In a well-written romance it is super-gratifying when the πŸ† meets the 🍩.
January 14, 2018 10:10 AM   Subscribe

When comedian Paul Scheer got snarky on Instagram about the cover of a romance novel, members of the romance community took him to task. In apology, he live-tweeted his reading of the first book in the series. Via SorryWatch: ALL HANDS, ALL HANDS, EXCELLENT CELEB APOLOGY NOT A DRILL.

Whether you'd like to try romances but don't know where to begin, or you already know your catnip and want more recommendations and discussions with other thoughtful readers, Smart Bitches, Trashy Books is a great place to start.
posted by Lexica (45 comments total) 42 users marked this as a favorite
 
Well Paul found out that things can happen when you KABOOM them.
posted by Talez at 10:27 AM on January 14, 2018 [4 favorites]


I'm glad to hear that Paul Scheer went about this the right way. I like him as a personality and have enjoyed the various podcasts he appears on. He's always struck me as someone who is genuinely warm-hearted and funny. I mean, this is just based on listening to him on How Did This Get Made? for the last few years, but still, he's always been pretty chill. I'm glad he did this. Great share.
posted by Fizz at 10:35 AM on January 14, 2018 [5 favorites]


Comedians have a cool saying: "punch up; don't punch down." You can see that at play in Paul's realization and correction.
posted by WCityMike at 10:42 AM on January 14, 2018 [12 favorites]


Wow, this actually made me tear up which I did not expect. I've gotten so used to people getting defensive and/or releasing these careful, PR-vetted "apologies" when called out on something. This was just so human. And funny.

But I gotta ask. In this, what does the 🐳 meeeeeeaaaaaaan?? I can't figure it out!
posted by lunasol at 10:56 AM on January 14, 2018 [2 favorites]


I sort of assumed it was the emoji for "sploosh"
posted by JDHarper at 10:59 AM on January 14, 2018 [4 favorites]


That pic of Scheer's face grafted onto the Boris Vallejo cover of Dazzler is great, especially because I didn't know that that cover existed.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:21 AM on January 14, 2018 [5 favorites]


Also, that was my guess for the whale emoji as well, JDHarper. You know, the, well, the whole blowhole aspect of it.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:26 AM on January 14, 2018


This is wonderful, but also, it's posted on SorryWatch, a website devoted to "analyzing apologies in the news, media, history and literature" which I'm delighted to discover is a thing that exists. Thanks, Lexica!
posted by straight at 12:25 PM on January 14, 2018 [8 favorites]


To me, this reads like a pre-planned marketing campaign designed to exploit internet outrage. Can't tell whether it's peddling the novel or the comedian.
posted by I-Write-Essays at 12:39 PM on January 14, 2018 [1 favorite]


That does read like it was written by his manager.
posted by benzenedream at 1:14 PM on January 14, 2018


what does the 🐳 meeeeeeaaaaaaan??

Oh, come.
posted by Segundus at 1:46 PM on January 14, 2018 [10 favorites]


The nasal cavity is a weird place to jam an eggplant.
posted by Nanukthedog at 1:59 PM on January 14, 2018 [2 favorites]


🐳🐳🐳
posted by St. Peepsburg at 3:05 PM on January 14, 2018


The nasal cavity is a weird place to jam an eggplant

aubergineshaming
posted by zippy at 3:08 PM on January 14, 2018


I'm not super familiar with Paul Scheer's tone or work (despite him definitely being a "hey it's that guy!"), but what about those tweets read as fake to people? Just curious. Obviously, it could be purposeful marketing, but they read as genuine enough to me.

Either way, I am also glad to learn that Sorry Watch is a thing. Apologizing is a skill worth a dedicated website.
posted by the primroses were over at 3:22 PM on January 14, 2018 [5 favorites]


The tweets sound authentic to me--a longtime listener to his podcast, "How Did This Get Made?". That kind of chill, happy enthusiasm is totally his schtick. I'm wondering if the book will be his "Paul's pick of the week" on the next minisode.

Lesson learned: don't mess with romance fans. And only make (gentle, affectionate) fun of the titles/covers if you are a fan (see the Smart Bitches regular 'cover snark' posts).
posted by lovecrafty at 3:39 PM on January 14, 2018 [11 favorites]


> but what about those tweets read as fake to people?

