WORDS

Ovid, Patron Saint Of Pickup Artists: How The ‘Red Pill’ Guys Are (Mis-)Appropriating Classical Lit

Ashley Fetters talks with classics scholar Donna Zuckerberg (yes, Mark’s sister) about what the “Red Pill” community — “the corner of the internet dominated by men’s-rights activists, the alt-right, pickup artists, and the sex-eschewing communities known as Men Going Their Own Way” — finds in these ancient Latin books (e.g., Ovid’s Ars Amatoria) and how they misread and misuse the texts.

For Nearly 2,000 Years, The Aeneid Was Europe’s Most Influential Work Of Literature. Why’s It So Uncomfortable Now?

Daniel Mendelsohn: “While our forebears looked confidently to the text of the Aeneid for answers, today it raises troubling questions. … Two thousand years after its appearance, we still can’t decide if [Virgil’s] masterpiece is a regressive celebration of power as a means of political domination or a craftily coded critique of imperial ideology — a work that still has something useful to tell us.”

Blame Editors For The quality Of This Year’s Man Booker Finalists?

Kwame Anthony Appiah, chair of the judges, implicitly blamed editors for the poor quality of some of this year’s submissions while announcing the 2018 shortlist: “We occasionally felt that inside the book we read was a better one, sometimes a thinner one, wildly signalling to be let out.” Fellow judge Val McDermid went further by suggesting modern editors don’t know what they’re doing. “I think,” she said, “young editors coming through are not necessarily getting the kind of training and experience-building apprenticeship that happened when I was starting out.”

We’re Reading More, But Is It Junk? Distraction?

The average person “consumes about 34 gigabytes across varied devices each day” — some 100,000 words’ worth of information. “Neither deep reading nor deep thinking can be enhanced by the aptly named ‘chopblock’ of time we are all experiencing, or by 34 gigabytes of anything per day,” Maryanne Wolf argues.