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

Thinking About Serial


At The Atlantic, Adrienne LaFrance considers whether it is wrong to be hooked on the Serial podcast in which journalist Sarah Koenig investigates a 1999 murder in Baltimore. “But Serial is also a story about storytelling. Listeners ride along with Koenig each week as she does her investigative work. We hear the reportorial leads that […]

“The Ministry of Sickness and Death”


Jake Adelstein has shared an unpublished chapter of his book Tokyo Vice online.  “This chapter never made the final cut of Tokyo Vice because it’s not about crime or the underworld. It is about the battle to tell the truth when it is inconvenient for the powers that be to have it known.  It could […]

“Here’s Why Everybody In The Video Game World Is Fighting”


At Vox, The Gameological Society’s Todd Van Der Werff has a pretty good synopsis of the recent trouble in gaming.  

Apocalypse Games


Three articles on the end of “gamer” as an identity, on the end of gatekeeping and the end of gaming culture: Leigh Alexander at Gamasutra; Dr. Nerdlove; and Dan Golding. “And the sad thing is: nobody’s trying to destroy games.“

RIP, Robert Drew


Filmmaker, cinema verité innovator and journalist Robert Drew has died. The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and The Guardian have obituaries. Grantland has a memoriam of his work and life. “Drew died last week. He was 90. His genre was cinema verité, which is a much more artful way into truth. He made portraits […]

RIP, Margot Adler


Journalist Margot Adler has died. She is best known for her work as a journalist on NPR, but she also created the speculative fiction radio program, “The Hour Of The Wolf” and was the writer of Drawing Down The Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America Today (1979) and Vampires Are Us: Understanding […]

Female Friendship and the Slenderman Stabbing

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“[The Slenderman Stabbing] appears to echo patterns of behavior—belief in culturally-supported fantasies, tightly-cathected bonds between young women, an intensity of connection that has occasionally led to violence—that have occurred repeatedly, in various forms, throughout history and around the world. And they happen outside the heterosexual framework we use to understand [Elliot] Rodgers’ misogynistic rampage. This crime is […]

Collection of R.K. Laxman Cartoons


The Times of India has collected a gallery of satirical cartoons by R.K. Laxman. And here are episodes of R.K. Laxman Ki Duniya, a tv show based on his work. (Thanks, Sava!)

Free Chapter of Tokyo Vice


“Bury Me In A Shallow Grave: When The Yakuza Come Calling,” a free . pdf chapter from Jake Adelstein’s book, Tokyo Vice.

“He looks just like what you want a hitman to look like”


Jeanne Marie Laskas tells the story of an ATF agent who works undercover as a hitman. Hear an interview with her at NPR and read the story at GQ.

Old Crime Photos in a New Context


Marc Hermann superimposes historic NY Daily News crime photos onto contemporary photos of the same locations. (Thanks, Edie!)

RIP, Elmore Leonard


Writer Elmore Leonard has died. The Detroit News remembers Leonard and reprints his “Squad 7: Impressions of Murder.” The Detroit Free Press also remembers Leonard. The Onion offers their own tribute. Here is a three-part interview Leonard did at the F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Conference. Cinemablend shares their favorite film adaptations of Leonard’s work.

RIP, Kim Thompson


Fantagraphics co-publisher Kim Thompson has died. The Seattle Times, Comics Alliance, and The AV Club have obituaries. Fantagraphics’ Gary Groth wrote the obituary for the Fantagraphics blog.

Comics Alliance: The Return


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

“Revenge, Ego and the Corruption of Wikipedia”

A novelist takes revenge on writers he doesn’t like via wikipedia. Slate has the story. “Qworty’s edits undermine our trust in this great project. Qworty’s edits prove that Wikipedia’s content can be shaped by people settling grudges and acting out of spite and envy. Qworty alone, by his own account, has made 13,000 edits to […]

“¡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 […]

Satirizing China

The New York Times interviews Mr. R, mastermind behind the China Daily Show, “a ‘fake news’ Web site in a country that is crying out for satire, where reality is so skewed by propaganda and inadvertent humor that it can be hard to tell the difference[.]”

Interview with Kurt Busiek

In honor of Lois Lane’s first appearance 75 years ago, Kurt Busiek talks about Lois with DC Women Kicking Ass. “If you’re a ne’er-do-well, the last person you want trying to get the goods on you in Lois, because she just doesn’t quit.”

Update on Gordon Liu

Jayne Stars has an update on Gordon Liu’s condition and situation since his 2011 stroke and the subsequent rumors about financial struggles with his family and former assistant.

“My So-Called ‘Post-Feminist’ Life In Arts and Letters”

“There’s a reason J.K. Rowling’s publishers demanded that she use initials instead of “Joanne”: it’s the same reason Mary Anne Evans used the pen name George Eliot; the same reason Robert Southey, then England’s poet laureate, wrote to Charlotte Brontë: ‘Literature cannot be the business of a woman’s life, and it ought not to be.’” […]

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    Stacked has a sweet resource list of young adult books featuring black girls. “All descriptions are from WorldCat, and I’m absolutely eager to hear more titles. All are YA books featuring black girls front and center and they include fiction and some non-fiction. A couple of these titles also fall into that crossover category, so while they may technically be “adult” reads, they have great appeal to teens. Several of these authors have written more than one title featuring a black girl at the center, so it’s worth checking their other titles, too. Many of these are also on-going series titles. I’ve limited to one per author.”


    Michael Aguilar discusses The Giant Claw and making the stop motion wonder of “Godzilla 2014 vs. The Giant Claw, Part I!” (Thanks, Kate!)


    In a 1988 Sight And Sound interview, Patricia Highsmith talks about film adaptations of her novels, from Strangers On A Train (1950) to The American Friend (1977)


    Open Culture has a re-vamped trailer for a film adaptation of  Alejandro Jodorowsky and Moebius’ comic The Incal. One that never happened. “[Incal‘s] success made it a logical candidate for film adaptation, and so director Pascal Blais brought together artists from Heavy Metal magazine (in which Mœbius first published some of his best known work) to make it happen. It resulted in nothing more than a trailer, but what a trailer; you can watch a recently revamped edition of the one Blais and his collaborators put together in the 1980s at the top of the post.” (Thanks, Felipe!)


    Hyperallergic has a gallery of astronomical and cosmological illustrations from photographer Michael Benson’s books, Cosmographics: Picturing Space Through Time. (Thanks, Stephanie!)


    A homophobic Tumblr post becomes Queer dystopian adventure fiction in two responses. Behold! (Thanks, Adele!)


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