It was a sad day when the Weekly World News ceased its print publication in July 2007. Although they continued their online version, it did make standing in the supermarket checkout line a little less interesting. I also remember in one of my college writing classes we were each given a headline from the Weekly World News and told to write a story based on it. Mine was about a boy who’d swallowed a seed and had a fruit tree growing out of his mouth–“AND BAFFLED DOCTORS DON’T KNOW HOW TO REMOVE IT!!!” It was probably the hardest assignment I ever had in a creative writing class because, really, how do you improve on that?
I’ve also just learned that Google Books has archived the Weekly World News issues, preserving them for however long the digital format lasts. If you still prefer print you can always pick up the collection Bat Boy Lives, but the digital archive is perfect for wasting time at work–er, I mean, it’s very thought-provoking. Browsing through the covers I noticed some interesting repeating themes. There were, of course, the usual suspects–aliens, Bigfoot, the Loch Ness monster, celebrities both living and dead–but also an apparent fascination with Biblical themes, fat people, cats, and information on how to either make huge amounts in the stock market or prepare for the next major recession–which was always just around the corner. I guess now I know why the Weekly World News went out of business. It’s been replaced by cable news shows.