We Thought We Were, Like, Writing a Blog
Gwyneth Paltrow explains why she did that thing,
Hi friends, Happy Labor Day. As you’re reading this (IF you’re reading this) I’m on the road heading to my birthplace in Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula. We’ll be there for nearly a week in a cabin with, as I recall, iffy internet, so if I seem a bit distant, that’ll be why. I hope you’ve had a great weekend so far and I hope today is even better.
I thought I’d share a piece I wrote in March, 2019, since it’s a holiday and we should be enjoying ourselves. And this is funny.
The whole thing is funnier to me now than it was then, I see. I got a little high-horsey about blogging at the end and kind of dragged the whole thing down. Not that I don’t believe what I said, but I probably should have saved it for another day and just laughed at Gwyneth, who, whether or not she knows it, can be pretty funny.
Still, it’s not bad advice. As always, I’d love to see what you think. I’ll find a hotspot somewhere and check in. (Unless maybe, fingers crossed, they have better internet now.) See you soon. Stay safe!
On March 11 , Gwyneth Paltrow gave a talk at SXSW, the South By Southwest Conference held in Austin, Texas every year for entrepreneurs and show biz types. She’s the CEO of a company called Goop, which, near as I can tell, sells really expensive things to women who, like, want to feel exquisite and with it and don’t mind paying a bundle for a bunch of fun things, giving Gwyneth a pretty substantial moonlighting income.
I hear she sells vaginal steams, which, apparently, is a thing now.
But after Gwyneth’s talk, and while she was still on the stage, CNN’s Poppy Harlow asked her a few questions. (Read the Daily Beast article here.)
Harlow …brought up the price tags on Goop products, which are widely mocked as financially inaccessible. “It’s not only expensive things,” Paltrow insisted. “If you actually go to Goop, we have all different price points… It’s a little bit of a mischaracterization.” Some products currently for sale on Goop dot com include $1,081 mules, a $120 “Goop exclusive one-of-a-kind leather rugby ball” and an $85 “medicine bag” of eight crystals.
But Gwyneth stressed the fun part:
“As they say in Buddhism, to live is to struggle, to suffer. And so I think you really have to have a sense of humor about it as you go through it.”
But Poppy got serious and things took a turn:
When Harlow pressed Paltrow on a settlement over Goop’s lack of “scientific backing” when advertising vaginal “yoni” eggs, as well as an oil blend that the company reportedly claimed “prevented depression,” Paltrow insisted that they never received any customer complaints about those products.
“We didn’t understand that you can’t make certain claims,” she admitted, recalling that “painful lesson.” “We just thought we were, like, writing a blog.” Since that happened, Paltrow continued, Goop has hired “a regulatory team and in-house scientists and lawyers, and we got all buttoned up.”
Well, smack me silly and paint me purple…
“We just thought we were, like, writing a blog.”
You know where I’m heading, right?
Well, here I go:
A blog is not your secret diary, it’s not your goofy texts to your friends, it’s not your one big chance to sell dubious products, it’s a published piece of you. Sometimes blogs do just wanna have fun, sometimes they’re heartfelt, sometimes they’re instructional, sometimes they’re about your trip to the tip of South America, where the winds do blow. But whatever blogging direction you take, you’d better be telling the truth.
Blogs get a bad rap because writers abuse the freedom they’re given. Anyone can set up a blog, give it a name, write some words, and punch the “publish” button. Not everyone does it to make friends and positively influence people. There are bums out there everywhere and the blogosphere is no different.
Don’t be that bum. Once your words are out there, they’re out there. Somebody will read them and somebody will want to believe you.
I’m ready to start a “Blog Responsibly” movement. I’m calling for members. I’m on a mission to keep ’em honest, and the way to do it is to call them out when they’re telling whoppers that could hurt. (There’s the distinction: when they could hurt. I’m not above telling obvious whoppers in my humor blogs, but any other time I work hard at writing fair and square. It’s not too much to expect the same from every other blogger.)
Here are the “Blog Responsibly” membership requirements:
Call out anyone who doesn’t blog responsibly.
Sleep well at night.