Friday, April 15, 2011

Gwyneth Paltrow: Person or Avatar?

Gwyneth Paltrow Works For Success
15 April 2011 12:15:14 PM

In case you were wondering if Gwyneth Paltrow really exists as a sentient being, or is rather more of a half-British vapor, or a very blonde version of Gertrude Stein’s Oakland (“There-is-no-there-there,” Gertrude decried), let me just offer this recent bulletin:

Gwyneth Paltrow "worked her ass off" for the good things in her life.  The 'Country Strong' actress - who has children Apple, six, and Moses, five, with husband Chris Martin - believes some people resent the fact she seemingly has it all because she is not afraid to try new things and says her desire to do her best is often mistaken for her feeling superior to others. 

Do you resent her for seemingly having it all? I didn’t think so, because I don’t either. Besides money and a really nice mother, I don’t see that she has anything much--except for the world’s most delusional outlook which would, in itself, be something to envy, except that it drives her to make revealing statements like this to the actual real life publishing press:

"I think my work ethic is the reason why I'm successful. I think that a lot of people don't want to put in effort and it's easier to not change, not do something good for you, not work on your relationship,
not make yourself a meal, not work out. They're just pissed off at someone else doing that. Everything in my life that's good is because I worked my ass off to get it and to maintain it.

The late James Brown was called—by others, mind you-- “the hardest working man in show business” and perhaps Gwyneth, too, believes she’s James Brown. But she can’t be James Brown if only because James used to get drunk on occasion and shoot up some wives and end up in the pokey. Which, if he’d only pursued an acting career, would have made him a much better candidate to portray the drunk singer in the unconvincing film Country Song. Evidently, Gwyneth had trouble relating to this particular realm of human experience and shared her puzzlement with the press:

“I just couldn’t understand how you could be so drunk that you could wreck people’s lives and then wake up the next day and pretend everything was fine. I struggled with that.”

To be 25 and still not understand that requires a strong work ethic indeed. To be 35 and unable to even imagine having committed some Bad Behavior, and feeling—or not--Deep Rue and Regret, requires that one wield so much self discipline as to have rendered oneself just slightly autistic.

Gwyneth - who has recently released her own cook book, 'My Father's Daughter', and is rumored to have landed a record deal - also admitted she pities her critics as she thinks they are projecting their negative feelings about themselves onto her. 

Okay, let me just say this about pity and Gwyneth’s evident need to invade--and not just by marriage--the Country of Music: The reason her music lacks any conviction is that she’s never cared about music per se; it was merely the country she had to invade (I’m thinking Poland) to get on to the waaaay more strategic Country of Sex. Or, more specifically, to the Country of Seeming to be Very Sexy. Which Gwyneth, for all her hard-working work-outs, somehow manages to completely avoid, as can be seen on her glee-free cavorting on Glee:,

And now, just to be completely unfair:

That was unfair, wasn’t it?  You might say the same thing about a film career that peaks way too early. Gwyneth was still in her twenties when she got the Oscar for Shakespeare in Love, and she was brilliant—nay, luminous—in Shakespeare in Love.  She owned that country for a short while and no one even resented her then.


  1. What's with that jacket thing in the "Glee" production? I'm going to have to remember that one the next time I go dancing--which is never, except for my daughter's upcoming wedding. Now wouldn't that be a humiliating lark?

  2. Am I the only person who really liked Country Strong and think Gwyneth has it all over some of the established country singers? I was never a big fan of hers 'til I saw CS, and now I think she's cool and courageous and, after hearing her on Morning Edition this morning, versatile (cookbook). Good for her! She's not parading around in fake boobs, embarrassing herself in the press or being sleazy to get attention. She's not resting on her or her parents' laurels, but getting out there and doing more than just being Robert Downey's Ironman sidekick. I think she's the result of good parenting. Go Gwyneth!

  3. You so nailed it, my dear and always perceptive Ruth Trellis!
    Gwyneth is nothing if not the result of Good Parenting--and if there's one thing I can neither abide nor forgive, it is the walking, talking result of Good Parenting.
    As ever,
    The Embittered Infanta

  4. My dear Embittered Infanta Ms. G, there are so many people to be truly and righteously snarky about(Palinstein comes to mind, but then, everyone snarks on her and tho' you could probably do a better job cuz you just write better than most, it's been done), and I agreed with you about Anne Hathaway, but my newly prized Gwyneth? To be shot down cuz she puts her talent out there and had good parenting? Let's find someone else we can pick on ... (as a product of dysfunctional parenting, I can only admire and protect those who had it good). Sigh. (Is the above-referenced Ruth as in our dear Ruthie?)

  5. 'Gwyneth Paltrow': Such a sad waste of an interesting name.

  6. My dear Rose Trellis (and anyone else listening in):
    I DID call you Ruthie, didn’t I? And perhaps that WAS an unconscious reference to my well-parented goddaughter, Ms. Ruthie Head, but let me tell you right now that even at the tender age of 19, Ruthie Head would never be so crass or naïve as to think—let alone SAY OUT LOUD—that “everything in my life that is good is because I’ve worked my ass off to get it and maintain it.”
    Because, unlike our petulant Thinneth, Ruthie Head is old enough now to know she is lucky, to understand that others are less so, and to appreciate that not all efforts yield desired results and, oh yeah, she can spell Nepotism.
    I’m not sure why GP sticks so in my particular craw, but I think it’s not so much that I hate her as I sense something unconscious and fetid afoot, a quinoa taco rotting in Denmark.
    For all her good parenting, GP seems unbearably swaddled in a thick baby bunting—a case, if you will, of arrested development. How else to explain her ongoing conviction that Life Really Is Fair (work your ass off and it will stay off) or admitted bafflement at the need for escape that leads to addiction?
    My favorite quote of all time is from E.M. Cioran, a cranky and undoubtedly atrociously-parented poe, who wrote: “He who has never envied the vegetable has missed the human drama.” And, whether she does so unwitting or by design, GP presents herself as someone who has indeed missed (which is bad for an actor) the human drama.
    And not because she isn’t part OF it (she does, after all, have a dead father) but because she imagines herself, in the way of a toddler, to be in its unflappable center. I’ve seen this dissociation before in real people and have always found it icy and eerie.
    Also, she calls Blythe Danner Mommy.