friend has taken me to task for bothering to write about Gwyneth Paltrow. How could I stoop so low as to contribute to
the self-serving publicity of a minor celebrity?
he didn’t actually use the verb ‘stoop’, but his tone was inherently disapproving,
an expression of disappointment that I, a self-proclaimed homme serieux, should bother to write about a B-list celebrity of
no outstanding talent other than an undeniable knack for getting herself
covered by the media every time she goes for a walk. Surely there are far more important topics to
write about than the vacuous Ms. Paltrow, he is saying.
And of course he’s right.
in my defence, as it were, I have two comments to make (thereby, I well
understand, contributing to the ever-expanding catalogue of Paltrow happenings).
first is that writing about the serious stuff going on in the world – Syria’s
possible use of gas, the bugger’s muddle of the British economy, or Michael Gove’s
gallant attempts to persuade our schoolteachers to actually do some teaching – can
become tiresome in the extreme without the occasional leavening of flippancy,
the casual excursion into triviality.
The second is that Ms. Paltrow, for good reasons or bad, fathomable or
otherwise, has been hogging the newspapers for the past couple of weeks,
her triumphal march to becoming the Most Talked-About Woman of the Year
interrupted only by the death of Margaret Thatcher (who, though not everyone’s
cup-of-tea, was undeniably an A-lister).
Thursday, Gwynnie – as even the broadsheets have now taken to calling her –
made the front page of the normally fuddy-duddy Daily Telegraph. And not just at the bottom of the page but
right in the middle, splashed across two columns, in full colour. Ostensibly she was there because People
magazine had voted her the most interesting human being on the planet, or some
such laudation. The real excuse was to
show her arriving at some film premier in New York wearing a slit dress that exposed
her entire leg, ankle to thigh, plus a large portion of her backside.
a glimpse of Gwynnie’s buttocks, as lovely as they are, will needless to say fall
short of solving any of the world’s problems, and ought therefore to be
consigned, if not to the waste-paper bin, then to the entertainment column deep
inside the paper.
the owner of the said buttocks is not just fodder for gossip columnists. She is said to be someone who must be
embraced as “an icon of 21st century womanhood”.
says so? No less a paper than the Sunday
Times which today devotes a full page spread to the lady, naturally accompanied
by another full-length shot of that bum-revealing dress.
by the way, was mortified about the exposure of so much flesh. She confessed as much to an American talk
show host, describing it as ‘a disaster’. For further explanation we must rely on the Sunday
Times. “She had expected it to
be revealing,” explains the writer, “but was horrified to discover her bottom
was ‘hanging out’ and by the time she realised the extent of the problem it was
too late to change it …. Or so she claimed; implausibly, perhaps, for someone
who freely admits to micromanaging her life.” (The journalist’s afterthought
tends to undermine the entire piece, but never mind – circulation wars are not
fought without a certain amount of stooping.)
real appeal, though, is far more visceral than the curves of her backside. As one Justine Picardie, editor of Harper’s
Bazaar, points out: “She is not
every woman, but she has been through experiences we all go
through – heartbreak, marriage, children, the death of a parent, and dealing
with getting older”. There, in a
nutshell, you have it. Gwynnie’s just
one of us – except with a nicer tush and a well-paid publicist.
that Damascene revelation, I abandon the subject forever. I apologise for stooping so low, and promise
not to write another word about it – unless she decides to runs for the
presidency, or is revealed to be having an affair with Prince Harry.