MONDAY, FEBRUARY 16 This week of incriminated villains, fatally diverted lactation, and a missing clown statue found in an exceedingly creepy place kicked off in that unquantifiable miasma of tradition, ideals, aesthetic preference, diversion, and defense mechanisms known as popular culture, which in recent weeks has been dominated by Fifty Shades of Grey, the zillion-selling series of softcore porn novels with an attention-grabbing BDSM tinge, which began life as Twilight fan fiction and recently hit cinemas as a big-budget Hollywood film. Prior to its opening, Last Days saw this film, and here's what we learned: Dakota Johnson is a hero, Jamie "Muppet Baby Colin Firth" Dornan is a handsome snooze, and their film contains far more discussion of paperwork than it does kinky sex. But following its opening weekend, Fifty Shades of Grey might well be remembered as the movie that turned cinemas into crime scenes.
Exhibit A: The West Oaks Mall outside Orlando, Florida, where several dozen teens unable to purchase tickets to the R-rated Shades stormed a screening on Valentine's Day. "One employee was struck and suffered a minor injury during the incident, police said, leading to one arrest for battery," reported ABC News. Exhibit B: A cinema in Glasgow, Scotland, where three women—aged 31, 38, and 51—were arrested after allegedly assaulting a male audience member at a Shades screening over the weekend. "Despite press reports... a wine bottle was not used as a weapon," reported the BBC, noting that the three women were arrested for "alleged disorder offences" and alleged assault, and the man was not seriously injured in whatever went down. Exhibit C: A cinema in Sinaloa, Mexico, from which a 33-year-old woman was ejected after allegedly being caught masturbating at a weekend screening of Fifty Shades. "The flustered female was caught red-handed in the 12th row when outraged patrons sensed something fishy was going on," reported La Verdad, in prose as lithe and subtle as Fifty Shades itself.
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 17 In worse news, the week continued in Glendale, Oregon, where the parents of a 7-week-old boy who died last month were arrested on charges of murder after authorities determined the baby died of starvation. And oh, yeah: "Investigators say the mother used her breast milk for online pornography instead of feeding the child," reported KPIC, identifying the parents as 27-year-old Stephen Williams Jr. and 22-year-old Amanda Hancock. "Both parents worked in the online porn industry, and Hancock told investigators she would self-lactate for money and lactate onto something other than a bottle." Last Days is a fervent believer in the need to treat America's porn performers better. (We all appreciate their work, and then treat them like irreparably stained freaks. It's not fair.) But today's fatally idiotic wet-nurse fetishists give porn stars, parents, and the great state of Oregon a bad name. Williams and Hancock remain jailed on charges of murder by abuse.
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 18 The week continued with much better news involving a comparably reprehensible person: Hunter Moore, creator of the notorious "revenge porn" site IsAnyoneUp.com, where anyone—from vengeful exes to malicious hackers—could post sexually explicit photos of women without their consent. On Moore's site, photos were appended with the subject's biographical information, including full name, hometown, place of employment, and social-media presence. It was absolutely shitty and seemed like it shouldn't, even couldn't, be legal—a sentence that was today proven factual as Moore pleaded guilty to an array of charges that could put him in prison for years. "On Wednesday, Hunter Moore, 28... pleaded guilty to unauthorized access to a computer, aiding and abetting unauthorized access of a computer, and identity theft," reported Ars Technica. "The charges each carry a maximum penalty of two to five years in jail, though Moore will not be sentenced until a later date... Besides a prison term and years of supervised parole, Moore's plea agreement specifies that the government may delete all the data on Moore's seized digital devices."
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 19 In better news, the week continues in Texas, where today Sarah Goodfriend and Suzanne Bryant—a lesbian couple that's been together for about 30 years—became the first and only same-sex couple to be issued a marriage license in the state. "A [Travis County] judge made a one-time exception to allow the license to be issued, saying Goodfriend was in poor health due to ovarian cancer and denying the couple the license violated their rights under the US Constitution," reported Reuters. Nevertheless, tomorrow the Texas attorney general will ask the state supreme court to have the license—and the marriage—declared void. It takes a big man to ask a bunch of judges to void the marriage of a woman dying of cancer. Congratulations, Sarah Goodfriend and Suzanne Bryant!
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 20 Meanwhile in Kansas, today brought a rare and cherished thing: a news story concerning the whereabouts of a clown statue. As the Associated Press reported, in one intrigue-riddled sentence: "A ceramic clown that went missing from a closed Wichita amusement park more than a decade ago has been found at the home of a sex offender who once worked at the park and two decades ago helped restore the clown." The 50-year-old statue of Louie the Clown—the mascot of Wichita's Joyland amusement park—was found earlier this week in the home of Damien Mayes, a 39-year-old man currently in prison for aggravated sodomy and indecent liberties with a child. "Police say that the nearly 50-year-old clown is worth about $10,000," reported the AP.
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 21 Nothing happened today, unless you count the 4-year-old in Wasilla, Alaska, who was shot in the leg after his mother's handgun fell out of its holster and fired. "Troopers say the family was leaving a pickup when the woman's .357-caliber handgun fell, struck the pavement on its hammer, and fired," reported the Associated Press. "The shot hit the 4-year-old just above the knee. The bullet went through the boy's leg and lodged in a building." The boy was nonfatally injured, and no one has been charged with anything.
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 22 The week ends with the annual television broadcast of the Academy Awards, starring an overbearing Doogie, an over-rewarded Birdman, beautiful and pertinent speeches from John Legend and Common and Alejandro Iñárritu, an "In Memoriam" appearance by the Northwest's beloved Misty Upham, and the whiplash drama of Patricia Arquette. Blessed with an Oscar for her beautiful work in Boyhood, Arquette took the podium to deliver a rousing call for women's equality, and then stumbled backstage into an infelicitous phrasing that, on the upside, inspired 1,001 intro-to-intersectionality discussions across the nation.