The Cultural Gutter

beyond good and bad, there is awesome

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

Spider-Man and Torture

Colin Smith and Mark White write on Spider-Man, torture and character in response to Spider-Man’s torturing Sandman.  Colin has more on the response to his piece as well. Like this:Like Loading…

Josh Olson “Will Not Read Your Fucking Script”

Josh Olson writes:  “[Many aspiring screenwriters] think that screenwriting doesn’t actually require the ability to write, just the ability to come up with a cool story that would make a cool movie. Screenwriting is widely regarded as the easiest way to break into the movie business, because it doesn’t require any kind of training, skill […]

Leaving DC and Marvel

At Comics Alliance, David Brothers details why he decided to stop reading DC and Marvel comics. Meanwhile, The Comics Journal interviews Chris Roberson on why he decided to stop writing for DC. Like this:Like Loading…

On Wonder Woman and Amazons

Kelly Thompson and Colin Smith offer two related criticisms of Wonder Woman #7. Thompson asks, “Is the Destruction of the Amazons the Destruction of Feminism in DC Comics?” And Smith writes, “Of all of the flak fired up to obscure the mean-spirited, thick-headed sexism of Brian Azzarello’s script for Wonder Woman #7, the most stubbornly […]

“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. Like this:Like Loading…

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) Like this:Like Loading…

“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.” Like this:Like Loading…

“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.” Like this:Like Loading…

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. Like this:Like Loading…

“Curse You, Euclid!”

Cube Zero is definitely not the Greatest Movie Ever!  Hear more here. Like this:Like Loading…

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. Like this:Like Loading…

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! Like this:Like Loading…

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. Like this:Like Loading…

“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. Like this:Like Loading…

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! Like this:Like Loading…

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    At the New York Observer, Ashley Steves writes about Craig Ferguson’s The Late, Late Show. “No one could ever prepare you for watching an episode of Ferguson’s Late Late Show. A friend could not sit you down and explain it (“Well, it’s really meta and deconstructive and there’s a horse”). There was really no good way to recommend it. It was something you discovered and became a part of. You had to stumble upon it on your own, perhaps restless or bored or simply curious while flipping through channels when your eye quickly caught some of the madness. And that’s the best part. It was an unexpected gift. At its worst, it could still send you to bed grinning and comforted. At its best, it was art. It was silly and fun and truly not like any other late night show.”

    ~

    At Comics Alliance, Chris Sims interviews Ed Brubaker about his work on Batman, Gotham Central and Catwoman. “When I look back at [Catwoman], I’m so proud of the first 25 issues of that book, when I felt like everything was firing on all cylinders. I probably should’ve left when Cameron Stewart left instead of sticking around. That’s one of those things I look back at and think “Ah, I had a perfect run up until then!” (Incidentally, Comics Editor Carol’s first piece for the Gutter was about Brubaker’s first 25 issues of Catwoman).

    ~

    At Sequential Art, Greg Carpenter writes a lovely piece about Charles Schulz’ Peanuts. “After only two installments, Schulz had solidified the rules for his comic strip.  Random acts of cruelty would punctuate this irrational world, and Schulz’s trapped little adults would be forced to act out simulations of human behavior, using hollow gestures to try to create meaning in a universe where no other meaning was evident.  If Shakespeare’s Macbeth had been a cartoonist, the results of his daily grind, “tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow,” might have looked somewhat similar—each character a “poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage” until he or she was heard from no more.”

    ~

    The Smithsonian Magazine has a gallery of US spy satellite launches. “Just as NASA creates specially designed patches for each mission into space, [National Reconnaissance Office] follows that tradition for its spy satellite launches. But while NASA patches tend to feature space ships and American flags, NRO prefers wizards, Vikings, teddy bears and the all-seeing eye. With these outlandish designs, a civilian would be justified in wondering if NRO is trolling.”

    ~

    At The Guardian, Keith Stuart and Steve Boxer look at the history of PlayStation.“Having been part of the late 80s rave and underground-clubbing scene, I recognised how it was influencing the youth market. In the early 90s, club culture started to become more mass market, but the impetus was still coming from the underground, from key individuals and tribes. What it showed me was that you had to identify and build relationships with those opinion-formers – the DJs, the music industry, the fashion industry, the underground media.” (via @timmaughan)

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    Neill Cameron has re-imagined the characters of Parks & Recreation as members of Starfleet. (Via @neillcameron)

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