The Cultural Gutter

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

“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.

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.”

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.

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.”  

Loving The Troll

With some help from Martin Luther King, Jr., Erin Kissane starts talking about how to build a better internet.

Nerds and Male Privilege: Tropes, Trolls, Haters and Anita Sarkeesian

Leaping once more into the breach, Dr. Nerdlove writes about “the Internet Hate Machine” and  Feminist Frequency‘s Anita Sarkeesian.  “There’s a good question as to just why there’s this active core of hatred and fear of women in geek culture and why they seem so determined to silence anyone–women especially–who dares question male privilege.  Now let’s be […]

A Nasty Game

As part of the harassment of Feminist Frequency‘s Anita Sarkeesian, a guy from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario made a “game” where players could punch her.  The Internet found the game’s designer and people talked to him on Twitter.  Storify  has more as does Gameranx.  And She Was Disclaiming has an analysis of the ensuing conversation.

Women, Video Game Tropes and Depressingly Common Misogyny

Feminist Frequency‘s Anita Sarkeesian set up a Kickstarter for her project, “Women vs. Video Game Tropes” and received a hateful response. Rock Paper Shotgun, The Escapist and Think Progress have more. The Mary-Sue theorizes on what can be done.  Jezebel and Slate have pieces on how depressingly common misogynistic attacks are and Gamespot interviews Sarkeesian.

“Blood, Kin and Structure”

Writers Joe Lansdale and Andrew Vachss have a conversation about their books Edge of Dark Water and That’s How I Roll, the power of books,  the importance of libraries and librarians, publishing as a fixed fight and a helluva lot more.  Part one and part two.

Cross Assault and Sexual Harassment

Dr. NerdLove finds once again that he must put aside the charming daily business of helping nerds find love and return again to “Nerds and Male Privilege” in the context of a recent egregious example of sexual harassment in gaming.

“Inclusion: What Jennifer Hepler’s Story is About”

Game writer Jennifer Hepler said some things in an interview 5 years ago that she’s being harassed over now. Susana Polo writes about what she thinks Hepler’s story is all about:  “This intimidation in regards to inclusion (of easier play modes, setting aside the inclusion of characters who are something other than the majority demographic) […]

“I Think About Whitney”

Liv Strömquist’s heartbreaking comic about Whitney Houston and domestic abuse.

The Vulnerable Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Monika Bartyzel writes about “softening and sexualizing Lisbeth Salander” in David Fincher’s adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the pre-release posters and Stieg Larsson and his novel. “There seems to be a relief that Mara’s Salander is a more relatable person, that classic ‘female’ tropes like softness and vulnerability are visible. It speaks […]

Dealing with the R-Type Personality

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R-Type has a funny way of showing its affection. It doesn’t give you black eyes, but it still makes them red and twitchy. You don’t eat as much. You abuse caffeine and other stimulants, as if that makes much of a difference. Its benchmark of expectation keeps rising. Make no mistake: The standards presented will […]

Betty Draper Is Not Going To Be Saved

Tiger Beatdown has a poignant post about Betty Draper in Mad Men: “We wanted Betty to read The Feminine Mystique and get her mind blown and rise above; or, we wanted her to stay a victim, so we could relate to her better, or at least keep feeling sorry for her. But sometimes, people just […]

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    Tin House has published an edition of Joseph Conrad’s Heart Of Darkness illustrated by Matt Kish, an interesting follow-up to Kish’s project, Moby-Dick In Pictures; One Drawing For Every Page. See more of Kish’s work here.

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    At Salon, Matt Ashby and Brendan Carroll write about irony and cynicism, sincerity and honesty in art: “At one time, irony served to challenge the establishment; now it is the establishment. The art of irony has turned into ironic art. Irony for irony’s sake. A smart aleck making bomb noises in front of a city in ruins. But irony without a purpose enables cynicism. It stops at disavowal and destruction, fearing strong conviction is a mark of simplicity and delusion.

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    Eastern Kicks has an interview–and a gallery of photos of–director Park Joon-hung.

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    Get ready for a new season of Mad Men with this collection of Absurdist Mad Men promotions, which the Cultural Gutter participates in and even encourages. Duck Phillips rules an undersea advertizing empire and “Pete feels slighted.”

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    Some interesting thoughts on South Korean cinema with “A Dish Best Served Bloody: Revenge In South Korean Cinema” and this Cannes program piece on Arirang (1926) and the history of Korean film.

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    Al-Jazeera America profiles John Pirozzi’s Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten, a documentary about Cambodian rock’n’roll and musicians who survived the Khmer Rouge. “Until 1975, music thrived in Phnom Penh, with clubs full night after night, crowds gathering in the streets around transistor radios to hear the latest releases, and the biggest stars being feted by the king. Enter the Khmer Rouge, communism and the war on intellectuals. Between 1975 and 1979, about 2 million Cambodians, roughly a third of the population, were rounded up and either were killed or died of starvation. Artists were particularly disliked by the Khmer Rouge, which saw creativity as decadence: Almost all of the biggest names perished during that era.”

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