The Tabloid Incident

I was struck today by the strangeness of the word “tabloid”. I was reading an essay on the Web and I think I may have been expecting the word “tablet”.

“Tabloid” struck me as more futuristic-sounding than “tablet” and for a tiny moment I wondered what a tabloid might actually be. Some kind of new interface? A clever bit of portable tech? Astronaut food in pill-form?

Of course not. It’s a tabloid. An ink-and-paper publication, usually about celebrities and fashion and UFOs. My weird outsider life means I haven’t seen a tabloid newspaper for years and I’d sort of forgotten about them.

It was exactly like how I once struggled to convince myself that coca-cola was a real thing.

I think I’m properly beginning to identify with the protagonist of that novel, À rebours.

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Robert Wringham is the editor of New Escapologist. He also writes books and articles. Read more at

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