Ep. #140 Making Statements with Culture Critic Cintra Wilson

September 07, 2022 00:49:26
Ep. #140 Making Statements with Culture Critic Cintra Wilson
Words That Move Me with Dana Wilson
Ep. #140 Making Statements with Culture Critic Cintra Wilson
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Show Notes

Fashion icon and writer of "Fear and Clothing: Unbuckling American Style", Cintra Wilson, joins me on the pod today.  Cintra is constantly making statements both as a writer and fashion connoisseur, and you'll get to hear a few of those fabulous statements on style, fashion, femininity, counter culture, and more on the pod today.  You'll learn about the life and work of Cintra as well as where "hip" comes from and where it is now. Please enjoy this conversation with my long lost sister, Cintra Wilson.

Show Notes:

Find Cintra on Instagram 

Read Cintra’s book Fear and Clothing: Unbuckling America Style 

Find Cintra on Substack 

Read No logo by Naomi Klein 

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Episode Transcript

Speaker 0 00:00:00 Welcome to words that move me, the podcast where movers and shakers, like you get the information and inspiration. You need to navigate your creative career with clarity and confidence. I am your host, Dana Wilson. And I move people. I am all about the tools and techniques that empower tomorrow's leaders to make the work of their dreams and live a full life while doing it. So whether you're new to the game or transitioning to your next echelon of greatness, you're in the right place. Hello? Hello, my friend. Welcome towards that. Move me. I am Dana. I am stoked that you're here and I'm pooped. <laugh> I just said pooped. I'm a podcast. Um, Y you're gonna get an ear full of enthusiasm during this interview, this conversation today, but right now you are finding me at the end of a day at the end of a travel day at the end, end of an international travel like extravaganza and wow. Speaker 0 00:01:07 Yeah, I am feeling sleepy. So you're gonna have a, um, a, an audible whiplash as you go into this interview because I am geeking so hard. <laugh> when I listen back to this interview, this episode, I kind of cringe a little because I'm thinking cool down. Dana. Cool, cool it down. Be cool. <laugh> uh, which is pretty adorable actually, because the woman I am speaking to today until this interview was a complete stranger to me. Um, she was a hero of mine, and now she has ascended to an even higher echelon of hero status. Um, you've probably heard the phrase, never meet your hero or something like that. Um, well, I will say that if your hero happens to be Centra Wilson, I strongly strongly recommend that you meet her. <laugh> Centra is our guest this week. She is a writer, a critic, a painter, an artist of all sorts, and one hell of a good time <laugh> in conversation. Speaker 0 00:02:21 So, um, oh, that reminds me, this conversation has some very strong adult language. So get ready to earmuff. You are in for a ride. You'll get more context, uh, little bit more backstory on how I came to find miss central Wilson and her work in the world. Um, you'll hear more about that in the episode. So I'm gonna skip right ahead to the wins segment of the podcast. Yes, I have a lot to celebrate right now, but tip top of that list is my adventure to Canada and my safe return with my fellow seaweed, sisters, Julie, Meg. I love you both so much. Um, big thank you to Frank and our friends at Canadian dance unit, along with Joanne Chapman and the Joanne Chapman school of dance. Also Don rapid and elite dance works over in Toronto. Um, dance spectrum in Calgary. Thank you for having us also super shout out to Susan and David Lawson for sheltering, uh, the seaweed sisters and for all of the hospitality and love, good family friendly, super vibes, um, and the best cherry tomatoes I've ever tasted in my life for the record. Speaker 0 00:03:48 Um, holy smokes also shout out, speaking of tomatoes, shout out to old Dutch ketchup chips. If you know, you know, if you don't know, I really hope you find out soon because Wowza, um, alright last and certainly not least I am celebrating and sending a big thank you to Mo Brody and Harbor dance center in Vancouver for hosting the first ever seaweed sisters workshop. We called it deep dive and we did dive deep into, um, a few of the elements and components that we weeds use to make, to make fast, to make fun. Um, yeah, we had a two day deep dive and I am still basking in all of the seaweed glory of it. I had an absolute ball. I am certainly going to be talking about the trip more here on the podcast, but for now I'm gonna toss it to you. Tell me what's going well in your world. What are you celebrating and or who would you like to thank right now? Cause I just thanked a lot of friendly Canadian types. Um, maybe you also have some Canadians you'd like to Speaker 0 00:05:22 All right, my friend, congratulations. I'm so proud of you. Keep winning. Now let's get into this. Centra is so much fun and I think that you'll walk away from this podcast with at least a few new points of perspective when it comes to fashion and style. Uh, my mind is blown wide open because Centra talks about fashion as an intellectual pursuit and clothing as an opportunity to be articulate, leave it to a writer to put it so poetically <laugh>, uh, you are going to love this. So let's just get right into it. Enjoy this conversation with the fabulous Centra Wilson Centra Wilson. Welcome to the podcast. My very new friend, very new friend, Speaker 2 00:06:22 Sister we're, both Wilson's, which means we must be, um, you know, 16th cousins, 18 times removed or something like that, Speaker 0 00:06:30 Somewhere along the line. Yeah. Um, this is really a treat for me though, because usually when I have guests on the podcast, they are friends or acquaintances genuinely. This is the first time we are speaking. Um, I, I feel like I know you though, because I've spent a lot of time with your book, fear and clothing, unbuckling American style, which