• Tue, Mar 15 2011

What If GOOP Isn’t The Worst Thing Ever?

What if it’s not as bad as, say, tsunamis? Just throwing that out there!

Look, if there’s one kind of humorous writing that’s easy to do it’s finding something dumb, and then pointing out that it is dumb. Depending on the publication, you might want to turn it into a list of points about how that dumb thing is dumb. How often do we do this at TheGloss? Every day. Constantly. Most bloggers do. It’s easy, and nameless faceless commenters think you’re smart because you share their opinion about how something that is obviously dumb is dumb.

And wow, it is really easy to pick on GOOP. This is pretty clearly a publication being written by a wealthy white lady who lives in a castle and named her child Apple and has millions of dollars, and, oh God, you’re eating ramen so often that all your teeth are falling out and you can only hope in your most delusional dreams that there’s some sort of adult tooth fairy who can help. That is a fair point.

But reading another take-down of GOOP wherein every point of Gwyneth’s newsletter is meticulously picked apart – especially since someone sent it to me with a note reading “hahaha, this is your kind of of humor!”  – just makes me wonder if we’re crossing the line and becoming assholes. I decided that I’d crossed that line when at one point in that GOOP newsletter Gwynnie exclaimed “what up, gamers” in reference to her children playing video games and I realized… oh, she’s just a mom. She’s just some nice, slightly out of touch lady, and we should all really give her a break.

What I’m saying is that I plan to keep hating on dumb things, because I have a post quota to fill. However, in a brief, fleeting attempt to be moderate and levelheaded, I think maybe it’s time to stop hating on GOOP.

Now, Ashley says this will all end with me being publicly shamed and running around with my tail between my legs twitching horribly screaming “Ahhh, I was wrong, I was wrong.” But I don’t care about that. I care about being brave. And taking a stand.

And my stand is that her advice really isn’t that awful. Here’s what she advises:

  • Schedule your time well. When I know what I am doing from hour to hour I get more done. Write it all in the day’s calendar, what you want to accomplish and in what time frame.
  • Focus on the task at hand. Be thorough. 
  • I cook a lot, especially on the weekends, so I like to plan a rough menu for the whole weekend and get the food in on Friday. Obviously stores and websites that deliver make this a dream. In London I use Ocado. Also James Knight, my favorite fishmonger, will deliver. Having all of the ingredients means I’m prepared even when I don’t think I am. 
  • I always lay the kids uniforms and school things out the night before once they are asleep. When it’s quiet I can check the “kid list” for show and tell items to bring in, consent forms, ballet kit, etc, so that the morning is less of a scramble. 
  • The school run is a great time to return calls (in whichever direction that the kids are not in the car) so don’t forget your hands-free device.
  • Okay, up until right now I thought that fishmonger was exclusively a 16th century Shakespearean slang-term for whoremonger, but I guess I was wrong and that makes sense. Also, I will say that NO ONE HAS A FISHMONGER. But I’ll also admit that yeah, I know a lot of people who use Peapod, and that advice doesn’t seem entirely unreasonable. Other than that, what does she really want you to do?

    1) Make a schedule

    2) Try to actually pay attention when you’re working

    3) Plan out everyday tasks in advance

    4) Lay out clothing the night before

    5) Gets a hands free device so you can multitask while driving.

    This may not be super-amazing inspired advice, but it’s pretty basic, sensible advice. Being a millionaire really has nothing to do with your capacity to lay your kids clothing out the night before. And having a hands free device so you can return calls while driving will legitimately save you a shit ton of time. This is perfectly okay advice.

    As for the millionaire stuff, well, hell, what other perspective does she have? This is a woman who required no archery or horseback riding training to appear in Emma. She’s probably not going to be able to exchange delicious ramen noodle recipes with anyone, but doesn’t anyone who wants to read a newsletter written by Gwyneth Paltrow already know that? It’s surely not as though anyone thought she was going to give you advice on how to buy clothing for under $10, right? Because she would know absolutely nothing about that. What she does seem to know about is how to manage your time well if you happen to be the kind of person who has a fishmonger, or wants to pretend they have a fishmonger.

