Gwyneth Paltrow & Chris Martin Split: So How's About We Let That Be the End of the Story?
And just like that, with the announcement that Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin have decided to separate — erm, consciously uncouple — the swell of Internet voices begin to run amok to fill the page and gain some clicks. Conjecture and speculation rule the world when a celebrity couple breaks up. And when one of the parties involved is a high-profile lifestyle guru of sorts (that's what GOOP is, after all), the dull roar of a thousand thinkpieces starting their engines can just barely be heard over the din of a million Twitter jokes. What does the break-up of Gwyneth and Chris mean for us and celebrity culture? Absolutely nothing.
So let's just put a stop to all of this right now, shall we? Because we all know what this "means" about how we handle celebrity culture. It means exactly the same thing as any other time a celebrity happening or general obsession becomes the ONLY thing the Internet hivemind will talk about. We have deified the office of Celebrity for so long, further and further removing famous people from the scope of the rest of us, that we routinely and willfully forget that celebrities are human beings with feelings first in order to gain some sort of entertainment or boredom reprieve. This isn't anything new.
And no one's really surprised by this break-up, right? People have been speculating on the demise of the House GOOP Built for years. Which also isn't right — but makes the insane amount of discussion around it sort of mind-boggling. Haven't we had enough yet? Just last week I heard a DJ on KROQ here in Los Angeles introduce Martin's band (Coldplay)'s new song as a harbinger of the split's inevitability in the coming weeks, declaring it Martin's "divorce anthem." At most, this announcement should come as a sad, but ultimately unsurprising development for people who keep up with those sorts of Joneses.
But because there are details easily eviscerated by the mawing, clawing masses — GOOP, the phrase "Conscious Uncoupling" — we all knee-jerkingly (and yes, I am guilty of a bit of it myself) glom on and take the news for a spin, allowing ourselves the, let's be real, sorta reprehensible joy of feeding off another person's pain. Which the bloggers, writers, editors, and other Internet/news-pushing folk then decide to either exploit or finger-wag in the name of keeping the conversation going for pageviews' sake.
Which, yeah, I know: totally hypocritical of me to say, seeing as by even writing this I'm contributing to the conversation. But what if, instead, we remind ourselves to be a little bit better than the baiting and the braying on the subject? And maybe instead of finding some weird joy or amusement from it, actually give people the respect they ask for. That might be a worthy enough reason to play the pageview game in the name of getting more people to actually see these people as, well, actual human people. Or at least get us all to stop writing so many damned thinkpieces, "what went wrong?" and "celebrities react via Twitter" -style posts, and other unnecessary obsessions on the matter.
Image: Hilary Weeks/GOOP