The internet can be a mean, slap-fighty place of quibbles and pedants and outrage and backlash. But every so often, something happens that is so roundly mocked by the blogosphere that it unites all voices in a chorus of rueful snickers for one blissful moment of bitchy harmony. The launch of Blake Lively's silly blog for rich ladies who never laugh is the latest of those moments.
Called Preserve, the site describes itself in its preciously inscrutable mission statement as "all of us, together, championing the goods, makers and legends that instill meaning inside the moments of our lives." In reality, it's a blog and catalog both for and by people who have never had to know or care how much things cost. It's a place to read a sincerely written blurb about food that consists of "We are positively afire with passion for food and its origins. Go ahead and indulge to the fullest. We won't tell; we'll celebrate with you!" All of the copy sounds like it was written with the syntax of a shape-shifter trying to pass as a human, especially the part in the FAQ that assures readers that their credit card information will be safer with them than it would be with their wives.
Either Blake Lively's people have gravely overestimated the heterosexual male market for artisanal hoop skirts and hand made spoons with his and hers monograms or someone did a shitty copy/paste job from a website geared toward men. It's Etsy on Adderall. It's a precocious nine-year-old's Pinterest board.
But I'm getting ahead of myself here. Of course Preserve is dumb. It's tone deaf and unnecessary and so, so, so impractical. And because of that, it's perfect. It's like a blast of cool air on this suffocating subway platform of a summer.
Taking potshots at Preserve is the most fun the internet has had since #ThisCouldBeUsButYouPlayin, and everyone is taking their turn. Here's The Guardian going all Nas's "Ether" on the site, taking big, hungry bites out of Blake Lively's attempt at shilling lifestyle advice.
Preserve is a combination of the last year's two most annoying buzzwords: "artisanal" and "curation". Yes, there is $40 salt and $25 barbecue sauce. There's a $400 wooden heart with Christmas lights in it and $164 skirt that only comes in extra-small (which will look great with this $95 floral bike basket made out of a crate). Blake herself has hand-crafted, I'm sorry, hand-selected all of this wonderful stuff just for us. She writes in her editor's letter: "I'm no editor, no artisan, no expert. And certainly no arbiter of what you should buy, wear, or eat." Um, then why create a site where you tell people what they should buy, wear, and eat? And would you really trust a site made by a person who just admitted to you that she is really bad at her job?
Are there any extra small gurneys available for transport to... the burn unit???
The UK's Metro was slightly less incensed, but still managed to call out Lively for being a "pretentious" Gwynnabe.
So, Blake Lively has launched her younger, cooler, version of Goop, Gwynnie's lifestyle site, and it's called Preserve (as in the condiment, we think).
It's similar to Goop in that we honestly have no idea what's going on – we've tried, but she lost us at 'I am hungry though… not just for enchiladas. I'm hungry for experience' (but, wait, what about the enchiladas?)
So, yep, similarly pretentious.
Isn't this fun?
The Independent calls Preserve "more inane" than Goop.
Let us begin with the editor's letter, which is confusing as it is lengthy. But it does explain the name of the website – which is, incidentally, about preserving "elements of what makes life beautiful to us". Such as ketchup (for sale in the e-commerce section), nice hats (a lesson in how to create a "halo of swagger radiating from your skull") and the style of tattoo-covered bikers, something Lively herself is, unfortunately, yet to incorporate into her daily look.
But back to the editor's letter, which the actress says is the "hardest thing I've had to do on my Preserve journey".
"I am hungry, though... not just for enchiladas," she writes. "I'm hungry for experience.
And batting cleanup is Entertainment Weekly, which unfurls its surprisingly sharp claws to issue this missive:
Lively has written an editor's letter, and just to confirm she wrote it, she also posted a picture of herself writing it. It is fair to say that the picture (above) is the most hagiographical version of the writing process I have ever seen. There is Blake Lively, hair perfectly messy and hanging down in gossamer strands glimmering in the sun(moon?)light flowing into the semi-abstract Room Of Comfort. She's clearly been writing for awhile; we can see other discarded pieces of paper, which notably don't actually seem to have any writing on them. But some writers like to discard pieces of paper when they're frustrated, in the alternate universe where no one ever invented computers and we're all still writing on pieces of paper and Blake Lively is the Princess of the island nation of Preservania.
Also, close visual analysis reveals that Ms. Lively is pointedly not looking at what she is writing.
This is like 1/10th of what EW wrote about it. It goes on for so long.
The Wire takes a few shots too, relying not on words, but by allowing screen grabs of what's for sale on the site to speak for themselves (THR did something similar, but chose to go with five items rather than the rounder and more work-intensive 10 of The Wire). You can't open a Tweetdeck window today without reading about how Blake Lively has something fatuous to say about barbecues, or salt, or tattoos, or enchiladas, or expensive light fixtures.
What's the feeling of satisfaction I'm getting from my scalp down my spine? What's this relaxed feeling in my face, in my back? Am I enjoying the fact that, thanks to Blake Lively's silly website, it seems that people finally agree on something that doesn't have to do with horrifying news stories?
Think about the last time you tried to engage in a civil discussion about newsy items this summer. Think about how contentious and unsolvable and overwhelming everything has seemed — the contraception debate (the fact that we're even talking about a contraception debate in two thousand motherfucking fourteen), this Israel/Gaza madness, planes being shot out of the sky, the campus rape crisis and the endless chatter around it. At best, those conversations would end with both parties nodding solemnly and saying "I agree. This is bad" and then going home and flipping through "NEW RELEASES" on Netflix without picking anything until it's time for get 7 hours of restless sleep.
But thanks to Blake Lively, violently bland lifestyle martyr to the internet, everyone finally agrees. It's like the stars are aligning, the universe is opening up. Finally, a target of ire that is so advantaged in nearly every way that it's almost impossible to punch down in making fun of her. After all, why would an A-list Anna Wintour pet give a shit what we say? If she doesn't like what EW online writes about her new blogshop, she can always go home and cry onto piles of money and then cast off her hand-woven designer caftan to reveal her perfect body, which her hot-ass husband Ryan Reynolds can then proceed to perform artisanal cunnilingus upon.