The Cultural Gutter

we've seen things you people wouldn't believe

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

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 […]

“On the Notion of Guilty Pleasures”

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“As much as you think ‘We Built This City (On Rock And Roll)’ or Spandau Ballet might be bad, you don’t even know bad, buddy.’” Jon Hunt writes about guilty pleasures, critical faculties,  good and bad music, but his thoughts can easily be applied to other mediums. (via @popshifter)

RIP, Stuart Hall

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Sociologist and Cultural Theorist Stuart Hall has died.  The Guardian and Art Review have obituaries.  At Flavorwire, Brie Hiramina writes, “Why Stuart Hall’s Groundbreaking Work On Culture And Identity Still Matters.”  There is an interview with Hall at Radical Philosophy.  You can watch a documentary about Stuart Hall, The Stuart Hall Project, here.

On The State of TV Criticism

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Indiewire talks to TV Club‘s Todd VanDerWerff about television criticism: “The way we’ve been selling ‘review’ versus ‘recap’ is ‘Should I watch this?’ versus ‘What did I just watch?’ The move toward episodic criticism has been a good thing for TV criticism on the whole, I think, but it’s started to run roughshod over the […]

“Why Is Grand Theft Auto So Conservative?”

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This Cage Is Worms has some thoughts on Grand Theft Auto V, and Grand Theft Auto in general: “By making fun of ‘everything,’ GTAV is trying to convince us that it is above any real commitment to an ideology.” (via @bombsfall)

Bad Fans and a Mind-Bending Phone Call

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Emily Nussbaum writes about the complexity of one phone call in Breaking Bad‘s “Ozymandias” episode.

Two Thoughtful Pieces on Breaking Bad

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At The AV Club, Stephen Bowie makes,  “The Case Against Breaking Bad,” while at The New York Times, A.O. Scott examines how <i>Breaking Bad</i>’s Walter White “found his inner sociopath.” and the beloved antiheroes of television’s current Golden Age.

“A Day Inside Comic-Con’s Hall H: Worshipping in the Ultimate Movie Church”

Todd VanDerWerff spends a day in San Diego Comic Con’s Hall H and has some interesting observations about the film industry, fan culture, sexism and “Worshipping in the Ultimate Movie Church.”

Kirk and Spock, Tristan and Iseult

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At Teach Me Tonight, Kate Laity writes about Joanna Russ’ 1985 essay, “Pornography by Women for Women With Love”:  “While the entire collection makes fascinating reading, I want to focus on the chapter “Pornography By Women For Women, With Love” as it provides some interesting roots for the ongoing academic dissections of romance writing today […]

Lau Kar-Leung Remembered

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The Ferroni Brigade considers how Lau Kar-Leung brought comedy to kung fu as well as scrutinized the kung fu film tradition that had come before him.  David Bordwell writes about Lau and how sometimes stylized action captures the real better than “realism.”

Adventure Time on NPR

NPR’s Monkey See blog shares a look at Adventure Time. “Adventure Time insists on emotional honesty.” (via @profmdwhite)

Jean-Luc Godard & Jean-Claude Van Damme

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At Vern Reviews The Films Of Cinema, Outlaw Vern offers “one Seagalologist’s perspective on the ‘vulgar auteurism’ debate”: “The practitioners are trying to bring recognition to artists who they think are marginalized, but they’re accidentally creating a ranking of ‘vulgar auteur’ beneath ‘actual auteur.’ And that also shines a spotlight on the idea’s most glaring […]

A 1998 Critique of the Game Industry Still Relevant Today

“In a column just as true today as it was at the time of its writing, this reprint from the February 1998 issue of Game Developer magazine by game designer J.C. Herz blasts the industry conservatism and the retreading of familiar ideas.” Read it at Gamasutra.

Comics Alliance: The Return

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Hey, everybody, Comics Alliance is back! (via @World_Of_Hurt)

Greil Marcus SVA Commencement Speech

At the School of Visual Art, Greil Marcus delivers a commencement speech discussing “high art” vs. “low art,” art, and influence. (Thanks, Andrew!)

“¡Viva, Comics Alliance!”

At The Comics Journal, Joe McCulloch speaks to the legacy of Comics Alliance. The Beat‘s Steve Morris writes about what Comics Alliance meant to him. ” If Comics Alliance was known for anything – aside from the much-needed essays on prejudice and progression, aside from discussion of Batman punching people with car parts, aside from […]

“Keycard to Room 237″

Jim Emerson collects and breaks down the criticisms of Room 237, a documentary of people who obsess over Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. And Drew Morton created a visual essay in response to the film.

Id Critics and Conspiracy Theories

“Room 237 is like an act of revenge from a filmmaker upon the critics,” writes Robert Greene in his review. And The Verge’s Adi Robinson interviews Room 237 director Rodney Ascher on The Shining, interpretation and conspiracy theories. “[Room 237 is] about what happens when the movie leaves the filmmaker’s hands, and the audience is […]

Remembering Roger Ebert

The Gutter’s own Carol writes about Roger Ebert, art and adapting: “I’ll miss Roger Ebert. He was complicated and messy and smart and talented and human.”

“Classical Filmmaking: The Theme that Drives all of Sam Raimi’s Movies”

Matt Singer explores two elements that recur in all of Sam Raimi’s films, Pandora’s box and, “The Classic,” a 1973 Delta 88. “Using The Classic to play Uncle Ben’s car may have just been a fortuitous way for Raimi to shoehorn in his beloved trademark, but in the larger context of his career, it imbues […]

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    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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    Architecture Daily has an excerpt from City of Darkness detailing the development of Hong Kong’s Kowloon Walled City. “By the 1970s, the City had filled out to its maximised form, with buildings of up to 14 storeys in height, and virtually no ground level daylight penetration save at its centre. Its density was estimated to have reached a mere 7 square feet per person. The yamen area had somehow remained an exception to the vertical development, leased to a missionary society in 1949 for use as an almshouse and old people’s home. Eventually, it defined the sole substantial void within the Walled City, with visible sky above it.”

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