let's just talk about the title for a second because it's incredible. Speaker 2 00:06:55 Oh, thanks. Well, you know, obviously I'm a huge fan of hunter Thompson, so Speaker 0 00:07:00 You must be, we all must be. Yeah. Um, Speaker 2 00:07:02 We all must be. Speaker 0 00:07:03 And I think that, uh, like, like hunter, you have such a vivid speaking, like VO written speaking voice. So I, I feel like we have spoken, although we haven't, um, I'm so excited to get to know you let's start there. I'll just ask you to introduce yourself, take the mic. What do you want us to know about you? Speaker 2 00:07:24 Wow. Well, hi, I'm Centro Wilson. Um, I've been writing since the Dawn of time. Um, let's see. I've been a journalist, something like 35 years. I mean, like right around there, I can't add very well or subtract, but like right around 35 years, um, I, uh, started started as a playwright, ended up, uh, writing for a lot of newspapers. Um, wrote some stuff for Hollywood and, uh, wrote for the New York times for quite a while and have four books out and, uh, currently write for the New York review of books. Just basically writing, writing, writing, writing, writing, been writing way longer than anybody cares. <laugh> Speaker 0 00:08:12 Well, I'm so glad that you are because I am not a reader. And so it would take somebody who writes a lot for me to find them and ultimately fall in love. So I wanna thank my brother-in-law Shane for gifting me this book for Christmas, we do a sweet, my, my family does white elephant, not white elephant, what's it called? Secret Santa. Um, and he got me and he sent me this book and one other. And this one really like, I, I I'm holding up the book in all of the, post-it the very colorful array of marked pages that I, that I have revisited. Um, so I'm so glad that you write because I needed to read this. Um, this book is called fear and clothing, but it, it is definitely about <laugh> more than clothing. Um, I think it's about, I mean, shit, you, you cover politics, philosophy art. It is absurd. It is incredible. I it's it's about men and women and human nature. And am I leaving anything out? Speaker 2 00:09:16 <laugh> I've yeah, it's pretty kitchen sinky in that way. It is it sort of, sort of centered around fashion as your main conceit. Speaker 0 00:09:27 Yo, I can't wait to explain my personal style someday as kitchen sinky I always used eclectic, but kitchen sinky is way better. Um, Speaker 2 00:09:38 I mean, you're wearing everything all at the same time. Speaker 0 00:09:40 It was a goal that I had. I actually, one of my shopping rules is to only buy things that I love nothing. I will not spend money on a thing that I do not love. It's not like, well, it's, it's fine. Let's I'll just grab it. I love, I have to love them. And then my personal style, like that's my shopping rule, but my style rule is to wear as many things that I love at once. So like today, today you're getting three. This is a shirt that my mom embroidered for my dad, my favorite stripy stripy, um, men's tank top and some very large like literally falling off my body right now, sweatpants with the pockets turned inside out because I don't, I love pockets. I need them, but I do not like them taking up space in the pant. So I wear them on the outside until I have to put something in them in there that now, you know, Speaker 2 00:10:30 Now I know your powerful secrets. This is good. This is really good. You must be wow. You must be very, very sensitive. If the feel of a pocket inside your sweatpants actually bothers you. Speaker 0 00:10:41 Yes. And this is why your book spoke to me because you are also sensitive to like looking at the world and normal people and what they're wearing and why they're wearing it. And what, like, I think you're very good at relating to unlike things. And one of my favorite artists, um, has this brilliant saying that the, that like that sweet spot is when you find one plus one that doesn't equal two, but one plus one equals 1 million. And so you're able to see three or at least three. Right. And I think there's a, um, you're able to relate to things that are UN alike in a way that makes my mind just go like, whoa, wait, what? In a big, big, powerful way. So one plus one equals a million. Thank you. You Speaker 2 00:11:28 Must not have a D D like I do. I, Speaker 0 00:11:31 I don't, I don't think so. I've never been like, I've never explored that in terms of like testing or anything, but, uh, yeah, I don't think so. What I do have, I don't think you do what I do have is I, I love to be moving and I do pay a lot of attention to how things feel on my body while I move always the, the fitting process, the being styled, the putting together of a costume is one of my favorite and sometimes least favorite, cuz it can be hard and it can be brutal on the, on the mind body relationship. But I love the finding out what I'll be wearing for performances. It's so much fun. Speaker 2 00:12:08 Oh, so you like being tailored? Speaker 0 00:12:10 Yes. Oh my goodness. Which brings me to, I have a funny, um, cuz you used to review like big label luxury, super luxury brands. Can you talk a little bit about that? Because I know about this from your book, but people listening might not know about this. Speaker 2 00:12:24 Oh, I had a very cool job for the New York times. I was what they called the critical shopper. And uh, they sent me to all of the most snobby high end Oak couture, like uh, you know, flagship stores in Manhattan. So I would go to Gucci and I would go to Doche Gaana and I would go to Tiffany and Barney's and you know, all of these fabulous shops. And I mean, when I first started doing the job, I had never, you know, even been in the same room with a Valenti jacket. So to then be reviewing Valenti, you know, just kind of cold, it was, it was fun. It was a plunge into, uh, other waters for me because you know, I'm, I am, uh, not in the tax bracket that can afford that kind of clothing. So, uh, yeah, I had to learn a lot about fashion really quickly, but then I