Remember that time you were watching an interview with some celebrity, and they spouted off a nugget of wisdom that made you turn to your friend and say, "You know what? Lisa Edelstein is right. We really should alleviate our stress by getting up at 3 a.m. and doing two hours of yoga"? Don't worry, neither does anyone else. But it doesn't stop celebrities from dispensing it like that virtually see-through toilet paper in a truck stop shitter. There are reasons we wisely choose to ignore their advice (or in many cases, make fun of it), but I don't think the celebrities themselves see the problem. Allow me to explain to them that ...
The number one cause of stress in the average person's life is money, mainly because all of the other things you worry about (your job, your degree) are just other ways to worry about money. So when we get advice from Gwyneth Paltrow on "what to get the man in your life," it's incredibly hard to not burst into fits of psychotic laughter like the black guy from RoboCop. Seriously, take a look at what she suggests and tell me you don't want to punch her in the face:
No, seriously, go fuck yourself.
I mean, I understand that Gwyneth is a special kind of crazy, but is she really so out of touch with the general public that she thinks these are 1) things men want and 2) things the average person can afford without taking part in some hardcore, Class X embezzlement? If my wife brought home any one of those items, I'd immediately assume she had taken on a second job fucking Japanese businessmen for poker chips in Vegas.
It's not a huge mystery that when you enter into that celebrity level of financial security -- let me rephrase that: when you become so effortlessly rich that your life makes fuck sounds -- the enormous weight of that stress just evaporates. I'm not talking about some successful business owner who works around the clock, I'm talking about a class of people who can collect six-figure checks just for showing up to some event whose organizers want a famous person in the audience. After living that lifestyle -- and hanging around others who share it -- for so long, it becomes impossible for you to relate to the average human. But since she still thinks of herself as "just another person," she can't help but come off as catastrophically clueless.
"I'm such an average, normal person. I just ate six ounces of gold!"
Don't think I'm just picking on Gwyneth here -- the problem is everywhere among that group. When asked about how to keep level-headed and grounded, Goldie Hawn's advice is to stand in front of the ocean. Which I'm sure that, for the multimillionaires living on beachfront property, it's a great idea. Or for the small percentage of people who live close enough to the ocean to drive there. But for the overwhelming majority of the globe, it's just gibberish horseshit spraying from the mouth of an ultra-privileged, out of touch alien.
You can't give advice based on a lifestyle that's only shared by a single-digit percentage of the globe and expect to be taken seriously. "But what about the things that don't take a huge bank account to do, like dieting tips and workout regimens?" asks all of Hollywood in unison. "Surely we could have something valuable to say there."
"Wait, before you move on, I don't understand. Why can't you just buy an ocean and have it moved to your yard?"
First off, let me tell you that I don't trust anyone who claims to be able to make you lose massive amounts of weight if they've never been fat themselves. Yes, our first instinct is to trust supermodels because they have the body fat percentage of a window. "Well, she must be doing something right -- look at her!"
But metabolism and what-should-be-obvious science aside, we know they're not getting those results on their own. Yes, we know they're getting help, but what I don't think a lot of people realize is that the first thing a celebrity invests in when they hit the big time is a personal assistant -- and in many cases, several. Believe me when I tell you that these people are more valuable than the star's cocaine shed. Assistants do everything for them, effectively wiping away all of life's normal stress inducers like picking up the kids, mowing the lawn, organizing weddings, chartering last-minute flights and even crawling under the house to fix the goddamn air conditioner.
"Sir, I'm sorry, but there just isn't buried treasure here. I'm sorry."
This not only frees up time for a heavy workload, public appearances and ... racism conventions (I don't know what celebrities are required to do), but it also gives them time to actually work out instead of playing catch-up with all of life's normal, mundane bullshit. It's a privilege that most of us obviously don't have, but they obviously don't get.
So when a celebrity proudly boasts, "I lost 30 pounds on the nothing-but-Slim-Jims diet," we immediately call bullshit, because we know the story doesn't end there. No, the diet wasn't as much of a factor as the personal trainer you pay to hold your ass accountable for working out every night. And to show you how to do it, coaching you along through every pushup and crunch. You have a nutritionist who buys your groceries, plans your diet, fixes your meals and watches every calorie you put into your body.
