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Goop wisdom

19 November, 2008

On this one rare and perhaps disappointing occasion, the post that follows is written with a female audience in mind — though if a fan of Gwyneth Paltrow, it might (hopefully) constitute good news irrespective of gender… Now more often than not, you’ll find I tend to cordon off Hollywood celebrity endorsements in a strictly no-go zone. Indeed even less agreeable are the celebrities who endorse things, making a mockery both of endorser and endorsee while promulgating the absurdities of product placement and unclever, self-defeatist marketing strategies in the utmost of desperation. Most recently, however, endorsements of the star-studded kind seemed to serve a noble higher purpose as evidenced by Appian Way’s ‘5 Friends‘ campaign, ‘The Great Schlep‘ fronted by comedienne Sarah Silverman, and the efforts of Jay-Z and will.i.am in order to get out the vote in this month’s presidential election. So not all just cause for the far less worthy trillion-dollar conglomerates built upon a single caffeinated beverage or four-door sedan. And today, after having been signed on to receive the weekly newsletter from Goop since the beginning of October, I can admit without shame that I have one foot willingly on the bandwagon of Paltrow’s new lifestyle web-portal.

In all irony, I’ve quite taken to seeing the word ‘Goop’ in my inbox, despite the word having no discernible meaning in particular. In fact, dare I say it, I look forward to it every week. At first I was severely skeptical about Paltrow’s anecdotal, Oprah-esque living tips and tidbits ranging from topics of fashion to motherhood to metropolitan culture-rambles. It doesn’t at all help when one reads her site bio, starting out by saying ‘My life is good…’ (is it really, Gwyn?) in order to then go on and describe her aims of promoting healthy well-being and a purified, uplifting approach to one’s every-day routine. Had she not been a celebrity, of course, then such prose would bear less of that sardonic, insultingly rhetorical twist to it. Yet again, without the fame would anyone really want to know how she lives and what she believes? Perhaps therein lies the paradox of celebrity promotion… But despite Globe on Mail’s Elizabeth Renzetti questioning why Paltrow’s site wasn’t named www. ‘Any Old Load of Rubbish’ or ‘Learn From Me, Ungrateful Peasant’ .com instead, my props go out to the actress and mother-of-two now semi-based in North London with Chris Martin and a mirage of white-picket-fence idyll.

So even if neither the swinging Sex-and-the-City nor pram-strolling yummy-mummy type, Goop really is surprisingly worth checking out. And I say that both as someone who is against celebrity gimmicks as noted above, and as an impoverished self-employed artist and student unable to make, go, get, do, be or see many of the things Gwyneth Paltrow recommends. As such, I — the endorsee — still choose to endorse the endorser. Because like Paltrow’s apparent abundance of spare time in which she has chosen to pursue this venture for the good of (wo)mankind, it’s very much like watching a sitcom every now and then: downtime’s guilty pleasure of brief and mindless entertainment. Even if slightly OTT or occasionally laden with clichés as referenced by her ‘Goop Girls’, it may just be indicative of an oncoming mid-life crisis if nothing else. Just in time for Thanksgiving in the US next Thursday, she’ll be publishing the archives of all newsletters thus far — so there’s no missing out on your own chance to ‘nourish your inner aspect’.

Sarah Badr © MMVIII

See also: GOOP Subscription

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