Graydon on Gwyneth
Click here for my initial post on the new Vanity Fair cover released yesterday, specifically the part at the top…Gwyneth Paltrow by Graydon Carter.
That’s right. He wrote it. And Vanity Fair has just posted an excerpt from the piece on their website. I’m including all of it because you need to get the full flavour, even though it’s only an abbreviated flavour, because there’s already so much here:
“In the full version of the Editor’s Letter, Carter explains that he had originally assigned contributing editor Vanessa Grigoriadis to write a story about Gwyneth Paltrow after noticing that people tend to have passionate opinions about the actress—some positive, some negative. The letter continues:
Vanessa turned in her story at the end of the summer. And it was just what had been assigned—a reasoned, reported essay on the hate/love-fest that encircles Gwyneth Paltrow. I thought it perfectly explained the whole phenomenon. But it was such a far cry from the almost mythical story that people were by now expecting—the “epic takedown,” filled with “bombshell” revelations—that it was bound to be a disappointment. What to do? I decided to sit on it for a time.
In October, Gwyneth called me. We talked for about 20 minutes about the story and her reaction, or over-reaction, to it. At one point, she asked my advice as to what to do to get the “haters” on her side. I suggested putting on 15 pounds. I joked that it works for me. She replied I had put on much more than that. Which I thought was fair and funny. Two months after the phone call, Web sites lit up with news of a truce. We received more mail, much of it now criticizing us for caving. There had also been conflicting reports that Gwyneth had coerced George Clooney into not being on our cover—clearly not true. There were reports that she was trying to scuttle our annual Oscar party, that she was going to organize a competing dinner. The Paltrow camp subsequently denied both claims.
We were in uncharted waters. At Vanity Fair, we tend to keep stories we are working on under our hats. It's not easy being a monthly magazine in an Internet age, and since most of the publications we compete with are weeklies or dailies, when it comes to the stories still in train, a certain amount of institutional secrecy is required. The Gwyneth Paltrow saga had clearly just gotten away from us. My instinct was to continue to let it sit until people had forgotten about it, or at least until expectations had diminished. The fact is the Gwyneth Paltrow story, the one we ordered up, as delightfully written as it was, is not the one the anti-Gwynethites expect. That it has generated more mail and attention than many of the biggest stories we've ever published only makes the situation more complicated . . .”
I love that he calls out her “overreaction”. Because it references that email, the one she sent around to all her friends telling them to boycott his publication. And, like any good bitch would, Graydon makes sure to tell us that it was Gwyneth who called him and not the other way around. She came to him. She initiated the peace. The most popular girl in school had to reach out to a Canadian gossipmonger who’s always considered himself an outsider. So maybe that explains the softening. After all, Graydon got what he wanted. All victors should show mercy, non?
But did he really win?
How good did she feel when he told her that people basically hate her because she’s skinny? It’s a socialite’s most powerful weapon. Wasn’t it Babe Paley who once said, “You can never be too rich or too thin”? I wonder if that’s Graydon’s way of reminding himself, seeing as she told him that he was 15 lbs too heavy, that he will never truly be part of that circle…but he still really, really wants to be. And that’s why, in the end, the person who actually wins here is, as always, my G.
A story about G “has generated more mail and attention than many of the biggest stories we’ve ever published”…
SHE gets to claim that now. SHE gets to walk around believing that. SHE gets to moan, self-indulgently, that even when she’s not news, she’s news. “Today belongs to Gwyneth.” Every day belongs to Gwyneth and all the girls who are like Gwyneth.