Keeping Tabs

Déjà Vu All Over Again

The tabloid stories your great-grandkids will be reading.

It can’t bode well that only three weeks into the tabloid coverage of the murder of actor Robert Blake’s wife, Bonny Lee Bakley, Keeping Tabs feels as though she’s already had her fill. Although she dutifully made it through all the magazines that piled up in her mailbox (“Robert Blake Hired Me as Hitman!” “Baretta Wife Autopsy Shocker,” “Bonny Lee’s Sex Diary,” “Baretta Star Washes His Hands With Jack Daniel’s [sic]” and so on), even Keeping Tabs—whose tolerance for such things is unusually high—had to put her foot down after reading the National Enquirer interview with Bakley’s ex-husband (and first cousin), Paul Gawron. “When someone dies, usually you start thinking, ‘She wasn’t really a bad person,’ ” Gawron apparently told the Enquirer. “But the truth is, Bonny really was.” In the name of JonBenet, make it stop!

Of course, if the tabloids have their way, Keeping Tabs’ great-grandchildren will probably still be reading explications of the Bakley murder, right there along with new theories about Nicole Simpson and JFK Jr.’s plane crash. In fact, in the past couple of weeks in Tabloidland, it’s been all about wringing maximum life from every story possible. In the Globe’s “Bush Girls Vow To Clean Up Their Act” story, for example, the first daughters are said by a “close friend” to be “telling pals that party time is over. They’re just hurting too much over the sadness they hear in their dad’s voice and their mom’s tears.” A “pal” is quoted as saying that “time will tell if the girls can keep their vows not to drink,” which conveniently provides the Globe an out—and a story—either way. Of course, since the Globe hit the stands, the Bush twins have run afoul of the law yet again, which should give the tabs enough material to last even through a potential Bush re-election.

Similarly, the National Enquirer reports that Jennifer Lopez’s boyfriend, dancer Cris Judd, recently proposed to her while she was “resting in bed at home” after nearly collapsing on the set of her latest movie: “A thrilled and misty-eyed Jennifer replied she loved him deeply … but would have to get back to him.” Lopez is said to be fraught with indecision, although an insider claims that “the smart money says it’s just a matter of time before she takes the plunge.” Luckily for the Enquirer, “matter of time” is, of course, a relative term. (While we’re on the subject, Keeping Tabs senses a mini-theme in play: The Star reports that Benjamin Bratt proposed to Julia Roberts while the two were “lounging in their pajamas on a lazy Sunday morning at Julia’s Manhattan apartment, eating pancakes and listening to soft jazz.” She is also said to be waffling.)

In yet another retread, last week’s Globe tried to breathe new life into the idea that Bill and Hillary Clinton are getting divorced. But the tabs have cried wolf on this one not once but twice before, reporting the certainty of a mid-April filing here , and that was only after the February “sure thing” the Globe reported on in November evaporated.

In its latest incarnation—and Sen. Clinton is said to “promise” that there will be no more delays this time—the Clinton divorce story becomes focused on the senator’s supposed extensive settlement demands. KT’s favorite? That she’s adamant that the former president not have more children: “She doesn’t want another little Clinton to affect Chelsea’s life and inheritance,” says a source. “She told him, ‘Get a snip,’ which means a vasectomy.”

For the record, the Star also resurrects the divorce story, reporting that “tongues are wagging” that President Clinton’s recent weight loss “is the first sign that he’s getting ready to fly solo.” And as if that weren’t proof positive, the former president “has also been spotted updating his wardrobe with new dress shirts—another sure sign of the soon-to-be-single, says famed New York psychologist Dr. Judy Kuriansky.” Ah, yes. New dress-shirt syndrome. Right up there with Oedipal complexes and counter-transference.

And finally, apparently unfazed by having prematurely reported the supposed details of Timothy McVeigh’s last days, the Globe still manages to wring yet more ink from the story. This time the Globe claims to have the “real reason” the execution was delayed: The holdup was “secretly plotted by a group of FBI agents who believe the whole truth behind the Oklahoma City bombing has not yet come out.” Said whole truth is supposed to involve the fact that McVeigh “was part of a 12-man terrorist team”; the hunt is now on for the remaining 11 suspects. Eleven more? Estimated tabloid shelf life: two years minimum.

Over at the Weekly World News, however, it would take a literal resurrection to get any more mileage out of Timothy McVeigh. Not to be outdone by the Globe, the WWN brought its readers the actual photo of a post-execution McVeigh “laid out cold and dead on a morgue slab!” with his eyes closed and mouth agape. The “grisly” photo, says the News, was “apparently leaked out despite ultra-tight security” and “is being circulated on the Internet by anonymous individuals who did not divulge its source or offer any proof of its authenticity.” Given that, as of this writing, McVeigh is still alive and well in Indiana, Keeping Tabs is going to go out on a limb and say that those darned anonymous Internet hucksters pulled one over on the News this time. But she’s holding on to this issue of the News, hoping that it brings her great-grandchildren a tidy sum on the Antiques Roadshow in 2101.