I’ve been on a deep dive of coldplay material from the last 15 years recently (see previous blog post).
I think part of it was the recent news of Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin’s choice to divorce. It wasn’t that I was surprised, because honestly I think people had been calling time on that relationship for the better part of a decade. Emily Yoshida, writing for Grantland wrote an awesome piece on why the Pro and anti-Gwyneth crowd might be perplexed to say the least at her lifestyle. She also makes a great observation that if anything this seems to have created a fissure in the gleaming façade that was Paltrow’s image. Yoshida is refreshingly up front about the idiosyncrasy of spending time and words examining Paltrow.
While it’s probably a waste of energy to personally mourn the life tragedies of celebrities we’ve never met and probably never will, so is exalting in them, and the overall sentiment of most of the reactions I’ve seen have been “Hah! That’s what she gets for thinking she could have a perfect life!” If you actually believed Paltrow’s life was perfect, that’s kind of on you for taking every blog post and flowery Vogue profile literally (and not reading the tabloids!)
Admittedly, I subscribe to goop and agree with what Graydon Carter wrote in Vanity Fair when he chose not run the magazine’s piece on Paltrow: there isn’t a lot there that you don’t find in other comparable women’s magazines at the grocer. Instead, it strikes me that immense amount of privilege that Paltrow approaches her life comes across totally different to even upper middle class persons. But I also agree with Yoshida, that I never get the feeling that she is consciously making a case for how her life was *better* than yours or mine. Simply that there is a scale to her life that is far grander than the one most people live in.
While I was on this rehash of old Coldplay records, article and interviews I stumbled upon the realization that while Coldplay had been my all-consuming pop culture obsession when I was a teen and early 20’s person, I had taken a sojourn in different directions away from their music. It was such a fun experience revisiting all these songs and stories behind the music and reminding myself why I fell in love with their music initially.
It would be kind of crass to try and read the tea leaves of albums liner notes looking for strains and triumphs in Martin and Paltrow’s marriage. At the heart of it, I really don’t want to believe all the awful things that have been said about Martin, and I don’t think Gwyneth earns the amount of vitriol that is thrown at her.
What’s continually amazing to me about the whole affair is the fact that neither person has really slung a lot of mud publically and has spent a lot of money shooting down rumors and innuendo. And whichever one of them decided that that was how it should end deserves lot of credit.
As Yoshida mentioned earlier, it’s probably a waste of energy to bemoan the end of a relationship between two people I will likely never meet, and whose problems are wildly different than mine. But at the end of the day they are still two people, who were once in love and aren’t anymore. And there’s nothing wrong with taking a moment to remark on the unfortunate nature of that.