Tuesday, 8 April 2014

A load of old GOOP

This past fortnight has seen the demise of the marriage of Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin, the announcement of Kimye's (=Kim Kardashian and Kanye West) forthcoming nuptials: and a series of wildly speculative articles on both. It seems as if these days, if we're interested enough in something or someone -- and we don't really know anything about the real story -- then we simply make it up.

But this post is not just (or not only) an excuse for a rant. It's actually because Guardian journalist Alex Petridis has rather cleverly, and pertinently, sent up the over-important rhetoric that accompanies such 'journalism' on these topics. Not only is it not journalism, he argues in a recent article, and neither is it 'scholarship', or 'research', or any other thing that these writers care to label it as. LiS ('Lost in Showbiz') argues:

'There's so much that LiS is impressed by in their coverage that it's hard to know where to start. Perhaps with Graydon Carter, editor of Vanity Fair, who was prevailed upon to discuss his magazine's investigation into "allegations of serial infidelity" denied by Paltrow, before mentioning that there was "one recurring name in this area of scholarship". This area of scholarship! That sound you can hear is legions of hopefuls applying to the Arts and Humanities Research Council for postgraduate funding: "Dear Sir, I plan to write an interdisciplinary thesis speculating wildly about who Gwyneth Paltrow has been getting her leg over with."'

This is nearly as pertinent as the recent reference to Jane Austen made in an episode of TOWIE, during which one 'character' (Bobby) read out a letter from a cheating boyfriend (Lockie) to his girfriend (Danni): 'It's hardly Jane Austen, is it babes?'. And they say that academia is out of touch with the real world. But the choice language of this particular letter is too sensitive for this blog to cover...

And P.S., for the uninitiated, GOOP is the name of Gwyneth Paltrow's lifestyle blog.

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