found out that fashion is way more interesting than I thought it was. It's actually a very intellectual pursuit if you actually dig down and get into it. Speaker 0 00:13:26 Ooh, say more. Speaker 2 00:13:27 Oh, I mean, there's, there's so much to fashion that uh, people don't realize there's, you know, I, I mean, in terms of, you have to think of your outfit as the billboard that you are saying who you are to the world every day. Like, you know, you are, you are dressed to, you know, and people are going to make snap impressions on you in one second based on like how you look and what you're wearing and things like that. So yeah, Speaker 0 00:13:53 It's a human thing. Speaker 2 00:13:54 It's your semiotic billboard. And you're showing essentially, I mean, people don't realize how much they show when they get dressed. I mean, it is, uh, you know, you, you're basically kind of discussing your bank account, your sexuality, you know, your, your, I mean, how much you actually like sex, uh, you know, and, uh, you, you tell a lot about where you're from and where you think you are and where you think you're going. And so, I mean, I got interested in, in clothing because it's so articulate, you know, I mean a fashion statement is really like a statement. Speaker 0 00:14:31 Wow. So it speaks to the writer in you. Speaker 2 00:14:34 It does. Yeah. I mean, it's like, well, it's also, I mean, if you kind of get into it a little bit, I mean just on a psychological level, you can find out so much about people through what they're wearing. Speaker 0 00:14:44 Mm-hmm <affirmative> this is reminding me of a piece. I probably won't be able to find it right now. But you explain that when somebody buys a Louis Vutton handbag, they're not buying it with the intention to let people know how much money they have and what their interests are and what their, this is and what their that is and how they this and how they that and how they this and how they're that. But that, but that is what they're doing. Speaker 2 00:15:05 Well, it's a tax statement, you know, it's a bank statement. It's is, is a statement as a part, as opposed to being a fashion statement. It's a bank statement, I think because there's, Ooh, I love that. There's, there's nothing unique about a Louis Vutton bag. The only thing that it really does is distance you from people who can't afford it. And so it's, it's, it's more of like, Hey, you know, visual Berlin wall, you know, that sort of separates, you know, food and you on back Speaker 0 00:15:35 And you, you know, it's the six foot, it's the six foot distance thing. It's like, you're there. Yeah. You're there. I'm here. Okay. Yeah. You're there, I'm here Speaker 2 00:15:43 Speak you as consumption because you can't say it's any kind of like original style statement at this point. They're too mundane. Speaker 0 00:15:52 Well, I'm excited. I love this conversation so much. <laugh> um, okay. So bank statements, fashion statements. I wanna talk a little bit circle back to like the sex side of things. You talk a lot in the book about femininity. You talk a lot about finding yours, like your authentic style through punk fashion, which really spoke to me, especially the way that you explained it. And I wrote this quote down, you said punk girls could be pretty, but they didn't need to be pretty. And that hit me so hard. I was like, I, I, I had crushes on all the punk boys when I was in high school. I went to punk concerts, but I, I wanted so desperately to fit in with that crowd. But I think I was too happy. I think I was just too fucking happy. I didn't fit it. Wasn't natural. But could you talk a Speaker 2 00:16:45 Little bit, I didn't have that problem. <laugh> no. Speaker 0 00:16:49 Okay. Talk a little bit more about that moment in your like fashion timeline and, and what femininity or how that has evolved since then, if it has, Speaker 2 00:17:01 Well, I mean, punk rock was an area where you kind of got to get away from all of the female grooming stuff that was so oppressive. I mean, it's like, you know, you, weren't worrying about making sure your blind highlights were in so much as you were, you know, concerned that your hair was completely purple and damaged and you know, that, you know, you're, you didn't need a nice manicure. They just need to be chipped and black. And you know, I mean, it was, it was, it was rowdy. I mean, it's like you dressed for a punk show to get in trouble and have a good time. And, you know, I, I, I kind of like before there was Britney Spears, I used to wear Catholic girl outfits, you know, Catholic girl school outfits with like a little kilt and, and shoes. And sometimes I would carry a box of Cheerios around like Speaker 0 00:17:46 Making statements, my friend, I Speaker 2 00:17:49 Mean, it was funny. It was funny, but then like punk rock sort of died. And then like, I, I got involved in these underground clubs and there was a really, really healthy underground scene in San Francisco for fashion where, um, there were these, you know, this club, like no club and science club and something like that. And you would, uh, my, my friends and I would get, we would start finding stuff at thrift stores on a Monday, like build the outfits all week and get dressed for like three hours a night, you know, getting ready to go out on Friday and Saturday. And it was all about originality. It wasn't about like what you owned it wasn't about who you were. It was about how you put things together with your own eye and made a statement that way. And that was really fun. That was true style as opposed to fashion, which you buy. Mm Speaker 0 00:18:43 You're. You're sparking my little antennas right now. One of the things I wanted to talk about today is this feeling that I got recently when I went shopping at, uh, the mall, which is not a thing I, I do very often, but I mean, it used to, it used to be what you do. Like you go to the, like, what are you doing this weekend? Like, my mom's dropping me off at the mall. One me like, like Speaker 2 00:19:06 I was a