Weekly Link Roundup

♥ These adorable espadrille flats from J. Crew (now on super sale) are restocked in a number of (mostly small) sizes/colorways.

Luxury’s Fur Calculus: To Ban or Not to Ban? (The Business of Fashion): “Kering announced it was going fur-free. … Kering never sold large volumes of fur in the first place and its brands have been gradually removing the materials from their products for years … LVMH[‘s] … biggest brands, including powerhouses Dior and Louis Vuitton consistently feature fur in their collections. For Fendi, another major contributor to group revenue which started as a furrier in 1925, the material is at the very core of its heritage and legitimacy as a luxury house.”

Why Robots Can’t Sew Your T-Shirt (WIRED): “Machines have proved adept at many steps in making clothes, from printing textiles to cutting fabric and folding and packaging finished garments. But sewing has been notoriously difficult to automate, because textiles bunch and stretch as they’re worked with. Human hands are adept at keeping fabric organized as it passes through a sewing machine. Robots typically are not deft enough to handle the task.”

Digital Addictions Are Drowning Us in Dopamine (The Wall Street Journal): “Over the course of my career as a psychiatrist, I have seen more and more patients who suffer from depression and anxiety, including otherwise healthy young people with loving families, elite education and relative wealth. Their problem isn’t trauma, social dislocation or poverty. It’s too much dopamine … one of the most important discoveries in the field of neuroscience in the past 75 years is that pleasure and pain are processed in the same parts of the brain and that the brain tries hard to keep them in balance. Whenever it tips in one direction it will try hard to restore the balance … by tipping in the other … pleasure is usually followed by a feeling of hangover or comedown. If we can wait long enough, that feeling passes and neutrality is restored. But there’s a natural tendency to counteract it by going back to the source of pleasure for another dose. If we keep up this pattern for hours every day, over weeks or months, the brain’s set-point for pleasure changes. Now we need to keep playing games, not to feel pleasure but just to feel normal. As soon as we stop, we experience the universal symptoms of withdrawal … otherwise known as craving.”

The Restaurant Host Is Suddenly at the Front of the Covid Wars (The New York Times): “Once upon a time, the host … held a position of some prestige and power, as the public face of the restaurant and the arbiter of who got the most coveted tables. Today, the job is often entry-level, and saddled with the difficult tasks of asking customers to don masks, maintain social distancing or present proof of vaccination. Hosts have to judge whether diners have complied, and to deal with any blowback … Women make up 81.9 percent of all hosts in American restaurants (and 81.2 percent of all hosts are white), according to a 2020 report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Most are young … the average annual wage for hosts was $24,800.”

These Single Moms Are Forced to Choose: Reveal Their Sexual Histories or Forfeit Welfare (ProPublica): “TANF … said that in order to get federal anti-poverty funding, states would be required to go after fathers of children whose mothers had applied for welfare, in an attempt to get them to pay child support to the government as repayment for those welfare dollars. To this day, almost every parent who applies for federal welfare assistance … must first divulge everything she knows about the biological father of her children.”

♥ I am not sure how I managed to misplace the Michael Kors Lottie Booties pictured above; but I did. So I am now on the hunt for a pair of ankle boots with a block (or wedge) heel in a beige or taupe tone. Here are some options that I am considering (also taking suggestions in the comments below):

An Accidental Collection (The New Yorker): “This T-shirt has a straightforward message: ‘i put ketchup on my ketchup.’ Now, that’s the statement of somebody who is seriously in love with ketchup. It kind of teases those Americans who put ketchup on everything, but I find it interesting that one of the companies that distribute these shirts is none other than Heinz. A little self-deprecatory humor going on here, but you can’t help feeling the American spirit in it, the optimistic, cheerful lack of introspection that says, ‘Who cares about being sophisticated! I’m gonna do what I want!’ “

The Original Direct-to-Consumer Brand Heads for the Exit (The Business of Fashion): “Warby Parker shares will begin trading publicly on Sept. 29 via a direct listing … its pre-listing filings show it continues to rack up annual losses.”

