Weekend Link Roundup

An abomination? Or peak culinary achievement?

We’ve Entered the Era of the Large Adult Meatball (Eater): “… the Large Adult Meatball is something else — a primal attraction, food at its most food. In its debut ad, the big meatball drops from the heavens with a sensual thud onto a pillow of spaghetti, fat, wet chunks of tomato splattering in its wake. It’s an awe-inspiring feat of engineering and thermodynamics with a side of unlimited breadsticks … a big meatball … hits all the synapses that cause people to tweet about how they want celebrities to hit them with a truck. It’s not about hunger, it’s about the horny pull of annihilation. We want to both consume and be consumed, to be dared to eat it and then dare to eat it — and be aware of every gurgle and cramp in our bodies and nothing more. It’s the head that tries to analyze the big meatball. But watch the ball crash like a meteor onto the plate, undulating over a wave of sauce; the body understands.”

Tidying Up Has Created a Flood of Clothing Donations No One Wants (Slate): “For more than a century, charities have linked the process of getting rid of stuff with some higher purpose. Now, Kondo has tapped into that long-running and cherished American myth too. She’s recast discarding waste as a virtue, or at least a necessary step in personal reinvention. The problem is that most of our donated clothing does not reach any sort of higher purpose; it just ends up as waste. Clothing is one of the fastest-growing categories in landfills in the U.S. Almost 24 billion pounds of clothes and shoes are thrown out each year, more than double what we tossed two decades ago … in a typical year, charities reuse only one-fifth of what we donate, on average. As much as 80 percent of the clothes are sold onward to recyclers and exporters for pennies on the pound, and never see the charity shop floor.”

Liquid Death and the Nonsense of Packaged Water (The New Yorker): “… an entrepreneur named Mike Cessario … brought in $1.6 million in venture funding for a new water brand called Liquid Death, which is designed to appeal to punks who are ‘straight edge’—eschewing drugs, tobacco, and alcohol … Cessario explained that he was inspired to create Liquid Death because he considered other water brands to be catering to ‘Whole Foods yoga moms’ and thus to be insufficiently punk.”

A Star Graduate of France’s Elite School Wants to Close Its Doors (The Wall Street Journal): “The school’s closure would be part of a broader push to overhaul France’s education system for high-ranking civil servants in an effort to improve opportunities for the underprivileged. Mr. Macron has pledged ‘to build something new that works better,’ but hasn’t provided further details. ENA was designed as a meritocracy to open better opportunities to all students regardless of their background. But critics say the school has become a breeding ground for cronyism, perpetuating a social pecking order that allows énarques to monopolize top positions in society.”

Your 5G Phone Won’t Hurt You. But Russia Wants You to Think Otherwise. (The New York Times): “Moscow’s goal, experts say, is to destabilize the West by undermining trust in democratic leaders, institutions and political life. To that end, the RT network amplifies voices of dissent, to sow discord and widen social divides. It gives the marginal a megaphone and traffics in false equivalence … The frequencies employed in 5G are higher than those of past cellphones, allowing more information to be relayed more rapidly … Over the years, plenty of careful science has scrutinized wireless technology for potential health risks. Virtually all the data contradict the dire alarms … The higher the radio frequency, the less it penetrates human skin, lowering exposure of the body’s internal organs, including the brain.”

Could Stitch Fix Solve Your Wardrobe Crisis? (Vogue): “What we quickly realised is that we want to … help people look their best. There are lots of people who are still primarily comfortable wearing a skinny jean. Even I struggle with that when I style fixes for clients – there are times when there are things in our assortment that I’m, like, I would never wear that. Certainly, we understand how things are going to fit people. But really it’s about listening and empathy.”

WeWork Wants to Become Its Own Landlord With Latest Spending Spree (Bloomberg): “As the company, last valued at $47 billion, continues to sprawl, it’s also looking to prove it’s a safe bet. It said last month that it filed confidential paperwork for an initial public offering … WeWork skeptics note that, even by the standards of its cash-incinerating startup cousins, the company’s business model—taking out long-term leases and renting out short-term parcels—doesn’t deserve the favorable treatment of a tech company and looks glaringly vulnerable to an economic downturn as the global bull market in equities stuttersteps toward Year 12 … after more than a year of planning, WeWork is creating an investment fund that aims to raise billions of dollars to buy stakes in buildings where it will be a major tenant. If all goes according to plan, the fund, called ARK, will start with $2.9 billion … WeWork has long said it mostly stuck to leasing space because it believed in being ‘asset-light.’ Now it’s wagering that buildings become more valuable with WeWorks in them.”

Inside the Pampered and Personalized World of DC’s VIP Diners (Washingtonian Magazine): “That every person is treated the same is the great lie all restaurants tell. Everyone might get attentive service and an excellent meal, sure. But for a select group of dining heavies around town, a whole other world of special perks and suck-uppery awaits.”

James Charles, From ‘CoverBoy’ to Canceled (The New York Times): “The beauty-influencer world is one in which interpersonal conflicts often play out in videos posted across YouTube channels, with players flinging accusations at each other or apologizing in 15-minute monologues to their fans … Receipts are a commodity in this world — not literal receipts that are printed after a purchase, but metaphorical receipts in the form of digital records that are supposed to prove innocence or guilt … When public fights break out, receipts are ‘stacked’ and, eventually, someone is canceled.”

Hershey’s First Chocolate Bar Redesign in 125 Years Is for the Texting Generation (Eater): “The new emoji chocolate bars, which will be available for a limited time starting this summer, will feature 25 of ‘the most popular emojis’ engraved in the bar’s squares.”

Trump Tower Is Now One of NYC’s Least-Desirable Luxury Buildings (Bloomberg): “The 36-year-old building has been turned into a fortress since Trump won the presidency, ringed with concrete barriers and the two main entrances partially blocked off. It hasn’t been substantially updated in years. And Trump’s name has been a huge turnoff in liberal New York City.”

Here’s Why Airplane Boarding Got So Ridiculous (New York Magazine): “… airlines discovered that boarding by row in reverse numerical order, while intuitive, is one of the slowest possible ways to board an airplane, because people bunch up trying to use the same bins and squeeze into the same rows at once. Even boarding in a random order is about 30 percent faster than boarding the old-fashioned way … If airlines don’t need to board back to front, they might as well hand out early boarding in a way that helps them make more money.”

♥ Recently purchased: J. Crew Gingham Cotton Poplin Jumpsuit, Sézane Marianne Dress, Black Halo Malena Mini Dress, Banana Republic Trench Vest, J. Crew Lady Jacket in White Tweed, and Madewell Button Waist Midi Dress.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Hi, I am Elle!

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