Gumption: Gwyneth Paltrow

Gwyneth Paltrow was panned by the media a few years ago when she started up her blog GOOP, a website that addresses fashion, entertainment and culinary issues.  People were in an uproar over the flaunting of her privileged lifestyle and the pretentious entries.  For example, a few posts strongly hinted that you were just not civilized if you didn’t have a certain thread count to your sheets or owned a certain purse.  I’m determined to believe that she is just misunderstood.  Gwyneth Paltrow is friends with Madonna, is married to the front-man of a successful rock band and was raised in Manhattan by hollywood royalty.  Her 68-year-old mother, Blythe Danner is a respected actress and is still working.  For her social position and the peers she draws from, the advice is probably pretty sound.  It’s of my opinion that, if you don’t like, don’t read it.  Since her lifestyle choices do not match my own, I don’t read it but I’m also not going to diminish her efforts because I’m somehow above it.  There’s a certain priggishness to that too no?

What I do love is her new cookbook “My father’s daughter.”  Her producer/director father Bruce Paltrow passed away a few years ago and in this book she has gathered some of her parents’ recipes, shares current dishes that she makes for her family and memories of cooking with her father.  Food is the foundation of showing your love to someone and when I look through this cookbook it’s clear, through family photos and memories, that it is a way for her to pay tribute to a man who had such a positive influence in her life.  I don’t believe that a pretentious snob could create such a piece of work and maybe all Gwyneth Paltrow can be faulted for is wanting to share a part of herself with the world.

Gossip

With the recent “News of the world” phone hacking scandal, it’s a good moment to discuss the gossip industry and celebrity in general.  The documentary “Teenage Paparazzo” (2010), which follows Adrien Grenier’s friendship with a 15-year-old celebrity photographer, critically evaluates the role of celebrities in our society.  Actors, actresses, musicians and other public figures are filling the void left by a less prominent monarchy and serve as the role models that many are drawing on to build their identities.  Along with the adoration comes the scrutiny into their private lives and they are intertwined in an industry that is solely built on relishing the mishaps, miseries and some happiness of others.

Not many would admit to supporting such a lowly form of media, especially since “News of the world” endangered the lives of others and compromised criminal investigations.  Their actions are beyond heinous but they are a part of an industry with people craving photographs and updates on the stars.  Supply and demand right?  The fact that I don’t mind my own business when it comes to celebrities who I do not know and will never meet is definitely something that I keep under wraps.  As a grad student much of my life is devoted to reading and writing articles and text, so gossip blogs are a way to relax and consume something that is light and frivolous.  We are trained to take apart arguments, to see beyond the surface and to be critical of anything we engage in.  So, I hope that I don’t take myself so seriously that I can’t admit my bad habits.  It’s unclear if I will ever try to break free from this vice but if you too like to “not mind your own business” I recommend two witty and snarky blogs that will provide you with the salacious details but also make you laugh:

“The Awful Truth” on E-online and “Lainey gossip”

So rather than list all the reasons why I love these two gossip gurus, I will provide you with two examples of their work that I guarantee will give anyone a chuckle.

http://www.laineygossip.com/Demi_Lovato_and_Ryan_Phillippe_were_hooking_up_19jul11.aspx?CatID=0&CelID=20193

http://www.eonline.com/uberblog/the_awful_truth/b238592_alex_pettyfer_bashes_women_s–t_hole.html