How to Avoid Being Scammed on Facebook Marketplace (ProPublica): “Online marketplaces are fertile ground for identity theft, and Facebook Marketplace is no exception, with scam artists quietly taking over legitimate user accounts to add authenticity to their cons … If an item is rare or popular, but the seller is listing it as readily available and at a price that’s too good to be true, it likely is.”

‘Can’t Compete’: Why Hiring for Child Care Is a Huge Struggle (The New York Times): “Eight in 10 providers said they were experiencing a staffing problem, and half said hiring was harder than it had been before the pandemic … Half said they were serving fewer children as a result of hiring problems, and a quarter had reduced their hours. The lack of child care is also contributing to other labor shortages, because many parents who can’t find reliable child care can’t return to work.”

♥ Until 09/28/2021, take 50-70% off (almost) everything at Ann Taylor with code CYBERFALL. Shipping is free on all orders. My picks:

Lenny Pozner Believed in Conspiracy Theories. Until His Son’s Death Became One. (New York Magazine): “Conspiracy theories run deep in the American consciousness — 61 percent of Americans believe Lee Harvey Oswald didn’t act alone — but a mass shooting had never drawn the conspiratorial attention that Sandy Hook did. The modern internet is partly to blame, with hours of uploaded cable-news coverage and reams of documents to parse for circumstantial evidence … Pozner knew that by prodding the hoaxers, he had perhaps brought more vitriol upon himself and that many in Newtown viewed his campaign as counter­productive. But he denied kicking a hornet’s nest. ‘People don’t understand what trolls are,” he said. “If you don’t feed them, they don’t just go away.’ “

Super Follows, Close Friends, and Invite-Only Newsletters: Welcome to the Gated Internet (Vanity Fair): “Now that segmenting your audience into fans … and friends … is a growing norm, the internet feels less like an arena show that only required a general admission ticket and more like a sprawl of gated communities … the ability to gatekeep access to one’s content—and oneself … reflects an important collective desire to draw boundaries between ourselves and the digital public, in the same way our ‘regular’ social circles are tiered along the spectrum of best friends to strangers. As our personal online lives bleed further into our professional ones … it’s always worth wondering, as we each retreat into more carefully fenced circles, where the line begins to blur: friend or foe, superfan or Super Follow, privacy or exclusivity?”

On the Internet, We’re Always Famous (The New Yorker): “The most radical change to our shared social lives isn’t who gets to speak, it’s what we can hear. True, everyone has access to their own little megaphone … but the vast majority of people aren’t reaching a huge audience. And yet at any single moment just about anyone with a smartphone has the ability to surveil millions of people across the globe … Never before in history have so many people been under the gaze of so many strangers … For the vast majority of our species’ history, those were the two principal categories of human relations: kin and gods … In the same way that electricity went from a luxury enjoyed by the American élite to something just about everyone had, so, too, has fame, or at least being known by strangers, gone from a novelty to a core human experience … We are conditioned to care about kin … But the psychological experience of fame … takes all of the mechanisms for human relations and puts them to work seeking more fame … This is why famous people as a rule are obsessed with what people say about them and stew and rage and rant about it … There’s no reason, really, for anyone to care about the inner turmoil of the famous. But … in the Internet age, the psychologically destabilizing experience of fame is coming for everyone. Everyone is losing their minds online because the combination of mass fame and mass surveillance increasingly channels our most basic impulses … into the project of impressing strangers, a project that cannot, by definition, sate our desires but feels close enough to real human connection that we cannot but pursue it in ever more compulsive ways.”

♥ (Podcast) The Sunday Read: ‘The Composer at the Frontier of Movie Music’ (The Daily – The New York Times)

♥ Recently purchased: Wild Republic Cockatoo Plush (I got it as a prop for the D&D campaign that I am in, and it’s so cute and soft; the only drawback is that you’ll probably need to iron its crest to make the crest stand upright), Free People Ashby Plaid Blazer, Naked Wardrobe Mock Neck Sleeveless Sweater Dress, Sam Edelman Laguna Boots, and Lioness Lions Den Midi Skirt.

Have a great week, everyone!

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