The Cultural Gutter

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

PKD and PW

Peter Watts writes up a few thoughts on the new Philip K. Dick collection, Exegesis: “Exegesis is a little like a year’s supply of pub dates with some crazy dude in Klingon getup whose rants verge just a bit too close to brilliance to let you write him off completely.”

Curious about The Thing remake?

Peter Watts has an interest in the remake of The Thing (see here for why), and he has some entertaining things to say: “For one thing, there are just too many similarities between the two films for me to accept that this is truly a prequel and not just a remake. This goes beyond the […]

Writerly Wedding Vows

Writers Peter Watts and Caitlin Sweet got hitched and provide a copy of their unconventional yet strangely moving wedding vows. Hers: “They’re the very things that I fell for, even before you made an x-rated cephalopod reference on a rooftop patio.” His: “And you and I are going to kick biological determinism in the balls.” Worth reading […]

The Hierarchy of Contempt, Reality TV Edition

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Since April is our wacky month, I decided to venture far afield, basically into the scariest minefield of cultural contempt that I can think of: reality TV.

Peter Watts’ The Thing

Peter Watts retells The Thing from the Thing’s point of view. Read it yourself or listen to an audio version of his version.

Thing One and Thing Two

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The Thing is coming for you! But you don’t know which one of your friends is The Thing! Paranoia… gore… body horror… and all of the above recently retold from The Thing’s point of view.

That’s a Wrap

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I enjoy this time of year. Partly because I work in retail, and the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve is a kind of gift: festive and fun, and landing somewhere between the insanity of December and the dead quiet of January. But also because I get a kick out of all the lists […]

The New Frankenstein

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Frankenstein was probably scary at one point, but the whole story has been worn down by repetition, robbed of its power and relegated to status as not much more than a pop culture gag. What would it take to resuscitate the cautionary note in the tale of a scientist? After looking at Scott Bakker’s terrifying […]

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    “I want to tell you about when violent campaigns against harmless bloggers weren’t any halfway decent troll’s idea of a good time—even the then-malicious would’ve found it too easy to be fun. When the punches went up, not down. Before the best players quit or went criminal or were changed by too long a time being angry. When there was cruelty, yes, and palpable strains of sexism and racism and every kind of phobia, sure, but when these things had the character of adolescents pushing the boundaries of cheap shock, disagreeable like that but not criminal. Not because that time was defensible—it wasn’t, not really—but because it was calmer and the rage wasn’t there yet. Because trolling still meant getting a rise for a laugh, not making helpless people fear for their lives because they’re threatening some Redditor’s self-proclaimed monopoly on reason. I want to tell you about it because I want to make sense of how it is now and why it changed.” Emmett Rensin writes more at Vox.

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    At Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, Elyse has some things to say about reading Romance. “In the end, it doesn’t matter what I read. It doesn’t even matter that I do read, quite frankly. What matters is that we live in a world where fiction aimed directly at women is perceived as garbage. That doesn’t say anything at all about me, it says a lot about what needs to change.”

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    Brain Pickings looks at the life and work of Tove Jansson and the wisdom of her character, Too-ticky. “Too-ticky, the sage of Moominvalley who solves even the most existential of problems with equal parts practicality and wisdom, was inspired by the love of Jansson’s life — the great Finnish sculptor and graphic arts pioneer Tuulikki “Tooti” Pietilä, Jansson’s spouse. The two women met in art school during their twenties and remained together until Jansson’s death more than six decades later, collaborating on a lifetime of creative projects — all at a time when queer couples were straddling the impossible line between anguishing invisibility and dangerous visibility.” (via Kate Laity)

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    Photographer Kevin Weir uses vintage photographs to create haunting animation in “The Flux Machine.” The Guardian has an interview with Weir and more on his work.

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    At the New Yorker, Jill Lepore considers the intertwining histories of women’s suffrage, feminism, Amazons and Wonder Woman. “It isn’t only that Wonder Woman’s backstory is taken from feminist utopian fiction. It’s that, in creating Wonder Woman, William Moulton Marston was profoundly influenced by early-twentieth-century suffragists, feminists, and birth-control advocates and that, shockingly, Wonder Woman was inspired by Margaret Sanger, who, hidden from the world, was a member of Marston’s family.”

     

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    Tim Reis shares ten things he learned from producing his first independent feature The Demon’s Rook. “Making an independent feature film is hard. Making an independent feature film with no money is especially hard. Making an independent feature film with no money, no actors, and a first-time director and crew is almost impossible. It is also the greatest, most liberating thing and you can and should totally do it.” (Thanks, Colin!)

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