The fact that the outrage was followed up with a performance. No, I don't think it's even possible to be authentic on social media; that well has too much poison dissolved in it.
posted by I-Write-Essays at 3:42 PM on January 14, 2018


I'm not super familiar with Paul Scheer's tone or work (despite him definitely being a "hey it's that guy!"), but what about those tweets read as fake to people?

They're just filtering it through their deep, deep wells of cynicism.
posted by palomar at 3:56 PM on January 14, 2018 [17 favorites]


Fair enough, I-Write-Essays. If all social media is advertising, then this definitely qualifies.

To me, a guy giving out some free advertising as an apology for thoughtlessly smearing someone else's work is still a nice thing to do. But sometimes I tear up at commercials, so I am probably an easy mark.
posted by the primroses were over at 3:59 PM on January 14, 2018 [6 favorites]


> They're just filtering it through their deep, deep wells of cynicism.

Definitely this. Trolling is a powerful tactic in social media. Advertising companies are known to put out content designed to offend people, and then use the fallout to build customer engagement.

Remember the women's clothing company that put out an article about how they only care about thin women, and then put out a petition to get people to campaign to make them change their mind?

No one with a vested interest in audience engagement can be trusted.
posted by I-Write-Essays at 4:12 PM on January 14, 2018 [1 favorite]


Remember the women's clothing company that put out an article about how they only care about thin women, and then put out a petition to get people to campaign to make them change their mind?

Nope. Got a link? Because I'm always a little wary of taking unverified info from people with visible axes to grind. :)
posted by palomar at 4:22 PM on January 14, 2018 [5 favorites]


But I gotta ask. In this, what does the 🐳 meeeeeeaaaaaaan?? I can't figure it out!

The problem is the unclear sentence construction. It reads like the 🐳 is another noun, but really, it's a verb. It's not "the eggplant met the doughnut and whale." It's "the eggplant met the doughnut and whaled." (I'm willing to have further conversation about the tense of that verb, tho.)

We live in fascinating linguistic times.
posted by greermahoney at 4:27 PM on January 14, 2018 [14 favorites]


But I gotta ask. In this, what does the 🐳 meeeeeeaaaaaaan?? I can't figure it out!

On my computer, that looks more like a teapot than a whale, unless I zoom way in.

I thought he handled the whole thing with a lot of class. Sure, it's a performance and part of his personal branding and promotion -- but I'm still going to give him credit for not making his personal brand be about being an asshole.
posted by Dip Flash at 4:31 PM on January 14, 2018 [7 favorites]


> Got a link?

I'm sure I saw this on Metafilter just this month, but searching doesn't turn up anything... I'll keep looking. I think this is the petition, but this doesn't mention the connection to the advertising strategy.
posted by I-Write-Essays at 4:54 PM on January 14, 2018


One thing I love about Paul Scheer is how often he apologizes for getting things wrong, actually. He's also an old hand at being schooled at how his knee-jerk "lol girls" comedy instincts sometimes result in him missing out on cool stuff-- it's kind of an ongoing narrative on HDTGM, and June (and Jason) both call him out on it. A lot of episodes feature him saying things like "well, I never really thought about it that way!" or something similar, and not in a snarky way-- just goodhearted ability to take in new perspectives and give other people room to talk about them.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 5:25 PM on January 14, 2018 [14 favorites]


The problem is the unclear sentence construction. It reads like the 🐳 is another noun, but really, it's a verb. It's not "the eggplant met the doughnut and whale." It's "the eggplant met the doughnut and whaled."

Also I read this less literally, as "the penis met the vagina and they both came", aka, the two main characters went to the bone zone (his preferred terminology).
posted by a fiendish thingy at 5:28 PM on January 14, 2018 [1 favorite]


I-Write-Essays, am I correctly understanding that your assertion that this is propaganda is based on barely remembered un-sourced propaganda about supposed propaganda?
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 5:40 PM on January 14, 2018 [7 favorites]


Not exactly. more like, an a priori belief that in a world where it's impossible to tell propaganda from sincerity, one should always assume propaganda.
posted by I-Write-Essays at 5:57 PM on January 14, 2018 [1 favorite]


And how is this propaganda? I'm not seeing how Paul Scheer's tweets are misleading information that promote a political ideology. Can you explain? Or elaborate on how a comedian is exactly like a large corporation?
posted by palomar at 6:13 PM on January 14, 2018 [5 favorites]


what does the 🐳 meeeeeeaaaaaaan??

