Weekly Link Roundup

Why People Keep Asking Which Vaccine You Got (The Atlantic): “After a year of awkward conversation, the United States has entered vaccine exuberance. People are sharing vaccine selfies, posting photos of their vaccine cards to Instagram, and even just broadcasting tips on where they got appointments or found short lines … Some people are even comparing the vaccines as if they are catalytic converters or dog shampoos. It’s almost reflexive to bring up which of the Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, or Johnson & Johnson vaccines went into the arm … small talk’s use in social bonding is returning. ‘Which vaccine did you get?’ has become a low-stakes way to move from phatic communion to small talk to business. As the pressure eases off the pregnant How are you?, the unfair demands placed on that phrase will ease.”

We Have All Hit a Wall (The New York Times): “… a professor of psychiatry … who specializes in memory and the brain, said the longevity of the pandemic — endless monotony laced with acute anxiety — had contributed to a sense that time was moving differently, as if this past year were a long, hazy, exhausting experience lasting forever and no time at all. The stress and tedium … have dulled our ability to form meaningful new memories … Add to that a general loneliness, social isolation, anxiety and depression … and it is not surprising that [people] are having trouble focusing on their work.”

Debranding Is the New Branding (Bloomberg): “As much as brands aspire to be sui generis, branding has fashions that ebb and flow like skirt lengths or collar widths … Time will tell if these little-black-dress logos last, or whether fashion reverts to detail, complexity and personality. After all, once a critical mass has ‘zagged’ against a prevailing “zig,” the margin becomes mainstream, the template flips and the dance begins afresh.”

Laura Wasser, She Who Will Cleave the Union of Kim and Kanye (The New York Times): “Ms. Wasser … is aware that she is known in the trade as much for glamour and media slickness as for pit-bull tactics. But at 52, she has learned to take such descriptors with a mix of dark humor, bluntness and easy relatability … Today she is a managing partner, charging $950 an hour to advise a gaggle of artists and artists, athletes, musicians, actors and reality show stars … She tends to steer them toward a settlement rather than financially and emotionally draining court proceedings.”

Puzzling Through Our Eternal Quest for Wellness (The New Yorker): “What distinguishes modern wellness, aside from its expansiveness, is its relentless focus on the self as the fount of all improvement. It’s trickle-down wellness—the idea that, if you work hard enough on your body and mind, your inner glow will leak out of your fingertips and touch the world. It can be disorienting to see so much profit attached to the notion of ‘self-care,’ which became prominent in the feminist and civil-rights activism of the nineteen-sixties, and was advanced by such radical thinkers as Audre Lorde, bell hooks, and Gloria Anzaldúa. Their idea of self-preservation stressed nurturing one’s body in a society that both dismisses and endangers it. Today’s wellness movement has, at least in its marketing copy, co-opted that language, severing it from its collectivist roots. Now the project is individual enhancement: poreless skin, pliant limbs, a microfloral garden blooming inside your wild and precious gut.”

The Lives of Others (The Atavist Magazine): “Newfoundland’s baby mix-ups bespeak a time and a place—they happened in an era when people from the outports were glad to have access to medical care at all, when newborns were stashed in milk crates, when untrained staff were put in charge of important tasks, when identification processes for newborns could be slipshod. But none of these bygone circumstances minimize the harm that still ramifies today.”

A Tiny Particle’s Wobble Could Upend the Known Laws of Physics (The New York Times): “… the muon … is akin to an electron but far heavier, and is an integral element of the cosmos … an international team of 200 physicists from seven countries … found that muons did not behave as predicted when shot through an intense magnetic field at Fermilab. The aberrant behavior poses a firm challenge to the Standard Model, the suite of equations that enumerates the fundamental particles in the universe (17, at last count) and how they interact.”

Why So Many Fashion Brands Are Launching Right Now (The Business of Fashion): “Americans registered nearly 187,000 new businesses in the first two months of 2021, more than double the same period last year … Mass unemployment … spurred some to start businesses out of necessity. Others are hoping to capitalise on lifestyle changes during the pandemic, including a surge in online shopping, new categories such as face masks and seemingly endless demand for comfortable clothes and skin care products … Thousands of new brands will be born this year, but ultimately, few will survive. About 20 percent of new businesses started between 1995 and 2012 failed to survive beyond their first year, and 60 percent closed within a decade.”

The New Stock Influencers Have Huge—and Devoted—Followings (The Wall Street Journal): “Today’s gurus aren’t defined by Wall Street bona fides … Many of today’s influencers have appealed to their followers precisely because of their irreverence and disdain for financial-industry norms. Their followers often profess they couldn’t care less about the depth of analysis behind a trade. If their icon is buying something, they will throw money at it, too.”

