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ICYMI: Leave Ben Affleck Alone, Butt-Jutting at the Office and Empathy Through Simulated Labor

In recent years I’m sad to say I got a kick out of the many, many Ben Affleck memes that exist in the world. But what I failed to realize—and, in retrospect, feel pretty bad about—was that I was witnessing the slow downward fall of a man in the grips of a serious mental and physical health crisis. Even as recently as last week I was giggling at the photo of Affleck at Jack in the Box about to consume his final, sad meal before rehab.

Then I read Miles Klee’s take today on how we’ve all done Affleck wrong, and I can honestly say I’m a changed man. Why do we (myself included) get a kick out of seeing people struggle—especially those whose struggle takes place in public? If Affleck is, in fact, going through some shit, we should be supportive of that journey; scorn and mockery doesn’t do anybody any good—Affleck or those who might one day follow in his footsteps in terms of asking for help.

Check that one out, as well as everything else we published today, below.

Must Read

“It Wouldn’t Kill You to Be a Little Nicer to Ben Affleck”
It’s 2018, and we’re still shaming people for getting the mental and physical help they need? From focusing on his looks to his pre-rehab Jack in the Box order, the media’s “coverage” of Affleck’s alcoholism shows just how unwilling we still are to understand substance abuse — or kill the stigma around it. READ MORE

A Film Critic On… ‘The Happytime Murders’

On watching a good idea end in failure:The Happytime Murders is what happens when filmmakers try (and fail) to capitalize on the desecration of childhood innocence.”

On legacy: “Future degenerates should study The Happytime Murders so as not to make the same mistakes.”

On desperation: “It’s not that the humor’s in poor taste — it’s that the humor is really desperate.”

On trying too hard: The Happytime Murders mostly flails around in its own flop sweat.”

On the film’s cringe factor: “It wants you to enjoy its lewdness, but because you don’t feel like you’re in sure hands, you just feel bad for the movie and everybody involved in it.”

On silver linings: “Maya Rudolph is just a pro, delivering some excellent deadpan amidst the nonsense swirling around her. This movie isn’t good, but she is.”

On summing up what seeing this movie is like:

Kick Kicking GIF by The Happytime Murders - Find & Share on GIPHY

Get the rest of MEL critic-at-large Tim Grierson’s take on The Happytime Murders—including the treasure that is Maya Rudolph, the movie’s best parts in GIF form and a look back on Jim Henson’s early experiments in psychedelia—here.

WTF is in Ranch Dressing?

Ranch is one of those condiments that, you’re not quite sure what’s in it, only that it’s delicious on pizza (and everything else). Like, it’s mayo-based— probably? Maybe? Beyond that, I’m not so sure. So what else is in there? A lot. Such as:

Phosphoric Acid: This is an anti-rust treatment so that your stomach doesn’t oxidize. Just kidding! Kind of. But seriously, this helps give ranch its tart flavor.

Monosodium Glutamate: Awww yisss, MSG. This “flavor enhancer” is what makes you think long and hard about possibly drinking ranch straight from the bottle.

Sorbic Acid and Calcium Disodium EDTA: Ever notice that the bottle you opened in Obama’s last term is still good for some reason? This stuff is why.

Find out what the other 15 ingredients in your bottle of Hidden Valley do here.

Put Your Butt Bone Into It

Welp, add sitting to the list of things that are fucking up our bodies. Here’s why it’s so bad for your back, and why jutting out your butt like a weirdo may be the one thing—short of standing up and going for a brisk walk—that can reverse its negative effects.

Speaking of Butts…

Just… sigh. It’s an unfortunate requirement of this industry that when the concept of “butthole eyes”—like the sunken, ringed ones so coined by Barstool Sports that happen to rest on either side of Pete Davidson’s nose—start making the rounds on Twitter, we’ve gotta know more.

So we asked a doctor and a beauty expert, are butthole eyes a thing? And, are they caused by hard-partying—and thus, worthy of memes—or the result of the comic’s Crohn’s disease, as his fiancé Ariana Grande has suggested? Let’s find out.

Don’t Say He Never Did Anything For You

Despite endless cliches about malingering baby-men who can’t handle a cold, but never think to ask if their partner is okay — a new study suggests we’ve got it all wrong: Men actually do take care of their spouses just as well as women when they’re sick. Take that, assholes!

The Internet’s First King of Kink

Colin Rowntree was just trying to launch a mail-order catalog for leather fetish clothing when he founded (NSFW) in 1994. It wasn’t until he noticed guys coming to the site in droves, but not actually buying anything, that he figured out visitors were more interested in the pictures of leather-clad women than they were in the clothes themselves. And so, BDSM on the world wide web was born: For a measly $50, fans could look at all of the kink they wanted. And the rest, as they say, is history. Read all about the life of the internet’s first kink pioneer, here.

Giving Birth: The Simulation

Want to feel true empathy? How about what it feels like to “shit out a mini fridge”? Well, now you can, by putting yourself through the Labour Pain Experience. That’s exactly what contributing writer Stuart Messham did, when he let a technician at the Ultrasound Baby Face in Bristol, U.K., strap electrodes to his abdomen and shock him as part of a simulated labor.

Animated GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Feel his—and every child-birthing woman’s—pain, here.

Too Long, Didn’t Read

What’s with all this talk of “Big Dick Energy”? Well, in many ways, it started with Anthony Bourdain. Just after the beloved celebrity chef and bon vivant died, the internet began to suspect that the man was harboring a hog in his pants—just by the way he seemed to carry himself. And a meme was born.

Much like a soul, you can just feel big dick energy — even from a distance. It’s in the eyes. Allow us to explain.