The Cultural Gutter

dangerous because it has a philosophy

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

I Double Dog Dare You

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Last month I wrote about Jackass as a cultural project, but what I initially intended to write about was how I feel just a little bit better about myself and the world after watching it. And no, it’s not because they’re all more of a jackass than I am. Like this:Like Loading…

The Social Relevance of Jackassery

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Jackass isn’t as stupid as it seems on the surface. I mean, there’s no question it’s jackassery and that’s the main draw, but it’s also a really interesting cultural project. Like this:Like Loading…

Ready for Prime Time in Belgrade

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This month Gutter Guest Star Kat Gligorijevic writes about watching tv and movies in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. Part 1 “Tumbling for Boy George in Baghdad” can be found here. It was the late ’80s and I was nine years old when my family returned to Belgrade from Baghdad. I was already a more sophisticated television viewer. […]

Tumbling for Boy George in Baghdad

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This month the Cultural Gutter features the first of two articles by Katarina Gligorijevic about growing up with Western pop culture in Baghdad and Belgrade. My first time setting foot on North American soil was in 1989, when my family arrived in Toronto. It has remained my home ever since, and I credit the ease […]

Pilgrim’s Progress

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Former Comics Editor, Guy Leshinski has very kindly given us permission to reprint a prophetic interview with Bryan Lee O’Malley in 2005.  Will Bryan Lee O’Malley attain the Holy Grail of cartoonists? As Bryan says, “We’ll see…” There’s a girl sitting on the subway. She’s 16 or so, in a brown corduroy jacket and a […]

Don’t Let The Sheepinator Fool You

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Does being amused by turning non-ovine creatures into sheep make you a bad person? It doesn’t seem like a serious question, but appearances can fool you. Especially, according to Plato, if you are a fool. I think it’s safe to say that there would have been no video games in the Republic. Like this:Like Loading…

Fooling the System

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“Fisher,” they’d cry, “we’re going to find you.” They were looking in the wrong place. I was already somewhere else. And as they approached the last position they saw me, that somewhere else was right behind them. Either a clean bullet to the head or some other form of quick, close, personal death, they slump […]

Saturday Morning Happy Hour

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Racial epithets. Topless women. Speeches interrupted by blowjobs. Steve Guttenberg. Doesn’t seem like fodder for a Saturday morning cartoon show. But in the late 80s the film Police Academy, which subjected viewers to such adult situations, spawned an animated series of the same name. Running for two seasons, the series featured the original franchise’s characters–Mahoney, […]

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Science Fiction Again

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It’s been years since I’ve read any straight-up science-fiction. You know, the classic stuff by authors like Arthur C. Clarke or Robert Heinlein or Isaac Asimov. But I got back into it recently through A.E. Van Vogt, having picked-up a used copy of Empire of the Atom. Like this:Like Loading…

Avatar SCHMAvatar, or, Change the Playa Not the Game

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The film industry is a magical business. I don’t mean magical in the “Hollywood movie magic” sense, as is typically employed by awards show musical numbers and the California Board of Tourism. I mean that it is an industry with a business model that is not, and by its very nature cannot, be constructed on […]

If You Could Turn Back Time

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You remember the ending of the original Superman movie starring Christopher Reeve, directed by Richard Donner: Superman, too late to save Lois Lane, flies around the world at tremendous speed, reversing events so he can have another chance to save her. The facts seem straightforward, but I find that people do not agree on the […]

The Fine Art of Dreamthieving

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Michael Moorcock’s latest, and last, fantasy trilogy winds different strands of his fiction together intointertwining, virtually meta-fictional narratives reflecting on mythic and heroic archetypes and the power of stories to create new realities.  If you like Moorcock, you will enjoy these books.  If you don’t like Moorcock, they probably won’t change your mind.  And if […]

Why Aren’t You Dead Yet?

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Just how many times  do I have to kill this guy? It’s a question I’ve certainly asked myself while playing various games, along with Why aren’t you dead yet? and How many damn heads does it have anyway? Everybody’s version of tedium is different, but endlessly dodging around waiting for some gargantuan horror to blink […]

What’s the Matter with Runescape?

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I recently had a conversation with my ten year-old son that I had been longing to have since before he was born, since before I was even sure I really wanted to have kids.  We were well into the eleventh hour of a game of Risk that had seen the empires of my wife and […]

Would You Let Your Daughter Marry Godzilla?

