You know how you have that brother or cousin or unclewho, without fail, gives you the latest Onion compilation for Christmas? Before TheOnion, it was "Bloom County," and before that, "Doonesbury."
It may as well have been argyle socks.
You know what you can call this coming Christmas? Your long-awaited day of vengeance! 'Cause thanks to the distributors of the greatest supermarket tabloid in the face of the universe forever and ever, you will get all freaky on your designated relative by wrapping him up a copy of BAT BOY LIVES! TheWeekly World News Guide to Politics, Culture, Celebrities, Alien Abductions, and the Mutant Freaks That Shape Our World.
Of course, by the time he's done reading that title, it'll be MLK's birthday. But those ensuing hours will be spent gazing hypnotically at glorious black-and-white reproductions of actual pages ripped from WWN since its 1979 launch. The selections are helpfully rearranged in chapters, with titles such as "Alien Blob Ate My Truck! Tasty Tales of the Paranormal" and "I Was Bigfoot's Love Slave! Sensational Stories of the Bizarre." Marvel at such stories as "SPAM, SPAM, Thank You Ma'am: Aliens using e-mail to seduce Earth women"; "Dead Hubby's Ghost Breaks Wind & Burps . . . to keep other men away from his wife!"; "Bible Shocker! ADAM & ED! Gay couple were first humans"; "Stuff and Mount Your Own Pet! Save money and do it yourself with common kitchen tools"; and "Kim Jong's Warning to North Koreans: Hokey Pokey—or die!"
Page after page reveals what the experts don't want you to know: that Jimmy Hoffa was turned into dog food, that Arnold the pig was gay, that Hilary Clinton screwed an alien named 'P'lod. And amazing WWN photos, doctored with the sharpest scissors and stickiest glue sticks around, reveal a lady psychic's exploded head, Apollo astronauts turned into werewolves by moon rays and father of communism Karl Marx alongside the other Marx Brothers in an ill-conceived stab at show-biz success.
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Is there a Bat Boy section? the screaming masses ask. Of course there is. Bat Boy escapes! Bat Boy is spotted on a three-state joy ride! Bat Boy leads our troops to Saddam's spider hole! Bat Boy is knighted by the Brits! Bat Boy is captured!
The writing in this compilation is as sparsely keen as you'd find in slightly more truthful rag sheets. David Perel, the WWN executive vice president who compiled BAT BOY LIVES! with his editors, started his journalistic career at the Washington Postbut for many years after that served as editor of the National Enquirer. (A trade secret: the Enquirer pays its editors far better than any mainstream daily. Of course, you can't get an editing job at a mainstream daily after getting slathered in Enquirer taint.)
Perel writes in his introduction that there are two types of WWN readers. Reader A really believes this shit, and Reader B believes he is smarter than Reader A "but in fact may simply just be more cynical." Which means you'll be able to pass out copies of BAT BOY LIVES! to everyone on your Christmas list. Just make sure to tuck one into your stocking too.
BAT BOY LIVES! THE WEEKLY WORLD NEWS GUIDE TO POLITICS, CULTURE, CELEBRITIES, ALIEN ABDUCTIONS, AND THE MUTANT FREAKS THAT SHAPE OUR WORLD BY DAVID PEREL AND THE EDITORS OF THE WEEKLY WORLD NEWS; STERLING PUBLISHING. PAPERBACK, 198 PAGES, $12.95.