Interesting article on The Huffington Post this morning, about Gwyneth Paltrow, and the role of privilege in this country.

We live in a culture of manufactured melodrama, as is evidenced by the sheer volume of "personal memoirs" being peddled by folks who want you to believe that their stories are exceptional. (Honestly, it's what keeps me from finishing MY project - does anyone REALLY want to hear another recovery story?) Everyone, apparently, is entitled to a rough upbringing - or more to the point - everyone is entitled to embellish and exaggerate his or her own upbringing.

And nowhere is this more evident than in the case of extraordinarily privileged people pretending that they aren't extraordinarily privileged. In the aforementioned article, Keli Goff likens this to being "born on third base, and acting like (you) hit a triple." It can be, at worst, infuriating and, at best, amusing to listen to these privileged few lecture the rest of us on the importance of pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps and "working our asses off," as if the vast majority of Americans aren't doing just that, every single day.

So, Gwyneth Paltrow's thing is to paint herself as the typical "working mother." Her "lifestyle" blog - GOOP - is filled with unintentionally hilarious musings on her myriad challenges and difficulties, such as forgetting to give Apple her morning teaspoon of lemon flavored flaxseed oil. I picture her simpering as she writes this stuff, eyes heavenward as if in a painting by El Greco. Gwyneth - the Repentant Magdalen.

Criticizing GOOP, for me, is sort of like yelling at Monica Crowley on "The McLaughlin Group." Does it actually achieve anything? Nope. Does it fill me with cheap satisfaction? Oh mais oui. And I'm not the only one who does it. Gwyneth Paltrow is chafing a lot of 'nads out there these days with her unique blend of snootiness and smug superiority disguised as down home wisdom.

Of course I realize that the alternative - for Gwyneth to come right out and say: "You know what? My life is sooooo much more awesome than yours!" - while arguably refreshingly honest, would invite even more scorn and derision her way. It's the curse of being So Very Famous And Fabulous: you can't rub it in anyone's face; you have to pretend to be "just like us," even though we all know perfectly well that you aren't. Yet Gwyneth, in her way, manages to do both. Somehow, she has managed to convince herself that not having enough time to condition her hair before all of her phone meetings grants her the right to knowingly chuckle like she's Erma Bombeck in a $500 t-shirt.

So why does it offend people so much? Because we are people that ENJOY being offended. Even the person who is reading this and thinking "Shouldn't you be more concerned about (impending crisis) than Gwyneth Paltrow?" is feeding that tapeworm. We are, on the whole, addicted to being offended, addicted to adding our 2 cents, and the internet is like one giant crackpipe in that regard.

You know, maybe we ought to be thanking Gwynnie after all.

lisamcc at 1:59 p.m.

3 comments so far
2011-04-19 19:40:34
I love how Michael K from dlisted refers to Gwyneth's attitude "Better than YOUR Homes and Gardens"!

2011-04-22 16:38:30
If the media didn't pay so much attention to her, then... There are much bigger things to pay attention to. I do concur that she was born on third base but is acting like she is the average mom. Uhm, that is total BS. And there's a Talk of the Town piece about her in the New Yorker where she is cooking for the likes of Martha Stewart and the Seinfields, 'cause, you know, we all have such glamorous friends. I gave up on her when she was on Conan and said something to the effect of that she did "Ironman" because "she needed the money". Yes, with a straight face. Regardless of how much charity work she does, I can only see her as herself on the Travels in Spain show where she eats glorious food in glorious settings, like anyone who wanted to can do so. Really? Really?

2011-04-25 10:20:40
I admire her acting--which is exactly why I don't want to know shit like this about her.

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