The Cultural Gutter

taking trash seriously

"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars." -- Oscar Wilde

About

“My experience of life is that it is not divided up into genres; it’s a horrifying, romantic, tragic, comical, science-fiction cowboy detective novel. You know, with a bit of pornography if you’re lucky.”
― Alan Moore

 

The Cultural Gutter is updated every Thursday afternoon with a new article about an artistic pursuit generally considered to be beneath consideration. Carol Borden draws out the best in comics, Chris Szego dallies with romance, alex MacFadyen stares deeply into the screen, Keith Allison probes science-fiction, and our Guest Stars shine here.

Thanks to EJ Lee for providing the fantastic art we used in the banner and The Cultural Gutter book.

While the writers have considerable enthusiasm for their subjects, they don’t let it numb their critical faculties. Tossing away the shield of journalistic objectivity and refusing the shovel of fannish boosterism, they write in the hopes of starting honest and intelligent discussions about these oft-enjoyed but rarely examined artforms. Contact us here.

Our Editors

Raised by two international catburglars, Carol Borden turned her back on her heritage to take up a life of art. Sometimes, late at night, she regrets her decision. You can read and listen to some of her other shenanigans at  Monstrous Industry. For her particular take on gutter culture, check out, “In the Sewer with the Alligators.”

Chris Szego reads romance. Along with poetry, mystery, sf, non-fiction of all kinds, cereal boxes (but not horror, because she’s kind of a chicken). For her particular take on the gutter, check out, “Love For Sale.”

Born and raised in Canada’s Cowtown, alex MacFadyen first embraced the cultural gutter through the local country music station. Needless to say, his family did not get it, and that was only the beginning. For his particular take on the gutter, check out, “The Social Relevance of Jackassery.”

When he’s not explaining some obscure historical or anthropological point while oblivious to the fact that he is slowly sinking in quicksand, Keith Allison writes about Science Fiction and Fantasty for The Cultural Gutter and runs the cult culture website Teleport City. For his particular take on gutter culture, check out, “The Sci-Fi Life.

SF/F Editor Emeritus James Schellenberg lives in Ottawa, and runs a book website called BiblioTravel that keeps track of where fiction is set. For his particular take on gutter culture, check out, “Even When They’re Wrong, They’re Right.” (Retired from The Gutter).

Screen Editor Emeritus Ian Driscoll is the screenwriter of numerous gutter-level films including the Harry Knuckles series, Jesus Christ, Vampire Hunter, The Dead Sleep Easy and Smash Cut. His day job is in advertising, which helps explain the drinking. And, because he apparently needed another thing to keep him busy, he recently became a partner in running Ottawa’s oldest surviving cinema, the Mayfair Theatre. If he had a band, he would name it Two-Panel Marmaduke. For his particular take on the Gutter, check out, “Dangerous Because it Has a Philosophy.” (retired from The Gutter)

Jim Munroe has written three science-fiction novels. His videogame column in eye is called Pleasure Circuit. His No Media Kings website is home to his projects as well as many do-it-yourself articles on movie and book making. He lives with his wife in Toronto’s Annex neighbourhood but enjoys an occasional trip to Liberty City, where he’s shot a lot of video. For his particular take on gutter culture, check out, “Vive Le Gutter!” (Retired from The Gutter)

Guy Leshinski is a writer and editor, a slapdash cartoonist and bass player, and sometime bon vivant. His comics column, The Panelist, appears every other week in Toronto’s eye Weekly. For his particular take on gutter culture, check out, “Gutter Thoughts.” (Retired from The Gutter)

Video Games editor Andrew Smale has retired from The Gutter.

Movie Editor Robin Bougie is writer and editor for the seminal Cinema Sewer magazine (retired from The Gutter)

 

Affiliations

The Cultural Gutter is a member site of The Mysterious Order of the Skeleton Suit (M.O.S.S.), a shadowy confederation of like-minded writers, broadcasters, creators, and jetsetters who have banded together in a bold mission to bring international intrigue and pop entertainment to the masses. Can anyone stand in the way of their diabolical schemes???

 

 

 

The Cultural Gutter is also a proud sponsor of The Drive-In Mob, along with the Grindhouse Cinema Database and Shelf Life Clothing Company.  Find the Mob on Twitter every Thursday and join in the tweetalong with the hashtag “#driveinmob” as we watch a classic genre film double feature.  Check driveinmob.com  or @driveinmob on Twitter for the weekly schedule and learn more about the Mob’s history here.

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    The Royal Court Theatre hosts a conversation among former Anonymous LulzSec members facilitated by anthropologist Gabriella Coleman.

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    “Japan’s estimated population at the time of their last census was 127 million, and people have been living on this small collection of islands since the Jomon period (~12,000 BCE.) In an increasingly crowded country with a strong traditional belief in ghosts and hauntings, the question of avoiding a marauding ghost becomes impossible to solve, without outside help.”Atlas Obscura has more (with neat illustrations).

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    At Mostly Film, Blake Backlash writes about films “mixing of Hollywood’s Grande Dames with Grand Guignol.”  “Such cinematic mixing of Grande Dames and Grand Guignol had its heyday in the second-half of the sixties, and such films are sometimes (more-or-less) affectionately known as psycho-biddy pictures. They tended to feature an actress over 50 in some sort of peril, a melodramatic plot and a title that ends in a question mark.  But there is another, related tradition that goes back further that I think we could place these films in.” (via Dr. Giallo)

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    “I want to tell you about when violent campaigns against harmless bloggers weren’t any halfway decent troll’s idea of a good time—even the then-malicious would’ve found it too easy to be fun. When the punches went up, not down. Before the best players quit or went criminal or were changed by too long a time being angry. When there was cruelty, yes, and palpable strains of sexism and racism and every kind of phobia, sure, but when these things had the character of adolescents pushing the boundaries of cheap shock, disagreeable like that but not criminal. Not because that time was defensible—it wasn’t, not really—but because it was calmer and the rage wasn’t there yet. Because trolling still meant getting a rise for a laugh, not making helpless people fear for their lives because they’re threatening some Redditor’s self-proclaimed monopoly on reason. I want to tell you about it because I want to make sense of how it is now and why it changed.” Emmett Rensin writes more at Vox.

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    At Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, Elyse has some things to say about reading Romance. “In the end, it doesn’t matter what I read. It doesn’t even matter that I do read, quite frankly. What matters is that we live in a world where fiction aimed directly at women is perceived as garbage. That doesn’t say anything at all about me, it says a lot about what needs to change.”

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    Brain Pickings looks at the life and work of Tove Jansson and the wisdom of her character, Too-ticky. “Too-ticky, the sage of Moominvalley who solves even the most existential of problems with equal parts practicality and wisdom, was inspired by the love of Jansson’s life — the great Finnish sculptor and graphic arts pioneer Tuulikki “Tooti” Pietilä, Jansson’s spouse. The two women met in art school during their twenties and remained together until Jansson’s death more than six decades later, collaborating on a lifetime of creative projects — all at a time when queer couples were straddling the impossible line between anguishing invisibility and dangerous visibility.” (via Kate Laity)

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