March 26, 2014

The 5 dumbest sentences in the WaPo article "What celebrity divorces like Gwyneth Paltrow’s tell us about ‘having it all.'"

1. "Kim Kardashian’s pre-Kanye West marriage to NBC player Kris Humphries, to whom she became engaged seven months after they started dating, and was married to for 72 days before filing for divorce, is a perfect example." NBC player Kris Humphries, eh? These journalists think awfully highly of themselves. (Yes, I know, I'm laughing at a typo, and I think typo humor is dumb, but... whatever... this is a post about dumb.)

2. "And perhaps most important for the purposes of our imaginings, Poehler and Arnett seemed equally fun – the sort of couple you’d want to have to dinner." I'm just enjoying the lazy locution, leaving in place the alternative meaning of cannibalism.

3. "The tide of Gwynethfreude that is breaking over the internet is particularly tsunami-like because, since founding her newsletter Goop in 2008, part of Paltrow’s business has been telling other women how to live glamorous and complete lives." Schadenfreude is the pleasure we feel when bad things happen to other people. It's a compound word in which the "freude" part means joy. The "schaden" part means harm. The coined word Gwynethfreude literally means Gwyneth joy, and the part about something bad happening to Gwyneth is missing. Also there's an effort at keeping the metaphor unmixed by sticking to water with "tide" and "tsunami" and "breaking over," but why try so hard if you're only going to fail? Tides don't break and tsunamis aren't tides.

4. "And maybe none of us can have it all." The crushingly pedestrian parting shot. (Mixed metaphor intended.)

5. "Paltrow used the word of her split to promote an idea called 'conscious uncoupling,' transitioning smoothly from married-lady guru to the woman who is headed for a better divorce than the rest of us." Nothing especially wrong with that as a sentence. I just wanted to show you the phrase "conscious uncoupling" that everyone's talking about on the occasion of Gwyneth's divorce.

54 comments:

madAsHell said...

Just five?

Amichel said...

I've always thought the widespread disdain for Gwyneth Paltrow on the internet was a product of envy. She is a wealthy, attractive, and has no shame in enjoying her good fortune. Now all the people who hated her (while secretly wishing to have the same glamorous lifestyle) have an excuse to take her down a peg. So now they can feel better about themselves; as they make jokes about a failed marriage and a broken home. Who cares if a couple of innocent kids (aged 10 and 7) get hurt in the proceedings? Terrible all around.

rehajm said...

"Conscious uncoupling" is the inevitable by product of your spouse 'consciously coupling' with Kate Bosworth.

The world Paltrow builds for herself is amazing. When she builds the VR headset I'm giving her Kickstarter money.

Erik said...

The link seems to be wrong, linking back to Ann Althouse post instead of to the Washington Post. (Then again, maybe the WaPo article is so dumb that AA couldn't bring herself to link to it…)

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

Ann wrote: Schadenfreude is the pleasure we feel when bad things happen to other people.

No. You have to add something like ". . . happen to other people, who we feel really have it coming to them."

Without that explicit last phrase, not sure the essence of schadenfreude is captured.

Tibore said...

"madAsHell said...
Just five?"


Yeah, that's my thought too. I was thinking "all of them".

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

The most annoying thing about the sentence "Maybe none of us can have it all" is not that it's banal but that it is ungrammatical and awkward.



MadisonMan said...

If you go into reading an article about celebrity marriages expecting anything but nonsense and inanity, then you've set the bar waaay too high and you'll be disappointed.

Larry J said...

"And maybe none of us can have it all."

Funny, other than some bad old Michelob commercials from the 1990s, I don't recall anyone ever telling men that we could have it all.

"You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometimes
You just might find
You get what you need."

- Rolling Stones

Jim said...

madAsHell, she stopped at five because of the "mercy rule."

Paul Zrimsek said...

I'm just enjoying the lazy locution, leaving in place the alternative meaning of cannibalism.

What?

The most annoying thing about the sentence "Maybe none of us can have it all" is not that it's banal but that it is ungrammatical

What?

The Crack Emcee said...

Amichel,

"I've always thought the widespread disdain for Gwyneth Paltrow on the internet was a product of envy."

Sure, and her condescending promotion of expensive quack "cures" - putting her in the same category as the anti-vaccine Jenny McCarthy - has nothing to do with it.

How do people miss this stuff?

betamax3000 said...

I thought that "conscious uncoupling" was the "I'll pull out" method of birth control.

Rae said...

