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Does this make me look fat?

Does this make me look fat?

Cintra Wilson took her Critical Shopper column in the NY Times to the new Herald Square J.C. Penney yesterday. And it confirms that she is an asshole.

I don’t have a problem with her hating on the clothes–as the Times’ resident “critical shopper,” she is well within her right to take a gander and not like the options. Though I have to ask, is there any non-poly blend to be found in H&M, New York City’s low-cost paradise? I am old enough to remember when H&M landed in NYC and the glowing praise it received from the media, the lines around the block to get in, the bouncers at the door like a nightclub, with nary a natural fabric in sight, but I digress.

The real meat  (ahem) or her piece is her complete slam of Penney’s core shopper, sniffing at the racks filled with sizes 10 and up, complaining about her near-impossible hunt for a size 2 and, finally, calling the mannequins obese. In the process, she manages to insult droves of women across the United States (NYC women included).

Her “if I were a size 18, I’d be thrilled” quote tells women of a certain proportion that they can only get clothing at places like Penney’s. Which she calls, a few graphs up, a company “encrusted with decades of boring, even traumatically parental, associations.”

But wait, there’s more! “J. C. Penney has always trafficked in knockoffs that aren’t quite up to Canal Street’s illegal standards. It was never ‘get the look for less’ so much as ‘get something vaguely shaped like the designer thing you want, but cut much more conservatively, made in all-petroleum materials, and with a too-similar wannabe logo that announces your inferiority to evil classmates as surely as if you were cursed to be followed around by a tuba section.’”

So, if you are a size 10 or larger, you are cursed to shop at a place where the clothes make you inferior but you’ll be thrilled? Cintra, take your size 2 ass and go home.

According to NY Magazine, she apologized, took it back, took another stab at it, blah blah blah. In the first mea culpa, she called herself a “chubby chaser,” and claimed to love the obese even before she interviewed Beth Ditto. Umm, OK.

Cintra’s reporting landed side-by-side with Guy Trebay’s uber-trend piece about the hipster boys sporting pot-bellys. My friend Mark has a brilliant crit of that on his Critical Condition blog. Perhaps all the editors at Thursday Style have the month off, which explains this week’s particularly shoddy section?

Cintra also takes a swipe at Halston for being the first fancy-pants designer to stoop to the Penney level and create an affordable line for the rest of us. In actuality, the man was a pioneer in the business of fashion (not artistry, business). How many women can afford the real thing? The rest of us unwashed, apparently massive masses need something more affordable. Mass market is “mass” because it is high volume (not because of our girth). Ca-ching.

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pPilatesSalesmanJust stumbled on this post on the NYTimes site since it hit number 1 most emailed.

Apparently there is new research that debunks a popular study that caused a boom in core training with the focus on the transverse abdominis. The writer, Gretchen Reynolds, says that this particular study gave rise to pilates with the idea that strengthening the deep core muscles will help ease back pain. However, she reports that new research shows that focusing only on this deep core muscle can cause all sorts of damage. She goes on to detail a few exercises that will build ab muscles as well as those surrounding  the core.

OK, fine. Here’s my issue. She lumps pilates into the danger training zone when, in reality, if you are doing pilates properly, you will build the core muscles as well as the ones surrounding and supporting the core. The exercises she details are ALL exercises I have done in my pilates training. If you are working with the right trainer, you learn that core does not sit on abs alone, and that you go through the workouts in a corset mindset–working the muscles that surround and pull the core together (as well as the butt, thighs, arms, etc). One of the most important takeaways from my hours of training has nothing to do with the core and is lat focused.

When I started looking at pilates workouts, I began with Mari Windsor, whose method is so damn convoluted that it’s a wonder I didn’t cripple myself. A few months ago I tried to do one of my old Windsor Pilates DVDs and found that I could not follow the exercises because my one-on-one pilates training ran completely counter to what she was doing.

So if you are practicing McPilates, there is a very good chance that Ms. Reynolds’ reporting should make you reconsider your training options. But if you are working with a good trainer with a solid background, pilates can help ease backpain, improve posture and make your body stronger all around.

In other words, the old baby/bathwater cliche is apropos.

MofoBack-2Twice this week I have read about non-new agey yoga. This month’s Yoga Journal is all about doing it to music, and today’s NYTimes profiles LA yoga guru Vinnie Marino, who was lead to teaching yoga by Grace Slick and kicks off his class with Led Zeppelin (maybe they are so old, they now qualify as new age?).

Vinnie trains the requisite celebrities and devotee Heather Graham is quoted, “Yoga people on the whole are super cool…I don’t find any creepy people in this class!” 

So this reminds me of my friend Jaene, who turned me on to NamasteMoFo, which is just filled with t-shirt awesome-ness! Their mission: “We at NamasteMofo believe that human beings are complex and can honestly embrace holistic ideals and still be totally punk rock.”

Check out the Yoga Bitches t-shirt designed by Jaene, in honor of her play of the same name.  Ladies, I sun salute you!

HouseM.D.GregoryHouse1479How’s this disparity? On May 11, the New York Times penned a lengthy piece on how, even with the recession, “Concierge Docs” (where well funded types pay a lot of money each year to have more personal relationship with their physician) were still doing bang-up business. On May 12, the New York Times penned another lengthy piece about hospitals setting up clinics in supermarkets and other stores to reach patients who do not need ER treatment.  This is not purely for altruistic purposes, of course. Apparently, their most desirable consumer is women of childbearing age. Presumably if she gets treated well at the walk in clinic at Wal-Mart, she will decide to pop out a kid at the affiliated hospital.

Business model aside, I am kind of intrigued by these so-called  retail clinics. It really fills a void for people who cannot afford health insurance (at one of the clinics profiled, the cost for a routine physical was $30).  In the article, of course the Doctors interviewed waxed poetically about the importance of a one-on-one relationship between patient and doctor that does not exist at these clinics—the Primary Care physician knows their patient’s medical needs.  Each and every patient.

I have  seen my PCP once in the four times I have gone into her office. The only time I did get my actual Doc, she looked like she wanted to kill me for actually nabbing her for the appointment. Her disinterest in my medical needs was astounding.

Isn’t that what those Concierge Docs are for, anyway?  For a whole lot of money a year, that Doc promises to not have more than 600 patients per year so that the Doctor can have a much more personal relationship with the patient. If a doctor with 600 patients a year is considered a high-priced Concierge Doc, would a regular plain old PCP know the medical needs of a patient load that reaches into the thousands?