The Cultural Gutter

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

“You Don’t Have To Be Eurocentric To Make It To The Future”

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“’You don’t have to be Eurocentric to make it to the future,’ said Andrea Hairston, a professor of theater and Afro-American studies at Smith College in Massachusetts, whose side gig happens to be writing award-winning science fiction. ‘We have to figure out how to be different together. [And t]hat is what storytelling is all about, […]

RIP, Television Without Pity

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NBC-Universal is closing down Television Without Pity and the archives of episode recaps from the 1990s on will no longer be available. At The Vulture, Margaret Lyons writes, “How Television Without Pity Shaped Pop Culture.” Caitlin Kelly writes about being “Raised on Television Without Pity” at The New Yorker. At USA Today, Jayme Deerwester writes […]

Fan Theorizing and True Detective

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“Fan-crafted theorizing is fun enough – it’s a solid way to keep up audience engagement over a show’s run and even inject excitement into series that might be flailing on its own (see: that horrifying “dead mother” theory that’s been circulating amongst How I Met Your Mother fans, which is either entirely insane or decidedly […]

“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 […]

More News About Detroit’s Robocop Statue

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Metro Times has a nice report on Detroit’s Robocop statue.

“The Nominative Case”

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Judge John Hodgman decides a case of towering nerdiness: “Jordan, a lifelong comic book fan, and his friend Charles were discussing the DC comics villain Mr. Mxyzptlk and made a wager: if Jordan’s friends could trick him into saying his own name backwards, he’d owe them five dollars.”

“Creepypasta and the Contours of Modern Fear”

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At Aeon Magazine, Will Wiles considers creepypasta, an anonymous group effort to create dark urban legend,  “Indeed, this might be what creepypasta aspires to be: urban legend, dark social memes with just enough familiarity to give a frisson of awful possibility. Much of it is spread with little authorial ego. But it is also self-consciously […]

Fanzines and Doctor Who‘s Regeneration

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At The Atlantic, Nolan Feeny writes a piece on the impact of zines, fan writers (including Steven Moffat, Paul Cornell and the new Doctor, Peter Capaldi) and fandom on Doctor Who. “If you had an opinion and wrote well, you aspired to write for the best zines, and once the gates were open to be […]

“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 […]

“‘Diversity Lounge? PAX has a lot of work to do”

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Leigh Alexander writes about the gaming community, PAX’s proposed “Diversity Lounge” and providing safe, inclusive spaces: “But the ‘Diversity Hub and Lounge’ is vaguely insulting as a concept: What marginalized people want from games events is not necessarily to have special zones just for them, but to feel welcome, wanted and safe at the entire […]

“How To Discourage Women From Cartooning”

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An anonymous cartoonist shares a creepy letter at The Comics Journal: “I have photographic evidence for this one, but I don’t have any proof of the other sleazy ‘real life’ encounters I have had in my career. Every woman I know has had them. They add up, and combined together they go far beyond frustration.”

One Million Images

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“The British Library has uploaded one million public domain scans from 17th-19th century books to Flickr!” (Thanks, Kate!)

“The Truth About Krampus”

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At Atlas Obscura, Al Ridenour writes about the Krampus, Krampusse, Perchten and LA’s upcoming Krampusfest.

“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 […]

“Judge John Hodgman: Reckless Endungeonment”

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Judge John Hodgman rules in a conflict between friends and fellow Dresden Files roleplaying game afficionados. “Dan’s become bored with what he sees as ‘safe’ gameplay recently and decided to shake it up, taking more risks with his character. Ryan says this type of play doesn’t fit with their style and is ruining everyone’s fun. […]

“Portraits of Cosplay Enthusiasts in their Homes”

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“In his ongoing series of portraits titled, ‘Just the Two of Us,’ photographer Klaus Pitchler gained access to the homes of Austrian costume play (cosplay) enthusiasts where he photographed the elaborately costumed individuals against the backdrops of their everyday life.” See a gallery of his photographs here. (Thanks, Laura!)

“Zero Charisma, The Guild and the Odd Sensation of Nerd Envy”

Peter Gutiérrez has written a fascinating and thoughtful response to the film Zero Charisma and the webseries, The Guild.

“Geek Racism (A Reaction Based on Experience)”

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At The Fool’s Crusade, B. Easton writes, “I used to be the world’s biggest naïve idealist. Captain America without the irony. Superman before 1980. Yea, that was me. I used to believe that anyone into comics, sci-fi, animation, video games etc., would be automatically ‘better’ than the layperson. I figured that anyone with the mental […]

“Michelle Rodriguez Made Me Cry At Comic-Con”

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Kate Conway writes about how powerful she found the Women Who Kick Ass Panel in San Diego Comic-Con’s Hall C. “These dudes onstage weren’t selling themselves to me; they didn’t even care what I thought. Here we were, in the biggest room at Comic-Con, and I only felt disgust. And then, out came Michelle Rodriguez.”

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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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