Friday News: H&H is closing, online reviews, The Odyssey, and using your words
Heroes and Heartbreakers is shutting down – You may have heard this already, but if not, below is part of the emailed statement regarding the imminent closure of Heroes and Heartbreakers. Last time I checked, the site itself did not have any announcement of closure, even though it appears that November 21st is the final date for posting. No clear word on what will happen to the site after that. I can’t help but think this represents a disinvestment in Romance, but, you know, I’ve never had a ton of faith in Macmillan’s intentions, so I’m cynical.
Over six years ago Macmillan debuted a romance community website atHeroesandHeartbreakers.com. As the digital habits of readers andconsumers evolve, the strategic direction for reaching them evolves aswell.Macmillan will be saying goodbye to the Heroes and Heartbreakerswebsite by the end of 2017 and going forward will focus on engagingromance fans via our e-newsletter—which has a robust, growingcirculation—and on social media. The St. Martin’s Press romancemarketing team will be responsible for the e-newsletter and socialmedia channels going forward and will continue to celebrate all thingsromance with the monthly shopping list, cover reveals, sneak peekexcerpts, first look reviews and author spotlights in the e-newsletterand on our social channels.
Online reviews are a mess – It is difficult not to read this piece with your eyes rolled back in your head, since we readers have been dealing with fake reviews for a long time. In this case, the focus is on reviews for businesses, those, for example, left on Yelp or Trip Advisor or even Amazon for general product purchases. One thing I was happy to see, though, is the recognition that consumers are not just reading random reviews and judging them as true, but that consumer distrust in reviewing is growing. In some cases, (e.g. Trip Advisor), consumer pushback can lead to policy changes (the site is now has a tag for locations for sexual assault incidents, rather than removing those references). I still think reviews can be extremely helpful for people who have/take the time to read a lot of them and compare/contrast across platforms (and I know people who do this, especially for more substantial purchases). But I’m not sure there is ever going to be a completely clean reviewing system. Just check out the example below:
In the niche world of mattress blogging, a controversy is brewing over one company’s strong-arming tactics. Casper, the top brand in the fast-growing bed-in-a-box industry, has been suing people over reviews it claims are unfair. It even lent one site money to buy another before revising the review of its products to make it more positive, according to a report in Fast Company.
Even outside of the company’s shady practices here, many of these bloggers enter into affiliate programs through which they get a commission for every product a reader buys, a common practice across editorial reviews in many industries. – Mashable
Emily Wilson Is the First Woman to Translate Homer’s Odyssey into English: The New Translation Is Out Today – Despite my perverse wish that the first female translator was named Penelope, I am thrilled to see that The Odyssey is finally being retold through a female interlocutor. I encourage you to read the whole post, as there is a very interesting discussion on the importance (and limitations) of silence.
Classicist Emily Wilson has made the first translation of The Odyssey by a woman. Her version, writes Wyatt Mason at The New York Times, approaches the text afresh, apart from the chattering conversations between hundreds of years of previous attempts. “Wilson has made small but, it turns out, radical changes to the way many key scenes of the epic are presented,” notes Mason. This translation is a corrective, she believes, of a text that “has through translation accumulated distortions that affect the way even scholars who read Greek discuss the original.”
Confronting silence is a theme of Wilson’s interview with Mason about her new translation. From a family of accomplished scholars, most notably her father, novelist and critic A.N. Wilson, she remembers her childhood as “a lot of silence… As a kid I was just aware of unhappiness, and aware of these things that weren’t ever being articulated.” She gravitated toward classics because of shyness and fear of mispronouncing living languages. “You don’t have to have beautiful Latin pronunciation,” she says. “It took away a whole level of shame.” – Open Culture
The Words Men and Women Use When They Write About Love – I feel like I need a disclaimer here, that linkage doesn’t imply recommendation (speaking of which, why can’t Twitter just have a damn save button, rather than that like-heart???). Because there are so many caveats here, some of which the Times acknowledges, it’s a wonder it was published. Still, it was published, and in limited ways the findings are interesting. Mostly, I think, because of the ways they do and do not align with the way women (and men) write about Romance. And because it’s past time to re-think the construction of a gender binary paradigm.
And regarding sex versus love, men and women want both, said William Doherty, a couples counselor and professor of family science at the University of Minnesota. But sexual chemistry is more often an initial filter for men entering a relationship, while closeness is for women.
Still, the line between male and female behavior — emotional, romantic and otherwise — is blurring, said Robin Lakoff, professor emeritus of linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley.
“Back in the 50s, men could show anger, rivalry and hostility, so they could swear,” she said. “Women could show fear, sorrow and love, and so they could cry.”
Today, she said, “it’s probably best to say we are somewhat confused about gender roles and stereotypes.” – New York Times