destination. Yeah. Speaker 0 00:19:07 That was a thing. Speaker 2 00:19:08 Mall was a place you went Speaker 0 00:19:10 Totally. Um, so I went to the mall and I noticed about the people there, that they were all dressed, like freaking dancers. And then I went into like zoomies or something and they were selling dance clothes. Like I was looking around, I was like, wait, like, wait, why does everybody look like a dancer? Like sweatpants mix match stuff, tie, dye, bold ass colors, baggy, baggy sweatpants and spandex. Like those two Speaker 2 00:19:43 Ends of the, about leg warmers. Cause leg warmers were always my favorite part of dance fashion. Speaker 0 00:19:47 I will tell you what is very underrated piece, uh, is a very underrated accessory for dancers. You don't see those much these days, Speaker 2 00:19:54 But I know you've gotta have the shredded, like, you know, F Speaker 0 00:19:58 I'm gonna live. Speaker 2 00:19:59 You, Speaker 0 00:19:59 Do you need that? Speaker 2 00:20:01 You need that shredded leg warmers. And um, yeah. Speaker 0 00:20:05 Okay. So in addition to leg warmers, we have like sweats, big stuff, then tight stuff, like both ends of the spectrum. But what I am thinking, my, the way that I've kind of, you know, my hypothesis I'd like to make about this is that COVID like the lock in moment made everyone, um, like take to the streets if you will, except for the streets are TikTok and become dancers. And I think that people want to look like they can move because it's popular and cool to be a person who like might spontaneously do a little dance. And I think I was Speaker 2 00:20:42 Just doing an article about internet influencers and you know these. Yeah. Yeah. Like this girl, Charlie D Emilio, you know about her? Yes. She's been dancing on TikTok since she was about 15 and now she's making $31 million a year selling her own merch. It's just shocking. Speaker 0 00:21:02 It's insane. So I think people have gone from like putting their clothes together to buying them on Instagram. Like you will buy a, look, a head to toe look from like, from inside the app Speaker 2 00:21:14 With his name on it. Yeah. It's crazy. Speaker 0 00:21:17 It's crazy to me. Um, okay. I wanna bounce back to femininity because I talk about it a lot on the podcast and I've, it took me a long time to find it in my movement. When I, when I grew up the dancers that I looked up to were men, my mentors were mostly men. I wanted to dance like a boy. I wanted to be revered as being a person who could hit like a dude and roast the dude. And those are just words that we used. So you Speaker 2 00:21:43 Get it. You know, that's really funny, cuz I was always the same way. Like I always wanted to write like a man and I didn't want there to be any sexual distinction in my work. Like I, you know, just, I don't put me in the sexual ghetto of being a woman writer. Fuck you, yo. But I mean that's, that's always who I grew up admiring too, is like I wanted, I wanted those kind of muscles in my language. Speaker 0 00:22:03 I wanted, I wanted those, exactly that the muscles in my movement, but I wanted to be able to look like a woman and I wanted to be desirable and attractive. And those two ideas, like I thought that I could not have both. And then add, in addition to that thought like you can't have both, there's also this thought this message, we'll say it's from the world, but I think it's from the patriarchy. There's the message. That's like, no, you should be able to, you should be able to dance like a dude and be sexy, like a woman and be all literally all the things like there's this pressure to be all the things, Speaker 2 00:22:39 You know what I think some women achieve it. Like I think some women do. I mean, I'm a flamenco dancer. Like I've Speaker 0 00:22:45 You better get it Manco. Amazing. I Speaker 2 00:22:47 Know it drew flamenco and I have been doing flamenco for years and um, it's uh, like the greatest flamenco dancer in history supposedly was Carmen Amaya. And if you look at pictures of Carmen, Amaya, I mean she, when she hits the floor, it's like, it's like a machine gun. You know, she is a great, so much strength. And then like, you know, because flamenco, you know, doesn't, isn't concerned with the same standards of female beauty. If you look at pictures of Carmen, Amaya's face, when she's dancing, she looks like a dude. And like, but she's still beautiful. She's still beautiful. And like, and, but it's, but there's a choice. Like flamenco has enough of like an emotional spec spectrum that you can actually become incredibly ugly in flamenco or you can actually become incredibly beautiful. Mm-hmm <affirmative> and it's, it's, it's a large enough, uh, there's enough territory for both. Speaker 0 00:23:41 Right? I think this is why I'm drawn to dance because I believe it is, is human. I think it's past woman and past man and it's, it's definitely not what brought me into it. Right? Like my mom didn't want me to be a beautiful lady. So she put me in dance class <laugh> or, and I didn't, I didn't, you know, I, I guess when I grew up, this was long before we were having nuanced conversations about gender and whatnot, but I, I, it just so happened that I wanted to dance like men. And so finding a femininity that felt authentic to me, took a lot of time and I still am finding shades of shades of it. Now I'm 36 now and I am still, it's still changing, like my idea of what is sexy and my idea of what is feminine. My idea of what is attractive is changing all the time. Speaker 0 00:24:40 Um, but I, I wanted to talk about there's a, um, a moment I took a note, where were you, Kansas? Holy shit. Um, you, you talked in the Kansas section of fear and clothing, which by the way, I didn't give any context to the book. So you traveled around America and you wrote about the style in the places you went to, the Iowa state fair. You were in Montana, you did salt lake city. You did New York, San Francisco, um, Beverly Hills, uh, I'm, I'm certainly missing some, but I feel like I didn't say that or we