Gwynneth Paltrow played Emma with elegance and assurance. The actress's background, that of wealth, privilige and ease, reflects Miss Woodhouse's, so in playing the role she didn't have to reach far inside herself to find her inner Emma. Recently, as a mother of two unfortunately named children, Gwynneth decided to share her knowledge of the fine life on her website, which is named, of all things, Goop.
The Chicago Sun Times' Paige Wiser provides four reasons why this website is accidentally fun to read. I have used Ms. Wiser's categories to make my own observations.
1) It is economically inappropriate. In an age when people are seeing their investments slide to zero and worry about keeping their house or job, Ms. Paltrow recommends that every smart woman's closet should feature a $2,000 cashmere trench coat. (Image at right).
2) The Zen writing. And the zen feel of the site itself. It looks classy and spare and elegant, like Gwynneth herself, but the writing is accidentally funny. I say accidentally because Gwynneth doesn't seem to realize that 99.9% of the world simply cannot follow her precepts. She writes about her father taking her to Paris as a child: "On the plane back to London he asked me if I knew why we had gone, just he and I, to Paris for the weekend. I said no, but I felt so lucky for the trip. He said, “I wanted you to see Paris for the first time with a man who would always love you, no matter what.” From that time on, Paris was and continues to be very special to me. I lived there for five months in 1994 and I have made many trips back. These are the places in Paris I stay and eat and toast my dad." Now my question to those who live across the pond from Europe is, how many times have you returned to Paris to toast anything? How many of you went for the first time as a child?"
3) The tone is smug. I rest my case with the above example. In addition, there's something very empty about the site. Aside from the copious amount of white space, there's not much meat to chomp on.
4) It's painfully obvious. Looking at her site and reading her advice, I can substitute Gwynneth for Paris Hilton or any other privileged heiress. Instead of picking her own movie choices, Gwynneth asked a few director friends to do the honors, directors like Steven Spielberg and Wes Anderson. Lucky Gwynneth.
I don't want to jump on the Gwynneth bashing bandwagon merely to bash, but when a lady's response to recent criticism about Goop is a four letter word that starts with "F", which she did in an interview with Elle UK, then, well, I think I'll take a pass on accepting that lady's words of wisdom.
Posted by Vic, Jane Austen's World