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

Wonder Women! Being the Hero of Your Own Story

Comics Editor Carol did a quick review of Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines for the ActionFest Blog.  “[I]t’s not just about letting little girls know that they can be heroes, that they can be anything they want. It’s about knowing that as adults we have great power and great responsibility.  We can […]

“Why Spider-Man is the Best Character Ever”

Comics Alliance‘s Senior Batmanologist Chris Sims makes a moving argument for why Spider-Man is the best comic book character ever: “Those first 200 issues of Amazing Spider-Man — a run that’s downright shocking in how good it is — are essentially teenager problems on a super-heroic scale, both literally and translated into the metaphor of […]

Ladies Kissing and Fanservice

At The Mary Sue, Becky Chambers, writes about watching a moment of wonder when ladies kiss on Deep Space Nine, the devolution of something that felt special into television’s “barrage of meaningless lady kisses” and finding the love again in roleplaying games like Dragon Age, World of Warcraft, Saints Row 2, Skyrim and Fable.

Fandom is Magic

In the year 2001 I discovered a magical world. Not Harry Potter (that was a few years later) and not the Internet (although it was responsible), but a world that captured my attention and hasn’t let go ten years later. It has to do with fanfiction; unpaid fiction that is written by fans of a […]

Twilight, Remixed

It was bound to happen: Buffy vs. Edward. (via Smart Bitches).

Zahn’s Star Wars; Or, Will This Death be Permanent?

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A scrappy rebellion, a victory against an evil overlord, leftover spaceships in the dark outer reaches of the galaxy, warriors with extraordinary powers (nearly wiped out), now on the verge of a comeback. Laughs, thrills, moments of sadness, moments of sheer action. Exciting stuff! And oh yeah, it’s a Star Wars tie-in novel.

The Nature of the Hero, Rowling-Style

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A few months ago, I decided to take the plunge: I would burn through the Harry Potter series, now complete, all in one go. It’s been… interesting. I’ve discovered all kinds of things I had not realized before, including the fact that Harry is – to put it diplomatically – not a particularly effective hero.

Spoilerific

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I’m the person who hates spoilers, mainly because they wreck a book or movie for me. I’m a stickler for experiencing something in the way that the creator intended (whether this is a smart or helpful habit is quite another question). In the case of, say, a TV show like Buffy or Angel that’s been […]

I Am Woman, Hear Me Purr

Daniel

When I got Sudeki for review, I sighed. An anime babe smiled out from the cover, her armoured boobs thrust forward and her arms upstretched as she cast a spell — presumably on the teenage-boy market. The following two strikes were the five-star recommendation from Maxim and the name of the game company (Climax). But […]

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    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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    Photographer Kevin Weir uses vintage photographs to create haunting animation in “The Flux Machine.” The Guardian has an interview with Weir and more on his work.

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    At the New Yorker, Jill Lepore considers the intertwining histories of women’s suffrage, feminism, Amazons and Wonder Woman. “It isn’t only that Wonder Woman’s backstory is taken from feminist utopian fiction. It’s that, in creating Wonder Woman, William Moulton Marston was profoundly influenced by early-twentieth-century suffragists, feminists, and birth-control advocates and that, shockingly, Wonder Woman was inspired by Margaret Sanger, who, hidden from the world, was a member of Marston’s family.”

     

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