Serious as radiation poisoning

When Godzilla first waded out of the ocean to trample Odo Island in 1954, he was a monster for the times, serious as radiation poisoning. Japan was still rebuilding in the wake of WWII. Wartime traumas were still fresh. The bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were only nine years past, and there was a new […]

Games Through a Comix Lens

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The book Understanding Comics, published in 1993, was comic writer and artist Scott McCloud’s attempt to deconstruct, demystify, and lay out the magic of the sequential art form. Written in the form of a comic itself, it was one mechanism by which comics rose from the shadows of culture to become a more accepted art […]

Do You Want Fries With That?

A brief history of advergames

Last year when I heard that Burger King was planning to release a series of video games for the Xbox 360, I thought the game industry was headed for a new low. To me, this went way beyond the shameless hordes of promotional tie-ins to popular movies and TV shows, and seemed more inappropriate than […]

Hopped Up on Speedrunning

Keeping up with the Joneses in the fast lane

Shortly after 2 pm on the afternoon of May 18th, 2005, Brandon Erickson stepped back from the Star Wars arcade cabinet he’d been playing continuously, with no deaths, extra credits, or nap breaks, for the past 54 hours, having failed to break the Twin Galaxies record of three hundred million points in 49 hours established […]

Down and Out in the Mushroom Kingdom

Brother, can you spare a 1UP?

Urban outdoorsmen rejoice! No longer must your vocation go overlooked in favour of the glamorous professions of Space Ranger, Secret Agent, Ace Pilot, and Ultimate Fighting Champion: 2006 saw the high-profile self-proclaimed first video game ever to be released featuring a homeless person as its protagonist — American McGee’s “Bad Day L.A.” Its premise is […]

I Am A MechWarrior

1st Person VS 2nd Person: Fight!

“…if Brian is watching the movie Babe, we don’t say, ‘Brian is a pig.’” –Jesper Juul, “Introduction to Game Time” ~~~ I am a MechWarrior. I am a soldier on Halo. But I am not Lara Croft, although Tomb Raider is my favourite game. Since my hand-me-down PS2 died years ago I haven’t been playing […]

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    Dr. Nerdlove takes a brief break from helping the nerd get the girl to address something that’s been bugging him. “Pardon me while I go off on a bit of a media criticism/ rant here. So I’ve been enjoying the *hell* out of The Flash lately except for one thing: Iris Allen. Her character is screen death; every time she’s around, everything comes to a screeching halt.

    The problem is: it’s not her fault, it’s the writers. Rather like Laurel Lance in the first two seasons of Arrow, she has Lois Lane syndrome. Her (like Laurel and Lois) entire character arc is based around being ignorant of events that literally everyone else in her life is aware of.”

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    Get your own copy of the Satanic Temple’s The Satanic Children’s Big Book of Activities!

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    At The Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates writes about Dr. Doom: “Comics are so often seen as the province of white geeky nerds. But, more broadly, comics are  the literature of outcasts, of pariahs, of Jews, of gays, of blacks. It’s really no mistake that we saw ourselves in Doom, Magneto or Rogue.”

    ~

    Actor Ken Takakura has died. Takakura starred in films such as Brutal Tales of Chivalry (1965); Red Peony Gambler (1968); Miyamoto Musashi: Duel at Ichijoji (1955) and Miyamoto Musashi: Duel at Ganryu Island (1956); as well as in co-productions like The Yakuza (1974); The Bullet Train (1975); Black Rain (1989) and Riding Alone For Thousands Of Miles (2005).  The Japan Times, The South China Morning Post and The AV Club have obituaries. Japan Subculture has an interview with Takakura. Here Takakura sings the theme to Abhashiri Prison (1965)

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    Producer, writer and director Glen A. Larson has died. Larson was responsible for creating tv series such as Battlestar Galactica, Magnum P.I, Knight Rider, The Fall Guy, Quincy M.E., The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries and Buck Rogers In The 25Th Century, about which the Gutter’s own Keith wrote here. The New York Times, The Hollywood Reporter and The AV Club have obituaries. Watch Larson’s interview from 2010 at “Battlestar Galactica: The Exhibition”.

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    At Re/Action, Maddy Myers writes about how important the Metroid franchise, in both game and manga form, and its protagonist, Samus Aran, were to her. “Samus still represents a breakthrough. She first took off her armor to reveal a woman’s form back in 1986, the year that I was born. Samus and I grew up separately, kindred spirits who did not find one another until 2007. A best friend, a fraternal twin sister, a clone separated at birth. Or so I felt, as I let myself slip behind that visor. I wasn’t Samus myself – not yet. I stood behind her, hanging back. Did I dare? Did I dare pretend, role-play, allow myself to act as Samus? Could I be that cool?”

    ~

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