Were You Moved by Gwyneth Paltrow's Glee Speech?

Glee returned from hiatus last night with a new episode called “A Night of Neglect.” It was an all-kvetching spectacular dedicated to—what else?—victimhood, a theme in which this series seems to marinate all too frequently. The problem is that self-identifying victims, just like the real complainers in your life, quickly cease to be compelling. In fact, they can become downright annoying! But not to the writers of Glee, who manage to find a different whiny character to nail to the cross every week.

And oh, how they resurrected their victims this time! Back was Gwyneth Paltrow as substitute teacher and Mr. Schue love-interest Holly Holiday. I think it’s important to mention here that Paltrow's appearances on Glee (this marks her third) have given the actress an image-rehabilitating career boost, in much the same way American Idol has for Jennifer Lopez. Sure, we used to find them both icy and unrelateable—but just look how cute they are! Look how well they get along with young, photogenic singers! It’s like we’ve fallen in love with them all over again. So why Paltrow would choose to squander her renewed reputation on a self-pitying speech about her internet haters is beyond me. Let’s take a look at exactly what Gwyneth/Holly said, in the scene in which she told a group of hecklers how cowardly and ultimately destructive it is to say mean things online:

I get it. We live in a culture of insults. I mean, we're constantly bombarded with these images of people who are richer than us and happier than us, and have more interesting sex than us, and it makes us feel terrible. You know, we tear them down to feel better about ourselves, but we don't just stop with the people who are on TV and magazines, we do it to everyone, and we think because it's done anonymously there are no ramifications. But there are ramifications, guys, because it makes you comfortable with insensitivity.

Let’s start with this notion of being bombarded with images of people “richer than us and happier than us, and [who] have more interesting sex than us.” I assume she means herself? She’s definitely richer. No doubt about that. The sex thing, who knows? Maybe she has a set of gymnastics rings installed above her bed. The happy thing, however, I’m a little skeptical about. Anyone who has to so aggressively sell themselves to the mass media as a natural-born country singer, when it’s pretty obvious she is anything but a natural-born country singer, is probably harboring some deep and unfillable voids, self-esteem-wise.

Next, this idea of “tearing them down to feel better about ourselves.” Look, Gwyneth, I actually like you. I do. I’m not one of the haters. But I think I can speak for the haters when I say that I’m pretty certain they aren’t tearing you down to feel better about themselves. They are tearing you down because you repeatedly keep asking to be torn down. Everything from your lifestyles website GOOP to your choice in baby names to your patronizing remarks about European superiority to (yes, I’ll mention it again) your completely unearned country music career just begs to be mocked relentlessly and mercilessly by the public. And trust me: This still would have happened in the days before the internet—you just wouldn’t have been able to hear all the laughter. Consider it a convenience of the modern age.


Am I being too hard on Gwyneth? Did her speech move you at all? Do you agree with her contention that we live in “a culture of insults?” It’s time for you to weigh in.

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Aug 12, 2011
I love Gwyneth Paltrow, she is my absolute idol. She is really down to earth and a good person, unlike a lot of the cheep, fake actresses out there. And she actually CAN sing, and a lot of people love her voice. It doesn't need to be auto-tuned, like a lot of the artists do today. She can sing live! And that's a very hard thing to do, I know, from experience.



