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There’s a new profile of Gwyneth Paltrow in the New York Times and it’s actually really good! It’s refreshing because usually these sorts of pieces are like the one I talked about last week in The (non-New York) Times about Kristi Funk, Angelina Jolie’s quack of a doctor. But in The Big Business of Being Gwyneth Paltrow, writer Taffy Brodesser-Akner does a great job of being fair and presenting Paltrow as a human being (well, as human-like as she can be) while still offering many well-researched examples of how shady Paltrow’s business is.
Brodesser-Akner attends a class that Paltrow guest-teaches at at Harvard, where she tells the students all about how she has profited off of women’s vaginas. She points out that any time she gets public criticism, it’s a “cultural firestorm” because it revolves around vaginas, like when her company started selling jade eggs to stick up there for some pseudoscientific reason, or when she tells people to steam their vaginas. She seems to think that this is all positive, because when the critics call her out, they link back to her site and she gets a flood of new buyers. She says, “I can monetize those eyeballs,” referring to site visitors.
This section stands in stark contrast to the image that Paltrow tries to project — that of a wholesome, healthy individual who just wants other people to enjoy the best of life as she has, regardless of their income. In fact, this shows that she couldn’t give less of a shit about women. When real doctors like gynecologist Jen Gunter (who you can see at Quizotron August 2nd at Pianofight in San Francisco) point out that what she’s promoting is actually harmful to women, Paltrow doesn’t seem to feel bad about it — she only sees an opportunity to exploit an even larger audience. It’s really, truly disgusting.
The other interesting tidbit I learned from this profile is that Goop was supposed to join forces with Condé Nast, the magazine publishing giant that owns Vogue and Vanity Fair, among many other titles. Condé Nast was going to publish Goop magazine until they ran into a little hiccup — apparently, Condé Nast has editorial standards and utilizes fact checkers, and Goop obviously could not abide by that. Goop literally published an article claiming that there are stickers that can improve your health by rebalancing your energy, something with so much nonsense in every single word that no fact checker would ever be able to allow while still calling themselves a “fact-checker.”
The other problem, Paltrow admits, is that Conde Nast was insistent upon publishing a magazine, not a catalog full of “articles” that were actually just ad copy attempting to convince the reader to buy poppycock. Paltrow balked at that and struck out on her own to produce her own bullshit magazine.
Paltrow does admit that this fall the company is hiring their first real fact checker. The good news is that there are several ex-Trump aides like Sean Spicer that would probably be perfect for the job, considering their re-categorization of lies as “alternative facts.”
“Yep, I checked that fact and it was alternative. You’re good to go.”
The New York Times profile really does call into question whether or not Paltrow has the perfect life. Brodesser-Akner sees her whip up a delicious dinner in 30 minutes where a spotless white dress while her ex-husband plays with the kids, who are talented musicians who each greet her with a firm handshake. And Paltrow doesn’t even try to claim that she’s not perfect — in fact, she believes it’s her perfection (which she worked hard for, according to her) that leads people to hate her.
For the record, I don’t hate her for her perfection. I loved her as an actor, particularly in The Royal Tenenbaums. And I like to see someone living happily and fully. To be absolutely clear about it, I hate her because she has achieved her “perfect” life on the backs of the women she is conning into shoving eggs up their vaginas for no good reason, and the people she convinces to take supplements or drinks smoothies instead of getting real medical care for deadly diseases. Paltrow is a prominent part of Big Bullshit, and she needs to be shut down.