Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Eat Pray Love: One Woman's Quest to Exploit Unhappy Women (and to Destroy a Man to Do It)

A story got back to me about one of my dear readers (heya, Josh!). Apparently Josh is currently trapped in a horrible place where people are nice to you all the time, colloquially referred to as “the South.” Words cannot express my condolences, Josh. But luckily I’m here to provide Josh with his requisite daily dose of much-needed mean-spiritedness and acerbity. So here we go:

The story about Josh brought up the book Eat, Pray, Love. I don’t really feel like explaining how, so just accept this as Truth. Something Josh and I have in common, beyond thinking that I’m amazing, is that we’ve both felt perfectly comfortable mocking EPL without knowing anything about it beyond the title and the fact that Julia Roberts used it as an excuse to torture movie audiences everywhere once more before returning to the sewers beneath a small Maine town for another 27 years. That’s really all the data you need to order to conclude that EPL is the most Oprah Book Clubby book ever, and that is the absolute worst insult one can throw at a book, below even a Facebook “Like” from Stephenie Meyer or being in the top 20 best-sellers on Kindle.

"I'm sorry, were you going to rip this bodice, or should I?"

I’d heard from a couple of sources that EPL is in fact exactly as bad as I’d imagined, so today, when it came up, I thought it might be fun to check out the Wikipedia summary. If it’s as bad as I imagine, that should be quite entertaining, at the least. Plus I’d then get bragging rights for every prediction that hit the mark. Win, win.

Well, it turned out EPL has a very sparse Wikipedia page, despite its supposed popularity, probably because the people who read EPL are exactly the kind of people who don’t contribute to the growing body of knowledge of mankind. They’re also probably the kind of people who think I should say “peoplekind” instead of “mankind.” You know what I’m saying: I’m saying they’re probably fucking coffee-shop feminists. Well, guess what? From now on, I’m going to say “peniskind,” how’s that, you mindless drones? Suck on that.

Anyway, I get at least one point for oracular prowess: my first comment upon reading the article was “Oh god, it starts with yoga. Of course.” Yes, shockingly the modern woman’s spiritual journey begins and ends in extraordinarily overpriced Lululemon yoga pants that a stripper would likely consider too blatantly man-pleasing. She (Elizabeth Gilbert) is all like “Omg yoga pants vacations,” and some “medicine man” is like “Omg a vacuous white woman!” and somberly he foretells to her of her eventual return to study at his side.

"Do these pants make my ass look spiritual?"
Ok, enough of calling Gilbert stupid. I want to focus instead on the fact that she’s clearly a massive bitch.

So, Gilbert was "unhappy in her marriage," which probably had a little to do with her name being “Gilbert” and a lot to do with her being an overgrown child. We know how unhappy she was because she would “sleep on the bathroom floor.” Personally, that sounds more like alcoholism than unhappiness to me, but moving on. Gilbert had all the trappings of success, which are, apparently, “a husband, a house, and a successful career as a writer.” First of all, I want to point out the invalidity of including the word “success” in your definition of “success.” Second of all, can we please stop pretending that this is anyone’s definition of success? Seriously, this is not the Jane Austen universe. Anyway, so Gilbert finds no satisfaction in her so-called success and ends up divorced and at a crossroads.

Mr. Gilbert may have been at a crossroads, too, but no one's going to read a book about it.
All of that we more or less inferred from the movie poster of Julia “It” Roberts sitting on a bench wearing a scarf and eating ice cream like a five-year-old. But did you know that our heroic divorcee was, wait for it, 32? Thirty-two. 30 + 2? THIRTY-TWO?!?! Oh yeah, milk that midlife crisis money for all it’s worth, baby. I don’t know which is more upsetting, that the self-appointed heroine of divorced middle-aged women everywhere was actually closer in age to the second wives of the corresponding divorced middle-aged men, or that Julia “Seriously what is wrong with her face” Roberts had the gall to play a 32-year-old.

If the age thing weren’t bad enough, guess how this spring chicken  ended up on the marital chopping block? Surprise: she didn’t! The bitch actually unilaterally divorced her husband with no cause whatsoever. This after, what, six years of marriage? Ten at the absolute most? Wow, what a trouper. She really tried her best to make that marriage work. Huzzah, no-fault divorce law! Her husband contested the divorce while she flitted off to India to get fitted for yoga pants, but the absurdly female-friendly legal system got everything sorted out to Gilbert’s benefit by the time she returned to begin her glamorous new life as an early-thirties divorcee.

And what’s the first act of any glamorous early-thirties divorcee? Why, to secure a book deal to capitalize on the sad, pathetic fantasies of late-forties divorcees, of course! Seriously, her whole trip “around the world” (read: to three places) was paid for in advance by her publisher.

This is bullshit.

Memoirs are always shit. This is known. But how it is even legal to call something a “memoir” if you planned the whole damn thing in advance? Tiger Mom didn’t secure funding for her book deal before she started torturing her kids. You’re supposed to torture your kids just because, and then write a book about it!  You’re supposed to, you know, “risk it all” by wandering around the world for a year before someone pays you to. Otherwise it’s not a goddamn risk, is it? It’s a fucking vacation that you’re somewhat legally obligated to write about afterward.

