The Cultural Gutter

taking the dumb out of fandom

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

Essential Crew

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This month’s Guest Star is the excellent Kaitlin Tremblay. Content Warning: self-harm, emotional abuse My roommate and I are obnoxious in the way that only best friends who live together can be. We have more inside jokes than books we’ve read (and as two girls who work in publishing and with five degrees in subjects […]

“The Husband Did It”

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At The Awl, Alice Bolin writes about Gone Girl, Serial, true crime television and “Why it’s scarier for a man to be accused than for a woman to be killed”: “It’s clear we love the Dead Girl, but we don’t empathize with her. If we did, we might ask why we did nothing to protect […]

“The Roots of Reactionary Rage”

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At The Daily Beast, Arthur Chu writes about GamerGate, Disco Demolition and Lilith Fair. “The biggest 1970s music bonfire was not done by a church, and the records they destroyed weren’t metal records. And they didn’t use kerosene and a match, they used explosives. And rather than singing hymns and being quietly self-righteous, the event […]

“Confessions of a Former Internet Troll”

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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 […]

“Here’s Why Everybody In The Video Game World Is Fighting”

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At Vox, The Gameological Society’s Todd Van Der Werff has a pretty good synopsis of the recent trouble in gaming.   Like this:Like Loading…

Apocalypse Games

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Three articles on the end of “gamer” as an identity, on the end of gatekeeping and the end of gaming culture: Leigh Alexander at Gamasutra; Dr. Nerdlove; and Dan Golding. “And the sad thing is: nobody’s trying to destroy games.“ Like this:Like Loading…

“Video Games, Misogyny and Terrorism”

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At Badass Digest, Gaming Editor Andrew Todd writes about “rampant issues with sexism, homophobia, and racism within the gaming industry.” Like this:Like Loading…

“Women As Background Decoration: Part 2″

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In  Tropes vs. Women in Video Games, “Women As Background Decoration: Part 2,” Anita Sarkeesian discusses “how sexualized female bodies often occupy a dual role as both sexual playthings and the perpetual victims of male violence.” It is quite graphic in terms of violence and sexual violence. Like this:Like Loading…

“An End To ‘Snobbery'”

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At Writer For Hire, Danny Bowes argues for “An End To ‘Snobbery’”: “The advent of a new Marvel (in this instance standing in for ‘geek’ in the same way ‘Xerox’ does for ‘photocopy’) movie, joyous occasion though it is for many, is a time when the discourse among film critics, journalists, and fans crystallizes into […]

On Being a Colossal Prick on the Internet

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“For quite some time I thought that being a colossal prick on the Internet was great sport. I thought that everybody else was doing it, and that I could do it better than most. I also had some idea that it was my duty to call bullshit on everyone who I thought was propagating bullshit. […]

Thoughts on Trolls

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At PBS Idea Channel, Mike considers and then reconsiders the beneficial effects of trolls. At Kill Screen, Matthew Byrd writes about the integration of trolling into a multiplayer online gaming experience, particularly with DayZ and Demon’s Soul. (Thanks, Edie!) Like this:Like Loading…

“An Alternate History of Flappy Bird”

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At Radiator Design Blog, Robert Yang writes about the indie game Flappy Bird and the harassment of its designer, Dong Ngyuen. “I suspect that if Nguyen were a white American, this would’ve been the story of a scrappy indie who managed to best Zynga with his loving homage to Nintendo’s apparent patent on green pixel […]

“Sexual Harassment In Comics: The Tipping Point”

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Laura Hudson returns to Comics Alliance to write about sexual harassment in the comics community: “It’s important to note that the vast majority of men in comics–pro and fan–aren’t predatory. The problem is that the small number who are predatory get insulated from the consequences of their actions by the passive behavior of other men […]

“An E3 Teachable Moment”

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Game Designer Steve Swink writes about harassment at E3 and some steps the gaming community can take. Like this:Like Loading…

Gender Cues and In-Game Harassment

In a new study, written up at The Mary Sue, researchers look at gender and harassment in multiplayer online games, in this case, Halo 3.  “[T]he use of gendered insults and the tripled rate of negative comments, regardless of skill level or win percentage, indicates that something more than just a proclivity for trash-talk is […]

“There are reasons I don’t talk about video game violence much”

Patricia Hernandez talks about the reasons she doesn’t talk about video game violence much. “They’re recollections of things, sometimes games I know for certain go together somehow, amount to a small piece of some puzzle that’s supposed to help me understand where violence and death fit in my life.” Like this:Like Loading…

Abuse and Paranormal Activity

Maria at The Hathor Legacy looks at the Paranormal Activity franchise from the standpoint of abuse, neglect and gaslighting. “It’s also a reminder that one of the franchise’s major themes is that when women and children are victims of abuse, they are not only not likely to be believed, they are also often put into […]

Reddit’s Bildungsroman and Understanding Trolls

2 more responses to the unmasking of a Reddit troll: Mote & Beam‘s Joel Johnson writes about Reddit’s possible coming of age and, at The Atlantic, Whitney Phillips writes about trolling, from an academic perspective. Like this:Like Loading…

The Unmasking of a Troll

In writing about–and exposing the identity of–Reddit moderator and troll, Violentacrez, Adrian Chen makes an interesting point, well, many interesting points in this excellent piece for The Gawker:   “When it comes to mods, the political model of Reddit is not so much a vast digital democracy, as it’s often framed by fans and users, […]

How Not To Be A Con Creeper

Andre at Black Nerd Comedy has some advice on how not to be a creeper at cons (and pretty much anywhere else) in his latest, “Black Nerd Rant.”   Like this:Like Loading…

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    Our friends at Pornokitsch share a 1898 Philadelphia Press article on ghosts of the Capitol in Washington, D.C.

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    The Journal of Popular Romance Studies interviewed author Joanna Russ in 2007 about slash fiction: “Her 1985 essay, ‘Pornography By Women For Women, With Love’ helped to set the terms of the discussion for feminist scholars who followed, and it is widely cited in fan studies. Russ argues that fantasy has to be read in more complex ways than simply seeing it as an effort at one-dimensional wish fulfillment. She posits fantasy as something rich and metaphorical. She reads slash as a genre that tells us new things about women’s sexuality and sexual desire, things that—in 1985—weren’t being talked about except in the very divided feminist ‘sex wars,’ where ‘pro-sex’ and ‘anti-porn’ feminists created ever more polarized stances.”

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    At Hyperallergic, Jeremy Polacek writes about the history of Afrofuturism and the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s exhibit, “Space Is The Place: AfroFuturism On Film”:  “Afrofuturism is an empowering rubric, an approach and aesthetic that clarifies and connects history and the hope, creativity, and pain there within. Afrofuturism is wry, wise, and leveling — it believes that a brighter, more equal, funkier future is within the realm of possibility. You can be different; this world can be different — self-invention commingles with worldly reinvention; Africa is both glorious past and technocratic future.

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    Sweet Jane shares a 1967 fashion editorial shoot mixing mod fashion and the work of illustrator Aubrey Beardsley. (via arabellesicardi.com)

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    BBC Radio 4 is presenting an adaptation of Ursula Le Guin’s The Left Hand Of Darkness. You can listen to the first episode here. There are also other features, including an interview with Le Guin. (via Pornokitsch)

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    Game Of Thrones author George R. R. Martin has written a series of posts on the current state of the Hugo Awards and the nomination process.

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