The Cultural Gutter

geek chic with mad technique

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

RIP, Al Goldstein

Publisher of Screw magazine and pornography and free speech advocate Al Goldstein has died. The Guardian, The Village Voice, The New York Times and The Miami Herald have obituaries. And here’s a blog dedicated to the appreciation of Screw magazine’s cover art (NSFW & warning: possible triggers).

These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things

inquiry

I always enjoy writing a ‘Best Of’ column, and this year it’s particularly timely. Not only do I work in retail (which is category 5 insane right now) but my week also included a bicycle accident and a broken water main. Frankly, I needed some happy time. It did me good to think about and/or […]

“Judge John Hodgman: Reckless Endungeonment”

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Judge John Hodgman rules in a conflict between friends and fellow Dresden Files roleplaying game afficionados. “Dan’s become bored with what he sees as ‘safe’ gameplay recently and decided to shake it up, taking more risks with his character. Ryan says this type of play doesn’t fit with their style and is ruining everyone’s fun. […]

“Fact and Fiction in Criminal Case File 002″

Andrew Nette writes about the trial and death of Khmer Rouge foreign minister Ieng Sary.

Chester Himes on the BBC

Listen to BBC Radio 4’s production of Chester Himes’ crime classic, Cotton Comes to Harlem. Only available for a short time. (Thanks, Andrew Nette)

“Protest Style”

HAPS puts PSY’s protest style in context.

To Kill A Mockingbird and Horror

“Even if we were to discount the element of Southern small town prejudice and the ugly courtroom trial that occupies the film’s center, this adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Harper Lee is just plain spooky… and it is my feeling that it has bestowed upon us a legacy of horror that we […]

The Unmasking of a Troll

In writing about–and exposing the identity of–Reddit moderator and troll, Violentacrez, Adrian Chen makes an interesting point, well, many interesting points in this excellent piece for The Gawker:   “When it comes to mods, the political model of Reddit is not so much a vast digital democracy, as it’s often framed by fans and users, […]

Cheeseburger Compensation and Settling Hits out of Court

“These days, being a yakuza boss isn’t what it once was. In exchange for supreme status you get blamed for everything. In August of 2008, three months after the countermeasures laws went into effect, the Yamaguchi-gumi boss found himself dealing with one of his low-ranking underling’s unpaid McDonald’s tab. That’s because Japan’s approach to its […]

RIP, Andy Griffith

Actor and comedian Andy Griffith has died.  Boston.com has an overview of his career.  The Hollywood Reporter has memorials from Jim Nabors and Ron Howard. And here is a Griffith stand-up bit from 1953 with images drawn by George Woodbridge.

Lovers In A Dangerous Time

Recently, I’ve been thinking about danger.  Specifically, the kind of danger that runs through a certain subsection of Romance, often called ‘romantic suspense’.  These are the stories that drop the hero and heroine into physical jeopardy in addition to exposing them to all the emotional risks of falling in love.  When done well, they share […]

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.

“Blood, Kin and Structure”

Writers Joe Lansdale and Andrew Vachss have a conversation about their books Edge of Dark Water and That’s How I Roll, the power of books,  the importance of libraries and librarians, publishing as a fixed fight and a helluva lot more.  Part one and part two.

Shatner on Shatner’s World

William Shatner talks about his book on CBC Radio’s Q and his world on NPR’s  Fresh Air.

The History and Art of the Title Sequence

A couple of looks at the art and history of film title sequences.

My Pretty Pony: Remixing is Magic

Variety has a piece on how Hasbro allows fans to use footage from My Pretty Pony: Friendship is Magic, while other media copyright holders continue to try and squash fan use of media properties. “Really it all comes down to a question of control for big media companies….They can either attempt to clamp down on […]

Plea Bargains and Loveless Marriages

Scholars are combing digitized records from London’s Old Bailey and discovering fascinating trends in plea bargaining, divorce and bigamy in the 1800s.

The Jack Kirby Estate vs. Marvel

The Kirby estate’s copyright case has come to the attention of The New York Times. Kirby’s heirs are suing for ownership rights in his many, many creations at Marvel.  “Of course these court battles are about money. They also force the modern entertainment industry to reckon with the often amoral practices of the old comics […]

Journal of the Witchfinder General

Do you know the disturbing 1968 horror film The Witchfinder General, in which Vincent Price plays Matthew Hopkins a sadistic witch-hunter appointed by Parliament? The University of Manchester John Ryland’s Library is digitizing a 400-year-old diary recording the historical Hopkins’ inquisition.

Navigating the Mores of Fan Fiction

Hal Duncan navigates the mores of fan fiction. With stops at the kerfuffled shoals of Diana Gabaldon and George R. R. Martin’s blogs.

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    A gallery of pages from Philippe Druillet’s Nccronomicon. (Via elmatpe and thanks, Steven!)

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    An interactive sculpture of Hanuman made from 26,000 light bells made by Charuvi Design Labs. to promote their film Sri Hanuman Chalisa. Here is a video of the interactive experience. (Thanks, Beth!)

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    At The Daily Beast, Arthur Chu writes about GamerGate, Disco Demolition and Lilith Fair. “The biggest 1970s music bonfire was not done by a church, and the records they destroyed weren’t metal records. And they didn’t use kerosene and a match, they used explosives. And rather than singing hymns and being quietly self-righteous, the event erupted into an orgy of violent rage. I’m talking, of course, about the ill-fated promotion the Chicago White Sox ran on July 12, 1979, known as ‘Disco Demolition Night.’

    Yes, in an era where Christians literally believed rock bands were Satanic cults who used backward masking to hypnotize people, the worst violence against music was wrought by guys who just didn’t like disco.”

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    Actor Elizabeth Peña has died. Peña appeared in both film and television including, La Bamba (1987), Batteries Not Included (1987), Blue Steel (1989), L.A. Law, Lone Star (1996),  The Incredibles (2004), Justice League, Prime Suspect and Modern Family. NPR remembers Peña. The Guardian has collected clips of Peña’s work. Latino Review, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and  The Hollywood Reporter have obituaries.

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    The Book Design Blog has a gallery of Valeria Brancaforte’s hand-printed books.

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    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 probably use some more editing but for those who feel like the Japanese government isn’t telling you the whole truth about the actual environmental damage coming from the Fukushima meltdown–which is still going on–because if they stop pumping in water, nuclear fission will start again, this should help make you even a little more paranoid.  Enjoy.”

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