didn't say that. And people might be confused when I say the Kansas section of the book. <laugh> Speaker 2 00:25:19 Yeah, yeah, no. I mean, basically, yeah. I toured around in the United States writing about the different style codes of different regions. Speaker 0 00:25:25 There it is. I love style code. Um, you were, you talked about seeing a, um, a clothes line with like women's garments blowing in the breeze and they're hung from, you know, clothes pins on a wire. Oh, that Speaker 2 00:25:37 Was in Poughkeepsie. Speaker 0 00:25:38 Oh, amazing. Um, okay. So then, but you, you, you went on to say that there's something very beautiful about, um, Speaker 2 00:25:49 And there was a, there was a closed line in Poughkeepsie that I saw one time and it had like beautifully embroidered sheets. Yes. And you know, like really, and, and pillowcases. And there were blowing in the breeze on these wooden PS and on this white line. And I just, I burst into tears because it was so beautiful and I felt, wow, you know, anybody who is taking this good care, you know, mm-hmm <affirmative> of their stuff of their home. I mean, it, it, it made home making a verb for me in a real way. Speaker 0 00:26:23 Yes, that's it. You talk, I found it here. Um, and then you go on to say, you say, yeah, this, this, this makes the idea of home making a verb. And you say that the most undervalued thing in this world is the time, attention, concentration, and patient effort of unhurried human beings. That there's a distinct improvement in the quality of life. When one is in the midst of the, of that UN celebrated cornball magic known as the female touch. And I was like, shut it, put it down. Think about that for 14 hours. I really, I really love that. My, my Mo mom-in-law mom-in-law is weird to say mother-in-law, um, quilts. She is in freaking credible with the quilt. We have, I'm Speaker 2 00:27:12 Seen awe of people who can do these fine detail things. I mean, I paint, but I, and I'm just trying to figure out how to make a straight line still, but, you know, it's like I, Speaker 0 00:27:22 Which is actually really, really, really, really hard. It's Speaker 2 00:27:25 Really hard. Yeah. I know. Speaker 0 00:27:27 So thank you for that. And it, it brought like it, that added a color for me in my movement, or made me want to add this color to the palette. That's intricacy and beauty, not by being soft, but beauty by being detailed and it, and being patient and taking time. And that's certainly not something that's advocated for a lot in the entertainment industry, because there is no time. Um, so, oh Speaker 2 00:27:54 No. I mean, everybody's on breakneck deadlines all the time. Yeah. I mean, it's like, there's no, Speaker 0 00:28:01 It's so intense. Yeah. Speaker 2 00:28:02 I mean, it's not like, you know, when people cook something they love, you know, and, and, you know, they're making a dinner for somebody they love, you know, like they're, they're really putting the time and they're putting the extra herbs in and they're, you know, or just that, you know, that, that kind of thing is like, when people are really creating from the heart as it were, Speaker 0 00:28:25 And versus creating on a timeline Speaker 2 00:28:26 And using their, their mind and, you know, getting creative about it and, and trying to do something special. Mm-hmm Speaker 0 00:28:33 <affirmative> okay. Where do you find that creativity in your life right now? You mentioned your, um, you're still writing for explain that one more time. The New York book review, Speaker 2 00:28:46 New York review books. I write for them, uh, occasionally. And, um, I just wrote an article for them and, you know, I pick up stuff here and the, I mean, Speaker 0 00:28:56 But you paint and you dance and you write, you, you are a Renaissance woman. I wanna Speaker 2 00:29:01 Plug my subst stack cuz I'm really proud of let's go. I, I don't know if you've heard of my subst yet. Speaker 0 00:29:06 I have not. Speaker 2 00:29:07 Oh, wow. I think you would love it actually. Great. Actually, actually, um, every week I either print a brand. I, I alternate new article, older article that nobody's seen before, new article older, but uh, every week I print an article, I read the article so you can listen to it like a podcast, if you want to. And I do an original oil painting or you get to see one of my original oil paintings, uh, on the thing. So it's a, it's a, it's a whopping dollop of art, right? In your inbox. All you have to do to subscribe as good as centra.dot com, it's free. And uh, I'm having a lot of fun with it. Speaker 0 00:29:47 Centra. You had me at whopping dollop. Speaker 2 00:29:50 <laugh> Speaker 0 00:29:52 Do, you did say whopping dollop and I'm so into it. Um, okay. I'm in, thank you for plugging that I'm so excited for people to get more of you in their ears and eyes. That's Speaker 2 00:30:02 So good. Yeah. This is where I, I get to let my freak flag fly. It's fun. Speaker 0 00:30:06 So cool. Um, yeah. You talk about that too. The freak flag, like life is short. Why would you not fly your flag? Like, and if, if we, we are our own, this is a thing. So when I lived okay, for a short time, I lived in the bay area. I was in, not in San Francisco. I lived in Sunnyvale, um, close to very close to Cupertino. And while I was there, I had this, I made this decision do away with brands. No more logos, no more brands. I don't want to billboard for anyone else. Speaker 2 00:30:38 You need that. Naomi Klein book, no logo. Speaker 0 00:30:40 Oh, he did not, but, oh, it's that? I mean, I did that. I wanted that, that I wanted to not, I just didn't wanna be a walking billboard for other people. So I got rid of all the things and I decided I would wear only black, white, and gray. I do not know where that part came from. Speaker 2 00:30:56 I only wear black and sometimes gray. <laugh> Speaker 0 00:30:59 Sometimes gray. I remember. Yeah. As I was reading, I was like, oh, so we aren't the same person then <laugh> cause I prefer the entire rainbow spectrum. But what