Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Talk Is Cheap


YOU could say that there is a mathematical property of statistically independent events bunching together.

Or you can say that bad things happen in threes.

Anyway you slice it, we were subjected this week to yet another member of the acting profession popping off, following the well-worn path recently tread by Mel Gibson and Michael Richards.

This week's winner of the "put-a-sock-in-it" award goes to Oscar-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow who reportedly feels dinner talk is far more interesting in her adopted homeland Britain than back in her native country, the good old USA.

"I love the English lifestyle, it's not as capitalistic as America. People don't talk about work and money, they talk about interesting things at dinner," she told NS, the weekend magazine supplement of daily Portuguese newspaper Diario de Noticias on Saturday.

She later backtracked, verbally waving the American flag while explaining that her remarks were misconstrued because of language differences.

But whatever the explanation, Gwen hasn't exactly been quiet on the issue.

According to published reports, she told London's Guardian in January: "I love the English way, which is not as capitalistic as it is in America. People don't talk about work and money; they talk about interesting things at dinner parties. I like living here, because I don't tap into the bad side of American psychology, which is `I'm not achieving enough, I'm not making enough, I'm not at the top of the pile.' It's just kind of like, `I am."'

And she told Harper's Bazaar she preferred her British friends to her American friends: `They're intelligent, and they're not looking over my shoulder at dinner to see if there's anyone better walking in."

Given the state of British cuisine, they're probably looking at their plates in horror wondering what the hell they've been served.

But onward.

OK, maybe this doesn't match Michael and Mel for sheer dehumanizing bigotry. But there's something nutty about someone who, while living a life of wealth and privilege, spends her professional life hanging with actors, directors and producers, then extrapolating their sometime egomaniacal and/or eccentric behavior onto the entire American populace.

So she doesn't like to talk about capitalism? How does she think she got rich while mouthing words that other people wrote?

Besides, rich people don't have to talk about money. Or work. They talk about things that matter. Like beating the tax code.

Those Brits. The last time I was in a London pub, all I wanted to talk about Arsenal versus Manchester United. All they wanted to talk about was Beowulf.

In the same interview, Gwen says that having pop star Madonna, 48, who married British film director Guy Ritchie six years ago, nearby was another advantage to living in London.

Now, there's someone I'd like to chat with over dinner. By the way, didn't she use to call herself the Material Girl? Sounds capitalistic to me. And wasn't she the one who once said, "When I get down on my knees, it's not to pray"?

I guess it never comes up in dinner conversation.

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