of people like Hitler and Elvis. His university professor finds the tabloids an important part of the experience and the "white noise" they emit to block out the rest of society's chatter.

      On a less lofty note, if I am feeling down, there is nothing like the "problems" of Kanye West or others to lift me out of the doldrums as I explore the inanity of his continuous antics. His wedding to Kim was a satire in and of itself that no piece of fiction could ever equal.

      I loved Frankie Valli's falsetto singing voice so I will be seeing JERSEY BOYS.