(Long) Weekend Links— 3 September 2017

These are a bit late to read on the weekend, but they make for fantastic weeknight reads as well.

Labor Day weekend has offered me a chance to relax, slow down, enjoy time with friends, and dig into some seriously good reads. I hope you’ve been lucky enough to do the same. Here’s what I’ve been reading:

Waffle Upgrades

“The Under Appreciated Architecture of Waffle House” in CityLab. Amanda Kolson Hurley writes:

The classic Waffle House is minimalist in design, with a lemon-yellow strip running around the top, above a wide band of windows and, often, a red or red-striped awning. The interior is outfitted with retro globe lights and red-and-chrome stools. Unlike most fast-food joints, Waffle House has an open kitchen, so you can watch the cooks as they scatter and smother your hash browns.

Waffle Houses represent a sort of working class dependability. A blue collar warm, welcoming environment. Its 24-hour dependability allows itself to be both a utility and a comfort. But as the article notes, that’s changing and not everyone’s happy about it.

What bothers me is not that Waffle House feels it’s time for a change (maybe it is) so much as the direction they’ve chosen. As the “loft” aesthetic has permeated American culture, we’re seeing watered-down faux-warehouse details in outposts of Chipotle and Starbucks, and that is the style we see here. It’s as generic as the classic Waffle House look is distinctive. Couldn’t the company have hired an architect known for his or her use of bold color to bring more of a pop sensibility?

Applebee’s has famously moved away from trying to please millennials. Even in downtown College Park, Maryland, our local Applebee’s announced it is ending its popular Thursday night karaoke. Will Waffle House recognize its mistake before its too late?

Think Twice

There’s a been a lot of coverage about New America’s firing of monopoly expert Barry Lynn after he published remarks critical of Google online. As you may have guessed, Google is a financial major backer of New America. To be fair, there is a general understanding at think tanks that scholars are not truly independent. For example, David Frum was famously fired from AEI in 2010 for urging Republicans to work with Democrats on healthcare reform.

Lonely Men

This piece was recommended to me by a friend. American men are getting lonelier. And that’s not just sad. It’s dangerous. This is a long term trend that’s easy to miss. We can’t afford to ignore it.

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