#Art + Culture

Different Dough, Different Bread: Gwyneth Paltrow’s Parallel Pandemic Universe

gwyneth paltrow ate bread, Gwyneth Paltrow COVID

So, Gwyneth Paltrow ate bread and nobody can stop talking about it. Not for how relevant this precious little nugget the internet has chanced upon in the middle of a devastating pandemic is, but precisely how inverse to that it is.

That the fitness guru herself went “off the rails” and spiralled down into the world of gluten to savour the wonders of bread and pasta, as per statements made in a recent podcast, should come as noteworthy to pop culture enthusiasts who take keenness in that kind of stuff.

But during a pandemic? It feels terribly tiresome to care at all.

The bygone year has been a global nightmare. For India, where the virus still wreaks raging havoc and death knocks on every next door, that nightmare persists – if possible, even more potently than before. What’s worse is the imminent reality, experts claim, of a bigger, impending disaster if there is further delay in administrative action.

Either way, does Paltrow care? The Hush actor is busy reeling herself back into her regular, healthy diet that is devoid of wheat and alcohol spoils.

Gwyneth Paltrow Ate Bread At Her “Lowest”. Or Did She?

This is not the first Paltrow has stirred the conversation with her words. Through the pandemic, actually, she has been in hot water, eyes on her at all times. From vagina-scented candles to a now-deleted Instagram post deemed “tone-deaf,” Paltrow’s wellness brand Goop has billed much of the ire from the non-wealthy she has drawn in recent times.

It seems to be a parallel universe the likes of Paltrow are existing in – somewhere in the absolute first world, far beyond the reaches of the destitution this pandemic has triggered – where taking comfort in the soft folds of bread is sin, where the prospects of a lack of oxygen don’t haunt.

Does her living justify the verbal attack the internet is raining down on her though?

The internet has been on her case ever since it came to light that Gwyneth Paltrow ate bread and allegedly cited it as something of a ‘rock-bottom’ in her life, her ‘lowest’ point in the pandemic. Public reaction largely stemmed from a widely-shared piece published by The Guardian

Its original title read Gwyneth Paltrow broke down and ate bread during quarantine. What was your lowest point? 

Some tweets that came trailing:  

Much of the public hostility, I believe, was pursuant to the viral article’s hyperbolic title, which made it seem like Paltrow had uttered something she had actually not. Sure enough, the title has since been changed to How did you surprise yourself?

Privilege is relative and we are keeping ourselves afloat during the pandemic respective to the degree of it we possess. Where some got by, ironically, by baking banana bread in the first year of the pandemic, others even then scrounged for medical resources.

The rich throughout, and always, have been secure in their power, status and safety. It’s nothing new.

It’s just that the second wave has been brutal in most countries and deadly in India, making the class rift painfully apparent. So the moral burden to say and do the right thing seems to be heavier this time around. What we forget, is that this rift has been real and vivid for those near the bottom forever. That’s nothing new too.

It’s positive that those with privilege, though late, are coming into the realisation and demanding accountability for change. A recognition of discretion and reason would do well too.

Gwyneth Paltrow ate bread. Okay. Was it a big deal for her? Perhaps. Is it a big deal for us? No. Are we at gunpoint to make it a big deal? Not in the least. So can we move on?

Views expressed are the author’s own.