Weekly Link Roundup

I went to Taco Bell for the first time in forever, after reading about all the new fry options being tested in select markets (that aren’t mine). (Clockwise from top left: Power Menu Bowl, Wild Strawberry Lemonade Freeze, Nacho Fries, and Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes.)

Taco Bell Tests New 7-Layer Nacho Fries And Burrito In Orlando, Florida (Chew Boom): “The new 7-Layer Nacho Fries feature the brand’s signature seasoned Nacho Fries topped with seasoned beef, black beans, nacho cheese sauce, tomatoes, cheddar cheese, guacamole, low fat sour cream, and creamy chipotle sauce.”

Why Price Inflation is Coming to Fashion (The Business of Fashion): “Across all US retailers, apparel prices in June rose about five percent from a year ago, the fastest increase since 2012 … After a decade of cutting prices and offering deep discounts to move unsold merchandise at the end of each season, [fashion brands] see the pandemic’s disruptions creating an opportunity to finally hold the line on pricing.”

A Wall Street Dressing Down: Always. Be. Casual. (The New York Times): “As banks get their workers back to their desks … senior executives are easing up on dress codes as a concession to their weary staffs … Although banks haven’t sent out formal memos, their informal message is that returning employees should feel free to dress appropriately for the occasion … Jeans have even shown up on trading floors, and bankers have a wealth of opportunities to spring a familiar workplace joke: What’s with the tie? Got a job interview? … Another reason banks are doing away with traditional dress codes is talent retention. As Wall Street firms increasingly compete for recruits with technology companies … they are seeking to present a less stuffy image. Many banks are also trying to hire a more diverse cohort.”

Demon Sperm Doctor’s New Bogus Cure Has COVID Truthers Eating Horse Paste (The Daily Beast): “Like the Trumpist miracle cure hydroxychloroquine before it, the hype for ivermectin comes against the advice of the medical community … As vaccine skeptics suck down tubes of horse paste and hit up poison control centers with calls, the FDA has patiently explained why people should not take medicine intended for livestock … That kind of scientific caution is hard to find on the internet … Amazon has become so popular as a source for horse-to-human ivermectin that the purchases are starting to warp the company’s recommendation engines.”

Succession Drama Grips Scholastic: CEO’s Sudden Death, an Office Romance and a Surprise Will (The Wall Street Journal): “Richard Robinson was 84 when he died. He was private about his estate planning and personal life. To the frustration of some colleagues, he never groomed a successor. His motivations for handing the reins to Ms. Lucchese aren’t clear even to those close to him. Former colleagues say they believe the pair broke up a few years ago.”

What Philadelphia Reveals About America’s Homicide Surge (ProPublica): “The nationwide homicide rate jumped 25% in 2020, taking it back to where it was in the late 1990s, wiping out two decades’ worth of progress. The nationwide rate is still below its highs in the early 1990s, but many cities, including Philadelphia, are near or past their all-time highs. And in many cities … this year is on track to be even worse than last year …Ten weeks into online learning, the Philadelphia school district reported that 61% of students were logging on in an average day, well short of the average 92% attendance rate from prior years … The parole and probation department curtailed home and office visits … and most of the drug treatment programs and other services that parolees and probationers were required to attend closed their doors.”

The New Moral Code of America’s Elite (The Atlantic): “It’s wise to be careful that, in one’s zeal for justice or fairness or the more prosaic things that ride beneath those banners, one doesn’t lose sight of one’s own moral obligations or aspirations. And it’s decent, if you have a problem with someone, to take it up with them before running it up the nearest flagpole. But this is something people with the right views and the best degrees, it seems, simply do not do; just as the distinction between tattling and whistleblowing—resting, as it does, on a sober evaluation of one’s own motives and the stakes at hand—is one they often fail to make.”

Can We Fix America’s Food-Appropriation Problem? (Grub Street): “In propagating a narrative that slow-cooked rice and water is considered sacred by Asians, while leaving out the more colorful and trendy aspects of congee’s culinary identity, media coverage does a disservice to readers by … failing to explain the more insidious essence of cultural appropriation … It is not that Asians are offended by white people cooking and selling slow-cooked rice … the real issue is disrespect: the way this kind of appropriation links Westernization and whitewashing with sophistication and value, while deeming nonwhite cultures to be less refined. It perpetuates the corrosive notion of ‘exotic’ food that must be tamed for American consumption. And, in the case of Taylor’s story, the coverage ignored the playfulness and inventiveness that is an integral part of Chinese food culture, of which congee is very much a part. When no effort is made to explain the deeper root problem, or to create understanding by painting a fuller picture, nothing prevents people from racing to take sides while nobody learns anything. Instead of making any kind of progress, we end up with a recurring cultural-appropriation cycle that turns rounds of outrage and insincere back-peddling into clickbait. Our anger ends up being monetized just like the tired old racist tropes that white entrepreneurs continue to churn out, while those who are none the wiser wonder why we are so ‘sensitive’ all the time.”

