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

“Why Do People Hate Rap and Opera?”

At NPR’s classical music blog, Deceptive Cadence, Tom Huizenga discusses the results of a poll asking readers to “name their musical blind spot.” Over and over, people disliked rap and opera  and Huizenga ponders why that might be and what rap and opera might have in common: “Opera and rap take work to appreciate — […]

The Gamer Girl Manifesto

Gamer Girls remind everyone, “Don’t be racist. Don’t be homophobic. Don’t be sexist. Follow that code and everybody will have a good time. And when someone breaks that code, CALL THEM OUT. Don’t just let it ride.” And the comments bear out why it has to be said again and again.

Catwoman and Starfire Round-UP

Robot 6 responds to the new Catwoman and Starfire in DC’s relaunch.  “I feel as if I should be worked up by the depictions but, to be honest, I’m just deflated by the whole thing. The best I can muster is, ‘Sigh … again?’ and maybe, ‘This is the kind of storytelling and characterization you […]

Orson Scott Card’s Hamlet

Oh my stars and garters, Orson Scott Card has rewritten Hamlet and called it, Hamlet’s Father. via @houseinrlyeh and @pornokitsch)

“Chaos Cinema: The Decline of Action Filmmaking”

In his video essay (also available in text form), Matthias Stork details the elements of what he calls, “Chaos Cinema” and their effects on film and viewer experience: “The film doesn’t seduce you into suspending your disbelief.  It bludgeons you until you give up.”

“5 Things I Hate About D & D”

Get ready players, Jared at the ever-excellent Pornokitsch shares the 5 things he hates about Dungeons and Dragons:  “As a result of Tolkien’s Middle English Mary Sue, generations of gamers have been saddled with Tylenol Applebottom, Laxative Spottypork and their size-Pathetic sling attacks.”

Whine. And Cheese.

Shakespeare claims it’s April, psychologists say it’s December.  But I think July is the cruellest month.  It’s hot; it’s grossly humid; I never manage to swing a proper holiday.  This year I have the added irritant of lacking air-conditioning both at home and at work.  Argh.

“Curse You, Euclid!”

Cube Zero is definitely not the Greatest Movie Ever!  Hear more here.

Honest and Dishonest Swearing

In 1969, Joanna Russ spoke to the Philadelphia Science Fiction Convention  about taboo words, their honest and dishonest uses and the unearned thrill:  “I want to be able to use dirty wordies without shocking anybody. I want to write about the subjects they refer to without shocking anybody. And if there’s nothing else, losing the […]

Is Boring Bad?

Manohla Dargis and A.O. Scott defend the slow and the boring film, giving as examples, Andrei Tarkovsky’s Solaris and Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives. Dargis sees them giving space for thought. Scott sees “protests against the deep…[as] mask[ing] another agenda, which is a defense of the corporate status quo.”  And […]

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.

The Unspeakable Horror of Literary Criticism

Did you ever wonder what H.P. Lovecraft thought about literary horror? You can know–possibly without going mad–by reading his 1927 essay, “Supernatural Horror in Literature.”  Thanks to Migueal for the glimpse into the unspeakable horror of literary criticism!

Commodification is Inevitable

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Joe Steckart has an interesting response to Patton Oswalt’s “Wake Up, Geek Culture. Time to Die“: “Reading Watchmen does not make you cool. Being able to talk about it intelligently does. The counterculture, the ineffable ‘cool,’ will always be manifesting itself in something. Right now it’s manifesting at least partly in geek culture, and that’s wonderful. […]

Batwoman: Elegaic

batwoman 80.jpg

In this time of uncertainty and dread, with Batman dying and Dick Grayson taking up the cowl, with dead Robins returning all crazy or replacing Batgirl, with Bruce Wayne taking a global crimefighting initiative Batman Inc. public, there’s one thing I am sure Gotham that has going for it: Batwoman.

“I Have Brain Cancer”

You know what doesn’t go good in porn? Dialog like “I have brain cancer.” Cracked has more counterproductive porn dialog.

Go Team Lovecraft!

At The Times Online, Stephen Hawking says contacting aliens could be dangerous. Lord Rees says aliens are possibly beyond any human’s ability to comprehend. We say, Go Team Lovecraft!

10 Things That Are Creepy, Not Romantic

Linda Holmes brings all her expertise in movies with kissing and banter in them to list ten things that that are more creepy than romantic in romantic comedy.

Investigating Lois

Kelly Thompson never much liked reporters or Lois Lane, now she’s giving Lois a second chance with a review of Mindy Newell’s Lois Lane miniseries. (The discussion in the comments is excellent, too).

End of Year at the Comics Alliance

The Comics Alliance displays the full might of its geekery listing its best of 2009, its superlatives of 2009, its worst of the decade, its trends the Alliance wants dead and its top ten lists of 2009 list.

“Yow,” Being the Operative Word Here

Adi Tantimedh doesn’t like AMC’s remake of The Prisoner. Not at all: “Let’s get this out of the way: The Prisoner remake is shit. Pointless, generic shit.” “Shit,” being the operative word here. (via PWBeat, who have more discussion in their comments).

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

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

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    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 Nicolas Winding Refn knows exactly why he makes the directorial choices he makes, and he works those kinks right out onscreen.

    Or, if you aren’t enjoying a piece of work—if ultraviolence isn’t your thing, or if you’re suffering a visceral reaction—it’s every bit as important that you identify what about the piece is making you uncomfortable.”

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    In  Tropes vs. Women in Video Games, “Women As Background Decoration: Part 2,” Anita Sarkeesian discusses “how sexualized female bodies often occupy a dual role as both sexual playthings and the perpetual victims of male violence.” It is quite graphic in terms of violence and sexual violence.

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    Here are the films playing the Vanguard program at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival: Spring; Luna; Hyena; Goodnight, Mommy / Ich Seh, Ich Seh; Alleluia; The Duke Of Burgundy; Over Your Dead Body; Shrew’s Nest; They Have Escaped; Waste Land; The World of Kanako; and The Voices. (Trailers added as they become available).

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    Here are the films playing the Toronto International Film Festival’s Midnight Madness program: Tokyo Tribe; Big Game; Tusk; It Follows; Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films; [REC]4: Apocalypse; Cub; The Editor; and, What We Do In The Shadows and The Guest. (More trailers as they become available).

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    The Guardian has collected some responses Haruki Murakami gave to reader questions at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. “I don’t have any idea at all, when I start writing, of what is to come. For instance, for The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, the first thing I had was the call of the bird, because I heard a bird in my back yard (it was the first time I heard that kind of sound and I never have since then. I felt like it was predicting something. So I wanted to write about it). The next thing was cooking spaghetti – these are things that happen to me! I was cooking spaghetti, and somebody call. So I had just these two things at the start. Two years I kept on writing. It’s fun! I don’t know what’s going to happen next, every day. I get up, go to the desk, switch on the computer, etc. and say to myself: ‘so what’s going to happen today?’ It’s fun!”

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