Lena Dunham and the Spanx Liberation Movement (The New York Times): “The clothes Ms. Dunham has helped make for 11 Honoré are not exactly nutty — they definitely are not going to change the world — but they have a little lift. She describes them as clothes for a day walking around SoHo doing all sorts of things … Ms. Dunham said she spent a lot of time on the fit because one of the things most designers don’t understand is that making clothes for bigger bodies doesn’t mean just adding more fabric or cutting the waist wider. You need to employ darts differently to encompass stomach curves and bottom curves and upper arms that swell in the heat … She refuses to wear Spanx — most of the time, she said, she barely wears a bra — and none of the clothes she made require it.”

Gucci Is Selling $12 (Virtual) Sneakers (The Business of Fashion): “Designed by creative director Alessandro Michele, the sneaker is also the first original digital product from Belarus-based Wanna, which specialises in using augmented reality (AR) to create 3D models for digital fittings of sneakers and watches … The virtual sneakers are largely targeted towards a digitally-native Gen Z audience, consumers that hold interest in the sneaker market but may not be able to afford physical Gucci products. Instead, they can spend $9 or $11 on the shoes for gaming and social media posts. And while NFT products rely on a one-of-one, minted asset, the virtual Gucci sneakers are unlimited and interchangeable for consumers.”

How an Abstinence Pledge in the ’90s Shamed a Generation of Evangelicals (The New York Times): “It was under the aegis of the Southern Baptist Convention that the vow of virginity took distinct form, in True Love Waits, a program begun in 1993. As the movement grew in the ’90s, estimates of teenage adherents reached as high as 2.5 million worldwide. Youngsters wore purity rings, signed purity pledge cards and attended purity balls, with girls dressed in white and escorted by their fathers … Part of the problem for some critics of the movement is its emphasis on virginity as the greatest gift a man and a woman can bestow on each other. To them, other aspects of a healthy relationship seem to take a back seat, including core human elements like emotional attachment, intellectual compatibility or the simple virtues of kindness and understanding.”

Kid-Shaming on TikTok: When Parents Are the Online Bullies (The Wall Street Journal): “Numerous parents are taping themselves disciplining their children, then posting the videos on TikTok to teach them a lesson … Real or not, such videos can have serious consequences … Research has shown that shaming children—publicly or privately—isn’t an effective method of discipline.”

The Boarding-School Boom (The New York Times): “Boarding school is not immune to the pandemic — day students and staff come and go, and schools have had outbreaks — but these parents see it as a steadier alternative. For an average tuition of more than $60,000 a year … high schoolers (and at some institutions middle schoolers) can have access to a life that resembles normal.”

Private Jets, Mega-Mansions, and Broken Hearts: Inside the Messy, Litigious Breakup of an OnlyFans Model and Her Über-Wealthy Boyfriend (Vanity Fair): “Gurzanski says she has offered to find ways to settle with Cloobeck. She says she has offered to give back all of the gifts he bought her and the things she bought for herself with his credit card … in exchange for him leaving her alone … She says he only wants her to get back together with him … She says he thinks because he has so much money, he has power over her. Cloobeck’s spokesperson says he is the one trying to settle, having asked her to return her gifts so he can give them to charity, take down any photos that show his property, and provide a public apology to him. Gurzanski … Cloobeck continues to try to contact her … On April 1, Barens filed a motion with the court seeking sanctions against Cloobeck, in excess of $100,000, for violating the temporary restraining order.”

Amid Awakening, Asian-Americans Are Still Taking Shape as a Political Force (The New York Times): “For years, Asian-Americans were among the least likely of any racial or ethnic group to vote or to join community or advocacy groups. Today they are surging into public life, running for office in record numbers, and turning out to vote unlike ever before. They are now the fastest-growing group in the American electorate. But as a political force, Asian-Americans are still taking shape … Most of their families arrived after 1965 … There are vast class divisions, too; the income gap between the rich and the poor is greatest among Asian-Americans … As relatively new voters, many Asian-Americans find themselves uniquely interested in both major parties … But they do not fit into neat categories … Part of the new energy in Asian-American politics comes from second-generation immigrants, who are now in their 30s and 40s and are forming families that are far more racially mixed and civically engaged than those of their parents. A new Asian-American identity is being forged from dozens of languages, cultures and histories … At least 158 Asian-Americans ran for state legislatures in 2020 … up by 15 percent from 2018.”

♥ Recently purchased: J. Crew Abbie Sandals with Geometric Canvas Strap, Pleats Please Micro-pleated Wide Leg Trousers, UGG Sammy Slip-On Sneaker, Milumia Drawstring T Shirt Dress, and Ann Taylor Cropped Fringe Tweed Jacket.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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