The Cultural Gutter

taking trash seriously

"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). Like this:Like Loading…

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. Like this:Like Loading…

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) Like this:Like Loading…

“Protest Style”

HAPS puts PSY’s protest style in context. Like this:Like Loading…

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. Like this:Like Loading…

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. Like this:Like Loading…

“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. Like this:Like Loading…

Shatner on Shatner’s World

William Shatner talks about his book on CBC Radio’s Q and his world on NPR’s  Fresh Air. Like this:Like Loading…

The History and Art of the Title Sequence

A couple of looks at the art and history of film title sequences. Like this:Like Loading…

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. Like this:Like Loading…

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. Like this:Like Loading…

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. Like this:Like Loading…

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    The Gutter’s own Carol infiltrates Teleport City‘s limits to contribute to TC’s Space: 1999 series with her piece on aliens and what big jerks they are. “Space: 1999 taught me two valuable lessons. The first is that space is depressing and best represented by the color taupe. The second is that, with few exceptions, aliens are jerks.”

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    The Dartmouth College Library ahs scans of the oldest extant comic book, Rodolphe Töpffer’s
    “The Adventures of Mr. Obadiah Oldbuck” (1837). (via @SoxOnTheBrain)

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    At Graveyard Shift Sisters, Carolyn looks at Lizzie Borden’s Born In Flames (1983) and the character, Adelaide Norris. “Born in Flames was revolutionary for its time, and I think it is still relevant today. This film has many layers, with both a speculative as well as a science fictional representation of a parallel universe that denies oppression. One of the main characters, Adelaide Norris played by Jean Satterfield, came to the forefront for me because of her race and role in the story. Adelaide is one of the key characters who pulls the female troops together. With the help of her mentor Zella, played by civil rights lawyer Flo Kennedy, this young Black and gay woman tirelessly researches, advises, and recruits women to fight the good fight for equality.”

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    A video tribute to interactive VCR games including: Nightmare (1991), The Fisherman VCR Bible Game (1989), Rich Little’s Charades (1985), Wayne’s World VCR Game (1992), Star Trek: The Next Generation VCR Game (1995) and Skull and Crossbones (1988). (Thanks, Beth!)

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    At The Los Angeles Review Of Books, Suzannah Showler writes about the complexity of the reality tv show The Bachelor and her complicated love for it. “I love The Bachelor the way I love most things, which is to say: complicatedly. On the one hand, I think it’s a fascinating cultural product, one I find great delight in close-reading. But I also love it, frankly, because I just like watching it. I think it’s top-notch entertainment, and I will straight up hip-check my politics out of the way, and give up many hours of my life, in the name of being entertained.” (Via @idontlikemunday)

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    At Comics Alliance, Chris Sims recounts that time the Punisher battled Dr. Doom. “It starts off with Dr. Doom kicking it in an extradimensional conference room set up by Loki to coordinate mass villainy, where he is just ripping into the Kingpin for being unable to kill the Punisher….Thus, in a sterling example of the ‘well then why don’t you do it’ school of super-villain cameraderie, Dr. Doom, a man who built a time machine in his basement, heads off to try his luck at fighting the Punisher, a man who has a gun. He does this, as you might expect, by luring him to a quarry and — after a brief exchange between a Doombot and a minigun — attempting to blow up his van with a tank.”

    ~

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