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.