Gwyneth Paltrow could be the future of journalism.
Not as the subject of articles or magazines, but the writer and publisher of them. Her weekly e-newsletter and blog, Goop, which offers earnest advice on how to improve our tasteless, unstylish, ignorant lives, has 150,000 subscribers (an astronomical number for a new blog) and climbing, and she's already been offered a book deal (and is opening a gym, and starring in a cooking series with Mario Batali of Iron Chef fame).
Goop, whose title is based on her initials and nickname, has the New-Agey tagline, "Nourish the Inner Aspect," and covers recipes, books, spirituality, style, travel, health and culture, through notes to readers, and high profile guest contributions. This foray into journalism, or whatever it might be called, is proving so captivating it's outshining Paltrow's work on the bigger screen: at the premiere of Two Lovers, co-starring actor-turned-hip-hop underachiever Joaquin Phoenix, media interest in Paltrow's role as the more stylish pretender to Martha Stewart's crown hogged the spotlight.
Perplexed and curious, I've been a subscriber since the first issue back in September, fascinated by the unfolding of her project, and its effect on the media and public. It's clearly well meaning, and Paltrow makes no pretense of being a Pulitzer-prize calibre writer, but its tone(-deafness) and purpose(lessness) have nonetheless ignited millions of vitriolic words from journalists, bloggers and commenters. But though many are justified, those criticisms alone don't account for the depth of passion felt by the "haters," as Paltrow herself calls them.
As a NYT article put it this week,, "In a culture that has given us Jane Fonda workout tapes, Paul Newman salad dressing, fashion and perfumes from J. Lo, Madonna children's books, and furniture and clothing by the Olsen twins, why is Ms. Paltrow the victim of such ridicule?"