And SHE didn't write the script, all you "haters". Ryan Murphy created all the dialogue! So she wouldn't be talking about herself if someone else wrote it. :P
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Apr 22, 2011
I think that speech was directed to the Glee haters and not to Gwyneth haters.
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Apr 22, 2011
Someone much wiser than I said it best: "That's what the internet is for, slandering others anonymously." And this isn't even about Gwyneth and her pseudo-country career or her money. This is Ryan Murphy 1) Making a personal statement about all the people talking trash about him online because it turns out he's a self-centered fame whore and B) Murphy trying to turn his show into this hippy utopia where everyone loves each other, every accepts you for who you are and nothing bad or hateful ever happens ever. And both reasons are disgusting and despicable. If Murphy wants people to stop talking smack about him, he needs to quit being a massive prick and deflate his ego. And using his third-rate flip-flopping show as a vehicle for his personal agenda of peace and love (while setting a bad example for people who truly need peace and love around them) for gay people is as about as self serving as it gets. If he wants to show the world how words and actions hurt, do it by showing the stark reality of it, not having pretty people sitting around talking about it like it's a greasy spot they can wipe up in 44 minutes plus commercials.
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Apr 22, 2011
I don't watch Glee but I've always liked Gwyneth Paltrow as an actress. If she couldn't sing, why was she on the Grammy's? Everybody is jealous of something someone else has but it's gotten ridiculous. There are so many websites with comment boards that just go on and on hating everything & wasting time arguing about it. I don't know how Gwyneth's real life is so why should I hate her for it? How could u hate anyone u don't know? People should worry about their own lives instead of everyone else's.
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Apr 22, 2011
What I hate about Glee is that it tries to take a stand against bullying and the "culture of insults." But then we are supposed to love Sue Sylvester and all her bullying. I actually love Sue, but she doesn't belong on a TV show that is supposed to teach teens lessons about being good people.
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Apr 22, 2011
I was amazed by her voice! What a talented lady! I'm in love!
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Apr 21, 2011
I do agree that there needs to be a separation between character and actor/actress, but something people on that side of the fence ARE ignoring is that this WAS spoken by Gwyneth as an actress, so these kinds of questions do have to come up. No, this isn't really Gwyneth talking here, but the writers consciously chose HER character--knowing who was portraying Holly--to make that speech; it could have been given by, say, Will or Emma. There are implications, whether intentional or not. Those intentions, however, do remain separate from the show and the episode itself. The message was clearly delivered, and was somewhat poignant, though it was a bit lost by being made by an actress (regardless of who the character is) that has some ties to what's being said. Regardless of all of that, let's be honest: this episode SUCKED. I mean, really? Only six people showed? Do these kids' parents have NO interest in their lives and goals whatsoever? Where was Emma? This show manipulated any even minute semblance of realism beyond acceptable suspension of belief.
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Apr 21, 2011
You may not like the messenger but the message is right on. The internet which I was so excited about 13 or 14 years ago as perhaps the ultimate expression in democracy is exactly a culture of insults. Sure, it's fun to dish on celebs who can cry all the way to the bank but then it doesn't end there. It's become a place where everyone is judged by a hidden jury. I read a post that called the photo of a murder victim "ugly." That's below insensitivity. I have never watched or cared for Glee but good job on that speech.
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Apr 21, 2011
Don't like Glee at all but also don't really get the point of this article. I mean it was a character who made the speech right? Not the actual Gwyneth Paltrow? I do agree that people that cry 'victim' are creating a self-fulfilling prophecy but absolutely tearing into her for personal choices she has made is pretty idiotic also. So to sum up, people need to stop being so sensitive and people need to stop judging others so harshly. Wow, I sound like a priest, lol.
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Apr 21, 2011
I agree that the internet makes it eaiser for kids to be cruel on a grander scale to a larger audience. She does have a point, the more we tear people & ideas down, the harder it is to teach our kids to lift anything up.
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Apr 21, 2011
Also, I have to ask... was this thread an exercise in satire or irony? Ripping into a celebrity who spoke a monologue about ripping into celebrities for no reason?
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Apr 21, 2011
I'm not a huge fan of Glee anymore, but I still catch the occasional episode. Considering how the show is CONSTANTLY focused towards kids' issues, I don't see how you can just take Gwyneth's monologue as a self-serving thing. If anything, sometimes a message comes across more if it's from an A-list celebrity than a young adult on a TV show. I'm not familiar with her in the news, maybe there was some linkage between the monologue and her real life. But she DOES NOT WRITE Glee. If you become an e-Bully against people you'll never meet, then it's easy to become a regular/really bully to the people around you because you're used to it.
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Apr 21, 2011
Glad shes gone!
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Apr 21, 2011
I totally agree with "vera". If that's your opinion about that speech, if you can't see the message of it besides Gwyneth Paltrow? Then you definitely need to see someone, cause you have a lot of growing up to do. And it's even worse is that how fast people like you are willing to trash Glee or any other TV show. If you could spent that time to point out the good things about them, that will be the smartest thing you could do.
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Apr 21, 2011
Haven't seen the episode yet, but what she says makes sense. A LOT of sense. It needed to be said, and I hope people pay attention and listen because what she's saying (That "we live in a culture of insults") is true, regardless of what ones opinion of Gwyneth is. Gwyneth is not the point (nor do I believe that she's written gher own lines for the show) and no matter how you twist and turn the fact that SHE might be one of the ones that is being horrible, harsh comments, she is hardly the only one. The entire internet is riddled with people with nothing better to do than to tear down others, troll forums and boards, leave mean comments on blogs with no other agenda than to hurt people they don't even know... So yes. I think it's extremely TRUE that "there are ramifications, guys, because it makes you comfortable with insensitivity." and , for one, sincertely hope that the lesson actually gets seen, understood and taken to heart by people.