I learned from that time color Speaker 2 00:31:11 Colors, Speaker 0 00:31:12 I think what I was trying to do was the, the Steve jobs approach. I just didn't want it to take so long for me to decide what I would wear every day. Um, so I wanted all the things to be able to match each other, black, white, and gray, and any combination will look good. That's fine. I'll just do that. And what I wound up finding is that maybe just also the clothes that I got or the clothes that I had, I did not like how they fit. So I never wore them. I just didn't like how they fit. So that's a huge, yeah. The clothing feel thing for me is so freaking huge. I never really it. Yeah. It, that informs what I wear way more than whether it has a logo or not. It has to Speaker 2 00:31:51 Feel, you gotta try stuff on Speaker 0 00:31:52 Funky. Yeah. It has to, Speaker 2 00:31:53 You gotta try stuff on. You never know. Yeah. Speaker 0 00:31:55 That's another reason why I'm not doing well in this. Buy your clothes on Instagram time. Cuz I have to wear it. I have to try it on. I have, let's Speaker 2 00:32:02 Try it on. You gotta try it on. I mean it's like there's, there's, you know, I mean, especially if you're kind of like going for something with some shape to it, like a dress or something like that, like you never know what it's gonna look like on the hanger. You've gotta put it on. Mm-hmm sorry, its from Halloween and to clean your refrigerator, you can use a paste made of white vinegar and baking soda. Speaker 0 00:32:24 Please, please, please. I cannot wait for wait, what is it called? The something stack subs stack. What is it? Sub stack sub. I cannot wait. I wanna learn all the things that you know. Okay. Um, now I wanna ask another question. Um, I was wonder wondering if you don't wanna go into it. This is okay too, but I've certainly encountered my fair share of professional heartbreaks. And on the podcast we talk a lot about, you know, resilience, continuing, what is it that helps you keep going? Even when things don't go your way. Um, and, and um, so I know in the book you talk a lot about how you stopped writing for the New York times. And I was wondering if you'd talk a little bit about what happened, how you navigated that transition. Oh period. Yeah. <laugh> well, Speaker 2 00:33:13 That was tough. I mean, it was really, it was really tough for me because I felt like the times fired me when I was doing the best work of my life. Like I felt like, oh my God, I really fucking got something now. Like I really got my voice and I mean, I was writing like a motherfucker for the times and they, you know, it was just, they got rid of me and there's various theories on why this happened and I won't go into that. But I mean, it wasn't because of JC penny, which is what people think. But, um, it was, it was mainly because I was and I mean, freelancers, get this shaft the end. That's what happens. You know, I was like, I, I was a freelancer and then the time said that I was not allowed to do any other work except work for them. Speaker 0 00:34:05 And you're like, that's no longer freelance <laugh> Speaker 2 00:34:08 Well, I'm like, you know, you, I mean, I'd love to, but you're not paying me a living wage. You know, it's like, I was only writing two articles a month and I'm like, I need to survive, so I have to write other stuff. And so they fired me for that. Holy Speaker 0 00:34:23 Smokes. Speaker 2 00:34:24 Um, Speaker 0 00:34:25 Yeah. Um, can you, will you talk a little tiny bit about JC Penney cuz I know what you're talking about, but I don't think other people do Speaker 2 00:34:32 I was canceled mm-hmm <affirmative> I mean that I was, that was like proto cancellation, like before they called it canceling, I got canceled. Um, I wrote this article about JC penny and like the times thought it would be funny to send me to JC penny and have me review it the same way I would review Eve Senator wrong or something like that. And so like, you know, I went in and I was gay and then I, then I noticed that they had like JC penny had compared to the rest of Manhattan, these huge mannequins. And so I started joking around about these huge mannequins and um, Jezebel picked it up and took a, took a sentence that I had outta context and I pissed off millions of overweight women in the world. Mm-hmm <affirmative> uh, who wrote me terrible miserable, threatening, hateful <laugh> letters. Mm-hmm <affirmative> um, telling me they were going to kill me and things that, and it was like the sky turned black for about three weeks, you know, just like we was, it was like the birds mm-hmm <affirmative> then. Speaker 2 00:35:36 Um, so that was tough. And then I apologized, um, I didn't even realize what a big deal it was until, you know, it, it didn't stop. It went on for like three weeks, you know, mm-hmm <affirmative> JC Penn gate mm-hmm <affirmative> and you know, it blew over eventually, but it was a really interesting, it was interesting to get busted for something taken out of context like that. It just kind of showed you like how dangerously conservative things are getting right now and how much, you know, how much even the innate amount of censorship that's going on it, you know, places like the New York times or whatever like that, um, self censorship and like the fear of saying anything that will offend people is so outrageous right now. Mm-hmm <affirmative> I mean, especially with, you know, uh, intersectional feminists, attacking everyone, trans eating their own, um, you know, <laugh>, mm-hmm, <affirmative>, it's a fucked up time to say stuff you can get in a lot of trouble Speaker 0 00:36:38 And it's, and it's also condemnable to not say stuff to stay silent, you can also get in trouble for not speaking up on things. So it is a very interesting time to be speaking, to be making statements if you will. Speaker 2 00:36:52 Yeah. I mean, it's like people, I mean they're afraid publications are afraid of you, even if you're just mildly funny. Hmm. You know, like, because it Speaker 0 00:37:01 It's risky cuz