Although I don't have solid proof, a textual analysis of the Weekly World News makes it pretty clear that they know most of their readers are bored college kids and geeks. In addition to the Web page, they sell T-shirts with their most outrageous headlines and provide updates on their best stories. However, most of their ads are of the typical tabloid variety. Regular contributors include a political columnist named Ed Anger, psychic Serena Sabak (who took over from the original psychic, The Countess), and advice columnist Dotti Primrose.

The WWN has occasional moments of brilliance, such as when they closed a series of Elvis pictures by revealing that he had died of diabetes--years after he had gone into hiding. Fans of politics are also waiting to see who the space alien endorses for President this year (update: I was disappointed to see that it was George W. Bush).

My favorite issue of this for all time is their life on mars issue. The cover showed an extreme magnification (using an electron microscope) of what was obviously a mutated fly (probably taken from some biology textbook), labelled as "images NASA doesn't want you to see" and the like. (This being shortly after the possible evidence of proto-bacteria in the possibly-Martian meteorite.)

That's not why this is my favorite issue, why I've kept this issue around for a few years. The reason is that there's a two-page exposé on the Y2K bug, giving all the hyperbolic sensationalistic hype ("planes will fall out of the sky," "everything with a microchip will turn on its owners," etc. etc.), with the most fucking hilarious inset image I have ever seen:

It was a picture of Bill Gates, with the caption "Mankind's only hope."

The Weekly World News is an American supermarket tabloid - however, unlike other tabloids out there whose purpose in life seems to be the widespread divergence of bogus gossip about celebrities, the WWN goes a step further and reports a myriad of strange information. Recurring themes on the cover involve the end of the world in a biblical sense (read: Armageddon), invasions of aliens that bear a remarkable resemblance to undersea creatures, various grays endorsing a particular presidential candidate (most recently, as ximenez suggests, George W. Bush), Elvis sightings, strange psychic phenomena, off color political rants courtesy of Ed Anger, and other various and sundry stuff generally intended to make you laugh in the same way that Dr. Strangelove made you laugh, and much of it is accompanied by odd looking photoshop bits.

Yes, make you laugh. The WWN, as near as I can tell, is a tabloid that is meant wholly as a parody of other tabloids. Anybody remember Bat boy? A gag, easily. Possibly related to furry fandom, but can't tell.

So buy it, make yourself laugh, and use it in the same way that Yakov Smirnoff once used Pravda.

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