The Cultural Gutter

dangerous because it has a philosophy

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

Thinking About Serial

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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 […]

“Dungeons & Dragons & Philosophers”

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At Existential Comics, Simone de Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre, Immanuel Kant, Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida play Dungeons & Dragons. Like this:Like Loading…

“Blood, Meth and Tears”

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At Cinema Junkie, Beth Accomando says good-bye to Breaking Bad: “In the end for me what Breaking Bad delivered was a portrait of America and a distinctly American sense of identity. By tapping into the western genre, the show starts with something quintessentially American. That genre is prone to celebrate the individual over the community […]

Is that a gun in your sweatpants?
Art, morality and The Superbowl

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I told my 3 year old that I’d find a bed for his google-eyed dinosaur. “I promise, sweetheart.” Then, after 45 minutes of ducking in and out of his room with him crying and the senile cat howling in the background while I tried to write an article, I threw the dinosaur across the living […]

Moral Failure, Procedural Success and Zero Dark Thirty

“Recall that Bigelow wanted to make a movie about the failure to capture bin Laden, before the whole world knew, as she puts it, that he’s dead. Consider that she has still made a movie about a failure, a moral failure, our failure, embedded in a procedural success.” Sarah Nicole Prickett has more about Kathryn […]

“No Matter How Hard They’re Punched: Superheroes and Real World Issues”

Books and Adventures finishes off a series on comics and educations with a discussion of superheroes and real world issues between Books and Adventures’ Matt Finch, Professor Mark D. White of CUNY; Tom Miller of McMaster University; critic, screenwriter and University of Melbourne graduate student, Martyn Pedler; and artist-educator and doctoral candidate at Teachers College, […]

“What destroys the mortals is not a system, but a fellow mortal.”

Michelle Kuo and Albert Wu compare Breaking Bad with The Sopranos, The Wire and Mad Men before examining its approach to evil:  “Within this quartet, Breaking Bad is most similar to The Wire, and indeed is its twin and mirror image….David Simon likened The Wire to a Greek tragedy, by which he meant that sociology […]

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…

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…

6000 Words on Summer Comic Book Movies

Over at The Hathor Legacy, we find out Why Captain America is Better than X-Men: First Class and Thor: “Captain America is very much a movie about the choices people make, and trying to be a good person, which is pretty rare in mainstream cinema.” Like this:Like Loading…

Jia Zhangke Speaks Out Against Cenorship in China

“The only reason that we cannot make genre movies is the barrier that censorship sets.” Jia Zhangke says more here.  Meanwhile a leaked diplomatic document gives  some insight as to whose taste is being served in recent Chinese historical epics.  Xi Jinping admires American World War II dramas:  “Some Chinese moviemakers neglect values they should promote…America […]

Kirkbride, Castles of the Midwest.

Kirkbride Buildings are the castles of the American Midwest. They’re also 19th century State Hospitals. Like this:Like Loading…

Milestone!

So much Milestone going on! Milestone creator Dwayne McDuffie talks with The Atlantic about “reinventing personal mythologies, pop-cultural representations of race and an investigation of what shapes our moral frameworks” and how much he likes writing romance.  Meanwhile, Evan Narcisse shares his memories of Milestone Comics–with pictures. Like this:Like Loading…

Hollow Victory

The Artful Gamer writes about the hollow victory of playing a good character in many roleplaying videogames: “Yet, days later, I feel like Conan the Barbarian, sitting on his throne at the end of the first film like a king who has done it all yet feels ultimately unfulfilled. This is when the spiritual hollowness […]

Are Video Games Moral?

Are video games moral? Yes, but what does “moral” mean, writes Oliver Saenz in “Killing Grannies, Slaughtering Monsters and Leveling the Fuck Up.” Like this:Like Loading…

Civil Engineer

Sad citizens? Buy them some entertainers!

Jeff Chapman started playing Civilization (MicroProse, 1991) when it came out and never stopped. He’s played the strategy turn-based videogame series for the past decade I’ve known him. Far from letting it consume him, he’s balanced his job as editor of History Magazine with a plethora of other projects, and so I thought he would […]

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    Zack and Steve go through and review Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Module S-1: The Tomb Of Horrors at WTF, D&D?!…so you don’t have to.

    “Steve: Most of the opening paragraph is a warning about difficulty. ‘You’ll never find the demi-lich’s secret chamber’ and the tomb is fraught with “terrible traps, poison gases, and magical protections.” It’s telling you not to play the adventure.

    Zack: Not just in that part. In the DM’s notes section at the start, Gygax explicitly warns Dungeon Masters that if your players enjoy killing monsters they will be unhappy with the adventure.

    Steve: ‘This module is only for parties that enjoy dying immediately and repeatedly.’ Oh, man, we’re not going to play though this thing are we?”

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    Dr. Nerdlove takes a brief break from helping the nerd get the girl to address something that’s been bugging him. “Pardon me while I go off on a bit of a media criticism/ rant here. So I’ve been enjoying the *hell* out of The Flash lately except for one thing: Iris Allen. Her character is screen death; every time she’s around, everything comes to a screeching halt.

    The problem is: it’s not her fault, it’s the writers. Rather like Laurel Lance in the first two seasons of Arrow, she has Lois Lane syndrome. Her (like Laurel and Lois) entire character arc is based around being ignorant of events that literally everyone else in her life is aware of.”

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    Get your own copy of the Satanic Temple’s The Satanic Children’s Big Book of Activities!

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    At The Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates writes about Dr. Doom: “Comics are so often seen as the province of white geeky nerds. But, more broadly, comics are  the literature of outcasts, of pariahs, of Jews, of gays, of blacks. It’s really no mistake that we saw ourselves in Doom, Magneto or Rogue.”

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    Actor Ken Takakura has died. Takakura starred in films such as Brutal Tales of Chivalry (1965); Red Peony Gambler (1968); Miyamoto Musashi: Duel at Ichijoji (1955) and Miyamoto Musashi: Duel at Ganryu Island (1956); as well as in co-productions like The Yakuza (1974); The Bullet Train (1975); Black Rain (1989) and Riding Alone For Thousands Of Miles (2005).  The Japan Times, The South China Morning Post and The AV Club have obituaries. Japan Subculture has an interview with Takakura. Here Takakura sings the theme to Abhashiri Prison (1965)

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    Producer, writer and director Glen A. Larson has died. Larson was responsible for creating tv series such as Battlestar Galactica, Magnum P.I, Knight Rider, The Fall Guy, Quincy M.E., The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries and Buck Rogers In The 25Th Century, about which the Gutter’s own Keith wrote here. The New York Times, The Hollywood Reporter and The AV Club have obituaries. Watch Larson’s interview from 2010 at “Battlestar Galactica: The Exhibition”.

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