of the risk. Speaker 2 00:37:02 Well, I mean even if they can't figure out why it's offensive, if it's funny, they'll assume it's offensive. Speaker 0 00:37:09 Right. Got it. So we're all afraid of offending people. Do you think that is, uh, expressed in our clothing as well? Do you think we're in a moderate fashion chapter of the U of America's history, do you think clothing is less offensive? Speaker 2 00:37:24 Oh sure. I mean, you know, but there's always, I mean, you can never make blanket statements about fashion today. Mm-hmm <affirmative> because it's atomized into too many camps, you know, mm-hmm <affirmative>, I mean, there's, there's too many tribes, there's too many, uh, you know, locuses of power. It's not like it was in the seventies or eighties when all of like the manufacturing and distribution and stuff was kind of coming from more or less the same sources. I mean, everything is, there's been a huge diaspora in terms of fashion. And so like, you know, the, the, the, the overall messages, what's the shape this season, you know, what's the look, I mean, they don't, it doesn't just come from, you know, a handful full of fashion houses anymore. It comes from all over the place. I mean, it comes from the street, it comes from everything. Mm-hmm Speaker 0 00:38:08 <affirmative> I think I like that. Speaker 2 00:38:12 Yeah. I mean, I mean, there are no more rules, really fashion is like, you know, there's no, there's, there's no like Anna winter no longer gets to tell you what to do. Speaker 0 00:38:21 Correct. Correct. Although I will say she visited us on set one day, uh, while we were shooting in the Heights and it was, um, during one of our longest hottest, most packed shoot days, it was a very heavy day. We were shooting carnival and it's, it also is like, the heart of the film is very important and moving scene. And I remember walk walking through it, like kind of a crammed alleyway going like, oh my God, that smells good. What the fuck is that? Speaker 2 00:38:55 <laugh> and it was, Speaker 0 00:38:56 And it was anti <laugh> and it was like, damn, you have to have so much money to smell that good in this alley, like, like Lynn Manuel Miranda is right next to you and he doesn't smell that. Good. And I'm just thinking, like, you went from air conditioned unit to air conditioned unit to air conditioned unit. And you'll, I, I was just like, I genuinely, I walked by again, cause it was like, it was Speaker 2 00:39:19 Probably made of just like, you know, unborn opium, poppies or something, you know? Totally. Speaker 0 00:39:25 <laugh> Speaker 2 00:39:25 Like Speaker 0 00:39:27 Incredible. Um, okay. So fashion and the, and the fashion, like, like what's the word I'm looking for? The, the, the, the, the rules of the moment, the offerings of the moment, the, the trends they're coming from all over the place. They're not just coming from, you know, the fall issue or whatever. They're not coming from Anna. Um, so they're coming from all angles, but they also have less, um, less, less roots, less context. Like people wear things cuz they think they look good. Not because they're rebelling against their dad or because they're part of a biker gang, they're just wearing a black leather jacket because they like the look of it. And it has like that's holes that are prewarn in it. And you know, like the context of all of that, the context of the hip Speaker 2 00:40:16 Movement, workless work shirts, you know, Speaker 0 00:40:20 Like, Speaker 2 00:40:20 Like, like jeans that have had a very exciting history that you have not had yourself, you know, it's like, you know, your, your genes have gone, you know, sail boarding and, and uh, you know, it's just, I, yeah, I, I really hate, I hate, I hate how the message has been removed from fashion in so many ways. I mean, it's like you see a black leather jacket now and it's sort of like, yeah, it's a black leather jacket. I mean, it's used to actually mean something and it used to like, there, there used to be a clothing that could state, I am against the status quo. Mm-hmm <affirmative> I am anti-establishment mm-hmm <affirmative> I am somebody who is seeking to, you know, undermine <laugh> mm-hmm <affirmative> mm-hmm <affirmative> the, the status quo as it is now in the sort of bourgeois LA of life or whatever mm-hmm <affirmative>. Speaker 2 00:41:10 And uh, but then because fashion, you know, fashion co-ops these messages, especially punk rock or something like that. And Queezes all the meaning out of it. Right. I mean, it used to be counterculture now it's just hip mm-hmm <affirmative> you know, mm-hmm <affirmative> and like hipness usually comes from the counterculture, usually comes from the, the Demi moon or the avant garden. So we look to, you know, the punk, you know, the sex pistols, Malcolm McLaren, somebody like that, like they were, they were very much epi Taylor bourgeois. Like they wanted to make a statement that was against yeah. Everything else, right? Yeah. Yeah. And what, what you, what, what fashion does now by neutralizing these semiotic messages in fashion, it makes it much harder to dress like a rebel <laugh> mm-hmm <affirmative> because everybody addresses like a rebel now, you know, I mean, it's like there, like Duluth says capitalism reaches everywhere. It is like the all contorting glove that can fill in every Nick and cranny of life, you know? Oof. Speaker 0 00:42:16 But they can't decide they capitalism <laugh> they can't decide what I wear today. Like it doesn't fit into every Nick and cranny. I mean, I'm, I hope not. I hope not. Speaker 2 00:42:29 Well, they, they miss a few spots. I try to live in those spots. Speaker 0 00:42:32 You try to live in them. I'm with it. Well, Centra, I would, I would love to live in those spots with you. I'm so excited to know you to hear more. I'm so excited about the subs stack. Did I say it right? Yeah. Yeah. I can't believe I've really learned about new thing today. Um, but I do wanna do a quick burnout round before we go. Sure. I'm gonna do, um, a couple like