Yesterday morning what did I spy in my iPhone’s inbox as I walked to work? Fresh GOOP! I wouldn’t say it’s with honest delight that I greet Gwyneth Paltrow’s irregular e-newsletter on how to live a fitter, happier, more productive life — I’d describe the feeling more like peeling back a band-aid you know has been on a wound too long and your horror is mixed with “Now how did my human body produce SUCH a thing as this? Such incredible goop!”
Usually, Gwynnie and her herd of minions puts together some asinine list of, oh, I don’t know, garden implements which include:
— rare tulip bulbs from the 16th century — a titanium & pave diamond shovel — baby-skin gloves from Balenciaga — bag o’ dirt (from the fecund fields of Patagonia) — servants
I barely scan these lists because, honestly, the fun is too easy to be had. I mean, that satirical “Urban Gardener” list I put together is pretty obvious. She does this shit all the time — plumping her famous friends’ brands, demonstrating her acute, fine taste, while throwing in, like, jeggings from Uniqlo so the hoards don’t gather at her door to put Moses and Apple on spikes and roast them for dinner. I mean, snooze. Too formulaic.
But this week’s newsletter! What a dream! So so rich with Marie-Antoinette-level ignorance/brilliance and #humblebrags that I thought my officemates were going to have to break out the straitjacket. I was a heaving, twitching mass of silenced hysteria.
Gwyn, it’s cool, if I call you Gwyn, right? Oh. Ok, one of Gwyneth’s “readers” “wrote in” “asking” how she managed to find the balance between work and being a mother. Thus pressed into action, she asked two of her besties to write in some advice and a typical day in the life. She herself contributed the last piece which is on the level of Ishtar with unintended forehead-slapping crazy.
The first lady is a venture capitalist named Juliet de Baubigny. I don’t want to spend too much time on her because she leads a life that no real person desires. I’ll just put her number one time-saving tip right here and you can either read it or not, I don’t mind:
"Create key spreadsheets to help manage your home life; for example, travel check list (clothes, toys that each family member needs to bring with them for travel… I also find it invaluable when I’m packing for a business trip at midnight! Other lists include grocery staples, birthday lists, monthly household task lists. I file them all in a binder and keep in the kitchen where anyone can access them. It saves a ton of time and money. Note—do not try to give a list to your husband, the reaction is not quite so positive!"
No sane person likes spreadsheets. At the office, people avoid being responsible for them at all costs. Why would you invite one into your home?! “Monthly household task list”? What the fuck is this? This sort of Type A crazy can ONLY be repelled by true, honest mess. So, if her children are reading this, go to your rooms and just start smearing feces everywhere. Every surface — your bed, the walls, your iPad, the binder where all the lists and spreadsheets are kept. Actually, just start there. And another thing: that little, “Am I rite, lay-deez??” kicker at the end makes me think she’s got her husband hemmed up in a cage somewhere.
The second day in the life is from Stella McCartney and it’s pretty meh because I don’t know, she’s like a hundred months pregnant with her fourth kid and doesn’t really give a shit. Fair enough.
Last up is GP. It’s a long, discursive rambling paragraph written with an ESL handle of written English. To wit,
"Got Apple all fed and dressed in her uniform and ready to go but no sign nor sight of Moses at 8 am and we have to be out of the house by 8:20. I went up to arouse the little man from slumber and he quite happily got up and crawled into my arms. We got downstairs and I made him a quick breakfast of eggs and toast followed by a spoonful of lemon flavored flax oil that I try to remember to give them both every morning."
She just lets them wake up on their own? Oh, wait, no, she “arouses them from slumber.” Purplest shit I’ve read since my 8th grade poetry class. And you know that the spoonful of lemon flavored flax she forces on them is punishment for over-sleeping. Here’s another choice selection:
"On a less manic day, this would be my couple of hours in the office to work on GOOP, come up with ideas, write/edit and go over scheduling, travel, whatever else I have going but I have no time so I just pop the old cabeza in to see if there are any deadlines or fires that need putting out."
Simultaneously bullshit and weird pretension. Like Gwyneth Paltrow has ever cared either about a deadline or put out a fire. However, I’m sure she could give you some great reccs on who to have restore your 19th century fireplace in your London townhouse. “The old cabeza,” huh? Yeah, good phrasing, I love it when people drop in foreign words just wily-nily, like “I find it adds a certain je ne sais quoi.” I find it doesn’t and you sound like a tit.
"The kids indulge in a super sugary cupcake before bed but I don’t feel too bad because they had a brown rice stir fry for dinner with baked sweet potato on the side. It’s all about balance!"
I can’t even. It’s time to call child services.
What struck me as I was reading these pieces wasn’t so much that they are mind-numbingly numb to any sense of connecting to normal, everyday women. I mean, duh, what do you expect from GOOP? But it was that their partners were nearly absent. GP doesn’t mention hers at all, Stella briefly says her’s is away, and we know what that crazy venture capitalist said about her husband. (“They don’t like it when we tell them what to do! Can you even believe that?! L. O. L. SPREADSHEETS or I won’t spread mine under the sheeeeeeeeetz!)
Each of them give some cursory advice on time-management and focus and tow the line of “Oh, there’s never enough time to do it all!” So, fine. Good. If 3 uber-wealthy famous women (with hired servants who most of the menial shit that bogs down regular people) can’t manage their time so that they can see their children for more than the carpool to school, then I throw up my hands in despair. Plus, I’m not sure any of them really know the correct definition of “advice.” Advice isn’t you telling us about your life, hoping that a nice lady reader in Topeka can glean some insight and apply it to her existence. This newsletter reminded me of a recent video on Fleshbot which was of porn stars giving sex advice. You’d think that porn stars could tell you some useful shit, like:
— K-Y is the best lube. Astroglide can glide you right out and I’ve seen mad broken peen. Shit ain’t pretty. — If you need to have sex while driving, buckle both of you in one seat belt. You can buy seat belt extenders online on sites that cater to obese car-obsessives. — Everything can be solved with saliva.
But no. It was all crap about “Communication is super important.” and “Relax, always relax.”
I mean, if it’s anal we’re talking about then, relaxing is salient advice, but not anything super insightful. In any case, what I’m trying to say is if you think you’ve got good advice to give, you probably don’t. Especially you, Gwyneth. You live a life stratospheres from any of ours and everything you say convinces us of that fact. Honey, I’ve got more in common with every one of those porn stars in that video. And I am not afraid to say that.