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Goop is good: Rise of Gwyneth Platrow and the genuine (4 March 2009)

As the Globe's Lynn Crosbie said, "Goop is, ultimately, a nice little forum for ideas about self-improvement, ideas that are rooted in harmless acquisitiveness, simple playfulness and an exceptionally fragile sense of the mind and soul. It is this fragility that makes Goop (its name is, admittedly, dreadful) hard to dislike, as it puts forward such tentative feelers toward art and literature, spirituality and the dream of a whole, harmonious life. (Vanessa Richmond)

Well, here's the professional writer at work -- the kind of mind well wrought/rot from compromise, ready-full of condescension. Sensing an advance of the amateur and genuine, her first move is to belittle and contain -- and so we get talk of "ultimately, a nice little forum," of an effort "whose fragility" "makes [it] [. . .] hard to dislike," that oh so charmingly aspires to epic reach. Vanessa evidences a better taste for it (Will Vanessa ever stop seeming the castle-caught princess, who longs to embrace the commons but is afraid to seem, common?), but she still introduces Goop in a way the Globe's Lynn Crosbie would approve -- i.e. "It's clearly well-meaning” -- and suggests that Goop's success might mean that "content [really] is [no longer] king."

Vanessa is right to suggest this isn't just talk about a sweet, harmless effort, but wrong to once again ultimately direct us to affect-less terminology academics offer in their demeaning assessments of the whys of human behavior. And it may not be all about the lure of the celebrity. Rather, though focused on/through those most public/prevalent, it may just be mostly about the genuine. And if people are now chancing a turn in this direction (which is what I felt in both Paltrow and Phoenix's "latest"), then has this last long period of massive self-censored professional writing been mostly about surrecting the predictable -- about making nice stepping stones to shore up a world of well-turned shoes? Has what made you professional, baited you into suppression, "learned you" into suspicion, all along been more about gentrified contentment and containment than about true content?

May it be true that such unsure sprouts of the sweet and earnest, foretell a confident and collective, ROMANTIC full-blossoming.

Link: Is the Future of Journalism Good? (The Tyee)


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