Weekly Link Roundup: November 27, 2020

Wearing Waitu Wearable Blanket Sweatshirt & Reading Dessert Person (now 55% off!)

Are Blankets the New Going-Out Accessory? (The Wall Street Journal): “… during a pandemic and period of worldwide unrest, most people are seeking comfort more than ever. As a replacement for the timeworn going-out top … the going-out blanket suddenly makes senseFor those who might be wary of a blanket’s bulkiness—or bringing their indoor things outdoors during a pandemic—there are other ways to embrace the trend … wear a blanket, large scarf or wrap coat to stay warm outside of the house.”

Happiness Won’t Save You (The New York Times): “It was the quintessential Philip Brickman conversation. A man lingers on the rooftop of a high-rise, despairing. He makes his way toward the edge. And after some time — seconds? minutes? hours? no one knows — he decides to jump. The ultimate commitment. Or is it really a rejection of all commitments? Whatever it is, does it feel right? Does it help? Or does it suddenly reveal, my God, that there was actually another way?”

Sycamore Unit to Acquire Ann Taylor, Loft, Others For $540 Million (Reuters): “Ascena Retail Group, which owns clothing brands such as Ann Taylor and Loft, said … it will be acquired by Premium Apparel LLC for $540 million on a cash-free and debt-free basis … The transaction is expected to be completed by mid-December.”

J.Crew Changes CEOs for Third Time in Three Years (The Wall Street Journal): “Jan Singer, who took over as CEO in February, was replaced … by Libby Wadle, a longtime J.Crew executive … J.Crew filed for bankruptcy protection in May, and emerged in September with a deal that cut its debt and handed ownership to a group of lenders, led by New York hedge fund Anchorage Capital Group LLC. Anchorage co-founder Kevin Ulrich became J.Crew’s chairman … J.Crew brand sales fell 2% to $516.8 million in the three months to Feb. 1, the last quarter for which the company reported financial results. Madewell sales increased 13% to $178.1 million in the period.”

Tackling ‘Period Poverty,’ Scotland Is 1st Nation to Make Sanitary Products Free (The New York Times): “The new law in Scotland builds on the earlier measure, introducing a legal right of free access to tampons and sanitary pads in schools, colleges, universities and all other public buildings. Under the legislation, the government will set up a Scotland-wide initiative, in collaboration with local authorities, to allow anyone who needs period products to get them free of charge … Almost a third of girls and women age 14 to 21 had problems either being able to afford or gaining access to sanitary products during the first national lockdown this year”

Trevor Noah Is Still Trying to Explain America to Itself. It’s Getting Harder. (GQ): “… even Noah admits that there are limitations to his style of discussion. As it turns out, it’s impossible, even irresponsible, to have polite conversations with tiki-torch-wielding neo-Nazis. It’s hard to have a high-minded dialogue about reopening the economy with people who insist the pandemic is a hoax.”

Richemont Needs a Transformational Move (The Business of Fashion): “Presently, Richemont shares are trading at less than three times its annual revenue, far behind LVMH, Kering, which are trading at over 4 times revenue, and Hermès, which is trading at 15 times its yearly sales … Richemont has owned fashion brands for decades, it has never managed to scale those businesses in a similar way to hard luxury — which generate the majority of the company’s profit — and in turn, they now lag far behind their competitors. In its most recent fiscal year, the group’s other business’ category, which includes Chloé, Alaïa, Dunhill, Montblanc, American sportswear line Peter Millar, gunmaker Purdey, and Italian handbag Serapian, accounted for just €1.8 billion, or 13 percent, of its overall sales. A decade ago, the same collection of businesses — which were then split into two groups — generated €1.3 billion in annual sales. That’s 38 percent growth, small compared to LVMH’s fashion and leather goods division, which saw sales increase 194 percent over the same period.”

Nice to Meet You, Mom. Now Let’s Go Into Quarantine. (The New York Times): “Around 200,000 Korean children have been sent to families overseas since the 1950s, primarily to white families in America … reunions between adoptees and their biological parents have become more common, thanks to the loosening of South Korean privacy laws surrounding adoption, as well as the increased use of social media and genetic testing.”

