The Cultural Gutter

taking the dumb out of fandom

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

The Return of a Classic Soap Opera

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Friend of the Gutter, Will McKinley writes about his past as a soap opera fan and the return of a classic soap opera, The Doctors, and its significance for the genre.  

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 […]

Learning from DashCon

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At On The Media, Alex Goldman tries to learn something from DashCon’s many, many problems: “So here I am trying to glean a point from something that just sounds like a disaster from to bottom. What is there to learn from this? Well, it speaks a bit to the nature of interaction on the web and […]

Google Streetview Camera’s Museum Self-Portraits

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Quartz writes about “Camera In The Mirror,” an Mario Santamaría’s Tumblr art project collecting the Google Streetview camera’s photographs of itself in museums. “Collected together, the Google-camera selfies are at turns unsettling, revealing, and absurd—unintentionally upstaging the art they’re meant to quietly document.”

On Being a Colossal Prick on the Internet

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“For quite some time I thought that being a colossal prick on the Internet was great sport. I thought that everybody else was doing it, and that I could do it better than most. I also had some idea that it was my duty to call bullshit on everyone who I thought was propagating bullshit. […]

Summer Fun Time Reading ’14

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Summer is almost here, and I can’t tell you how glad I am. So smear yourself up with sunscreen and bug repellent, find your kickiest sandals, put the finishing touches on your Wicker Man and don’t forget to wear a hat because I have some comics to make your summer just a little more fun […]

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 […]

Thoughts on Trolls

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At PBS Idea Channel, Mike considers and then reconsiders the beneficial effects of trolls. At Kill Screen, Matthew Byrd writes about the integration of trolling into a multiplayer online gaming experience, particularly with DayZ and Demon’s Soul. (Thanks, Edie!)

Finnish Weird / Suomikumma

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Download a collection of Weird stories from Finnish authors Emmi Itäranta Jenny Kangasvuo and Tiina Raevaara. “The community of weird writers in Finland is thriving, and producing memorable stories that blur and bend genre boundaries with their unbridled flight of imagination. This publication introduces you to suomikumma, “Finnish Weird”, showcases a few of its bright […]

On the Abandoned Cities of Azeroth

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At The Gameological Society, Samantha Nelson ponders the hidden beauty of World of Warcraft’s abandoned cities.  

Global Pop Offensive!

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Friend of the Gutter, Todd from Die, Danger, Die, Die, Kill! joins the Pop Offensive to share two hours of fine global pop. Listen here.

“Tonight on Mad Men”

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Get ready for a new season of Mad Men with this collection of Absurdist Mad Men promotions, which the Cultural Gutter participates in and even encourages. Duck Phillips rules an undersea advertizing empire and “Pete feels slighted.”

“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.

RIP, Lorenzo Semple

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Screenwriter and creator of the Sixties Batman television series Lorenzo Semple has died. Besides Batman, Gutter readers might know Semple best from his screenplays for, The Parallax View, Flash Gordon (1980), Papillon, The Drowning Pool, Never Say Never Again, Sheena, and King Kong (1976). The Los Angeles Times,  The Hollywood Reporter and Comics Alliance have […]

RIP, Television Without Pity

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NBC-Universal is closing down Television Without Pity and the archives of episode recaps from the 1990s on will no longer be available. At The Vulture, Margaret Lyons writes, “How Television Without Pity Shaped Pop Culture.” Caitlin Kelly writes about being “Raised on Television Without Pity” at The New Yorker. At USA Today, Jayme Deerwester writes […]

“Googling Nazca”

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A gallery of images of the Nazca Lines taken via Google Maps. (via @mattstaggs)

Zombie Lake Tweetalong Transcript

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The Mysterious Order of the Skeleton Suit gathered together to harrow ourselves with the the movie Jess Franco walked away from, Zombie Lake (1982). Enjoy our harrowing here. (The Cultural Gutter is a proud Agent of M.O.S.S.)

The Shadow Hero

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Tor.com has the original seven comic strips from Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew’s The Shadow Hero–and in color! (via The Beat)

“Martin Luther King & The Montgomery Story” Comic

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A complete digital edition of  Martin Luther King & The Montgomery Story (1956), the comic that inspired Rep. John Lewis to pursue nonviolence and social justice.

5 Interactive Media Projects

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Interactive media projects including an interactive map of noise complaints in 1920s Manhattan.

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    Friend of the Gutter, Will McKinley looks at “The 1979 Rockford Files Episode That Inspired The Sopranos.” “A gang from Newark’s South Side is hiding Vinnie Martine’s body in a restaurant freezer. Tony’s mad because Anthony Jr. got caught pranking another mobster. And a boss who’s trying to reform gets his mansion sprayed with bullets. Remember that episode of The Sopranos? If you do, your memory’s playing tricks on you, because all these things happened on a 1979 episode of The Rockford Files—written by Sopranos creator David Chase.”

    And McKinley defends classic television with, “In Praise of Vintage Television.”

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    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 Our Love Affair with the Immortal Dark Side (2014). The New York Times, NPR and  Suvudu have obituaries.  Here Adler discusses Vampires Are Us. And here is an excerpt from Adler’s memoir, Heretic’s Heart (1997).

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    The Toronto International Film Festival has announced its Midnight Madness and Vanguard programs for 2014. There’s lots of goodness in there and it’s worth taking a look even if you aren’t going to the festival, so you can you movie watching later this year or next. We’ll be posting the trailers from the films later.

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    Actor James Shigeta has died. Shigeta appeared in Die Hard (1988), The Crimson Kimono (1959) The Flower Drum Song (1961),  Bridge To The Sun (1961), Paradise, Hawaiian Style (1966), The Yakuza (1974) and many, many television shows.  The AV Club, Den Of Geek and Angry Asian Man have obituaries. Bridge to the Sun is discussed by Robert Osborne and Dr. Peter Feng on TCM.  At RogerEbert.com, Matt Zoller Seitz writes an appreciation of Shigeta’s life and work. “Shigeta, who died yesterday at 81, was a marvelous performer, and his work as Nakatomi Corporation President Joseph Takagi in the original 1988 Die Hard is one of my favorite examples of how an imaginative actor can sketch out a life in just a few scenes and lines.”

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    At RogerEbert.com, Alan Zilberman explores the history of the eye in cinema from Carl Theodor Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) to Mark Cahill’s I Origins (2014). (via Matt Zoller Seitz)

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    At Never Get Off The Bus, Debbie Moon writes about Captain America: First Avenger. “When adapting existing material, it’s easy to assume that in order to reach point F, you simply have to work through points A – E. To set up Steve Rogers in the modern world, simply romp briskly through everything that happened before he got there. But your character may not be undergoing a single united emotional journey during that period. “

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