All I Want for Christmas Is Malcolm Gladwell's Masturbation Bible

Illustration for article titled All I Want for Christmas Is Malcolm Gladwell's Masturbation Bible
Photo: Bryan Bedder (Getty Images)

Jerking off is good! It can relieve stress. It can pass time. It can induce sleep. It can even help you finish your tax returns. Jerking off in front of people without their permission is bad! And jerking off in front of people without their permission while you’re at work is worse!

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There doesn’t seem to be any space here for disagreement. This seems to be obvious! Again, jerking off is great! And a great thing about it is that it allows for a wide spectrum of solo kink. If, for instance, you get off by sticking your dick in a jar of peanut butter, you can do that! You probably should not eat that peanut butter, and you definitely shouldn’t offer it to guests, but fuck all the jars of peanut butter you want, if that’s your thing! Just not while on a Zoom work call.

Perplexingly, there are people who disagree with the whole “jerking off in front of people without their permission—and while you’re at work—is badthing. One of these people is Malcolm Gladwell.

From “The Undoing of Jeffrey Toobin” (via the New York Times):

Malcolm Gladwell, one of the magazine’s best known contributors, said in an interview: “I read the Condé Nast news release, and I was puzzled because I couldn’t find any intellectual justification for what they were doing. They just assumed he had done something terrible, but never told us what the terrible thing was. And my only feeling — the only way I could explain it — was that Condé Nast had taken an unexpected turn toward traditional Catholic teaching.” (Mr. Gladwell then took out his Bible and read to a reporter an allegory from Genesis 38 in which God strikes down a man for succumbing to the sin of self-gratification.)

It is taking everything in me to not spend 2,000 words unpacking “They just assumed he had done something terrible, but never told us what the terrible thing was.” Fam, I want to do this so badly that I put myself in a straitjacket and Hannibal Lector’s face mask to prevent me from it. But that would take more of my (and your) time than this story deserves, so instead, I just have questions about Malcolm Gladwell’s Bible quote.

Did he bookmark that allegory for whenever he needed it to defend a friend caught masturbating on a Zoom work call?

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Like perhaps he read it years ago and thought “Lemme bank this in case a reporter from the Times ever asks if I’m cool with my homie poaching the egg during a work meeting.”

Or maybe does he just have a catalog of work masturbation-defending scriptures in his head?

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Like maybe verses from Genesis, Leviticus, Philippians, and Ruth that each provide intellectual justifications for burping the worm while colleagues witness?

Or maybe does Gladwell read the Bible with masturbation goggles?

Like, if we read “He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone at her does he read “He that is without sin among you, let him jerk off while co-workers watch in horror”?

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Does Gladwell carry his Bible with him just in case there’s a work masturbation-defending emergency, like how a person without a big brain like his might carry Juicy Fruit?

Does he have multiple Bibles for this purpose?

One in his attaché, one at his desk, one in his car, and even a Bible iPhone app for tight situations?

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Or does he just carry a bunch with him everywhere he goes?

Like if you were to visit his home, and he invited you to sit down in his living room, would there be like 27 Bibles on his couch?

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And then he’d be like “Oh yeah. The Bibles. I forgot they were there.”

And you’d be like “Why do you have so many Bibles, Malcolm?”

And he’d be like “For insurance.”

Or does Gladwell buy special masturbation Bibles?

Like how kids’ Bibles sometimes have notes and summaries underneath the verses, does Gladwell’s Bible come equipped with notes that say things like “Use this if you wish to perplex a poor reporter just asking a simple question about masturbation-related work etiquette”?

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If so, where did he buy them?

(Asking for a friend.)

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)

DISCUSSION

feministonfire
FeministOnFire

So, here’s yet another man, albeit a very intelligent, educated and well-read man, reflexively and vociferously defending another man for doing whatever he wants, where he wants with no regard for others?

Or, is it just me or does it seem like Malcolm just wants the employer to release all the explicit details of exactly what people SAW Toobin doing with descriptions of size, coloration and configuration, form and technique?????

Cuz, it’s clear that he has enthusiastically studied the concept of masturbation, approves of it and dismisses any criticism of its propriety in any situation as provincial and ‘Catholic’.