Monday, October 20, 2014


Perverts & Prisons: Madeleine Holden on John Grisham

The internet throngs daily with bad opinions, but every few weeks an argument will emerge that’s so thoroughly wrongheaded and deeply reprehensible that we're all forced to engage with it. Last week it came in the form of statements made during an interview with once-popular crime novelist John Grisham. Grisham, in case you missed it, issued a suspiciously impassioned defence of middle-aged white men who are imprisoned for accessing child sex abuse images, arguing that these men are harmless because they don’t physically touch children and should therefore be receiving more lenient punishment; and and if that sounds like an alarming position for a best-selling author and lawyer to hold, that's because it is. Grisham’s stomach-dropping defence of white sex offenders his age has rightly enraged advocates for child abuse victims (as well as most other basically decent people), and while he has since apologized for his statements in the wake of widespread criticism, the damage is more or less done. Here's a rundown of the most galling elements of Grisham’s wholly indefensible thesis: READ MORE


Yogurt Ghosts Laughing Alone With Salad on Their Heads



"This over-the-top Toronto mansion has hosted the likes of Pierre Elliott Trudeau and Jane Fonda, but its biggest claim to fame is a leading role in the Olsen twins' hit film It Takes Two."

The mansion plays a minor role in the classically brutal Olsen twins' film, but we've pulled out a few cameos throughout the home tour.

Contrary to popular belief, I do not have an Olsen Twins Google Alert; I believe Olsen Twins-related links have to come to me naturally, that searching for them dispels their magic. Luckily the universe always provides a way.


Weekend Roundup / Open Thread

"Happy" end of the week, I guess, even though it started with Haley LEAVING ME AND GOING BACK TO TORONTO. :( :( :( The above photo is meant to be an sarcastic posturing of what not to do, but take it as you will. Let's wipe our tears and review the week: we studied the history of eyebrows, interviewed Mary Timothy, changed our last name, sat through a Tarantino explainer, created the overdue Mrs. Markowitz slug, ate potatoes pesky whipper-snapper style, definitely had sex, explored the complexities of female friendship, got advice from Baba Yaga, and waxed poetic about Michael Jackson. We ALSO brought back the Halloween Advent Calendar, with the help of the ever-so spoOooOky Jolie Kerr: we started with our Halloween rituals, a solid listicle, a themed-Ask a Queer Chick, visited some witchcraft and magic museums, and a spell book of beauty.

Behind the scenes: both Haley and Anna sent me this article about pooping at the office, so my personal brand is on point.

There are a deluge of women to be proud of this week: Julianne Escobedo Shepherd at Rookie on FKA Twigs, Sarah Hagi at The Toast on talking over Muslim women, this Flavorwire review on Hairpin pal's Kathleen Hale's essays, and Stacey May Fowles in The Globe and Mail on Emma Healey's "Stories Like Passwords." Dang, your Instapaper is gonna be good this weekend. Enjoy it!


13 SpoOOoky Witchcraft And Magic Museums To Visit

Thematic tourism can be great (it also can be exploitative, which is not so great). Since it's October, the witchiest, most magical month, we've rounded up 13 of the hocus-y pocus-y museums around the world.

1. Museum of Witchcraft, Cornwall, UK
Cornwall is the mother of all witchcraft museums, which we mention by way of asking: who wants to go on a field trip? The museum's website notes that important events in its history have fallen on Samhain and Hallowe'en. Their Twitter feed is bananas and delightful and the reason that I follow Cornish Folklore. Also the museum was founded by a man named Cecil. READ MORE


Spell Book of Beauty

I’ve talked about makeup as magic before—it bleeds through my work. Sometimes I take the message literally and make beauty a ritual to do in the dark. And you know, it’s always worked, even if not entirely in the ways you would expect it to. Here are a few of my favorite spells. READ MORE

The Sad Parents of #Gamergate

All around the country, parents are sitting down to have the talk with their children. Not about sex or mortality or college. They're having the talk about Gamergate. From our own comments:

I have a 17 year old son and trying to point out the actual facts in this story is like trying to convince a rabid 70 year old FOX viewer that Obama is not a terrorist, born on Mars, here to take your guns.
"It's about ethics, mom. Don't you care about ETHICS?"

He's not down with the death threats though, so I guess Yay?

Imagine! You hear your child talking animatedly about something. He steps closer and you hear him say "bias" and "Sarkeesian." The words drip with spite. Later, you hear him through the bedroom door, talking to his webcam: "No, it's about corruption in games journalism!" What do you do?



As for his own sporting prowess, Wang admitted his passion was very much style based.

"I don't do any sports! I only wear sports clothing."

Same tbh.

Witchy Feelings About My Index Fund

11513424364_f48b8cb877_zWhen I first got some money, a man who was going to do my taxes said that he and his firm would take care of my money for me, and make sure that it grew and grew. He said I would always have access to it, and I could take some out whenever I wanted. It would be like a bank account. And they'd make sure I would have a wonderful retirement, or something like that.

I didn’t like the idea of this, of some man taking care of my money for me. I did not know how to take care of my money myself yet, but I knew I did not want a man to take care of it, either. Someone was going to call me, to continue to sell me on this idea. I knew that this is what people did, you let people who knew a thing or two about it to handle everything. For a price. And that your money performed well, whatever that meant, was in the money guy’s best interest, too. Which I also didn’t like. I didn’t want anyone else’s best interests mixed up with mine.