Just my five cents.
:)
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Apr 21, 2011
It's bad as expected, but this is Glee. Its target audience are teenagers. You can't have high expectations, when it comes to the deepness of the plot and speeches.
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Apr 21, 2011
I do not think the speech was anything about Gwyneth, she is not the one who writes the show, and no I was not moved by the speech, its the bad writing, which I'm not surprised of, I like Glee, I do, but lets be honest, the writing is bad, and I won't compare to other shows, but on its own, Glee doesn't have the best writers in the world, I guess if we want someone to blame, blame them. And another add to this subject, I don't know about other people, but when I give a bad criticism about someone or something, its because its bad, not because I'm a genius. But after all, I don't take my life lessons from a TV show.
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Apr 21, 2011
agreed with enerion,woman knows whats right
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Apr 21, 2011
i agree with "sodapopgirl721": more important is the quality of the episode, which is really lacking her!
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Apr 21, 2011
Worst article EVER! Just read the rest of the comments, with which I totally agree (especially with "vera"). Uffff...!
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Apr 21, 2011
I don't have anything against Gwyneth, I think you're being too hard on her. Like bonjovichick said the lines were written for her, she didn't come up with herself. Still, most of what she said was pretty true, there are plenty of internet forums and even comment sections on youtube that can prove that.
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Apr 21, 2011
You only need to go on youtube and read all the hate that's on there to see that this speech has a point about our "culture of insults". Disappointing article.
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Apr 21, 2011
"Am I being too hard on Gwyneth? Did her speech move you at all? Do you agree with her contention that we live in “a culture of insults?”

YES, YES and YES
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Apr 21, 2011
Kind of stupid article if you ask me. I am not a huge Gwyneth fan..mostly because of who she is married to who is only less smug and self righteous than Bono but I digress. However like it has been said she was reading lines written for her which to me were just kind of tongue in cheek. I certainly didn't look to have her speech move me.... I watch TV to be entertained or at least this type of TV is only meant to entertain. If I want to be moved I would watch something based on a real life story that is moving. I probably like her better now than I did before based on her appearance on this show. I actually have a song from an earlier Glee on my iPod that she sang.
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Apr 21, 2011
i second everything vera_paunova said.

honestly... you (Seth Abramovitch) just made yourself part of the culture of insults with this article. the Glee writers put some really good values and life lessons into their show and then someone like you comes along and tears it down again. our society's younger generation is being filled with enough hate as it is by the older generation, politics, religion and so on. if FOR ONCE some good values are being promoted in pop culture, can't we accept that and be happy about it instead of finding a way to make it sound bad all over again?
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Apr 21, 2011
This has got to be the most idiotic thing I have ever read on this site (and there are heaps of idiotic things being said here all the time)! Is this guy for real? And is he indeed a staff writer? Where does he write from, a loony bin? I mean, he's gotta be in an institution of some sort if he's gone so far the deep end that he can't tell the difference between an actress and the character she plays!



I have never seen and episode of Glee and never will, but this was so downright ludicrous that I just couldn't help myself.



And yes, we do live in a culture of insults and they (as opposed to mature, REASONED criticism) nearly always spring from insecurities and the desire to feel better about oneself by putting others down.



PS. I still can't believe anyone over the age of 10 can be so infantile!
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Apr 21, 2011
Can I say that is just a horrible freeze above of Gwyneth. I've never been a big fan of hers but i'm really enjoying her character on Glee and she can sing. But that speech, oh gawd I didn't believe it, maybe i need to watch the episode again but nothing she said came out believable, in any way. I mean pretty speech and all but if this was a message for all those 'haters' out there in the real world *mimics finger sailing then diving towards the floor before exploding complete with sound effects*
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Apr 21, 2011
Eh! Life goes on!
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Apr 21, 2011
Also, I want to say. Her speech seemed to be perceived incorrectly.

It's not the saying bad things about someone...We all do it. We critique and judge others and at at times look down on others. It's human nature.

I took from the message people like the hecklers who go out of their way to hurt and offend others are obviously doing it to feel better about themselves. Anybody who makes a complaint has a right to do so but when you go too far where you are bullying and harassing someone, there is obviously something deeper goin on.
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Apr 21, 2011
Moved by gwyneth? No....By Holly? Yes i was.

As stated, you need to learn the difference between reality and tv and that she did not write her lines.