O hai, Ishmael.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:18 PM on January 14, 2018 [11 favorites]


I assumed it meant blowhole
posted by ian1977 at 6:32 PM on January 14, 2018


[I-Write-Essays, it's time to step away from the thread, you've made your points and the whole thread doesn't need to be you arguing with people about whether they're cynical enough. Everyone else, you can move on from that point.]
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 6:46 PM on January 14, 2018 [15 favorites]


I was going to say I've yet to read a romance where it was super gratifying when the πŸ† meets the 🍩 but then I remembered Summerwode. Granted, it was satisfying because they were fulfilling an ancient pagan ritual and was not actually related to the main romance of the book, which was super gay, but I can't claim it wasn't gratifying to have all of earth and the spirit world align in fulfillment of ancient rite and ritual as they 🐳
posted by brook horse at 7:20 PM on January 14, 2018 [1 favorite]


Also I read this less literally, as "the penis met the vagina and they both came", aka, the two main characters went to the bone zone (his preferred terminology).

Yes, that's the correct translation, probably. But upon first read, due to the vagaries of the English language, I think some of us took it as "the penis met the vagina and the sperm" or something close, which made less sense.
posted by greermahoney at 7:50 PM on January 14, 2018


My journey to understanding the emojis:
"the penis met the donut? butthole. okay probably vagina. and fish? whale? [I try to think of a word that kind of rhymes with whale and is sexual] oh it's spewing a liquid!"

I liked this in the same way I like HDTGM - I have no idea what is being reviewed but I find everyone's enthusiasm delightful.
posted by Emmy Rae at 8:56 PM on January 14, 2018 [3 favorites]


OH IT'S A SPERM WHALE ok lol
posted by poffin boffin at 12:56 AM on January 15, 2018 [5 favorites]


The emoji does look like something is being ejaculated, so that was my take FWIW.
posted by trif at 5:51 AM on January 15, 2018


I expect some sincere apologies to the πŸ‹ community from all y'all.
posted by condour75 at 6:20 AM on January 15, 2018 [7 favorites]


Also, to get back on topic, that was a great apology. He did good.
posted by greermahoney at 9:37 AM on January 15, 2018


The meaning of 🐳 is vague. It's a matter of "cetacean needed".
posted by John Shaft at 12:53 PM on January 15, 2018 [20 favorites]


Okay, this is nice. And I really like having discovered Sorry Watch.

But the part that sparks my cynicism is "was this really a good book?" Don't get me wrong, I don't hate on romances (in particular). But he really set himself up to only be able to say positive things. I can imagine being him and then finding myself wanting to, say, mock the dialogue, but feeling like I shouldn't. He seems to have genuinely enjoyed it, but I kinda feel like he had little choice, so my cynical side wonders.
posted by salvia at 2:08 PM on January 15, 2018 [1 favorite]


But the part that sparks my cynicism is "was this really a good book?"

Scheer is a proud lover of competent mediocrity. Nothing surprises me less than him being genuinely and enthusiastically invested in a middle-of-the-road romance novel.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 6:08 PM on January 15, 2018 [4 favorites]


Huh. I think 🍩 really should be more of an anal sex analogy. Vaginas are more like 🐚, 🌺 or πŸ₯‘. And shouldn't we be ending with πŸŒ‹?
posted by Margalo Epps at 2:13 PM on January 16, 2018 [1 favorite]


I will never think of the Hartford 🐳ers the same way again.
posted by zippy at 11:06 AM on February 8, 2018


But the part that sparks my cynicism is "was this really a good book?"

Update: I bought the book and couldn't make it past Chapter Two. Well, I started again and made it halfway through Chapter Three before stopping again. (And I'm generally happy to enjoy a romance novel!) I'll leave it at that because I always think "what if the author came across this comment about something they poured years of their life into?" But it wasn't to my taste.
posted by salvia at 9:07 PM on February 9, 2018


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