What a fucking poser.

Basically what we have here is that Elizabeth Gilbert is to Carrier Bradshaw what Carrie Bradshaw is to actual women: someone whose income-to-work and glamor-to-life ratios are so far off the charts they’re orbiting Saturn right now. Fuck, even Carrie couldn’t convince her publisher to pay for her to flounce about Europe for a year and had to take an actual risk (unemployment) when moving to Paris. Sex and the City has more realism than this woman’s actual life!

Pictured: Something much closer to reality.
Are we seriously celebrating this bitch?

Wikipedia offers almost zero details of what Gilbert actually did on her trip. She apparently spent four months eating in Italy, three months “finding her Spirituality” in India (yes, “Spirituality” is fucking capitalized, I shit you not) and I guess like a week or two hooking up with a Brazilian businessman in Indonesia. Of course the expressed purpose of the Indonesian leg of this bold voyage of self-discovery was to find a “balance” between eating and praying. I can only imagine that means she went to consult a physician about the appropriate calorie intake for her new sedentary, sorry, I mean “meditative” lifestyle. But instead she just happened to meet Mr. Love and boom, a best-selling book title was born.

This “love” part is supposed to be brave, by the way, because she “wasn’t looking for love.” What kind of bravery do you need to fall for a Brazilian business man? Brazilian = hot, everyone knows this. And he’s a businessman, not an artist or a surfer or whatever. Dude makes bank. She doesn’t even have to sacrifice material comforts to love him.
I didn't even have to qualify "Brazilian man" to get this result.
Here is from the description of the plot of the film: "Gilbert steps out of her comfort zone, risking everything to change her life." Look, you dumb cunt, 1. Italy is not outside anyone’s “comfort zone,” 2. women risk nothing by initiating a divorce in our current legal system, 3. a paid vacation funded by your employer and, let’s face it, probably your alimony, is not, I repeat NOT a risk, and 4. I can’t imagine India was outside your comfort zone either since you just told us about how you’d already been there.

Let me just take a second to go over this “Eat” part of the equation, too. Aside from the obvious ridiculousness of taking a third-world problem of starvation and turning it into a second-world problem of obesity and wrap that up into a first-world problem of anorexia and all that shit, did you really say to yourself “Gee, you know what would be revolutionary? Writing a book about how good the food in Italy is.” Again, Wiki tells us: "She discovers the true pleasures of nourishment in Italy." I mean, I realize Italian food is amazeballs, but I'm pretty sure the pleasures of food are all around us all the time in the western world. That's kind of the problem.

Pictured: Julia Roberts sitting on that bench after four months of gelato.
If you want to experience the true pleasures of food, or for that matter of prayer or sex, go on a tour in Iraq. I guarantee you you will come back very satisfied with your house and your career and the man who was dumb enough to meld his destiny with yours. Oh, wait a minute. I just realized something. These things that disappointed you and led to your big “Around the World in Eight Menstrual Cycles” adventure: the house, the husband, the career. You only really abandoned one of those, didn’t you? I mean, you still live under a roof, presumably, and this whole shebang was made possible by that darned, unsatisfying, successful career as a writer, wasn’t it? So what you really didn’t like was simply your husband.

Fuck you, you horrid cunt.


S. Misanthrope

P.S. My therapist says I need to say one nice thing each day, so here goes: At least she didn’t have kids with the poor sod.

P.P.S. By the way, the full title is even more pretentious: Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia. And yes, she fucking capitalizes the preposition. Again: you dumb bitch.

P. P.P.S. I may check out the parody Drink, Play, Fuck (One Man's Search for Anything Across Ireland, Vegas and Thailand.

P.P.P.P.S. This is way, way worse than I'd ever envisioned.


  1. Thanks for the shout out, S! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZcFkjVHPZcg

  2. That was Sig. Other's response, as well. Personally I think comparing what this woman does to queefing is an insult to queefs everywhere.

  3. THANK YOU !!!!!!!
    I thought I was the only one who hate and DISPISED that book I am a girl and I am on your side. A lot of girls like that book I never knew why x(

  4. The only reason why I was looking for reviews of this film today is because Elizabeth Gilbert is divorcing her husband! I don't know which was worse, casting Julia Roberts (has she ever acted in any role other than that of Julia Roberts) or the cliched stereotypes found (and made from) this book. But I am to be blamed too for its success because I don't know why why why I read it and then also watched it when it was seriously so so terribly terrible.

  5. The only reason why I was looking for reviews of this film today is because Elizabeth Gilbert is divorcing her husband! I don't know which was worse, casting Julia Roberts (has she ever acted in any role other than that of Julia Roberts) or the cliched stereotypes found (and made from) this book. But I am to be blamed too for its success because I don't know why why why I read it and then also watched it when it was seriously so so terribly terrible.