The Cultural Gutter

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

Armada and Nostalgia as an Endless Lullaby


At Slate, Laura Hudson writes about Ernest Cline’s new book, Armada; gaming and greater geek culture; and the perils of nostalgia. “Do we want to tell stories that make sense of the things we used to love, that help us remember the reasons we were so drawn to them, and create new works that inspire […]

“The Marvel-Industrial Complex”


In “The Marvel-Industrial Complex” James Rocchi has some thoughts about Disney’s Marvel movies–and some things to say in response to the responses to his essay. “In the ’80s, Spiderman told me that with great power comes great responsibility; Marvel Studios, via Disney, has money and power both, and we’ve given it to them; as consumers […]

Drive-In Mob Ringtones and Shenanigans


Drive-In Mob has a variety of tremendous ringtones from In Like Flint‘s Derek Flint speaking porpoise to the Wilhelm Scream as well as other shenanigans like a club mix  and “Sissy Goforth and The Seven Dwarf’s Yodel Song”  created from Boom (1968). Drive-In Mob, it’s the shock of being alive. (The Cultural Gutter is a […]

Interview with Joanna Russ


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 […]

George R.R. Martin on the Hugos


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.

SpeakEasy Radio, Episode 1


Author and shenaniganist Kate Laity chats with the Gutter’s own Carol on the inaugural episode of SpeakEasy Radio. Topics include what the Speakeasy is all about, The Cultural Gutter and Vampire Prosecutor.

“Where True Detective Meets Community


At SeqArt, Harry Edmundson-Cornell writes about the fourth wall, metafiction, tone and character in True Detective and Community (as well as Bojack Horseman and Rick & Morty). “When a show points out the mechanics driving the medium they’re essentially violating the realism of the art. They’re pointing out the frame of the painting, which tends […]

“We Will Force Gaming To Be Free”


At First Person Scholar, Katherine Cross writes about “GamerGate and the licence to inflict suffering”: “GamerGate is neoliberalism’s distorted reflection of leftist terror: the lust for revolution, to be the Rough Rider ‘good guys’ saving the world by force if necessary, but with none of the obligations or thought inherent to political reasoning.”

“Inside The Failure Cascade”


At Ten Ton Hammer, the Mittani has a description of the collapse of an alliance in the MMO game, EVE. “Nothing in online gaming quite matches the incandescent drama of a dying alliance. It is only in EVE that player organizations routinely exceed 1000 members. If you think World of Warcraft guilds are a hotbed […]

Film Critic Hulk and Arthur Chu Face the Void


Film Critic Hulk has a lovely piece about “Despair, GamerGate and Quitting The Hulk” at Badass Digest. And Arthur Chu remembers his own dark days and meeting Felicia Day in a lovely piece at Salon.

“The Roots of Reactionary Rage”


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 […]

“It’s Okay To Be The Uncool Black Girl”


“I find it amazing how much you appreciate being a nerd once you get older.  Adding two cups of wisdom along with a pint of experience and mix it all together with maturity gives you a bewitching concoction of someone who is secure in who and what they are.  My security and confidence may not […]

“The Big Idea: In Conversation with LULZSEC”


The Royal Court Theatre hosts a conversation among former Anonymous LulzSec members facilitated by anthropologist Gabriella Coleman.

“Confessions of a Former Internet Troll”


“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 […]

“Cosplaying While Black: The Homicide of Darrien Hunt”


At Black Girl Nerds, Jamie Broadnax writes a powerful piece about racism, cosplaying, police violence and the homicide of Darrien Hunt. “The first thing we need to do is NOT let this story scare us nor intimidate us into believing that we should be fearful of cosplaying.  We should still encourage others who may not […]

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


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

Apocalypse Games


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.“

“Video Games, Misogyny and Terrorism”


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

Games, Horror and Consuming Media Responsibly


Jenn Frank writes about horror, games, “Tropes vs Women In Video Games” and “consuming media responsibly”: “I think what I’m getting at is, especially with the horror genre, it’s less important what a movie says and more important that you, the viewer, understand why you’re enjoying it. I believe in judicious self-awareness; a director like […]

“An End To ‘Snobbery'”


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 […]

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    At The Brattle Film Notes, Kerry Fristoe writes about The Road Warrior and Lord Byron’s poem, “Darkness,” in The Road Warrior or Mad Max and Lord Byron Walk into a Bar…”


    There’s a free audio book adaptation of Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez’ Locke & Key at


    At Actionland, Heroic Sister Achillesgirl writes about subtitling the 1964 wuxia film, Buddha Palm. And she provides you with the subtitles and a link to the film!


    At Bleeding Cool, Cap Blackard writes about the contested homeworld of Howard the Duck. “If you’ve seen the much maligned Howard the Duck film or read any Howard the Duck stories published since 1979, you’re probably familiar with the concept of Duckworld. You know, an alternate Earth where everyone is ducks and everything is duck-themed: Ducktor Strange, Bloomingducks, etc, etc. Sounds like a recipe for a finite barrel of bad jokes, right? It is, and it’s also not Howard’s real point of origin. During his landmark initial run, Howard’s creator Steve Gerber had the down-and-out duck hailing from a world of talking animals, but all that changed when Gerber was kicked off the book and Disney flashed a lawsuit. Now, after decades of backstory fumbling, Mark Waid has reinstated Howard’s point of origin in a one-shot issue of S.H.I.E.L.D.” (Thanks, Mark!)


    At The Village Voice, Jackson Connor writes about the making of The Warriors. Amid the refurbished boardwalk and laughter of children, it’s easy to forget that Coney Island was once a place where tourists did not venture. For much of the latter half of the twentieth century, street gangs dominated this neighborhood. They ran rampant through the area’s neglected housing projects, tearing along Surf and Neptune avenues toward West 8th Street. Those gangs, or gangs like them, and that incarnation of Coney Island would form the backbone of author Sol Yurick’s 1965 debut novel, The Warriors, about the young members of a street gang. More than a decade after the novel’s publication it would be optioned and, eventually, turned into a major motion picture of the same name.” (via @pulpcurry)


    Edith Garrud taught Suffragettes jiu-jitsu and formed Emmeline Pankhurst’s Bodyguard. “The first connection between the suffragettes and jiu-jitsu was made at a WSPU meeting. Garrud and her husband William, who ran a martial arts school in London’s Golden Square together, had been booked to attend. But William was ill, so she went alone. ‘Edith normally did the demonstrating, while William did the speaking,’ says Tony Wolf, writer of Suffrajitsu, a trilogy of graphic novels about this aspect of the suffragette movement. ‘But the story goes that the WSPU’s leader, Emmeline Pankhurst, encouraged Edith to do the talking for once, which she did.'”


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