I wanted the money somewhere I could see it, where it could slowly become real to me and I could slowly learn how to take care of it. I wasn’t ready yet but unlike a pet or a person it could sit in the corner unused for awhile as I got my wits about me. Yes, it was losing value with every breath I took. Yes, I was missing opportunity after opportunity for growth. But I had control. Or if not control, no one else had control either.

Like a pet or a house or a child, I grew more attached to this money the more I thought about it. And the more I thought about it the more it became mine. READ MORE


I really, really loved Top of the Lake, and by loved it I mean I watched the entire first season in two days and by the last episode my boyfriend and I were sitting as far away as possible from each other, on opposite ends of our very tiny couch, totally unable to make eye contact or process our emotions in any sort of healthy way. I'm very excited/terrified to revisit all those feelings during the recently announced second season!!


The Zombie Apocalypse, "Shark Week," and My Great-Grandmother’s Vengeful Ghost Screams

My girlfriend and I have been going through a rough patch lately. In fact, we were on the verge of breaking up, then we decided to stick it out, but then the zombie apocalypse broke loose and suddenly we both had a lot on our plate and not much energy left over to process and get our relationship back on track. I just found out that she was bitten by a zombie, but has been covering up the wound (which is about two days old and looks really nasty) while she tries to figure out a way to cure the virus. I feel betrayed by the fact that she withheld this information from me, especially when she knew that one of the biggest issues in our relationship was her being unwilling to share. Is there any hope for us, or should I just cut her head off and move on?

It’s incredibly difficult to repair a faltering relationship even under normal circumstances, much less while you’re trying to fend off legions of the undead that hunger for your flesh. Kudos to you for trying to make it work—that takes maturity and commitment—but there’s also something to be said for knowing when to let go. READ MORE


Forgotten Monsters

Garfel: Over the years, Hans Christian Anderson’s Little Mermaid was radically changed from her original form. The sad, painful dancer who turns into depressed seafoam after her one true love weds another became Ariel, a sexy, wide-eyed redhead, who successfully wins her man without even a small jig. In this same manner, Garfel, an ancient Norse demon who kept little Vikings awake for centuries, has been softened for weak modern children. Once known as a mostly-dormant feline beast whose ravenous appetite and formidable rage exploded only at the beginning of each week, today he is a cat who is funnier when he is not even around. His nemesis, Odin, was slightly changed for the modern version as well. READ MORE


"I Want You Back" Is Back


Forgive me for forgetting: last Tuesday was the 45th anniversary of the release of the Jackson 5's "I Want You Back," ranked 121 on Rolling Stone's list of greatest songs of all time, ninth on their list of Best Pop Songs Since 1963, and listed in the Jazmine Hughes Quarterly as one of the things considered to be damn near perfect (other entries: When Harry Met Sally, Mingus Ah Um, the chicken pad thai found at Jasmine Thai, in New London, Connecticut).

I've missed out on a lot of pop culture, which is unfortunate since I'm obsessed with it. I never hesitate to insert myself into any conversation about it, using background information gleaned from VH1's I Love the 80's and other talking head programs as my fuel. Earlier this year, I was consumed with the idea of designations of "best" or "most important" — since I was already 22 years behind, I only had time to catch up on good stuff. So I started poring over "best of" lists, collated, of course, to organize our history, to make sense of trends, and to track changes, but also to incense and infuriate, to spark discussions and cause disagreements. Any discussion of a pop culture ranking list ultimately culminates in "they're wrong!"/"I'm right!"-based exasperation, resulting in more click-throughs, more copies sold, more times the name of the publication leaves your mouth, all in an effort to prove your point. Arguing with them — the arbiters of best, whoever they are — is exactly what they want.


Ask Baba Yaga: How Can I Make Peace With Death?

unnamed Transcript after the jump. READ MORE

Why My Baby Doesn't Eat Animals

pigHaving a child means that you, as a parent, wield incredible power. You can dress your baby exclusively in green, or never let her hear Simon & Garfunkel (as if) or Iggy Azalea (oops, I wish). Arguably the greatest power arrives with the introduction of “solid food” into your baby’s mouth, around the time they are six months old. I thought for a very long time, even talking it over with friends, about what Zelda’s first food should be. I was told by my doctor to start with something naturally mushy. I settled on a daily vacillation between the avocado and the banana.

Zelda didn’t want to wait until she was six months old. By the time she was four-and-a-half months old, she was trying to grab food from my hands, or off of my plate. So, one afternoon, in a less momentous fashion than I had imagined, I mashed up both an avocado and a banana and offered them to her, minutes apart. She took the spoon from me and hoisted it into her mouth herself. She made a face, but she was also “chewing” as she handed the spoon back to me for a refill. A lot of what I gave her on the spoon fell out of her mouth and onto the floor, where the dog was anxiously waiting. But Zelda clearly understood the ritual: The next day, when I fed her sweet potato which I had peeled, steamed, and pureed, more went in—and stayed in. In less than a week, she’d been introduced to green beans, peas, carrots, and leeks (which I steamed with a small piece of potato and pureed for her).

Now, at eight months old, with just two teeth, Zelda can chomp down anything you hand over, in smallish chunks. She likes her food pureed or not, warm or not. Toast, strawberries, steamed broccoli, pasta noodles. She eats a lot, usually feeding herself, and often sharing with the dog. The one thing Zelda has never tasted, however, is an animal. READ MORE