The Joylessness of Cooking (The New Yorker): “When I cook now, it’s not because I have to … When I cook now, it’s because I ought to: it’s not a necessity driven by material limitation but, rather, an amorphous sense of moral imperative … Obligation, it turns out, is the real thief of joy; they wouldn’t make so many TV commercials featuring women who seem ludicrously happy to be doing laundry if endless compulsory domesticity didn’t slowly sandpaper away at the soul.”

Zillow Surfing Is the Escape We All Need Right Now (The New York Times): “Zillow usage has climbed since March, with online visitors to for-sale listings up more than 50 percent year-over-year in the early months of the pandemic … Zillow surfing has become a primary form of escapism for those who want to flee not just their homes but the reality of 2020.”

Villain or Victim? Charlotte Kirk Breaks Her Silence (Los Angeles Magazine): “In a town famous for attracting and then chewing up pretty young things, here was a pretty young thing who chewed up the town—the mogul slayer. And she did it all without uttering a single line of dialogue—at least not in public.”

Hospitals Know What’s Coming (The Atlantic): “Not even the best-prepared hospital can compensate for an unchecked pandemic. UNMC’s preparations didn’t fail so much as the U.S. created a situation in which hospitals could not possibly succeed … COVID-19 works slowly. It takes several days for infected people to show symptoms, a dozen more for newly diagnosed cases to wend their way to hospitals, and even more for the sickest of patients to die. These lags mean that the pandemic’s near-term future is always set, baked in by the choices of the past.”

Nail Salons, Lifeline for Immigrants, Have Lost Half Their Business (The New York Times): “Some nail salons have had a difficult time persuading customers that it is safe to come in. Others … have yet to see regular customers come back because many of them had left the city or are working from home … Nail salon visits in the state have dropped by more than 50 percent, and sales have fallen by more than 40 percent, according to an October survey of 161 salon owner … less than half of 594 workers surveyed had returned to work as of August … Eighty-one percent of the national nail salon work force are women while 79 percent are foreign-born.”

Snap Counters TikTok With Spotlight Video-Sharing Feature (The Wall Street Journal): “Snap said it plans to pay out more than $1 million a day as a way to reward the people who post the best content. It is betting that Spotlight could drive up how long customers spend on the app, providing more opportunities for the company to serve ads to its users. Snap shares have more than doubled this year … Snap said it would moderate the content in Spotlight and take down items that violate its rules against things such as hate speech, bullying and conspiracy theories—in line with the practices of others … Snap’s steps to add TikTok-like features follow a similar move by Facebook. In July, the social-media giant began offering payouts to TikTok users to persuade them to join Facebook’s rival product, called Reels.”

Penguin Random House Is Buying Simon & Schuster. That’s Bad For Readers. (Washington Post): “Penguin Random House, already the largest trade publisher in the country, has announced plans to buy Simon & Schuster from ViacomCBS for about $2 billion. If the deal goes through, the Big Five publishers will become the Big Four … Penguin Random House — the result of an ill-conceived merger back in 2013 — is already too big. The publishing house, which is part of the German conglomerate Bertelsmann, contains 320 imprints that release about 15,000 titles a year. Simon & Schuster publishes 2,000 titles a year.”

Leggings Take a Victory Lap (The New York Times): “… in the Covid era, the line between workout clothes and work clothes has evaporated for many people — and with it, any feelings of shame about wearing leggings 24/7 … while sales of denim jeans have fallen since March, leggings have surged 61 percent in the United Kingdom and 21 percent in the United States during the same period compared to last year.”

A Day at the Food Pantry (The Daily -The New York Times)

♥ In the spirit of the season, I hope you’ll consider making a donation to your local food bank (which you can locate using this Feeding America tool) this month. Food insecurity is growing nationwide, and federal and state efforts to alleviate this problem are insufficient. Private donations can help bridge the gap until a legislative response is mounted.

Stay safe and healthy, everyone!


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