Penney For Your Thoughts

So, I decided I’d take a holiday from the trans-politics for a bit as immersing one’s self in that for prolonged periods can leave one suffocating after a while, and then my writing just gets all like a sweaty squid trying to unhook a corset. Nobody wants that.

Thus I sit here with my nifty umbrella drink, maxing and relaxing, and along comes this load of bollocks in a sock.

[In the interest of full disclosure, 90% of my wardrobe is from JCPenney, for reasons that’ll become relevant in a moment.]

Let’s analyse this bit by bit using my usual restrained, sensible, and sobreminded reasoning.

“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?”

What the fuck is wrong with you, woman, seriously?

Ahem. Now to the reasoning part. Update its logo? Like, say, the New York Times and its logo? Which haven’t changed since, oh, around the time of the Lincoln-Douglas debates? And what’s with this “Middle American entity” nonsense? Is it supposed to be? I never realised that.

What is Middle America, anyway, Tornado Alley? My understanding is that it’s supposed to refer to the Sarah Palin set who live in the exurbs but it’s hard to see what’s particularly “middle” about that in any sense. Finally I must cast the mote out of thine eye, Ms. Wilson: this may shock you but the Times and many other newspapers have “decades of boring, even traumatically parental associations.”

Now, you might wonder why I, particularly on the heels of my anti-capitalist rants of late, am going to bat for a major retailer. As is ever the case in such matters, it’s not the corporate overlords I’m defending. It’s more those of us who, by dint of economic circumstance, have to frequent places like Penney’s.

“A good 96 percent of the Penney’s inventory is made of polyester. The few clothing items that are made of cotton make a sincere point of being cotton and tell you earnestly about their 100-percent cottonness with faux-hand-scribbled labels so obviously on the Green bandwagon they practically spit pine cones.”

Well, Ms. Wilson, if you’d like there to be less polyester in my closet then kindly give me the extra money to shop at Nordstrom’s and Harrods… so I can promptly spend it on about a dozen things more important to me than clothing made out of God’s toejam and sequin silk.

I like to think most of what I have is stuff I can pull off fairly stylishly (in all the cartoony self portraits you see here- that’s clothing I actually own and wear). Polyester-ness not withstanding, they’re pretty nice and I’m gratified that I can get a whole bunch of awesome clothes for less than 50 dollars. Whereas, one skirt where Ms. Wilson likely shops? Well…  judge for yourself. Fashionable for that kind of moolah, ain’t it?

“— Liz & Co., an offshoot of Liz Claiborne, key provider of looks that say “I have been in a senior management position at this D.M.V. for 34 years.” “

The New York Times Fashion Column, a key provider of prose that says “I have had my head shoved up my ass for about 25 years.”

“AND herein lies the genius of J. C. Penney: It has made a point of providing clothing for people of all sizes (a strategy, company officials have said, to snatch business from nearby Macy’s). 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.”

I never felt sorry for a mannequin before, but Ms. Wilson I thank you for giving me the experience!

For the record, I actually went to the store described in the article recently after my epic adventure at the downtown DMV. I got myself a pair of blouses I was very happy with. In the process I noticed no “obese mannequins” and while I admit I wasn’t exactly checking the waist sizes of the inanimate dummies, I didn’t see any that appeared to above, maybe, size 8.

But if they do exist, then good on JCPenney. Overweight people deserve a shot at seeing how a particular outfit might look on them.

“This niche has been almost wholly neglected on our snobby, self-obsessed little island.”

I can’t imagine why people might think it’s snobby or self-obsessed…

Anyway, Ms. Wilson is right, there are no overweight people who live in Manhattan, nor are there parts of Manhattan that are, say, lower income or not populated by pricks. After all, if you’ve seen the area around the Empire State Building, you’ve seen all there is to see in Manhattan!

Sarcastic enough for you, ma’am?

The really bizarre thing about this is that many of the things I was criticising here were backhanded compliments building up to what amounted to a positive review of the store. But the incredibly snobbish, elitist attitude is exactly why I have no patience with the economically privileged.

Now if you put me in a JCPenney’s boardroom I’d probably have a jolly good time bitchslapping all of the chaps around the table for the malfeasance I’m sure they’re involved in at some level. But I need clothes. JCPenney is cheap and offers decent enough stuff for my business-casual style. Indeed, if I’m going to wear more than one blouse I have to shop at places like this. My budget wouldn’t support it otherwise. That’s not a sin.

If Ms. Wilson can afford better, fine. Good on her for earning enough money to piss away like that. But turning her nose up so publicly at where the “other half” must shop is a very tacky thing to do, to put it succinctly. In Europe and many other parts of the world, such overt arrogance in a public forum would be considered very uncouth and unbecoming. You do not flaunt wealth in these parts of the world, it is not polite.

Here, things are different. What was all that hogwash about the Times being liberal again?

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