a novel by JOHN GRABOWSKI

The foot, the mouth and Gwyneth Paltrow

gp2She’s been in the news more than just about anyone else this past week, but probably for reasons she doesn’t like.

Gwyneth Paltrow, self-anointed guru of … practically anything … saw her GOOP website crash when she posted that she and rocker-husband Chris Martin are divorcing.

OOOPS! Sorry, they are “consciously uncoupling.” Don’t say the “D” word. (The uncoupling term comes from a lifestyle guru, one of many people the movie star follows in her quest to be the Perfect Person.)

But Gwynnie’s managed to get even more attention for something else she then said. Gwyneth believes that you have it easier if you’re raising kids than she does, because, well, being a famous movie star is tough. You plebeians just don’t appreciate it because you’re, well, plebeians:

“It’s much harder for me…you [working moms] can do all the stuff in the morning and then you come home in the evening. When you’re shooting a movie, they’re like, ‘We need you to go to Wisconsin for two weeks,’ and then you work 14 hours a day and that part of it is very difficult. I think to have a regular job and be a mom is not as, of course there are challenges, but it’s not like being on set.”

Really, even for her, wow.

There’s all sorts of theories why people dislike Gwyneth Paltrow, but I think the most obvious is that she has manufactured everything about her life, from leveraging her godfather connection with Steven Spielberg to get her first gig to threatening to destroy Vanity Fair, Louella Parsons-style, by telling everyone she knows never to speak to the magazine again for daring to write a story that her life was less than perfect. The exact contents of this article will never be known, but the fact that the divor—um, conscious uncoupling (Angelina to Brad: “Dammit, now what are we going to call our divorce?”) came just a few months later is surely no coincidence. (Paltrow admits she and Martin have been trying to patch things for “well over a year,” according to her site.) Vanity Fair later killed the piece they’d originally implied would be a bombshell, saying actually it wasn’t all that interesting after all. Yes, movie stars typically do everything in their power to squash an article that “isn’t very interesting.”

Sometimes I wonder if Paltrow actually uses her perch at her website as an act of sour aggression. She can’t be so dumb as not to realize that when she raves about $400 silk T-shirts and $10,000 room make-overs she’s rubbing our noses in it, all the while seemingly “surprised” if you’d think these are little more than small splurges. She must realize that ordinary people don’t have nannies and assistants, and don’t hire decorators to do their house. She has played some ordinary people in movies, after all.

Some critics call her tone-deaf. I think it goes a lot deeper than that. Gwyneth Paltrow, under the sunny exterior, has contempt for the plain, boring people who have made her rich and famous—something Welsey Shaw, for all her shortcomings, does not.

Her GOOPsite is a plethora of “look how superior I am to you”-ness. She famously condemned Americans for being shallow materialists—“…I was at a party and a girl looked at me and said, ‘Oh, my God! Are those Juicy jeans that you’re wearing?’ … I have to get back to Europe.”—and then opened a retail store in L.A. that extols exactly that kind of conspicuous consumption. There are people who genuinely want to share something that makes their lives better. And there are people who want to tell you about the great things they have knowing you probably can’t have them yourself. They will listen to you talk about how stressful just getting by can be, and then recommend a month of golf in Hawaii as the cure.

Gwyneth is that second kind. She enjoys diminishing you even as you line up to see her films or buy items from the product lines she hawks. Her perfection is pointless without an audience. After all, if a perfect tree fell perfectly in the perfect forest and there was no one to hear it, there’d be no sound.

No wonder Harvey Weinstein stopped letting her use the Miramax jet. She probably kept leaving gum under the seat.

She has stated that she only lets her children watch TV if it’s in French or Spanish. This might not be so hard to swallow if she practiced what she preached, but she continues to do American films and television, and cash hefty American paychecks for doing it.

In a way I feel sorry for her. She’s an empty vessel. There’s nothing there, no soul, just macrobiotic Kabala. And the narcissistic desire to be envied. Our attention—I was about to say approval, but she doesn’t care about approval, only attention—is what drives her.

Since she’s so into speaking French, I wonder if she knows the phrase faux pas.

