Nobody trashes J.C. Penney’s, and the fat people who shop there, and gets away with it! New York Times “Critical Shopper” columnist Cintra Wilson is learning that the hard way. And she’s using the opportunity to put her inner schizo on display.
On NYTimes.com Tuesday (and in the Thursday Style print edition) Wilson dropped her jaw at the new J.C. Penney store in NYC’s Herald Square and it landed on every overweight person in America:
Why would this dowdy Middle American entity waddle into Midtown in its big old shorts and flip-flops without even bothering to update its ancient Helvetica Light logo, which for anyone who grew up with the company is encrusted with decades of boring, even traumatically parental, associations?
and then further down …
AND herein lies the genius of J. C. Penney: It has made a point of providing clothing for people of all sizes … To this end, it has the most obese mannequins I have ever seen. They probably need special insulin-based epoxy injections just to make their limbs stay on. It’s like a headless wax museum devoted entirely to the cast of Roseanne.
Now Wilson faces a barrage of criticism from the thundering herd of Penney’s-lovers and defensive chunkers. Women’s Wear Daily posted a rundown of the backlash, pointing to Richard Connelly, a writer for the Houston Press. “It’s difficult to take in just all the sneering aimed at us corpulent, tasteless slobs between the coasts, but we’ll try,” he wrote. “Let’s face it: We will never be cool enough to hang out with Dr. Redacto.”
Sounds like somebody has their panties in a knot, am I right, Cintra?! On Wednesday night Wilson laughed at everyone who thought she had been a tad rude. On her personal “Dregublog“:
Frankly, people, I think this has all gotten a bit ridiculous. You know I didn’t mean it that way, so please remove the knot from your panties and when you’re ready, join me for a cigarette and several Pucker martinis at the insouciant end of the pool, and I’ll tell you all about the time I inadvertently alienated my best friend for a year when I wrote an article about her wedding.
And then only two hours after her panty de-knotting exhortation Wilson went schizo and posted again, this time with more heartfelt regard stemming from her “personal beliefs as a Buddhist.”
[I] very much regret that my JC Penney article in the Times caused any wounded feelings whatsoever, particularly to people who already feel they take more than their share of abuse from our very shallow and ridiculous society.
Wait, do Buddhists drink Pucker Martinis and smoke? Or was that just a literary device á la ‘insulin-based epoxy injections for Penney’s obese mannequins’?
Ultimately, this has become a “teachable moment” for Wilson, because everyone knows that clichés make the best apologies. Wilson explained her change of heart (her chakra realignment if you will) to WWD:
“I made some comments about an oversize mannequin that somewhat erased the fine line between humor and offensiveness — and I had to concede that my tone was too harsh when some very nice people wrote to tell me why they were hurt by these comments,” said Wilson. “This is what compelled me to apologize. It was a teachable moment, so I tried to take responsibility for the fact that I wasn’t sensitive enough to people’s feelings in that passage.”
Ultimately we haven’t moved that far from the ‘insouciant end of the pool’ attitude — we’re just serving a different brand of pucker now; kissing ass seems like a pretty good way out of this one. And maybe this whole episode will help Wilson learn to write lovingly about the fat like fellow Style columnist Guy Trebay.
Photo from Paper Magazine.
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