Casting a sceptical eye on sex, media and politics

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Max Clifford outside court. Photo: Getty
We must not hide Max Clifford's crimes behind a veil of euphemisms
By Martin Robbins - 03 May 13:59

The media has reported Max Clifford's crimes in vague terms - as "abuse" or "grooming". But in trying to protect ourselves, we are making it easier to minimise what he did.

Cameron's internet filter goes far beyond porn - and that was always the plan
By Martin Robbins - 23 December 14:16

Through secretive negotiations with ISPs, the coalition has divided the internet into 'acceptable' and 'unacceptable' categories and cut people off from huge swathes of it at the stroke of a key.

Sex Box with Mariella Frostrup.
The strange prudishness of Channel 4's Sex Box
By Martin Robbins - 10 October 8:50

“Couples speak openly and honestly about sex within a loving relationship,” Mariella Frostrup tells us as she opens the show, and suddenly we’re stuck in a curtain-twitching socially-conservative moral rut.

Atheism is maturing, and it will leave Richard Dawkins behind
By Martin Robbins - 09 August 12:02

Increasingly, Richard Dawkins' public output resembles that of a man desperately grasping for attention and relevance in a maturing community.

A model leaves a photography studio after posing for pornographic shots
First they came for the porn stars: the problem with an online filter
By Martin Robbins - 30 July 12:40

The idea that you can tackle misogyny with a porn filter or a plastic bag is one of the more ludicrous conceits of social conservatives in modern times.

A still from sallymorgan.tv
Skeptics shouldn't have lined up with the Mail to call Psychic Sally a fraud
By Martin Robbins - 21 June 12:52

We shouldn’t be afraid to tell people the full story, or admit the things we don’t know. Otherwise, we’ve engaged in exactly the sort of sloppy, lazy, error-prone journalism we’d normally criticise.

New Statesman
Check your sanity privilege: writing online can be bad for your mental health
By Martin Robbins - 30 April 14:08

Mental health is a complicated thing, problems arise for complicated reasons, and the idea that it’s simply a question of being unable to cope with bad things is deeply unhelpful.

Giving space to Andrew Wakefield on MMR isn't balance, it's lunacy
By Martin Robbins - 13 April 15:52

The Independent should not have run the discredited doctor's claims on its front page today, says Martin Robbins.

A Littlejohn Iceberg.
If Richard Littlejohn didn’t exist, you’d have to make him up
By Martin Robbins - 26 March 11:04

Censoring the Daily Mail columnist, particularly in the wake of Lucy Meadows’ death, is tempting. But his views are still shared by millions, and worse is said on social media every single minute.

The gates to BBC Television Centre
Savile: Denialism and the "grooming the nation" delusion
By Martin Robbins - 14 January 14:32

The myth that Savile "groomed the nation" is pure denialism - pretending that the problem isn’t about us but some other group.

Sir Patrick Moore: A great and bad man
By Martin Robbins - 10 December 13:00

The astronomer inspired many, but we cannot whitewash his sexist, xenophobic and homophobic comments as the outbursts of a quirky old eccentric.

The problem Leveson can't solve: we want newspapers to lie to us
By Martin Robbins - 28 November 18:06

"As long as our insatiable demand for trashy gossip and comforting lies remains it will continue to be satisfied by any means possible", writes Martin Robbins.

Breast cakes. KHRawlings/Flickr
The sinister campaign against Page 3
By Martin Robbins - 03 October 12:08

At worst, campaigners are engaging in exactly the same sort of sexual policing and censorship that The Sun does. The answer is more nudity, not less, says Martin Robbins.

The trouble with TED talks
By Martin Robbins - 10 September 13:33

In the cult of TED, everything is awesome and inspirational, and ideas aren’t supposed to be challenged, says Martin Robbins.

Why do we let the Prudocracy police our sexual fantasies?
By Martin Robbins - 20 August 13:33

I masturbate. You masturbate. Let's not get our knickers in such a twist about it, says Martin Robbins.

A Greenpeace activist covers the logo of the Shell oil company
Epic Shell PR fail? No, the real villains here are Greenpeace
By Martin Robbins - 18 July 11:15

Since when were Greenpeace the bad guys?

Kim Kardashian
The doublethink that allows tabloids to campaign against online porn
By Martin Robbins - 06 July 9:26

A teenage rapist was excused by a judge because he had been "corrupted" by online filth. Where's the evidence?

Kendall and Kylie Jenner are regular fixtures on Mail Online
Sex, children and Mail Online
By Martin Robbins - 11 June 11:09

The Daily Mail campaigns against the sexualisation of children. Meanwhile, its website runs pictures of 14-year-old Kylie Jenner in a "tiny wetsuit" and "skimpy bikinis". What's wrong here?

Life without the Queen - a cleaner on the Buckingham Palace balcony
The real meaning of the Jubilee
By Martin Robbins - 02 June 12:32

It’s a celebration of people who celebrate the Queen, which is why I find the occasion so sinister.