Didn't Paltrow have some health issue because she wasn't getting enough sun? Eh, she's a decent enough actor, and not as insufferable as most. As far as the article goes, one would think that people who write for a living would learn to edit as part of their craft.

tim maguire said...

Gwyneth Paltrow is getting divorced? I guess that means she's married. To anybody we might know?

Elise Ronan said...

Jealousy is an ugly beast. Since none of us know any of the celebrities in real life, to base your perspective on a public persona is ignorant. It seems to me that someone like Paltrow is simply trying to make the best of a bad situation and trying to get in front of the bad press. Say what you want, but that is her business and her livelihood. You don't have to like what she sells or how she comes across, but schadenfreude about the demise of her marriage just seems to be what is really wrong with this society.

Brando said...

It's incorrect to assume that the disgust for Paltrow is borne of jealousy. There are a lot of famous people who are successful who don't engender that level of scorn from the public. You'll notice you don't see this sort of vitriol towards say Hugh Jackman or Jennifer Lawrence.

Rather, the spite has more to do with the fact that Paltrow has been very public with her empty-headed out of touch outlook on life, from her self-congratulatory magazine to her opining on politics to her condescending attitude towards Americans and the middle class that oozes from her to her lifestyle suggestions that seem to assume everyone has her money and connections to her pathetic name droppings.

But the idea that out of all rich and successful celebrities we just decided to pick on Paltrow tends to miss out on all that.

Brando said...

And I'll add that while I have precious little regard for Ms. Paltrow, I take no joy in her current marital woes because that can be a painful mess for anyone, rich or poor, especially when children are involved. Besides, her misfortune doesn't improve my life in any way, so why revel in it?

betamax3000 said...

Comedy Stage Open Mic Night Comic says:

So Trevor and I are at our neighborhood bar, having a few beers and discussing what celebrities we'd like to see naked -- we can't be solving the world's problems ALL the time (laughter). This -- of course -- led to the inevitable question of what superpower would give you the best chance to see a celebrity naked: no delusions of grandeur here, folks (laughter). Now, invisibility and X-ray vision are the obvious ones, even an amateur would figure those, and we are not amateurs, we pride ourselves as being unpaid professionals (laughter). Though -- when you live in the basement of your parents' home -- the definition of 'pride' loosens up considerably (laughter)...

Trevor, he now goes with Super Hypnosis: just by making eye contact he can then make a person do whatever he wants. I think he even has a cape for himself planned out (laughter). Now -- keep in mind -- we adhere to a strict 'no-touching' rule in these scenarios -- we don't want to seem TOO creepy (laughter)...

Myself, at first I thought about the ability to stop time, that would be pretty epic. However, the more I thought about it I came to the realization that -- when you live in your parent's basement -- time pretty much comes to a stop all on its own (laughter)...

So anyway, I decided to go with Super Charm Power -- I can talk any woman out of her clothes by sheer charisma; Trevor said now THAT was too far-fetched, even for us (laughter). I didn't realize there could be limits set on how pathetic I could be, but evidently there are (laughter), its good to have boundaries (laughter)...

Now Trevor -- he thinks these kinds of things -- he asks: "Is there a moral difference between seeing a married celebrity naked versus an unmarried celebrity?" And, I have to admit, I never thought about it that way before, the concept never crossed my mind (laughter). But -- when I thought about it -- it seemed like there SHOULD be a difference: by looking at a married naked celebrity am I, in some way, cheating? I mean, she's married, she's naked, my sweatpants are around my ankles, it certainly sounds like cheating (laughter) -- that is, without the 'being-in-the-same-room' part (laughter)...

So now Trevor -- he's got me hanging on a hook here, and then -- Pow! -- he asks: what if she's married and has...children? (laughter). Yeah: now he's really limiting my masturbation options (laughter)... Thank you, you've been great...

The Sanity Inspector said...

Seems like a lot of media just edit with the F7 button nowadays.

madAsHell said...

She has his initials tattooed on her iliac crest. Why is that always a sign of bad things to come?

I'll tell you....I ain't putting bumper stickers on this Ferrari!!
Vrrrooooom!!
Vrrrooooom!!

Elise Ronan said...

Brando- Paltrow may be out of touch with the average person, but so are most celebrities. Many of the A-listers start business which are out of sync with the average person whether its baby products, fashion or lifestyle. Also look at how the A-listers inject themselves into politics when most of them barely finished highschool and it's quite apparent most of them couldn't find the USA on a map.

