It’s almost like [embracing] all these things that we’re expected to hide in spaces like the workplace,” Novak explained, with Berlant saying that they’re trying to point out that wellness, beauty and the cult “obsession” surrounding these things are “not to be devalued.”Granted, Berlant said they have one very slight critique that mostly hinges on the industry’s current “focus on the exterior,” instead of the “interior.” Specifically, she referenced the inner work and healing that should be considered “the real fucking wellness,” though she was also quick to add that outwards-facing self-care is still “real and valid in its own right.” Because after all, Poog isn’t about shaming anyone (including themselves), rather, it’s about simultaneously “interrogating” these sorts of dynamics, while also being open to their own adherence to the “pleasure is paramount” principle.On a similar note, Novak stressed that wellness has acted, for her, as a kind of “secret doorway” out of bouts of depression, saying that it was nice to “feel this joy at caring about stupid shit again,” before adding that there’s a lot of “healing psychology” incorporated into spirituality and self-care given their ability to get you out of that “judging mind place.”“I was just trying to find a way to live life and that took me down those paths, which I happen to really enjoy. We move back and forth,” Novak said. “Like we’re talking about Spirit and our most intimate sort of spiritual concerns, and then pivoting into blueberry martinis and creams.”But underlying the constant ping-ponging between concepts is Poog’s desire to bring them together for a series of on-the-fly conversations that are equal parts off-kilter and insightful, which includes their lack of interest in apologizing for their love of “frivolous” things or intellectualizing the common critique surrounding the idea of “self-care” turning into this “capitalist monster,” per Berlant.”To me, [Poog] is this space where all those things that are considered frivolous or weirdly feminine can live. So in an effort to explore the bizarre, weird and, at times, existential sphere of self-care, the two longtime friends started their iHeartRadio podcast, Poog, and slowly turned it into a much broader survey of culture and whatever the fuck else they want to talk about.In many ways, the comedians — who refer to themselves as “The Hags” — are the perfect people to execute such a heady, far-reaching concept, imbuing it with a lightness that one wouldn’t expect for a podcast that tackles topics like spiritual consumerism and the notion of shame, in addition to Berlant spearheading discussions about beauty, skincare and food, and Novak acting as the go-to source for all things wellness, including spirituality, mental health and, also, skincare.As such, their podcast takes its name from Gwyneth Paltrow’s notorious lifestyle and wellness brand, Goop. Just as it should.Listen to Poog here.Welcome to “Internet Explorer,” a column by Sandra Song about everything Internet. From keto diets to mud baths to the boob cream Berlant received moments before our Zoom conversation, the multibillion-dollar industry has seemingly taken over the world. A message that she’s on the right path from her spirit guides and the Archangels, I said, before things quickly devolve into a conversation about the Old Testament and The Sopranos. I sort of joke about being addicted to healing,” Novak said as a stray feather began to float around her room. Photography: Julian BuchanCreative direction: Julian Buchan and Liam MooreProduction design: Liam Moore Lighting design: Stefan FerraStyling: Chris HoranStyling assistant: Lauren JeworskiMakeup: Ally McGillicuddyHair: Gregg Lennon JrHair assistant: Bailey StilesProducer: Katie White However, Poog is different from similarly branded podcasts in the sense that Berlant and Novak use beauty and wellness as a starting point to talk about everything from snorkeling to dairy-free alternatives to colonics to analytical psychology, as proven by our 45 minute-long side conversation about Jung’s theory of synchronicity and ghosts potentially being a projection of the psyche.”Wellness and beauty are really our Trojan horse, because the conversations devolve into just Jacqueline and I talking about, like, Interstellar,” Berlant said, before Novak added that it’s more about the “abstract parts of our interests and getting vaguely existential.””But it’s also dipping into products. From meme histories to joke format explainers to collections of some of Twitter’s finest roasts, “Internet Explorer” is here to keep you up-to-date with the web’s current obsessions — no matter how nonsensical or nihilistic. For Kate Berlant and Jacqueline Novak, it all started with the promise of free beauty products and an extremely LA fascination with wellness culture.
Ascend With Poog, the Spiritual Beauty Podcast
January 21, 2022Lyrics