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Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong about Everything?
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An exploration of the effect our celebrity-dominated culture has on our ideas of living the good life What would happen if an average Joe tried out for American Idol, underwent a professional makeover, endured Gwyneth Paltrow s Clean Cleanse, and followed the outrageous rituals of the rich and famous? Health law policy researcher Timothy Caulfield finds out in this thoroughly unique, engaging, and provocative book about celebrity culture and its iron grip on today s society. Over the past decade, our perceptions of beauty, health, success, and happiness have become increasingly framed by a popular culture steeped in celebrity influence and ever more disconnected from reality. This isn't just a hyperbolic assertion. Research tells us that our health decisions and goals are influenced by both celebrity culture and celebrity endorsements, our children's ambitions are now overwhelmingly governed by the fantasy of fame, and the ideals of beauty and success are mediated through a celebrity-dominated worldview. But while much has been written about the cause of our obsession with the rich and famous, Caulfield argues that not enough has been done to debunk celebrity messages and promises about health, diet, beauty, or the secret to happiness. From the obvious dangers, to body image of super-thin models and actors, or Gwyneth Paltrow s enthusiastic endorsement of a gluten free-diet for almost everyone, or Jenny McCarthy s ill-informed claims of the risks associated with vaccines, celebrity opinions have the power to dominate our conversations and outlooks on our lives and ourselves. As marketing and social media bring celebrities and their admirers ever closer, celebrity status and lifestyle has become a seemingly more realistic and obtainable goal. Being famous has become the main ambition of an increasing number of average citizens, above being kind, successful, or loved. The celebrity brand is at once the most desired state of being (modern day royalty!) and one of the most socially problematic. Caulfield provides an entertaining look into the celebrity world, including vivid accounts of his own experiences trying out for American Idol, having his skin resurfaced, and doing the cleanse; interviews with actual celebrities; thought-provoking facts, and a practical and evidence-based reality check on our own celebrity ambitions."
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About the Author

Timothy Caulfield is a Chair in Health Law and Policy and a Professor in the Faculty of Law and the School of Public Health at the University of Alberta. He has won numerous academic awards, has appeared in publications such as Time, Newsweek, Wired, National Geographic, and Scientific American, and been involved with a number of national and international policy and research ethics committees. He is the author of The Cure for Everything: Untangling Twisted Messages about Health, Fitness and Happiness.

Reviews

"An intelligent mix of research and pop culture, Caulfield's analysis of celebrity trends gets to the heart of America's obsession with the fame monster." --Kirkus Reviews "You'd think that with the steady march of science, we'd see the twilight of the quacks. On the contrary. We are awash in snake oil. Now Tim Caulfield provides an important and entertaining antidote to all this bunkum. Put down the deer antler spray and pick up this book." --A. J. Jacobs, author of The Year of Living Biblically "Caulfield's thoughtful, amusing and engaging study of our celebrity-obsessed culture provides insight into why celebrity authority often trumps medical fact when it comes to our health. If you want to improve your health or that of others you would do well to read this book!" --Arthur Caplan, author of Smart Mice, Not So Smart People "Health and science expert [Timothy Caulfield] debunks the most powerful and persuasive messages being spread by celebrities when it comes to our health and well-being: what works, what doesn't, what is worth our time and money, and what isn't. A fun and informative read." --CBC Books "An exhaustively researched, hilarious take on how celebrity culture influences everyday life, from ill-fated attempts to make it big on reality TV to celebrity-endorsed diets and beauty regimens." --Emma Teitel, Maclean's

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