Actually you are incorrect about Jennifer Lawrence. There are alot of Lawrence-haters out there. As well as against Anne Hathaway They even call themselves Hathahaters. Taylor Swift is dogged by a huge hate-group.Neither of these women have businesses other than their careers. they do not tell people how to live but live their lives as they see fit. Again its jealousy because these celebrities are successful, beautiful and wealthy. If you notice by the way, most of the hate is directed at women celebrities.

Don't see this schadenfreude directed at too many men do you? Why isn't the world celebrating that Chris Martin is getting a divorce? He afterall is the one being accused of adultery.And there are plenty of male celebrities that deserve derision for their life choices too.

Mary K said...

"I take no joy in her current marital woes because that can be a painful mess for anyone, rich or poor, especially when children are involved. Besides, her misfortune doesn't improve my life in any way, so why revel in it?"

Because self-rightousness is often the antidote for envy and low self-esteem.

Wayworn Wanderer said...

The children suffer. Parents aren't willing to suck it up. What does that tell you?

Marty Keller said...

Althouse said, "I just wanted to show you the phrase 'conscious uncoupling' that everyone's talking about on the occasion of Gwyneth's divorce."

"Everyone"? Uh, no.

Seeing Red said...

Gwynnie is bossy, Elise. And I'm sure there are lots of ladies celebrating! Why isn't the same glare on the men?

Because this is a female thing.

I wonder who has more mag covers? Who is really higher-profile?

Is he the high-fashion mate in the marriage?

EDH said...

Does "conscious uncoupling" mean Paltrow can have a cavalcade of overnight fuck buddies in the marital home with her kids present?

Seeing Red said...

Maybe if she only exercised an hour a day and gave her hubby the extra hour?

William said...

Unless you've got a fetish for fibulae or a highly developed sense of humerus, then x ray vision is highly over rated as an erotic superpower. Plus what if you use it and then discover the woman's pregnant. Are you prepared to live with the guilt when the fetus comes to term with two heads?. Invisibility is ok, but my guess is that you might discover that women fart far more often than they put on lingerie and rub lotion into their inner thigh.......Gwyneth has actually been granted a true erotic superpower. There aren't that many women in the world who can look beautiful and charming when they're blown up to ten times their normal size. She rarely goes through a day without having ten attractive men hit on her. Now she'll be able to respond in kind......Most people who go through break ups have to stay in bed with the covers over their heads while they absorb the trauma. Give Gwyneth an extra hour with the therapist, and she's good to go.

Brando said...

Elise--it has more to do with how public they are with their vapidity or horrendous thoughts. Think about how unpopular Ben Affleck was ten years ago, when he was speaking at political rallies and making stupid comments about how people didn't like him and J-Lo because racism. Then, he shut up a while, got behind the camera, and put in his time and is now more or less in the public's good graces.

And I don't buy this "it's because Paltrow is a woman" argument at all. When's the last time you heard about Chris Martin writing articles about how men could have it all if they just took the time to hire a personal trainer and grow their own lettuce in the back yard? Or about how he was just discussing how much better it is to live in England than among the hoi polloi in America with his good buddy Steven Speilberg?

It has to do with visibility. Remember when Tom Cruise was an under-the-radar scientologist, and didn't earn much scorn from the public? Then he started lecturing Brooke Sheilds about psychology and other stunts (because he traded in his normal PR person for his sister) and he became a joke.

This is why celebrities hire PR folks--to keep their worst features out of the public eye. If Paltrow decides that she must share whatever goes on in her brain with the world, then no one should cry for her when the world mocks her for it.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

...and tsunamis aren't tides.

No, but tsunamis are tidal waves, called such because often their period is so long that they appear as a massive outgoing then inrushing tide, rather than a breaking wave.

So I'd give them a pass on that part of the metaphor.

Alcibiades said...

Two words for you, Elise.

Alex Baldwin. There was lots of schadenfreude in NY when he announced he was leaving. If only he would.

Joe said...

Don't see this schadenfreude directed at too many men do you?

Kevin Costner ended up on the Hollywood hate train.

jr565 said...

I love the use of new phrases like conscious uncoupling to convey the separation as something different or more enlightened. Nope. Her and her husband got separated just like everybody else.

jr565 said...

So in this uncoupling who gets the personal trainer and lettuce patch?

Harris Abrams said...

"Don't see this schadenfreude directed at too many men do you?"

