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

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

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

Apocalypse Games

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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.“

“Video Games, Misogyny and Terrorism”

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At Badass Digest, Gaming Editor Andrew Todd writes about “rampant issues with sexism, homophobia, and racism within the gaming industry.”

Games, Horror and Consuming Media Responsibly

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Jenn Frank writes about horror, games, “Tropes vs Women In Video Games” and “consuming media responsibly”: “I think what I’m getting at is, especially with the horror genre, it’s less important what a movie says and more important that you, the viewer, understand why you’re enjoying it. I believe in judicious self-awareness; a director like […]

Apologizing for “Manic Pixie Dream Girl”

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At Salon, Nathan Rabin apologizes for coining the phrase, “Manic Pixie Dream Girl.” “I remember thinking, even back then, that a whole list of Manic Pixie Dream Girls might be stretching the conceit too far. The archetype of the free-spirited life-lover who cheers up a male sad-sack had existed in the culture for ages. But […]

“The Last Straw”

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Maureen Ryan writes about Tyrant and the lazy use rape as a trope. “I’m just so tired of violence against women being used as storytelling No-Doz–something to juice up the proceedings and then discard at will.”  

“Exploring Apatow and Rogen’s Schlubby Non-Misogyny”

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Film School Rejects looks at the Judd Apatow’s comedies: “Apatow is not a denialist of misogyny within society. In fact, if you read the many personal #YesAllWomen anecdotes—all of his films verify that sad reality in a non-condoning, often vilifying way. Through non-traditional heroes, he navigates his audience to a hopeful future.With personal, transformational films comes […]

“How To Discourage Women From Cartooning”

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An anonymous cartoonist shares a creepy letter at The Comics Journal: “I have photographic evidence for this one, but I don’t have any proof of the other sleazy ‘real life’ encounters I have had in my career. Every woman I know has had them. They add up, and combined together they go far beyond frustration.”

Naked Woman (Steep Hill)

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One night, when I was poking around on the internet for something mindless to play, I stumbled across a game called Naked Woman (Steep Hill). The description: “Control the fate of a naked woman riding down a steep hill. 20 options decide her doom. Feel free to suggest any other fates she can face!” My […]

Anna Gunn’s Character Issue

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Anna Gun writes about the experience of playing Breaking Bad‘s Skyler White and how it trickles into hatred towards her: “I finally realized that most people’s hatred of Skyler had little to do with me and a lot to do with their own perception of women and wives. Because Skyler didn’t conform to a comfortable […]

“A Day Inside Comic-Con’s Hall H: Worshipping in the Ultimate Movie Church”

Todd VanDerWerff spends a day in San Diego Comic Con’s Hall H and has some interesting observations about the film industry, fan culture, sexism and “Worshipping in the Ultimate Movie Church.”

Manic Pixie Dream Girls, Writing and Doctor Who

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“Writing about Doctor Who this week got me thinking about sexism in storytelling, and how we rely on lazy character creation in life just as we do in fiction,” from Laurie Penny’s “I Was A Manic Pixie Dream Girl.” Her piece on Doctor Who is here. (via @katelaity)

Twilight’s Anti-Fandom

Emma Vossen examines Twilight hate and anti-fans, writing: “People have become eager anti-fans of the series, creating an active subculture that manifests in hateful dialogue and value judgements on a seemingly arbitrary slice of a very large pop culture pie.”

“Raymond Chandler’s Private Dick”

Ta-Nehisi Coates writes an interesting post about Philip Marlowe, masculinity, biology and misogyny at The Atlantic: “I’ve consumed art like this all my life–men claiming invulnerability, against all I know of maleness and human attraction. Misogyny is not merely a moral problem, but a problem of art. It takes half the world and caricatures it. […]

Abuse and Paranormal Activity

Maria at The Hathor Legacy looks at the Paranormal Activity franchise from the standpoint of abuse, neglect and gaslighting. “It’s also a reminder that one of the franchise’s major themes is that when women and children are victims of abuse, they are not only not likely to be believed, they are also often put into […]

Update on Tropes vs. Women In Video Games

At Gameranx, Ian Miles Cheong addresses more kerfuffling in the gamer community over Anita Sarkeesian’s “Tropes vs. Women in Video Games” and explains where the project’s at.  

Hating Skyler White

Amanda Marcotte examines the hatred of Breaking Bad‘s Skyler White: “The anti-Skyler brigade seems to be part of a larger trend of fans loathing wives on television—especially if they’re married to anti-heroes.”  And Tod VanDerWeff talks about the same in reviewing an episode of The Sopranos for The AV Club:  “The Sopranos invented the many […]

“Cosplay, Booth Babes and Geek Policing”

S1E1‘s Jessi and CNN Geek Out‘s Genevieve Dempre have some things to clear up for CNN Geek Out!‘s Joe Peacock, including that models paid by companies to work at conventions are different from cosplaying attendees. “The other problem with this whole conversation about which women are legitimately geeks and which women are just faking it […]

Nerds and Male Privilege: Tropes, Trolls, Haters and Anita Sarkeesian

Leaping once more into the breach, Dr. Nerdlove writes about “the Internet Hate Machine” and  Feminist Frequency‘s Anita Sarkeesian.  “There’s a good question as to just why there’s this active core of hatred and fear of women in geek culture and why they seem so determined to silence anyone–women especially–who dares question male privilege.  Now let’s be […]

A Nasty Game

As part of the harassment of Feminist Frequency‘s Anita Sarkeesian, a guy from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario made a “game” where players could punch her.  The Internet found the game’s designer and people talked to him on Twitter.  Storify  has more as does Gameranx.  And She Was Disclaiming has an analysis of the ensuing conversation.

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    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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    Actor Richard Kiel has died. Kiel worked in both film and television, including performances in The Twilight Zone episode, “To Serve Man”; Eegah (1962); The Barbary Coast with William Shatner; Happy Gilmore (1996); Pale Rider (1985); as Vlad in Tangled (201); and as Jaws in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) and Moonraker (1979).   The New York TimesThe Los Angeles Times and Variety have obituaries. Here he is interviewed with Britt Ekland. And David Letterman interviews Kiel here.

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    Open Culture has a round-up of eight free and complete films by Dziga Vertov, including Man With A Movie Camera (1929) and the first Soviet animated feature, Soviet Toys (1924). (Thanks, Earl!)

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