pretty standard, rapid fire questions. And then I also want you to fill in the blank. We'll start with those ones. Okay. Speaker 2 00:43:00 I'll try. Speaker 0 00:43:01 Fill in the blank. Um, fashion is, Speaker 2 00:43:08 Oh, come on, man. That's like a, you wrote the whole that's that's like a 900 word essay. I like a, Speaker 0 00:43:16 You could say it doesn't have to be one word. You could say fashion is a 900 word essay. I would accept. That was actually pretty good. Speaker 2 00:43:22 Well, okay. I mean, no fashion fashion, I think is the stuff that appears. That is the look that you're supposed to have right. This minute. Whereas style fashion is temporary and style is enduring style style is, uh, you know, FA fashion's trendy, right? Trend that come and go. Yes. Yes. Style is style endures. Speaker 0 00:43:48 Yo wait, since I'm gonna, I'm gonna abort the rapid fire question, answer session, because I have to ask you this question. I mentioned that every season, which for me here on the podcast is just a year. It's just, I call it season two. It's just our second year. Every year I ask all of my guests the same question and all of their answers go into one mashup episode at the end. And one year, the question was, what is the difference between technique and style? And you just answered the, the question, what is the difference between fashion and style, which is fascinating, but because you are a writer and you must be a technical person, I would love to hear your answer to that question. What's the difference between technique and style? Speaker 2 00:44:31 Well, technique is the stuff that you can learn. It's like a skill set, you know? I mean like you, you, you have to learn technique. You have to know. I mean, you know, at least in terms of writing, you have to know English. You have to, you have to know where to put the commas and the punctuation marks and stuff like that. But style is like, okay, technique is the box that you have to perform in. And style is reaching every single corner of that box Speaker 0 00:44:59 Center. My friend, Ooh, you nailed it. I love this answer. I love this answer. One of my other favorites from that, from that round of questions was technique is the what? And style is the, so what, so what, why does that matter? Why do, why should I care? Speaker 2 00:45:17 Um, oh, style I think is terribly important. Speaker 0 00:45:20 Yeah. I so agree. It's it's the style begs the question of like, it's the, so what it's so, so, so important. Um, Speaker 2 00:45:29 And you always know when somebody has style, even if it's a style you wouldn't wear to save your life, you know, it's like you, you see a real cowboy walking down the street. You're like, that guy looks tremendous. You know, it's like, yes. Speaker 0 00:45:41 And that's why this book is amazing because we see you show us all those people, you explain all of those people and their tremendousness cuz you, and you can see it in them. And I think that is also truly special. And, and the mark of a real artist is finding beauty in, in human, in normal, normal or mundane. Um, but man, I am so grateful Speaker 2 00:46:04 Just given credit where credit is due. You know, I think that's important. Speaker 0 00:46:08 Yes. Another area where we align. Um, well thank you so much for being here and for chatting with me, I look forward to the subst stack and I hope everybody goes out and reads fear and clothing unbuckling American style because it changed the way I look at humans in the world and it changed the way I look at myself in the mirror. So there you have it. Thank you, Centra. Thank Speaker 2 00:46:28 You. Speaker 0 00:46:28 You're welcome. Talk to you later. Okay. Bye. Speaker 2 00:46:32 Bye. Speaker 0 00:46:39 Oh, well my friend, are you not impassioned inspired, even maybe feeling a little experimental or rebellious in nature. <laugh> I certainly hope so. Uh, this episode touched on so much. I don't actually know where to begin. Oh my God. We even coined the term kitchen. Sinky that's how much we touched on kitchen sinky was born in this episode. <laugh> um, but I, I particularly loved Centras distinction between fashion and style and the way that she champions counter culture and counter culture itself is something very interesting to be thinking about in this cultural blip in time. Uh, I have linked to Centras subs stack and the many times referenced fear and clothing unbuckling, American style America's style. Wait, hold on. I've got it right here. Unbuckling American style, uh, link to those in the show notes, please, please check it out. Um, so that you can see for yourself that what you just heard was really the tip of the iceberg. Speaker 0 00:47:52 I hope that you get into central Wilson. I also hope that this episode has given you permission to not get your nails done. Even when you think that you quote should, because man, chipped nail Polish can say so much more than I didn't have time to get my nails done. So with that, I will send you out there into the world, let your freak flag fly. And of course, keep it super funky. I will talk to you soon. BA this podcast was produced by me with the help of many music by max Winnie logo and brand design by Bree res and big thanks to Riley Higgins, our executive assistant and editor also massive, thanks to you. The mover, who is no stranger to taking action. So go take action. I will not cannot stop you from downloading episodes or leaving a review into rating. I will not ban you from my online store for spending your hard earned money on the cool merch and awesome programs that await you. There. I will, 100% not stop you from visiting words that move me.com. If you wanna talk with me, work with me and make moves with the rest of the words that move me community. Oh, and also I will not stop you from visiting the Dana wilson.com. If you're curious about all the things that I do that are not words that move me related. All right, my friend, keep it funky. I'll talk to you soon.

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