The Cultural Gutter

unashamed geekery

"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

    We have been bereft since GWAR lost Oderus Ungerus. But lift up your heads and rejoice, fans of GWAR, there is a new member. She is Vulvatron! (via @saladinahmed)

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    Throne of the Crescent Moon author Saladin Ahmed has posted “a micro-mini Crescent Moon Kingdoms world guide that had previously only been available as part of a UK-exclusive ebook” for people to use in their roleplaying games. But even if you aren’t a gamemaster, it’s pretty sweet.

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    At We Are Respectable Negroes, Chauncey Devega interviews friend of the Gutter Mark D. White about the virtues of Captain America. “In this, the ninth episode, of the second season of WARN’s podcast series, we talk about what comic books and superheroes can tell us about philosophy and politics, work through what makes someone ‘heroic,’ the ways that the general public often misunderstands and misreads the Captain America character, as well as how American exceptionalism, race, and identity relate to superhero and other types of comic books and graphic novels.”

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    Alexander Chee writes about difficulty some have in evaluating comics or even in taking them seriously. “As a frequent juror on prizes, colonies and fellowships, I am, it could be said, so tired of this, that in fact, I will fight you for Roz Chast’s right to be on this list. I will fight you for the right for Bechdel to get that MacArthur. In a ring, covered in grease, MMA style. That is how sick of it I am.”

    And Dylan Meconis has some suggestions on how to improve writing about comics. “This leaves all the critics who are just beginning their journey into comics reading, or who have yet to be entirely won over to the medium but want to keep an open mind (perhaps due to peer pressure: I remember a literati cocktail party where somebody near me anxiously muttered ‘I guess we’re all supposed to read graphic novels now.’) These brave souls are willing to give it a try, but they tend to make a lot of mistakes when they first start out.” (Thanks, Gareth!)

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    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 yet have participated in cosplay to know that there are several communities for people of color to have safe spaces where they can be embrace and be their nerdy selves. If there is little to no news about this incident on other mainstream geek sites that feature cosplayers, then framing this around race is pertinent and they should be called out on their silence.  Even IF this is not an incident where Darrien Hunt was actively cosplaying, the tone has already been set and anyone who is a part of the cosplay community should address this matter.  Many Black cosplayers are concerned about this, and still wonder if they would be viewed as ‘suspicious’ walking down the street.”

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    Nerds of Color announces that their own David Walker will be writing Dynamite’s Shaft comic. Denys Cowan shares the cover for Shaft #1 drawn by Cowan and Bill Sienkiewicz. Sanford Greene shares some his cover work here and here. Black Comix posts Ulises Farinas’ cover.  Comics Wow has more and previews covers. (Via Black Comix and World of Hurt)

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