The Cultural Gutter

going through pop culture's trash since 2003

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

“The Anti-Tolkien”

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The New Yorker profiles writer Michael Moorcock. Moorcock’s influence is nothing like Tolkien’s, at least on the surface, but his vision of a speculative-fiction genre that can be psychologically complex is evident in how very sophisticated some of it has become—from True Detective to Jeff VanderMeer, from David Mitchell to Under the Skin. But Moorcock […]

RIP, Michael Ansara

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Actor Michael Ansara has died. While Ansara had countless television and movie roles, he is probably best known now for his roles as Kang in Star Trek and the Technomage Elric in Babylon 5,  the voice of Mr. Freeze in Batman: The Animated Series and Cochise in the 1950s tv series Broken Arrow. The Texas […]

“How Patriarchy Screwed The Starks”

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There are spoilers in this interesting discussion: “Game of Thrones is about how patriarchal systems damage men as much as they damage women.” Like this:Like Loading…

Pondering The Red Wedding

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The AV Club consider the emotional impact of Game of Thrones’ Red Wedding episode.  Gus Mustrapa considers pranks, punchlines,  Schadenfreude and the Red Wedding: “This weekend a booby-trap three years in the making was sprung. Millions of TV viewers watching A Game of Thrones took the proverbial blow. A good many nerds, having read the books […]

The Dragonlance Chronicles: Innovative, Ubiquitous and Terribly-Written

At Pornokitsch, Jared takes a look at The Dragonlance Chronicles’ influence on contemporary fantasy: “[C]ool or not, Dragonlance has done more than almost any other post-Tolkien property in influencing fantasy. Its narrative and conceptual tropes can be found in every nook and cranny of the genre, and much of the modern low fantasy resurgence can be traced […]

“The Rape of James Bond”

Sophia McDougall writes about “sexual assault and ‘Realism’ in popular culture.” (via @Pornokitsch) Like this:Like Loading…

LEGO: Battle of Maldon

LEGO Vikings attack in the animated “Battle of Maldon”, and with Old English subtitles. (Thanks, Kate Laity!) Like this:Like Loading…

Master of Infinite Kung Fu

I always have trouble writing about comics that I think are good, just excellent and existing in their own seamless perfection, which means that here at the Gutter I don’t always write about the comics that I love most. I want to do credit to them and save them till I have more time. Sometimes, […]

“The Trouble with Skyrim”

At his Invincible Super Blog, Chris Sims has some trouble with Elder Scrolls 5:  Skyrim and compares the game to Assassin’s Creed 3: Brotherhood and Fallout 3.  “What’s the point of giving you an overwhelming amount of content when none of it matters?”   Like this:Like Loading…

What Changing An Ending Means

Becky Chambers breaks down the controversy around the ending of Mass Effect 3 in a spoiler-free, accessible and interesting article at The Mary-Sue. Like this:Like Loading…

Happy Birthday, JRR Tolkien

BBC 2’s  “In Their Own Words: British Novelists,” with J.R.R. Tolkien. Like this:Like Loading…

Taira no Kiyomori

Kenichi Matsuyama, who played L in Death Note, Masura Kato in Gantz: Light in the Dark and who Midnight Madness fans might remember as  Negishi/Johannes Krauser  from Detroit Metal City, is playing the 12th Century/Heian Era, Taira no Kiyomori, in an eponymous 50 episode NHK television series. The Japan Times covers the series’ development and […]

NPR Interviews George R. R. Martin

Callers ask fiction and fantasy author, George R. R. Martin questions on NPR’s “On Point.”  “I never saw distinctions between these two genres. They all seemed to me to be flavors, if you will, of imaginative fiction, romantic fiction The great romantic tradition as opposed to realistic tradition in literature. My father called it all […]

The Superiority of Game of Thrones as a Show

Abigail Nussbaum writes about how television has improved George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones. ” I can think of no response that more thoroughly encapsulates how much Game of Thrones improves on Martin’s novel–the same death that left me yawning on the page when I only suspected it was coming, riveted me on screen […]

Journey to the Centre of a Terrible Cover Idea

Good Show, Sir, offers you, the reader, only the worst and most ill-conceived science fiction and fantasy book covers. And if you have some terrible cover art in your collection, you can submit to their gallery. Like this:Like Loading…

George R. R. Martin in The New Yorker

The New Yorker writes about George R. R. Martin, his fans, his angry fans, his fantasy epic, A Song of Fire and Ice, the upcoming HBO series based on it, and his next book, A Dance of Dragons, six years in the writing:  “I’m living the dream here. I have all of these readers who […]

Winter is Coming

Gianluca Maconi’s gallery of characters makes a great case for a comic based on George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones. (via Robot 6) Like this:Like Loading…

A Prowler Through The Dark

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“In off the moors, down through the mist bands/ God-cursed Grendel came greedily loping.”  (Beowulf. Seamus Heaney, trans. 710-1) I have seen many adaptations of Beowulf, from art house films like Beowulf and Grendel and low-budget science fiction like Christopher Lambert’s Beowulf of the future to Neil Gaiman’s Beowulf and its rotoscopery and The Thirteenth […]

Genre on TV: Fantasy, Zombies

HBO has a teaser up for George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones.  Meanwhile, AMC has a clip up of actors learning to act like zombies for its upcoming The Walking Dead, based on Robert Kirkman’s comic. Like this:Like Loading…

Summer Fun Time Reading!

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It’s summertime and all the happenin’ sites have advice about bikinis, manscaping, quick cool meals and reading lists. I have no idea what to tell you about beachwear, other than you do look cute in that, but I do have some reading suggestions. Like this:Like Loading…

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    At Boing Boing, Gita Jackson writes about gaming, art, minority voices, colonialism and Benedict Anderson’s “imagined communities”: “When marginalized voices come to take their seat at the table, there will always be an outcry that they are invaders, colonists, inferior versions of their straight, white male counterparts. But rather than killing artforms, the addition of marginalized voices often helps ensure that they stay alive.”

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    Every Frame A Painting returns to analysis of Akira Kurosawa’s work.

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    At The Nib, Ronald Wimberley tells a story and elucidates the implications of being asked to lighten a character’s skin tone for a Wolverine And the X-Men jam comic.

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    “Commercial cinema has predictably chosen not to bite the hand that feeds it, so it’s simultaneously inspiring and also kind of embarrassing to see a movie like Seijun Suzuki’s Story of Sorrow and Sadness. Rarely has a mainstream commercial release been as rabid in its attack, and as thoughtful in its critique, of our dystopian mediascape. And it should embarrass current commercial filmmakers that one of the few movies to have something intelligent to say about today’s mediascape was made almost 40 years ago. By a 54 year old director. About golf.” More at Kaiju Shakedown.

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    Time Out London shares its list of the 100 best Bollywood films–including selections by friend of the Gutter, Beth Watkins of Beth Loves Bollywood. (See the 10 films she selected and wrote about in the greater list here).

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    At Multiglom, film critic Anne Bilson apologizes to Keanu Reeves: “Keanu Reeves, I must apologise. For years, like other film critics, I cast aspersions on your acting talent, belittled your intellect, and cracked jokes about your name, which means ‘cool breeze over the mountains’ in Hawaiian. Only now do I realise I was foolish and misguided. That YouTube video of you giving up your seat on the New York City metro is only the latest evidence that, onscreen and off, you are awesome.”

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