Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Weekly World News, best tabloid in the universe, going belly up

Let's face it, the only tabloid that ever had space news these days was the World Weekly News. No more chances for would-be debunkers to make snotty remarks about the Face on Mars being on the front of the tabloids, not in a world where Lindsay and Britney sell more than Bat Boy (will he ever become George Bush's son-in-law?) The paper is shutting down suddenly, and staff are bewildered. With Hillary as a strong contender for the Democratic presidential nomination, how will we know what our alien overlords think about this?

Hang the X-Files posters at half-mast. We really did want to believe that the World Weekly News was taking place in our world.


UFO Articles in the Weekly World News, available on their
archive area on America Online (keyword: WWN) as of 3/10/97

"Aliens Gave Face On Mars A Face-Lift! ... and it looks great!"
The Famous Face on Mars has had a face-lift, a startling new photo taken by a NASA space probe reveals!

Images beamed back to Earth earlier this year by the Mars Global Surveyor are radically different from those taken when the mysterious monument was first discovered in 1976 and even from high-resolution photos taken just two years ago.

"There are signs of a chin implant, the jowls have been tightened up, the nose is more aquiline and aristocratic -- even the eyes appear less cavernous," declares Dr. Robert Preakwood


"Forget About The Face On Mars... Nasa Probe Has Spotted The Butt On Mars!"

Spanking-new photo beamed back by NASA's Mars Odyssey space probe shows a spectacular, previously undiscovered monument on the Red Planet that's been dubbed the Butt on Mars.

The adjoined pair of giant boulders -- measuring close to 1.2 miles in width -- look uncannily like human female buttocks -- so much so that flabbergasted scientists believe the structure must be the handiwork of intelligent life forms.

Excited experts are dying to get to the bottom of the mystery.


Joel Achenbach says, "The Face was first photographed in July 1976 by the Viking 1 orbiter, and the image distributed by NASA, with the helpful caption "Face on Mars?" No one paid much attention until the Weekly World News put it on the cover in 1984."

True or False that it was the first paper to show the Face? Remember, decades ago the WWN did try to run with the pack, before they decided that deliciously pure fiction was the way to go. Anyone have any images of the Face on Mars as Pee Wee Herman or Ted Kennedy? I saw them alluded to in a google, but didn't find any.

Thanks to UFO Updates

7/27 Update: BoingBoing reader Nathan Cobb offers a sobering perspective on some of the realities behind the real-life stories that the WWN salted the paper with.


A said...

Damn. I should have subscribed while I had a chance.

I DO have a bat-boy t-shirt!

Carol Maltby said...

A, I don't know if you got to see the wonderful sleight-of-hand performance by one of our colleagues at the recent gathering we both attended.

He performed some classic magic tricks, like the metal hoops that he linked and unlinked, seemingly at will, and seemingly naturally.

I find it intensely delightful to watch magicians at work like that, with those of us in the audience gasping as we might at a fireworks display. While we know that he is employing a set of mundane skills, we can still offer the willing suspension of disbelief during the performance. As they say in the Church of the SubGenius, we're pulling the wool over our own eyes.

The Weekly World News generally entered into that same contract with its readers. It was refreshingly honest in that way, compared to so many of our other sources of information. I knew that if I googled the "facts" in a WWN article, that I'd come up with nothing, but I expected that. Not like many mainstream sources, where you realize that context matters, and the stories offered are sometimes dangerously incomplete in what they offer, if not totally erroneous.

Some days it was just nice to bypass all the tragedy and drama of the other publications jostling for attention at the checkout, and just flip through something that didn't pretend to be anything else but goofy fluff.