Not Everything About Those U.S. Olympic Uniforms Was Terrible… (The Wall Street Journal): “Created by the designers at Ralph Lauren, they featured a traddy blue blazer, a nautical striped crew neck and an American flag scarf tied preciously around the athletes’ necks … a surprising number of young people … all in on neckerchiefs, pairing them regularly with simple tees and shorts.”

The Love Bomb (The Atavist Magazine): “… Enthusiastic Sobriety, or ES … was a kind of Alcoholics Anonymous for teenagers; it emphasized community and spirituality, but also insisted that participants needed to have fun … As soon as they walked in the door of a meeting, PDAP newcomers were smothered in hugs and people saying ‘I love you.’ The tactic, called ‘love bombing,’ is now widely recognized as a method for luring people into cults.”

To Fight Vaccine Lies, Authorities Recruit an ‘Influencer Army’ (The New York Times): “Fewer than half of all Americans age 18 to 39 are fully vaccinated, compared with more than two-thirds of those over 50 … And about 58 percent of those age 12 through 17 have yet to receive a shot at all. To reach these young people, the White House has enlisted an eclectic army of more than 50 Twitch streamers, YouTubers, TikTokers and … Olivia Rodrigo … State and local governments have begun similar campaigns.”

We Live in a Golden Age of Dinosaur Chicken Nuggets (The Wall Street Journal): “Major food companies can see a dinosaur-nugget boomlet. Parents buy them to motivate picky youngsters to clean their plates. Young adults eat them to spark childhood nostalgia. And rising sales during the pandemic have prompted companies to consider what other nugget shapes might catch on—beyond the Tyrannosaurus rex, Stegosaurus and Brontosaurus … Sales of frozen chicken nuggets were up about 18% in the year to July, reaching $1.1 billion … Tyson calls its Stegosaurus and Tyrannosaurus rex shapes ‘fun nuggets,’ and they make up 21% of the company’s total nugget sales.”

American Shoppers Are a Nightmare (The Atlantic): “From 1870 to 1910, the number of service workers in the United States quintupled. It’s from this morass that ‘The customer is always right’ emerged as the essential precept of American consumerism—service workers … were there to fuss and fawn, to bolster egos, to reassure wavering buyers, to make dreams come true. If a complaint arose, it was to be resolved quickly and with sincere apologies. As department-store barons built a market for their businesses, they were also quite intentionally building something far grander: class consciousness … the introduction of shopping was fundamental to forming middle-class identity at a particularly crucial moment … Retailers won over this growing middle class by convincing its members that they were separate from—and opposed to—industrial workers and their distrust of corporate power … In the 150 years that American consumerism has existed, it has metastasized into almost every way that Americans construct their identities … For Americans in a socially isolating culture, living under an all but broken political system, the consumer realm is the place where many people can most consistently feel as though they are asserting their agency. Most people in the United States don’t exactly have a plethora of opportunities to develop meaningful identities outside their economic station … Americans work long hours … What these jobs do provide, though, is income, the use of which can feel sort of like an identity … Because consumer identities are constructed by external forces … they are uniquely vulnerable, and the people who hold them are uniquely insecure.”

They Spurned the Vaccine. Now They Want You to Know They Regret It. (The New York Times): “Some people hospitalized with the virus still vow not to get vaccinated, and surveys suggest that a majority of unvaccinated Americans are not budging … Still, some hospitals swamped with patients in largely conservative, unvaccinated swaths of the country have begun to recruit Covid survivors as public health messengers of last resort. The hope is that onetime skeptics might just persuade others who dismissed vaccination campaigns … Theirs are Scared Straight stories for a pandemic that has thrived on misinformation, fear and hardened partisan divisions over whether or not to get vaccinated.”

♥ Recently purchased: BLANKNYC Aran Cable Knit Mock Neck Sweater, BP. Women’s Fitted Peekaboo Hoodie, Ann Taylor Geo Mock Neck Shift Dress, Sézane Tara Dress, and Self Portrait Cardigan.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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