    And if you’re the latter, then reading GOOP doesn’t really seem all that different from reading the J. Peterman catalogue, which prints every item with a description about how “you’re reading Proust in your estate wearing this lace fichu, when suddenly your manly woodsman lover strides across the grounds towards you. As he ravishes you, your pet lion parades across the ground.” Most fashion magazines rely on aspirational appeal, and GOOP doesn’t seem all that different. Is assuming you have a fishmonger really that different from assuming you have 1) a country estate 2) an ability to pull off a fichu 3) a lover 4) a manly woodman lover and 5) a pet lion? Or Vogue assuming you have $5,000 to spend on a dress? Not really.

    I’m not saying Gwynnie is the best.  But I am saying that maybe, just maybe, she and GOOP aren’t the absolute worst.

    Share This Post:
    • Ashley Cardiff

      THE STATEMENTS HEREIN DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF THEGLOSS, ITS CONTENT TEAM, OR ITS OTHER EDITOR, ASHLEY CARDIFF.

    • Megan

      Just laughed out loud at the “comment” ahhahahha

    • sara

      you know, i never actually read it before today, and as unreachable as some things are (“best kids restaurants in NYC and London!”) some of it ain’t that bad. she had a post about all this stuff she loved to get at French pharmacies, which i was ready to mock till i realized you could by it all on amazon for less then $20. which i may do…except for the dry shampoo made from butane. thats just fire in a can.

    • Kat

      Um…there are several posts prior to this ragging on GOOP. Pick a side already.

      • Jennifer Wright

        Just did.

      • k

        oh, get used to it. editors not reading/remembering their own shit happens pretty much all the time at the gloss.

      • Jennifer Wright

        Given that the whole post is about not picking on GOOP ANYMORE, I’m kind of confused about how this is even a point.

      • Kat

        It’s a point because all of the posts before this one have been about how ridiculous GOOP is and now this one is preaching that we should lay off because “it’s not as bad as, say, tsunamis.”

    • KatG

      The content in GOOP is often not particularly helpful to me. But then again, neither is the content in Architectural Digest. But I still like it. The one thing I like about Paltrow is that she doesn’t apologize for having the life she has. If she wants to share her experiences with the world and they feel a little out of touch, then so be it. That’s the beauty of free speech. It also allows me to ridicule her when she suggests that running her kids to school in her $500 designer sweats is just something that sometimes happens….

    • Eileen

      I (have always) agree(d) with Jen on this one. Most of what Gwyneth Paltrow writes about on this site (that I don’t read, but my aunt who calls all the time does, so I feel as though I do) seems to be pretty basic, day-to-day advice that everyone can follow on a smaller scale. And good recipes. Yeah, she has a lot of money, an Oscar, and a rock star husband. But we all deal with what we have, and some of what everyone does to keep their lives in order is applicable to everyone else.

    • Charlie

      Whoa – “What if it’s not as bad as, say, tsunamis? Just throwing that out there!” – that’s about as (un)funny as saying “hey, what if it’s not as bad as, say, getting a passenger jet thrown at your workplace? Just throwing that out there!” in the week after 9/11.

      Of course, if the author can honestly say she’d have made that kind of “joke” in late September 2001, then fair dues. Meanwhile, thousands of people are dead and many more are trapped, injured and will die from any number of causes because of the earthquake and subsequent tsunami. To compare that to GOOP is….. beyond my comprehension, quite frankly.

      Full disclosure: I speak as someone with friends, and close family of friends, still unheard of in the devastation.

    • Parker.D

      I am glad you wrote this article. I personally am not a GOOP hater. Like any lifestyle blog she gives some good advice and some bad advice. The stuff you mentioned before was all great advice. I have had some success with certain product recommendations.

      Bridgewater Chocolate is a gourmet chocolate company from my home stage. They have a shop where my parents live and every time I come home I bring some chocolates back for my boyfriend because he’s crazy about them. I usually only by a few and spend about 8 dollars but they are absolutely delicious.

      I also fell in love with L.L Bean boots from her shop that were super practical and cute. I live in Boston and the closest train station is at least a mile away. Cute warm waterproof boots with great traction and a good warranty are a god send. Having her suggest ways to wear them is just icing on the cake. She also has some yummy and fairy easy recipes up there to.

      Yeah she’s pretentious sometimes but she also has some great tips.

    • Patricia

      I have to agree with the person who pointed out how terribly thoughtless on opening with a “joke” on tsunamis. I guess that as long as it isn’t a tragedy that affects your country or city it’s not real, right?
      Poor poor poor poor taste.