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

“The LEGO Movie: Further Evidence of Will Ferrell’s Subversive Genius”

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“To be fair, I have no idea whether [Will Ferrell] had input into the script of The Lego Movie or not. But the mere fact that he was cast as the movie’s villain should have been a giveaway as to its ideology. For more than a decade now, Ferrell’s starred in big, dumb films of surprising political […]

Operation Scraping Netflix’s Data

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“This database probing told me three things: 1) Netflix had an absurdly large number of genres, an order of magnitude or two more than I had thought, 2) it was organized in a way that I didn’t understand, and 3) there was no way I could go through all those genres by hand. But I […]

“Why Marketers Fear Female Geeks”

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At How Not To Suck At Game Design, Anjin writes about marketing, cycles of exclusion and what to do about it: “Yes, excluding people based on demographic data makes sense to a lot of people in marketing. It’s considered a best practice and it actually is a pretty reliable way of increasing profit margins. And […]

“Love In The Time Of Hollering: The Age Of Enthusiasm”

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At NPR’s Monkeysee blog, Linda Holmes writes about enthusiasm, the outloud internet, broadcast television, premium cable, the Man and many things worth thinking about. “[T]here is a better way forward. Fall in love with things. Try things; dislike some of them. Love people who love things you can’t imagine loving. Be thirsty and brave. Accept […]

Blurbery

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Ursula Le Guin talks about blurbs: “The trouble is, these days, that any moderately successful author who ever blurbed a book is at this very moment being approached by other authors and probably some editors — and not two or three of them a month, the way it was ten years ago, but many, many, […]

Pop Culture Propaganda

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Peter Gutiérrez looks at the pop culture propaganda of Ender’s Game, Pacific Rim and G.I. Joe marketing campaigns. “The interesting, if obvious, thing about these marketing posters is that they seem to rely on the viewer’s familiarity with propaganda. Does that mean that the audience for blockbuster movies these days is sufficiently “media literate” that […]

“The Science of Black Nerds”

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Blerdology’s Kat and Amanda talk to Vibe about “The Science of Black Nerds.” “African Americans present a unique set of perspectives and problems that the larger tech world could never completely and accurately tackle without us. Now, we hack to ask how can we get more African Americans to realize the power and influence they […]

Paul Jenkins talks about DC, Marvel, and Boom!

Paul Jenkins explains why he’s leaving DC and Marvel in an open letter at CBR. Bleeding Cool interviews Jenkins about what’s wrong at DC and Marvel and what’s right at Boom! Studios. (Thanks, Mark!)

Karen Berger and Vertigo

The New York Times profiles Karen Berger, former editor of DC’s Vertigo comics imprint. “When the Vertigo imprint was introduced in 1993, it was a way for writers and illustrators to retain ownership of their work and be free of the restraints that governed superhero stories.”

Manos: The Hands of Felt

Support Manos The Hands of Felt–The Master will be pleased.

“The Bullying of Chatelaine Harris and the Wisdom of Neil Gaiman”

“So Charlaine Harris’ last Southern Vampires book, Dead Ever After, is out May 7.  Except it’s kind of out now, which is why the interwebs are exploding.  Some random asshat got their claws on an early copy, which is sneaky enough, but then posted the ending online, which is borderline sociopathic.” Mary Janice Davidson has […]

The Algorithm of Success

The New York Times has a piece on the statistical quest for a sure thing box office hit. Meanwhile, The AV Club pans Netflix’s original series, very much grounded in algorithms, Hemlock Grove: “The genius of Netflix’s computer-programmed, demographic targeting approach to TV is that it doesn’t need to create amazing, or challenging, or even […]

Protesting CISPA

ZDNet’s Violet Blue offers ways you can join the Apr. 22 protest against The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act. At The Atlantic, Rebecca Greenfield notes that CISPA has “few friends in the Senate” but has the support of “major tech companies”: “Unlike SOPA which was widely condemned in the tech community,  CISPA has the […]

A Brut Production

Movie Morlocks ‘ R. Emmet Sweeney explores the filmmaking history of Fabergé fragrance CEO, George Barrie: “Barrie produced his films under a ‘Brut Productions’ shingle, while Brut Records put out albums by comedian Robert Klein and Brut Television co-produced the popular spy thriller series The Protectors starring Robert Vaughn. There was even a Brut Publishing […]

The Making of The Bad Sleep Well

A documentary on the making of Akira Kurosawa’s The Bad Sleep Well.

“The DC New 52 Timeline of Departures, Firings, and Bridge-Burnings”

Gutters and Panels has a convenient timeline of notable departures, firings and bridge-burnings at DC Entertainment since 2010.

“Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey”

NPR’s Scott Tobias writes of Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey: “The disparity between Journey’s mercenary nature and Pineda’s inspiring triumph over adversity comes through starkly in Everyman’s Journey.” (via @TrashFilmGuru)

Diverse Writers, Diverse Readers and Happily Ever Afters

NPR talks about romance written by and for people of color with authors Brenda Jackson, Michelle Monkou, Camy Tang and romance critic Sarah Wendell at the Romance Writers of American convention. (The radio piece is stronger than the written synopsis).

“The Circus of Fashion”

As Popshifter has pointed out, Suzy Menkes’ article about fashion, could apply to so many other cultural pursuits now: “It is great to see the commentaries from smart bloggers — especially those in countries like China or Russia, where there was, in the past, little possibility of sharing fashion thoughts and dreams[.] But two things […]

BBC Remake + Kevin Spacey + David Fincher = You Will Watch

The Fractured Atlas has an interesting piece on Netflix’s House of Cards, the Nutcracker, data analysis and driving new content development in the arts. And Andrew Leonard has more at Salon: “Netflix’s data indicated that the same subscribers who loved the original BBC production also gobbled down movies starring Kevin Spacey or directed by David […]

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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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