If You’re Going To Lie, Lie With Your Boots On – The Crazy World Of Gwyneth Paltrow And Chris Martin’s Divorce
Back in 1986, our collective intelligence was insulted during the infamous “Spycatcher” trial, when Cabinet Secretary Robert Armstrong used introduced the phrase “economical with the truth” into modern parlance. And I think it may have been John Major who tried to slip one past us when he used the then little known word “disingenuous” when he meant “lying”. That’s the world of politics for you.
Now, in 2014, politics has seeped into the outside world and we have a new bullshit phrase to contend with. Conscious uncoupling. I admit to having laughed for five solid minutes when I read that phrase for the first time. I wasn’t surprised either. I’d always considered Gwyneth and Chris to be hippy types, but fairly normal by Hollywood standards. More macrobiotics and Kabbalah than psychedelics and Scientology. Then I thought a bit more deeply about what that statement meant and was a bit shocked by what my brain came up with. As is often the case.
We all know what “conscious uncoupling” is supposed to mean. It’s supposed to mean “the spark has gone from our relationship and we’re splitting up”. It doesn’t mean that.
Gywneth may come as across as the sort of lady who weeps at pictures of kittens and we’ve all heard Coldplay songs, so we know where Chris Martin stands on the subject of emotion. However, Gwyneth gets paid $16m per movie and Coldplay have sold over 70 million records. You don’t reach the top of your profession without learning something about human nature. They must both know that having too many sparks in your marriage is like having too many sparks inside The Hindenburg. They must know what a ten year old marriage really involves.
It involves co-ordinating work and housework and raising kids and generally being the one person that is always going to have the other one’s back when the chips are down. It’s an open secret that the most many married couples can hope for is being deeply fond of each other. To bumble through life and occasionally and unexpectedly get the hots for each other, bang each other’s brains out and then breathlessly ask each other “Where the fuck did that come from?”
So, in light of that information, what does “conscious uncoupling” really mean? Well, I’ll tell you what it really means. It really means “we’re both rich and famous and we’ve both done all the freaky shit that rich and famous people do. So we’re going to get divorced as quickly and quietly as possible in the hope that it doesn’t ruin our respective brands too much”.
It appears to be working so far. The couple have jetted off to Faith Hill and Tim McGraw’s private island. Their “conscious uncoupling” is being billed as “The Most Romantic Divorce In History”. This is all very sad when you think about it. When you become that famous, you cease to be a person and become a brand. If you wish to continue with the joyride, you have to protect that brand at all costs.
In the old days, all you had to worry about was the Sunday morning scandal sheets. If you were famous and someone had some dirt to dish on you, they had to convince a steely eyed editor that the story would fly and make his paper some money. Now, they can just press a button and the story is all over the internet in seconds. If a famous person does something stupid, millions of people can read about it and see pictures of it within five minutes of it happening.
This is why Gwyneth and Chris are pre-empting the whole thing. It’s all very civilized so far. A few rumours of infidelity, but nothing terribly earth shattering. Make no mistake though, muck is inevitably going to be raked. And I don’t mean shocking revelations that Gwyneth prefers The Kaiser Chiefs to Coldplay. If any of that muck can be proven to be true muck, this will leave Chris and Gwyneth’s spin doctors with something of a problem denying any of it, due to the nature of the Global Village. One of Mark Twain’s most famous aphorisms has been turned on its head. It now goes : “The truth can run around the world before a lie has got its boots on.” And I’m not even being disingenuous there.
© Copyright Michael Grimes 2014