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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

No Excuses: Responding To One-Handed Reviews

On Sunday night, a hacker leaked stolen nude photos of Jennifer Lawrence (among a host of other female stars) and dumped them into the Internet’s toilet, 4Chan. As a result, this week the media has been even more obsessed with celebrities’ bodies than usual. The pictures were rapidly disseminated, and it wasn’t long before Twitter was thronging with breathless, sweaty men typing one-handed reviews of the pictures, while other people (women, mostly) exhorted them to have some decency. Perhaps awash in pink-cheeked, post-masturbatory guilt, the men began to defend themselves: "She's famous!” they wailed, "What does she expect?", and "The pictures are out now, there's no harm in looking!" Some pointed out that the nudes were high quality, so Lawrence needn't feel bad about them, while other thin-lipped puritans chided her for taking the photos in the first place. READ MORE

What I've Learned From My Side Job Critiquing Dick Pics

In September this year, I woke up to an excellent dick pic. I can remember it quite clearly: it was a low-lit shot of a firmly-erect penis straining sideways through boxers, and I was thrilled to receive it: it was subtle, it wasn’t unsolicited, and it was unusually sexy for a Snapchatted cock shot. It also changed the trajectory of my life. I don’t want to send anyone’s ego out of the stratosphere by saying that, but it’s not really an exaggeration: after I received that photo, invigorated and shot through with dopamine, I tweeted about how rare and encouraging it was to receive a decent dick pic. That sparked an online conversation about how to improve the dismal state of dick pics—I would classify them as generally dull, artless and unsolicited—and that lead to my rise as the Internet’s most beloved dick pic critic. READ MORE