"It's diced children. Very slimming."
So, celebrities, that question I pretended that you asked about tips that don't involve a huge bank account? It involves a huge fucking bank account, because these people don't come cheap to normal humans. And having them on the payroll is invaluable, because they effectively remove willpower from the equation.
"OK, so we'll give you that one," they all say, still in perfect unison -- which is actually getting kind of creepy. "But what about stuff that truly has nothing to do with money? Spirituality, mental health, self-esteem?" Ah, that's a good point. And it would be a valid one, if not for the fact that ...
I'm not going to harp on Gwyneth Paltrow because she's an easy target (well, that, and Soren already did a whole brilliant article on her), but I have to call attention to this duh-storm when she said in an interview, "Every woman can make time [to work out] -- every woman -- and you can do it with your baby in the room. There have been countless times where I've worked out with my kids crawling around all over the place. You just make it work, and if it's important to you, it'll be important to them."
So just out of curiosity, are you picturing Gwyneth as a single mother getting home after a 12-hour shift at the local factory or dealing with asshole customers all day? Do you see her letting out an exasperated sigh as she realizes that her day isn't done because she still has to cook dinner, go over homework with the kids, do the dishes, start the laundry and clean the house? Are you picturing her falling onto the couch in total exhaustion, too tired to even make it to the bedroom?
Hey, get your lazy ass up! You have two hours of working out to do!
Yeah, neither is anyone else. Not even her. Now, that's not saying she doesn't work hard. I'm sure that her schedule is a nightmare when she's filming and making her appearances, but she also doesn't exactly have to worry about being fired when she takes a few months off between shoots. And for that matter, even if she got blacklisted tomorrow, who cares? She's set for life. When you add that factor in with the personal assistants I mentioned earlier, of course she has time to work out. She's just lost touch with the general public so much that she just assumes everyone has access to these perks.
This is where that core message shows up that always just makes me want to explode -- where a celebrity says or implies that people who work that hard need to slow down and enjoy the small things because they're missing out on life. They can't imagine a world where people work themselves into exhaustion because they have to -- not because they want to. They don't live in a world where someone can show up and take your fucking car because you couldn't make the payments, where one missed rent check plus one intolerant landlord equals instant homelessness.
That guy's not actually homeless. He's just playing "race car" with an old box he found.
But it's not just a money thing. Carnie Wilson, daughter of legendary Beach Boy Brian Wilson, was a part of what was once one of the biggest pop groups on the planet, Wilson Phillips. She was also, at 5 feet 3 inches tall, one of the biggest pop stars in the world, weighing in at 300 pounds.
Which she offset by having incredibly stupid fucking hair.
Having gone through some pretty dramatic weight problems and having a dad whose crazy was on par with Hannibal Lecter, she took some pretty solid lessons out of it that she was sure to pass on to her own child, telling Babble.com, "... it's important to build their self-esteem. There are people of all different shapes and sizes, and I try to teach Lola that people aren't as sensitive as she is. She's almost 5, and that's the age kids in school start to tease each other. It hurts her. I try to teach her that you can have thick skin but still be sensitive."
Well that's not bad, right? Kids should know to never be ashamed of their looks and to always be proud of themselves just the way they are. Hell, I teach that to my own kids. Though it probably means something different coming from a woman who has had two gastric bypass operations, the last one as recent as last January (she's a self-proclaimed food addict), and multiple plastic surgeries before showing it off by posing for Playboy.
"Just be proud of who you are. Until you're 18, and then we can just carve you into whatever you want."
Don't get me wrong, what she's saying is great. I'm a former alcoholic, and I'm sure as hell telling my kids to stay away from the shit. The difference is, I'm not telling them that with a beer in my hand. The source is everything, and kids notice stuff like that. But all that aside, even if their advice seems to make some semblance of sense, they don't realize that things can get dangerous on our end -- because many of us forget that ...