Gwyneth Paltrow may not be a scientist, but she did play one(‘s assistant/wife) in the movies. And now she’ll be playing one on TV on Netflix’s The Goop Lab.
Monday, Paltrow’s lifestyle company, Goop, dropped a trailer for its new Netflix six-episode series.
Admittedly most of these opinions are valid. Pseudoscience has become a real problem. Climate change deniers, anti-vaxxers, and even flat earthers are having real tangible adverse effects on the world. And make no mistake, Goop is all about pseudoscience. Maybe their most famous absurdity is the moon-rechargeable jade egg for your vagina.
And it’s not just dumb things the internet likes to scream into the void about. Goop recently paid out a $145,000 settlement in California after investigations were opened into unsubstantiated medical claims on their website.
I guess it was inevitable that Goop would eventually use being "unregulated" as a selling point instead of a thing she's been fined $145,000 for by state regulators https://t.co/Dj3IyjU8X9
— Anna Merlan (@annamerlan) January 6, 2020
In June 2018, after the settlement, Goop quietly added a sort of rating system to the claims on their site.
- For Your Enjoyment: There probably aren’t going to be peer-reviewed studies about this concept, but it’s fun, and there’s real merit in that.
- Ancient Modality: This practice is nearly as old as time — many find value in it, even if modern-day research hasn’t caught up yet (the practice may never attract its attention).
- Speculative but Promising: There’s momentum behind this concept, though it needs more research to elucidate exactly what’s at work.
- Supported by Science: There’s sound science for the value of this concept and the promise of more evidence to come soon that may prove its impact.
- Rigorously Tested: The validity of this concept is pretty much undisputed within the world of M.D.’s, D.O.’s, N.D.’s, and Ph.D.’s.
Sure it’s a little silly and far from scientific, but at least it’s something. People will miss even the most apparent disclaimers. I’m sure everyone reading this has seen a sincerely shared Onion article on social media. So I’m not being facetious when I say that something is better than nothing in this area.
Also, Goop is very obviously an out of touch wish-fulfillment factory. People also love to rag on that. But so is the James Bond franchise. So are GQ, Country Living, and a thousand other publications. Of course, Gwyneth Paltrow has always been obnoxious, and that can sour you on her specific thing, but let’s not pretend the thing itself is much different than all the other stuff we never think twice about (*cough* What The Health *cough*).
The trailer hits five bullet points that seem to be infuriating social media. Let’s break them down.
No real pseudoscience there. Orgasms are great. We should all have more.
2. Cold Therapy
While dunking yourself in a frozen lake may not be the safest thing, cold therapy is common among professional athletes. If you’re even tangentially aware of sports news, you may have heard this year about ex NFL Pro Bowler and current wackadoo Antonio Brown accidentally freezing the skin off his feet. Not a great example of the safety of cryotherapy, but it’s pretty a standard treatment.
3. Energy Healing
Ok, this one is pretty eccentric. But there’s a lot of evidence that–combined with actual, real medical treatment–positive thinking (energy healing, prayer, meditation, art therapy, etc.) can boost mood and increase healing.
This one is kind of cutting edge therapy. Psychedelics used to be very common in medical and academic circles (Cary Grant often sang the praises of psychedelic therapy). It wasn’t until the moral panic backlash to the hippie movement of the 60s that psychedelics were put under legislative lock and key. Only recently, due to loosening of state and federal drug laws, as well as cultural factors, has actual science been able to be applied to psychedelic substances again. I highly recommend the book How To Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan if this is a topic that interests you.
5. Psychic Mediums
And we’re back to pseudoscience again. But if this is something you believe in, see #3.
So, in summary, if you want to cancel your Netflix subscription over this dumb show, go for it. Just know that Gwyneth Paltrow definitely sees every angry tweet as a dollar sign.
Billy is a freelance writer living in Indianapolis with his dog, BoJack. He enjoys TED talks, video games, sunny days, football, and the salty tears of his enemies.