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« Streep Finally Listens, Gets Real Director. | Main | Visual Index ~ L.A. Confidential's Best Shot(s) »

Conscious Uncoupling

You've heard by now from Goop, that Gwyneth Paltrow & Chris Martin are in the process of a "Conscious Uncoupling". Yes, that's a fancy therapeutic way to describe a breakup but why is the internet treating it like a virus that must be eradicated? I've been mostly amused but, I'll admit, a little disappointed by the way the internet (generally speaking) is treating this as something to mock. The word "pretentious" is bandied about a lot.

It's a reminder that the internet as a collective is stuck in perpetual adolescence or at least most people are, on and off the internet. I don't mean to be a killjoy or a scold but honest question: what's so bad about a long term couple with kids trying to break up amicably? More power to them if they can stay friendly. 

Misery loves company. Maybe its our own shame at our own messy breakups that make us uncomfortable with the couples who break up amicably when we couldn't? Most people don't remember it now but people were weirded out by Demi Moore and Bruce Willis staying friendly, too. But, hey, some people do. Don't most of us know at least one former couple who are still friendly and isn't that more healthy and appealing (even if, yes, unfair and annoying) or at least easier to stomach in the long run than that friend with lifelong bile for their ex that you have to taste every time the name comes up? 

Don't get me wrong. I love the kind of volatile coupling/uncoupling/recoupling of the Liz & Dick's of this world as much as any guilty bystander living vicariously through celebrities but would that really be a good look for Paltrow and Martin? It would be so off brand. "Conscious uncoupling" is PERFECT for Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martins personae. Maybe it's because I am not opposed to the sometimes quacky but occasionally eye-opening allure of self-help books or to Coldplay records or to Gwyneth in general (Can this conscious uncoupling include conscious filmmaking?) but I wish them the best. Who needs all that drama of the alternative?

The internet needs a big embarrassing open-hearted kumbaya session with a sing-along choral finale. Internet, heal thyself! 

Tears stream down your face
I promise you I will learn from my mistakes
Tears stream down your face
And I...

Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you

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Reader Comments (12)

It's roughest on the kids of course and I think if they can stay friendly that will make it much easier for them which is the most important thing. However that term is ridiculous and just the kind of new agey crap that sets people's teeth on edge and is probably what set off the pretentious label. Of course Gwyneth comes across as so entitled and disconnected from us common folk nowadays she's terribly off-putting.

The whole thing is none of our business anyway, but good for them if they can stay civil. They might be trying but time will tell if they succeed.

March 26, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6

Step aside! Now Chris Martin is MINE.

March 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Peggy Sue-HA!

The internet has COMPLETELY changed how we take in art (music, art, movies, books, TV, etc.) and how we think (and some times obsess) about the folks who create art, their processes, their choices, and their personal lives. This public thing that Martin and Paltrow are doing suits them. Even if they "uncoupled" privately, the internet would be all over the story, so damned if they do, damned if they don't. And for the record, millions of former couples, celebrity and not, stay friendly, so it's kind of ridiculous to think otherwise. But I guess that doesn't make for good internet fodder.

March 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPam

Wow its the first time I heard of this
Too bad for you gwyneth

March 26, 2014 | Unregistered Commentercraver

joel, thank you for articulating so beautifully what has bothered me about Paltrow. Soon after she shot to stardom, she began effecting this haughty persona on the red carpet that really rankled me. About five years ago she was on Oprah promoting a fitness book or somesuch, and her obsessive attitude about her body was another turnoff. I kept thinking, Hon, how about putting some of that narcissistic drive toward trying to be believable in a film. Her stints on Glee--letting herself go and showing a fun side--have softened me to her a smidge, but still.

March 26, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

I can't help but feel the use of the term is an effort to draw attention to themselves rather than explain why they are no longer "coupling." It smacks more of self interest rather than trying to stay friends. I mean, she named her child after the forbidden fruit. If that wasn't an "Look at me! I'm edgy and cool! I really am!" moment..........

March 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

a lot of people stay friends after break up. I had friends who were roommates for a while and it was terrible for them. after they each found a different place for themselves they continued being best friends. some people function better when separated. also, a lot of couples lose their passion for each other after a while and become like siblings. maybe that's what happened to Martins.
anyway, I like Gwyneth, an actress, a lot, and hopefully this means she has more time for acting, since she has one role less to play in her private life.

March 26, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbrace

wow, just this morning i was sitting here in my $500 olivia von halle silk pajamas, pouring imported herbal from my tom dixon brass tea service, wondering if today was the day i allow myself one single cigarette (american spirit - lite) when i suddenly felt a wave of relief pass over me...

now i realise it was saint gwyneth, rearranging my molecules, somehow assuring me and all single folk in the world that everything would be alright now that she was free to lead us towards the light...

looking forward to the first meeting at the paris ritz....or perhaps a six star safari camp in mozambique....or anywhere they don't allow people who only earn $25000 a year

March 26, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterpar

You just can't be the "private" Gwyneth Paltrow in public without taking a lot of shit for your lifestyle and vocabulary choices. I personally have no problem with her, either as a person (doesn't mean I'd want to be besties) or as an actress (her next film co-stars Johnny Depp, Ewan McGregor, Paul Bettany, Jeff Goldblum, Oliver Platt and Aubrey Plaza, so more power to her).

PS. I'm still very close to all of my exes except one (who stated flatly at the outset of our relationship that he didn't do the "exes as friends" thing).

March 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

par--post of the day! love it!

March 26, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

par has killed me. omg. i want to be in the church of st. gwyneth where i get to frolic in a field of artisanal gluten-free wheat while wearing an environmentally conscious Burberry kilt on the way to an exclusively exclusive spa located in a refurbished homeless shelter.

March 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDerreck.

Come on, it's obvious that people's problems with Gwyneth have little to do with whether or not she and Chris Martin have an amicable split, but are more related to her faux-profround New Agey natterings about the issue, and pretty much everything else. Also, celebrities who are really private aren't constantly telling people how private they are. They just go on with their lives and you barely hear about them outside of a professional context, which has hardly been true of Gwyneth in recent years, since her career now consists of being Pepper Potts, singing attempts and the occasional indie movie. But it's GOOP that's really kept interest in her as a celebrity afloat (positively or negatively) in the past five years or so.

Stars who remind you how "private" they are remind me of the types who let everyone know how "modest" they are; perhaps they might not show lots of skin or run around dripping in jewels, but they're seeking attention and praise for being so much braver and more special than the unwashed masses.

The Vanity Fair piece about the breakup offered some pretty stealth shade about how such a self-proclaimed private person managed to reveal quite a bit about herself with all of her GOOP musings about relationships through the years.

March 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterClaire

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