And just like that, one of my few remaining dreams has died. I loved the Weekly World News more than it’s probably healthy for any one person to love outlandish news.
Once upon a time, many years ago, my family was on a road trip going to visit my great aunt in Colby, WI. No one really liked this aunt, even my parents, so why exactly we were visiting remains a mystery to this day; HOWEVER, given that my dad knew exactly how awful, boring, and summer-wasting this trip was for the kids, he was feeling particularly indulgent when my brother and I raided the gas station for small entertainments. It was then that I picked up my first-ever copy of the Weekly World News. The issue focused on alien abductions, and the small, sadistic tortures they would inflict on abductees. I was simultaneously enthralled and terrified; so much so, that the mere thought of having the PICTURE in the room with me when the lights went out at the motel was unbearable. What if it was looking at me in my sleep? What if the newsprint was a beacon to aliens, who only search out those who know the truth? I locked it in the bathroom all night and prayed that they would take my brother instead.
My mother was rather unhappy with this development.
Still, once I had the bug, there was very little she could do to stop it. I put the ‘good luck’ dot in my shoe before the spelling bee (in case you were wondering, I still lost). I bought the Ed Anger column compilation book, ‘Let’s pave the stupid rainforests and give school teachers stun guns: and other ways to save America’, and dutifully memorized each one of its pages. I reveled in Dear Dottie’s venomous wit.
As I grew older, I came to understand that the whole thing was filled with entertaining lies, and, this revelation, instead of ending our love, only served to increase it. I appreciated the effort it took to print news of this variety week after week, and when I learned Photoshop, I swore that one day I would work in those hallowed, Bigfoot-adorned walls. They needed me. I knew this, because I caught them recycling articles time and time again. I could take them to the next level, one day, I was sure of it.
The years went by, and still the Weekly World News persisted. I can’t say I was happy about the way it had changed. No more Ed Anger, no more Dear Dottie, and in their places, a fiercely pro-american, anti-‘towelhead’ vibe that felt reactionary, out-of-place, and a little sad. It felt like they were desperately trying to get a foothold in the market, any market, to survive. I had no interest in anything with Osama or Saddam on the cover, so I stopped buying. I missed the old days, with dinosaurs being found in a remote part of Brazil, sharks with razor sharp teeth sticking out of every available surface, and Elvis riding off into the sunset on a Chupacabra’s back.
So the Weekly World News is now dead. Even though, much like Elvis, they took some missteps towards the end, they will still be sorely missed. Whenever I buy groceries, I expect to feel a black-and-white weekly-sized hole in my heart.