Really, Gwynnie, perhaps you should let everyday people give advice to everyday people.

More about her latest one here:

 

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8 responses

  1. Maureen Owen

    Leaves gum under the seat?? That cracked me up so hard I laughed out loud. And yes, she’s a pill. Why anyone pays any attention to her smirky face is something I can’t understand.

    Funny one. You’re in fine form.

    Like

    March 30, 2014 at 6:50 pm

  2. My favorite was the perfect tree in the perfect forest line. Priceless. I wonder what her mom thinks of all this….

    Like

    March 30, 2014 at 11:49 pm

    • From what I’ve read, her mother has done several interviews claiming that people just hate her daughter because she’s so incredibly successful.

      Like

      April 1, 2014 at 8:38 am

  3. I can no longer tolerate her, but I know she has her followers/excusers. The thing is, early in her career she made some good movies. Since about 2000 she’s made mostly junk. So does she include herself in her list of material she doesn’t want her kids to see? Or is Shallow Hal OK if its in French?

    Like

    March 31, 2014 at 7:37 pm

  4. “In a way I feel sorry for her. She’s an empty vessel. There’s nothing there, no soul, just macrobiotic Kabala. And the narcissistic desire to be envied. Our attention—I was about to say approval, but she doesn’t care about approval, only attention—is what drives her.”

    Absolutely. Gwynnie is just one more mannequined example of the passive-aggressive N. The false image she has erected of herself as the paragon of humility is at odds with the vacuous aggression of her lust for the spotlight. Such seems to be true of the vast majority of Hollywood actors. And evidently Gwynnie’s admirers never stop to consider that there’s no substance there, never consider the she has no acting talent what…so…ever. Just a certain look that’s been exploited and sold.

    Like

    April 3, 2014 at 12:57 pm

  5. Ed Boydston

    Ditto. I second your remarks and agree that you’re in fine form on the topic of Ms. Paltrow and on the more unappealing aspects of celebrity culture. “Conscious uncoupling”? The level of pretension is off the charts. It’s its own parody. I particularly liked your observation that everyday people make Ms. Paltrow’s life possible and that she’s played a few such people on screen, as have most actors. How much conviction and depth can there in a performance if you’re so full of yourself and out of touch when off camera?

    Like

    April 5, 2014 at 9:31 pm

  6. Ed Boydston

    Ditto. I second your remarks and agree that you’re in fine form on the topic of Ms. Paltrow and on the more unappealing aspects of celebrity culture. “Conscious uncoupling”? The level of pretension is off the charts. It’s its own parody. I particularly liked your observation that everyday people make Ms. Paltrow’s life possible and that she’s played a few such people on screen, as have most actors. How much conviction and depth can there be in a performance if you’re so full of yourself and out of touch when off camera?

    Like

    April 5, 2014 at 9:33 pm

  7. ThisIsMe

    I am not usually moved to comment on celebrities but sometimes the situation calls for it.

    Gywneth and her description of a hard fought day at the office should include her full-time hairstylist, manicurist and make-up artist along with her live-in nanny who totes Gwynnie’s kids and their equally large diaper bags around somewhere in the background while on-set assistants summon her from her air-conditioned spa on wheels when it’s her turn to deliver a few lines and take a pass at appearing to be an ordinary person.
    The assistants who show a true affinity for the game of ass-ass-kiss-kiss are even allowed to fetch her her lettuce and ice water at lunchtime. Which she savors while dictating what her blog for her “look how much better I am than you- nana nana boo-boo, stick your head in doo-doo” Goopsite should say next.
    Thank you to the Paltrow’s of the world who believe with every fiber of their being that they are far more special than any other human being who has ever lived.
    I would actually like to thank Gwynnie for reminding me that even if I had the money, that I would never willingly purchase a $400 shirt of any kind because I have a brain and I use it as frequently as my day allows.

    Maybe instead of asking them to be return to planet earth- we should all just feel so lucky that we even get to share earth space with these special folks.

    Don’t even get me started on Kristin Stewart…

    Like

    June 9, 2014 at 7:43 pm

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