People preach about how Glee always has some sort of message in every episode. What is wrong with that?
It's at least giving a decent message to us teens out here while also making us laugh. You were being too hard on Holly played by Gwyneth Paltrow and Glee complainers are being too hard on a show geared towards teens.
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Apr 21, 2011
The same mocking, whiny tools that are being called out for being mocking, whiny tools think it's bad that Holly gave a speech about mocking, whiny tools. HOW UNPREDICTABLE AND NOT AT ALL PROVING HER POINT!
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Apr 21, 2011
I don't like it when people say that someone only says bad things about someone else to "feel better about ourselves" because often that's not the case. Maybe people are just sharing their personal opinion, or feel outraged about something.
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Apr 21, 2011
she was amazeing
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Apr 21, 2011
She didn't write the script. I thought she was awesome.
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Apr 21, 2011
Did it move /you/ at all? You seem to be its target.
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Apr 21, 2011
Two things. The dialogue was said by the character of Holly Holiday, Gwyneth did not a.) do a cameo or b.) write this speech. You need to learn how to distinguish real life from a TV show. And secondly, dear, will you get over yourself? Glee is about singing. It is a TV series, meant for teens. Are you 17 to take it this personal? And it's primary objective is NOT being an Oprah of TV shows, ok? You need a serious reality check, especially since you did a lot of insulting - again- in this article, and if you don't have anything better (and by better I mean intelligent) to write, well, silence is golden.
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Apr 21, 2011
I don't like her, but I am getting annoyed about the preachy writing. It feels like every time they write an episode, they ask themselves 'what's the lesson of the week?' And they recycle too heavily. This dramedy is leaning on the drama side of the family with all of the stuff they pack in to teach people to be nice and make good choices.
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Apr 21, 2011
This ridiculous article just proves that TV.com is the "I Hate Glee Fan Club" Headquarters
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Apr 21, 2011
You have to admit, it's not her, it's the crappy writing. I, too, am tired of seeing the characters victimize themselves then wine incessantly about it.
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Apr 21, 2011
I think you need to seperate Gwyneth Paltrow from her character, Holly Holiday! It wasn't even Gwyneth Paltrow who wrote her lines, if you must go after the speech, then start insulting the writers' personal lives...
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Apr 21, 2011
After all Iron-Man series fans went on a hype because there was a rumor that she was punched in the face on the second movie I think she's entitled to be sensible to all "hate-mail", wouldn't ye all agree?
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Apr 20, 2011
As other ppl here I also think you've made a mistake criticizing Gwyneth for saying what was her job to say as an actress. If you have to be hard on someone, be hard on the writers or producers or whatever. And yes, I think criticism is important and everything, but some ppl are just destructive and mean and I honestly believe they do that just to feel powerful and better with themselves.
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Apr 20, 2011
I do think that because it's so anonymous, people don't think through what they say anymore. It's easy to "hate" or "love" someone when you are not called upon to defend that, or to look the person in the eye. I'm not against it, it gives everyone that wants to, a voice. But I can't stand the stupidity of people who speak before thinking, in real life or on a page. But perhaps you're taking the Gwyneth-thing too far, we don't know who really weighed in on that speech-writing ;) :P But fyc: singers who broadcast songs in which they talk of how hard and difficult it is being famous. If it's so horrible, then why do it at all? I think that is hypocrisy.
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Apr 20, 2011
You absolutely are being too hard on her. As has been said, this was not Gwyneth Paltrow writing about her personal feelings, but her having to deal with her haters definitely gave her a more emotional depth when it came to delivering the monologue about Internet cruelty. You are playing right in to what she was speaking out against and, worse, you are attacking the actor for no apparent reason. You may get to tear people down for a living, but most people who comment on things on the Internet do it to feel better about themselves.
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Apr 20, 2011
bmill2 u took the words right out of my mouth. This is not Gwyneth's own words and to all the haters on this speech u need to grow up. It does make you look immature and that you have self esteem problems if you have to go online to talk crap about other ppl. No one notices the consequences of saying these things to people and im glad glee brings this up a lot. Especially because a lot of young kids will kill themselves because of this and this is basically another form of bullying.
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Apr 20, 2011
Wow, the speech was written by the Glee writers. Its not Gwyneth's personal mouthpiece so stop overanalyzing the speech in relation to her life
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Apr 20, 2011
No, you are not being too hard on Paltrow, but you forgot to mention how mediocre Glee is. We live in a world where we speak our minds and when something is not good we say so.
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Apr 20, 2011
Everybody does the Insulting/fellingbetter thing. It's really not important. I'ts only at work or at home where insulting is important and not welcomed, let media and the rest of the world keep insulting. I don't even watch Glee and also I enjoy Gwyneth on most of her movies. I don't care what she says as a public figure. Keep the good acting and good movies rolling.
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Apr 20, 2011
Agreed Janus. And Seth (the author), what makes you think this is a Gwyneth Paltrow soapbox?? This was not a spur-of-the-moment rant she went into on a talk show or anything, this was a scripted speech meant to fit into a story.

From the way this article was written, it appears you are on an unholy crusade to defend the "haters", internet and otherwise. I'm not saying it was my favorite episode, or that this speech was particular well-written (by the writers), but in no way should this be damning of the actress whose job it is to read the words.
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Apr 20, 2011
this speech wasn't what bugged me about this episode it was the rest of the episode in general. i mean glee has just come back and we get an episode where sunshine reappears only to disappear three seconds later, mercedes acting obnoxious and almost no kurt and blaine, despite theyre officially a couple now? this episode focused way too much on trivial parts like will and holly breaking up. its like they went out for two episodes, this whole episode just drove me nuts
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