Gwyneth Paltrow Suddenly Has Very Standard Beliefs About Why People Get Sick

Illustration for article titled Gwyneth Paltrow Suddenly Has Very Standard Beliefs About Why People Get Sick
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There’s a story I think about a lot, told by Douglas Rushkoff, one of the only good futurists. I encourage you to read it in its entirety, but essentially: Rushkoff was once invited to give a fantastically well-compensated talk about the “future of technology” that was in fact a five-person seminar for hedge fund managers at a luxury resort. They didn’t actually want to talk about technology, Rushkoff found. They wanted to talk about how they would survive the climate crisis or a viral outbreak. They wanted to know how they would escape.

I thought about this story when Gwyneth Paltrow, who has built a massively successful second career by positing that illness can be prevented by cold baths and energy healing and lifestyle choices, posted a picture of herself on Instagram wearing a ventilator—by the looks of it, an Airnum in Onyx Black. Billed as the “world’s most advanced” ventilator mask, the Airnum (which retails around $70) contains four filters of different densities and is R&D tested in Sweden. The model Paltrow, who has a net worth of around $100 million, is wearing here is currently sold out:

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I understand it’s sort of rote to hit Gwyneth Paltrow on all the things that make her a parody of herself. But it’s notable to me that someone who, for instance, has knocked sunscreen because the sun is “natural” and “anything that’s natural can’t be bad for you” and whose company recommends coffee enemas and drinking goat milk to prevent disease, is all of a sudden very invested in how people actually get sick. As recently as a few years ago, when Paltrow came down with the flu, she wasn’t particularly worried about how viruses spread: She visited an infrared sauna, and posted about it. “All contagion aside... Going to hit it with heat,” she wrote on Instagram at the time.

Elsewhere, it’s been suggested that the various celebrities posting photos of themselves wearing face masks out of a fear of contracting coronavirus are spreading paranoia, or that they should be posting photos of themselves washing their hands instead. It’s certainly true that health workers and people who have already contracted the virus should be getting masks before celebrities, considering we’re entering into global mask shortage that will make it even more difficult to contain a rapidly spreading public health crisis.

But Paltrow isn’t wearing a mask out of deep concern for public health; she’s posting because she’s beginning to panic. Coronavirus definitely isn’t the end times, but it’s a useful indication of what it would look like if we got there: All our favorite celebrities, throwing out their public postures and scrambling to spend as much money as possible to make sure that they’re the ones who stay safe.

Molly Osberg is a Senior Reporter with G/O Media.

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DISCUSSION

It’s been a minute since I’ve done this, but I think it’s time to revisit some of my fave Gwyneth Paltrow quotes of all time:

“I’d rather smoke crack than eat cheese from a tin.”

“When I pass a flowering zucchini plant in a garden, my heart skips a beat.”

“I don’t really have drunk friends. My friends are kind of adult…”

“I basically love anything that comes in a hot dog bun… except hot dogs.”

“I would rather die than let my kid eat Cup-a-Soup.”

“Could I use some butter and cheese and eggs in my cooking without going down some kind of hippie shame spiral? Yes. Of course I could.”

“St. Marks Bookshop is in NYU territory and so it’s no surprise it stocks a bevvy of scholarly titles in Cultural Theory.”

“We’ve got a wood-burning pizza oven in the garden – a luxury, I know, but it’s one of the best investments I’ve ever made… One evening when I had my wood-burning stove going I realized I hadn’t thought of dessert.”

“Some days I feel like everyone in my world has plugged themselves into my kidneys. I’m so tired.”

“When you go to Paris and your concierge sends you to some restaurant because they get a kickback, it’s like, ‘No. Where should I really be? Where is the great bar with organic wine? Where do I get a bikini wax in Paris?’”

“One cold wintry day in London, I was dreaming about salad nicoise—one of my favorites.”

“I’ve found that the best hangover remedy can be a hot and cold spa treatment. The original would be the traditional Turkish Hamman, but you can find this kind of treatment at spas all over the world.”

“During the strict macrobiotic chapter of my life, I ate miso soup every day for breakfast and sometimes with dinner as well.”

“I first had a version of this at a Japanese monastery during a silent retreat—don’t ask, it’s a long story.”

“I had my first bowl of gazpacho when I was fifteen in Spain, and the impression it made was a lasting one.”

“I’m just a normal mother with the same struggles as any other mother…”

“I don’t hold on to fear as much as I used to, because I’ve learned a lot about genuinely not caring what strangers think about me. It’s very liberating. It’s very empowering, and I’ve learned a lot of that from Jay—Shawn Carter—Z.”

“Beauty fades! I just turned 29, so I probably don’t have that many good years left in me.”