Signing with a high-octane Hollywood talent agency has already paid off for Meghan Markle: it catapulted her instantly to the top of the A.W.I. Poll, from which she’d been conspicuously absent for some time. (Well done, William Morris Endeavor!) Last week’s results: the Duchess of Sussex, 33.8 percent; Donald Trump, 27.3 percent; Choupette, 13 percent, the highest-ranking feline to date; George Santos, 11.7 percent; Meghan’s Estranged Family, 10.4 percent; and, bringing up the rear, Liz Truss and a waxworks version of Prince Harry.
The results of the next round of polling would appear to be, shall we say, historically preordained. But one never knows. It is, after all, entirely up to you.
The nominees in this week’s edition of the Attention-Whore Index Poll are …
KING CHARLES III
Got coronated. He might have looked humbled and even bored and overwhelmed at times, but it’s hard to come across as a persuasive shrinking violet while being anointed “His Majesty Charles the Third, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of His other Realms and Territories King, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith” in front of 20 million people.
Everyone’s favorite de-coronated king sounds less appetizing with each new revelation. From his former mistress Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn, as reported in The Times of London: “Juan Carlos once took her on a tour of his stash, she claims. ‘He chuckled when he said, “Here’s the secret room.” It was a big cash room it was sort of a surreal moment,’ she says, recalling the sight of bags stuffed with money. ‘And yes, he had a cash-counting machine.’”
TAYLOR SWIFT & MATTY HEALY
There’s nothing quite like an under-the-radar superstar romance. She shows up to perform at his band’s—the 1975—show in London. He joins her onstage at her Nashville concert. Both have taken to mouthing “This is about you. You know who you are. I love you” from the stage at their respective shows. And so the leaks and hints are strategically doled out. But officially? According to sources, they “like each other.”
Commands attention by avoiding attention: the U.S. Virgin Islands has not been able to subpoena Google’s co-founder—in connection with a Jeffrey Epstein–related case—because they simply can’t find him. Surely there’s some search engine that could pinpoint his coordinates …
MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE
Blamed Texas mall massacre on “evil forces.” Hinted that, who knows, maybe it’s the Democrats who are behind all the recent mass shootings. (“It almost sounds like it’s designed to persuade Republicans to go along with more gun control.”) Claimed that President Biden—whom she’d described as a “mentally incompetent, feckless, dementia-ridden piece of crap”—was somehow also “the mastermind of the Biden criminal enterprise.”
“Putin’s chef”/Wagner-mercenary-group head/blossoming diva Prigozhin, having blamed the Kremlin for insufficient arms support and having threatened to pull his forces from Bakhmut, in Ukraine, reversed himself and announced that, well, actually, they would keep fighting. It seems his tantrum worked: “Overnight we received a combat order.... We have been promised as much ammunition and weapons as we need to continue further operations.”
Short-fingered vulgarian/sexual abuser loses in court. Goes on CNN and jokes about being a sexual abuser (but not about being a short-fingered vulgarian).
Surrendered to authorities in New York to face federal charges of wire fraud (seven counts), money-laundering (three counts), making false statements to the House of Representatives (two counts), and theft of public funds (one count). But wait. In keeping with Santos’s gift for “embellishing”—his word—let’s make that, oh, 12 counts of wire fraud and 75 counts of money-laundering. Actually … 34 and 80. Also, what the hell: hijacking an airplane as well. Nobody’s going to out-federal-charge this baby!
And now for this week’s Diary …
In Monopoli …
NOT SO LITTLE
This Puglian fishing village is in the midst of a social-media controversy following the installation in a piazza of a sculpture of a voluptuous mermaid. Euronews reported that Il Mare was commissioned by the mayor and created by local art students. But some critics have found it “too provocative,” and there was speculation online that the inspiration could only have been Kim Kardashian. But as one local observed, “Monopoli in all the newspapers for a big-ass mermaid, that’s us!”
In the Middle East …
That’s where the former Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin found himself several times in the months after the Trump administration decamped from Washington—and we taxpayers footed the bill, thanks to Trump’s having granted an unusual six-month extension to provide Mnuchin with protection, according to the watchdog organization CREW (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington). The bill came to $253,000, and “lodging alone cost the Secret Service $117,800, and some charges for rooms at the Four Seasons in Abu Dhabi exceeded the per diem for government employees.” Mnuchin’s tours “seem to have been oriented around securing funds for his private equity firm and opening an office in Tel Aviv.”
In Guangdong …
Workers at China’s Luckin Coffee chain are being forced to repeatedly write out customer complaints as a form of punishment—“In the note, I said I wanted a hot coffee, have you seen it? Have you not woken up?” is one example from a store in this province—in what management says is an effort to “improve service” by “teach[ing] our store workers to remember to follow the order notes,” reported the South China Morning Post. But the policy has contributed to “a culture of fear,” according to an employee who said he’d “cried while copying.”
In Rehovot …
ECONOMIES OF SCALES
With oceans emptying at a catastrophic rate—some studies suggest that marine life might be completely gone by 2048—it’s no surprise that “fish fillets” made by 3D printers are in the works and might be on our plates by 2024. Reuters reported that Israel’s Steakholder Foods and Singapore’s Umami Meats are collaborating to create the faux-fish entrees by using grouper cells and 3D-printing technology. Authentic “flakiness” is promised.
In Huancayo …
Thieves in this central Peruvian city broke into a shoe store during the night and made off with “more than 200 trainers,” the BBC reported. “The shop owner estimates that they have a value of more $13,000 … although the thieves may struggle to sell them.” It seems all the stolen sneakers are for the right foot. —George Kalogerakis
George Kalogerakis, one of the original editor-writers at Spy, later worked for Vanity Fair, New York, and The New York Times, where he was deputy op-ed editor. A co-author of Spy: The Funny Years and co-editor of Disunion: A History of the Civil War, he is a Writer at Large at AIR MAIL