The Cultural Gutter

dumpster diving of the brain

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

“Mad As Hell: Thoughts On Aaron Sorkin”


At Asking The Wrong Questions, Abigail Nussbaum writes about Aaron Sorkin, the “Oh Shenandoah” episode of  Sorkin’s The Newsroom, The Newsroom writer Alena Smith and women speaking out about their experiences. “What we’re seeing here is Aaron Sorkin becoming an Aaron Sorkin character, making the same arguments as Don.  In his conception of reality, a […]

Interstellar and a certain kind of science fiction


Abigail Nussbaum considers Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar at Asking The Wrong Questions.  “As much fun as it is to watch this sort of story–and the enjoyment is only increased by Interstellar‘s refreshing rejection of Hollywood’s standard save the cat story template, with multiple complications and decision points that give the film an almost novelistic feeling–there’s no […]

4600 Words on Reamde

Over at Asking the Wrong Questions, Abigail Nussbaum takes on the task of figuring out Stephenson’s Reamde.

Star Trek: The Next Generation: To Boldly Stay

In her series of essays looking over the entire run of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Abigail Nussbaum gets to a more pround change from the original Star Trek than tunic colors. By the second season, the Starfleet has decided to boldly stay within Federation borders.  “[I]t’s clear that The Next Generation became a better […]

The Superiority of Game of Thrones as a Show

Abigail Nussbaum writes about how television has improved George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones. ” I can think of no response that more thoroughly encapsulates how much Game of Thrones improves on Martin’s novel–the same death that left me yawning on the page when I only suspected it was coming, riveted me on screen […]

The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction

The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, 3rd Edition will be free online, according to Abigail Nussbaum, who’s been writing tv entries for the encyclopedia.

Home Stretch


I have a theory that television shows get a lot of practice in the cliff-hanger, in hooking the viewer to come back next week, but almost zero experience in creating satisfying endings. Structurally, commercially, the need for such a thing just doesn’t compute. A few genre shows in the throes of concluding long-term stories right […]

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    There’s a free audio book adaptation of Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez’ Locke & Key at


    At Actionland, Heroic Sister Achillesgirl writes about subtitling the 1964 wuxia film, Buddha Palm. And she provides you with the subtitles and a link to the film!


    At Bleeding Cool, Cap Blackard writes about the contested homeworld of Howard the Duck. “If you’ve seen the much maligned Howard the Duck film or read any Howard the Duck stories published since 1979, you’re probably familiar with the concept of Duckworld. You know, an alternate Earth where everyone is ducks and everything is duck-themed: Ducktor Strange, Bloomingducks, etc, etc. Sounds like a recipe for a finite barrel of bad jokes, right? It is, and it’s also not Howard’s real point of origin. During his landmark initial run, Howard’s creator Steve Gerber had the down-and-out duck hailing from a world of talking animals, but all that changed when Gerber was kicked off the book and Disney flashed a lawsuit. Now, after decades of backstory fumbling, Mark Waid has reinstated Howard’s point of origin in a one-shot issue of S.H.I.E.L.D.” (Thanks, Mark!)


    At The Village Voice, Jackson Connor writes about the making of The Warriors. Amid the refurbished boardwalk and laughter of children, it’s easy to forget that Coney Island was once a place where tourists did not venture. For much of the latter half of the twentieth century, street gangs dominated this neighborhood. They ran rampant through the area’s neglected housing projects, tearing along Surf and Neptune avenues toward West 8th Street. Those gangs, or gangs like them, and that incarnation of Coney Island would form the backbone of author Sol Yurick’s 1965 debut novel, The Warriors, about the young members of a street gang. More than a decade after the novel’s publication it would be optioned and, eventually, turned into a major motion picture of the same name.” (via @pulpcurry)


    Edith Garrud taught Suffragettes jiu-jitsu and formed Emmeline Pankhurst’s Bodyguard. “The first connection between the suffragettes and jiu-jitsu was made at a WSPU meeting. Garrud and her husband William, who ran a martial arts school in London’s Golden Square together, had been booked to attend. But William was ill, so she went alone. ‘Edith normally did the demonstrating, while William did the speaking,’ says Tony Wolf, writer of Suffrajitsu, a trilogy of graphic novels about this aspect of the suffragette movement. ‘But the story goes that the WSPU’s leader, Emmeline Pankhurst, encouraged Edith to do the talking for once, which she did.'”


    At Playboy, Jake Rossen writes about the story behind the filming and the restoration of Manos: The Hands of Fate. “For a long time no one wanted to see it unless it was accompanied by MST3K’s taunts. Then, in 2011, a collector of film prints uncovered the original negative of Manos and embarked on an inexplicable project to restore the film with all the white-glove attention archivists give to Hollywood classics. His efforts would incur the wrath of a mysterious man with a fake New Zealand accent named Rupert, as well as Joe Warren, Hal Warren’s embittered son, who intends to preserve the Manos legacy at all costs.” (Thanks, Ed!)


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