Well, not too many other than Sean Penn, Shia LaBeouf, Mel Gibson, Justin Bieber, John Mayer, Kanye West, Christian Bale, Bill Maher, Tiger Woods . . .

cubanbob said...

Rather, the spite has more to do with the fact that Paltrow has been very public with her empty-headed out of touch outlook on life, from her self-congratulatory magazine to her opining on politics to her condescending attitude towards Americans and the middle class that oozes from her to her lifestyle suggestions that seem to assume everyone has her money and connections to her pathetic name droppings. "

People don't like condescension. Most celebrities haven't figured that out.

Sigivald said...

I just wanted to show you the phrase "conscious uncoupling" that everyone's talking about on the occasion of Gwyneth's divorce.

Everyone, bwana?

I didn't even know she was married, let alone getting divorced, nor heard of the phrase.

(It's a good phrase, mind you, but...)

EMD said...

Kevin Costner ended up on the Hollywood hate train.

Have you seen The Postman?

EMD said...

I prefer unconscious coupling myself.

Brando said...

Cubanbob--I doubt they even realize they're condescending. They've been so insulated from contrary opinions and so surrounded by those who tell them that they're truly awesome, and anyone who doesn't like them is racist/sexist/jealous/stupid so they're in a self-reinforcing cycle.

Freeman Hunt said...

I think "conscious uncoupling" means that a guru presides over your divorce court and everyone does yoga throughout the proceedings. At the end, after a quick juice bar break, all the people in attendace link together like in Avatar.

Freeman Hunt said...

I hope they work it out and do some conscious recoupling.

Quaestor said...

Paltrow used the word of her split to promote an idea called 'conscious uncoupling,'...Nothing especially wrong with that as a sentence...

But it does provoke speculation on what its opposite, unconscious uncoupling, might be... So Gwyneth Paltrow falls on her head and forgets she's married, is that an example?

Fen said...

Is she the lady who played Pepper on Iron Man?

Quaestor said...

Is she the lady who played Pepper on Iron Man?

If played is the right word.

jr565 said...

So what is conscious uncoupling? If you get a divorce wouldn't it always be a conscious choice?


Gwyneth Paltrow, Chris Martin 'uncouple'

A "conscious uncoupling is the ability to understand that every irritation and argument [within a marriage] was a signal to look inside ourselves and identify a negative internal object that needed healing," "From this perspective, there are no bad guys, just two people," expanding on the blame-free, "it's about people as individuals, not just the relationship" theory."


So say Dr. Habib Sadegh and his wife, Dr. Sherry Sami

http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/26/living/gwyneth-paltrow-conscious-uncoupling-elle/index.html


jr565 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jr565 said...

""Conscious uncoupling brings wholeness to the spirits of both people who choose to recognize each other as their teacher...If we can allow ourselves this gift, our exoskeleton of protection and imprisonment will fall away and offer us the opportunity to begin constructing an endoskeleton, an internal cathedral, with spiritual trace minerals like self-love, self-acceptance, and self-forgiveness."

Ummmmm....... What?

Freeman Hunt said...

See? They're definitely going to plug their tails into a glowing tree.

jr565 said...

Why does conscious uncoupling remind me of the spiritualized new aged gobbledygook version of David Mason's song "We just disagree"?

Been away, haven't seen you in a while.
How've you been?
Have you changed your style and do you think
That we've grown up differently? Don't seem the same
Seems you've lost your feel for me
So let's leave it alone, 'cause we can't see eye to eye.
There ain't no good guys, there ain't no bad guys.
There's only you and me and we just disagree."
Mason could have been a guru making big bucks telling people about growing their internal endo skeleton with love trace elements.

Kirk Parker said...


"How do people miss this stuff?"

Beats me. The attraction to me, for celebreties, is fairly far into the negative, but yet people have been whole media empires on informing us about celebreties' doings. It's almost like there's two completely different species that happen to look the same in outward appearance: (1) real humans, and (2) those who buy People magazine.


beta,

"I thought that 'conscious uncoupling' was the "I'll pull out" method of birth control. "

I can introduce you to some folk who are here because that method isn't really all that much birth control.

SOJO said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nichevo said...

3. Your excessive pedanticism makes you (deleted, but ST and Crack both woulda been rolling).

To brief it since you still don't understand: it doesn't have to make sense in German, dummy, because we're not speaking German. We won the war. People know, as well as they know, what Schadenfreude is; they know who Paltrow is; do the math.

About "tide" you are correct; the proper word would have been "wave."