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Gwyneth 001.jpg

Instead of writing the Book Review review, I'm staring at the Estée Lauder ad on the back cover of last week's Sunday Times Magazine. "Home For the Holidays," it says, over the brand name, right across the red-and-black (-green?) hostess skirt that Gwyneth Paltrow is wearing. She has also got on a somewhat elaborate but basically mannish white blouse, and she's carrying an impossible bundle of holly - her hand would be cut to ribbons if it weren't for serious floristic intervention. Mostly, however (reading, contrary to what Lisa Carol Fremont has to say in Rear Window, from bottom to top), Gwyneth Paltrow is wearing her dazzling smile, open face, and cascading blonde hair. The photograph would be terminally WASP if one didn't recall her assertion that, through her father, the late television producer, Bruce Paltrow, she comes from a long line of Lithuanian rabbis. It is a pity that Saul Bellow did not live to deal with this phenomenon, this Lithuanian/shiksa Gwyneth.

My Gwyneth Paltrow problem is totally geeky. I've dreamed that I could somehow, notwithstanding my - well, why don't we just stop at "age" - notwithstanding my age, that I could really interest the lady and get her to want to know me better. I buried this longing during the Brad Pitt period - Gwyneth was not worthy. Now that she's the mother of two, you'd think she be even less, er, interesting, but she's not. I have a hot desire to find out what her repartee is like, and to see where repartee might lead. One of the nice things, though, about being as old as her late father (if not older) is that my fear that I would fail to hold her attention is almost overwhelmed by the fear that she would fail to hold mine.

And where would all of this go, in an "ideal world"? Let's say that Gwyneth and I "made a connection" over cocktails at - well, not the Royalton, but somewhere like that. What then? I happen to adore my wife. I adore Gwyneth Paltrow, too, but, gee, not quite so much. It would seem that my interest is basically - and basely - conquistadorial. I want to be able to say, at least to myself, that - &c.

In the end, I'm shot by a twisty stroke of vanity. I reflect that my daughter is as good looking as Gwyneth Paltrow, if not in quite the same photogenic way. But then, all too evidently, neither was Ms Paltrow's mother, the beautiful Blythe Danner, who was never exploited by a major perfumer. No matter how you cut it, life just isn't fair.


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Funny that you didn't even mention her recent misunderstanding regarding her opinion on the intelligence of Americans.

Blythe Danner has it all over her daughter Gwyneth, lovely as Ms.Paltrow is. Ms. Danner's throaty delivery is priceless; an ageless voice combining a whiskey come-hither with the glacial reserve of a waspy Hitchcockian blond screen goddess. Priceless and classic.

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