In Defense Of Gwyneth Paltrow

By Gabe Delahaye / June 5, 2012

Because we have been getting so many tips about this “story,” which is not actually a story, but I’m already getting ahead of myself, it seems like we might as well address the Gwyneth Paltrow “Niggas in Paris” tweetroversy that “exploded” (not really) over the weekend. People keep asking if we know about this. Come on, guys. We know about this. We are stupid and lay and there are holes in the butts of our pajama bottoms, but we are professionals. Of course we know about this. I somehow managed to be on-line this weekend at the precise moment that Gwyneth posted her original tweet and immediately retweeted her. (Similarly, I don’t watch a lot of sports, but I happened to turn on the television back in 2003 about 30 seconds before the Steve Bartman Incident. I see stuff. Lightning crashes.) I retweeted her because it was funny. If you don’t know what she wrote, she wrote this: “Ni**as in paris for real @MrTeriusNash (the dream) tyty, beehigh say.ly/ySc3rTP” with a link to a photo of herself on stage (natch) at a Jay-Z and Kanye “Watch the Throne Tour” show in Paris. The tweet was stupid and misguided and tone deaf, as if Gwyneth Paltrow posts a different kind of tweet, but that’s about it. The ensuing backlash, while predictable, because what is Twitter if not an automated-backlash-generator, is pretty much a non-starter. For one thing: who cares? For a second thing: this hardly seems like some kind of hateful act of overt racism. It’s a lazy act of inattention, to be sure. But everyone seems to actually be missing the point. They’re mad that she tweeted the word “ni**a,” which, incidentally is not a word, and she defends herself by saying that this is the name of the song and so she was simply participating in popular culture’s dance of self-reference. She’s almost right! It is the name of the song, and there’s nothing wrong with a white person retyping the name of the song. If you have a problem with the name of the song itself, that’s its own problem that’s probably worth discussing, but how else is someone supposed to talk about it? “The hit single!” No. The ACTUAL problem with her tweet, which again is still not that big of a deal, but the part that people should be complaining about is the “for real.” That’s where things get sticky. Because which part does she mean is real? Like, we know that Tracy Morgan’s family knows what’s in her heart, and she definitely just meant that the Paris part of the song had come true because Apple’s god-uncle was performing in Paris and the song says Paris (she really is not much deeper than that, boys) but the “for real” could just as easily have been referring to the “ni**as” portion of the title. Eek! So, if the argument is that Gywneth Paltrow shouldn’t be allowed to have a Twitter account, and should seriously just try and keep her mouth shut whenever possible, I agree. But no one seems to be saying that. Why isn’t anyone saying that? Why are we nitpicking over the wrong parts of what is ultimately a self-aggrandizing tweet about her own appearance on stage? Why do I have to be the one to come to her defense? The world is upside-downy! Dogs and cats living together. Hippity-hoo blah your anti-Gwyneth argument shirt don’t fit you!