Earlier this week I wrote that we were going to lay off Gwyneth Paltrow’s GOOP newsletter. Ashley disagrees and will now be making fun of it every day.
Ashley: So, I think you’re at a handicap because you are arguing from the unpopular side. I want you to know that I recognize you are in the minority and respect your courage. Therefore, I will not play dirty and instead try to argue my position from a somewhat muzzled perspective, by only citing examples with which all people are familiar, and not delving too deeply. So. One time, I watched a GOOP video in which Gwyneth Paltrow shares a recipe for roast chicken. Then she cooks a child.
Jennifer: You tell lies. So, Gwyneth Paltrow is my new best friend, we’re going to bake cupcakes and ride horses together, and then send our children to the Institut Alpin Videmanette, which we will reopen. Why do you hate all that is beautiful in life?
Ashley: I hate outrageous excess. I also hate smug rich people who, in times of economic crisis, suggest via their newsletters that I should consider an $800 paella making set as a birthday gift. PAELLA!
Jennifer: Paella, because it is rice based, is already a democratic dish. I guess I’m sorry she tried to embrace the people so hard? With both arms?
Ashley: Saffron is like $6000 an ounce. So that’s not very populist. Look, I know you have the hard side to defend here. All I’m saying is I don’t like people who feast off virgin blood.
Jennifer: So does Vogue. You love Vogue.
Ashley: I love Italian Vogue. And I read it for the articles.
Jennifer: Either way, I AM SURE they recommended a mink track suit around the same time. This isn’t new or surprising. And there’s a certain aspirational quality that a lof of publications to try to work in. Vogue – of any country! – doesn’t really expect women in Duluth to buy $5,000 McQueen dresses, but they show them anyway, because some people like to look at them and imagine. I’m sure my BFF Gwynnie does not expect everyone to spend $800 on totally necessary cooking staples, because some people are lazy and hate democratic dishes.
Ashley: Sure, but Vogue is a fashion magazine and it’s always been aspiration based. But Gwyneth Paltrow is trying to style herself as a lifestyle guru. If she’s supposed to be a lifestyle guru for spoiled white bitches, that needs to be in the masthead.
Jennifer: That has always been the case. So much the case that she doesn’t even need to say it. Ever seen Popular? She has always been the skinny, white, rich girl goddess. She knew how to do all the 19th century lady stunts ahead of time for her role in Emma. She runs around wearing Ralph Lauren all the time.
Ashley: She also called Billy Joel “William Joel.”
Jennifer: Yeah, I actually really find that charming. Sincerely. I get really flustered about whether or not to call people by their full names or a nickname, and I would have done the same if meeting William Joel for the first time, probably. But are we really talking about GOOP now? Or Gwynnie the woman?
Ashley: Wait. So your point is that we shouldn’t hate a spoiled woman dispensing advice to spoiled women? Not that she’s secretly awesome or talented or interesting… right?
Jennifer: What’s so bad about being a spoiled rich white lady? Other than the spoiled part, obviously. Would it be fundamentally nobler if she was stupidly trying to write for impoverished Latino ladies?
Ashley: Fair. But doesn’t GOOP’s existence hinge on the assumption that people want to be like Gwyneth Paltrow? That’s terrible. Actually, you know what? I don’t think I’m objecting to privilege or entitlement or obliviousness here, I think I’m objecting to the idea that anyone, anywhere would ever believe he or she should give lifestyle advice. On the reg. I think I find something extremely gross about it. Especially Gwyneth Paltrow implying people want to be more like Gwyneth Paltrow.
Jennifer: I do! Raising my hand here!
Ashley: You want to be married to the guy from Coldplay? He’s an anus.
Jennifer: I want to be a movie star who lives in a castle and names her children eccentric things and wears designer dresses. Sounds like a blast. Not the Coldplay part. He does seem anus-y.
Ashley: He is absolutely an anus.
Jennifer: He is an anus donut. Other than that, though, sure, her life seems fun. She seems to like her kids and baking and being in movies and singing country music. I can’t really find much fault with any of that. Good for her.
Ashley: Unless a fleet of nannies raise her children or staffers develop recipes in a test kitchen or she never touches any baked goods and I’m sure the country music thing is a weird folksy affectation on par with Sarah Palin’s colloquialisms about mountain lions and cole minin’ or some such absurdity. And no, you don’t want to be like her, you wanted to be accomplished, talented, interesting and driven. You’re playing devil’s advocate.
Jennifer: Maybe. But no, she actually does seem pretty driven. And she could have nannies on all the time, which doesn’t sound like the case. I had a nanny. My mom worked. Lots of people have nannies when they have working parents. And I think she’s an actress so she probably does try on different personas more than the average person – I’m less offended by her than Palin, because it doesn’t seem calculated. I do wonder how much of this is just jealousy, though? A lot of it comes down to hating on her for writing for wealthy people. Speaking of which – how is your family’s vineyard?
Ashley: Stop making that joke.
Jennifer: Did I make you class concious? I apologize.
Ashley: Name some good things Gwyneth Paltrow has done that qualifies her as someone to dispense advice?
Jennifer: What qualifies anyone to dispense advice? We dispense advice all day long and we know that we are sometimes unrepentent assholes.
Ashley: Gwyneth Paltrow: born rich to famous parents. Has only augmented the fortune with which she was born. Starred in the film Duets. And called Billy Joel “William Joel.”
Jennifer: I really do think that’s charming. That’s the kind of detail that makes me feel she and I would get along. Do you think it’s because you feel a need to rail against privelege for… reasons?
Ashley: Have you seen Duets?
Jennifer: Would you hate her, if this was say, Ivanka Trump dispensing advice?
Ashley: Of course.
Jennifer: Because I think you’d be pretty onboard with say, a welfare mother starting an advice blog. To help others like her. It would seem like a really jerk move to hate a welfare mother with a blog.
Ashley: Regardless of class, I find the activity of advice-giving weirdly gross. And I don’t think I dispense advice all day. Sometimes writing about fashion takes the tenor of that, I admit. But I would never say, “Need a Labor Day gift for your valet? How about $1200 Bottega Venata riding boots.” I also think people should be kind of discreet if they’re spectacularly wealthy.
Jennifer: Why? I mean, okay, good taste.
Ashley: Reason #1
Jennifer: But other than that, why? Rich people have problems, too. Like how to make good paella: the democratic dish.
Ashley: It’s hard to have sympathy for the absurdly wealthy, Jennifer. It’s hard not to resent that. I’m not saying it’s not petty. I’m just saying that when the economy collapses, it’s outrageous that a woman who has never worked for anything should suddenly decide she’s qualified to dispense lifestyle advice like “buy this $20,000 watch!”
Jennifer: Okay. Really good point. But I don’t think Gwyneth Paltrow would be able to write about anything else. And I think there are some people to whom those problems do seem relevant. Really, really, absurdly lucky people, but still. Aren’t they entitled to a little newsletter?
Ashley: I’m closing with this final counterpoint: