The Cultural Gutter

taking trash seriously

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

RIP, Michael Ansara

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Actor Michael Ansara has died. While Ansara had countless television and movie roles, he is probably best known now for his roles as Kang in Star Trek and the Technomage Elric in Babylon 5,  the voice of Mr. Freeze in Batman: The Animated Series and Cochise in the 1950s tv series Broken Arrow. The Texas […]

“Michelle Rodriguez Made Me Cry At Comic-Con”

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Kate Conway writes about how powerful she found the Women Who Kick Ass Panel in San Diego Comic-Con’s Hall C. “These dudes onstage weren’t selling themselves to me; they didn’t even care what I thought. Here we were, in the biggest room at Comic-Con, and I only felt disgust. And then, out came Michelle Rodriguez.”

“An E3 Teachable Moment”

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Game Designer Steve Swink writes about harassment at E3 and some steps the gaming community can take.

“Japanese Science Fiction of the 1930s”

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Jess Nevins writes about Sato Minoru’s The Foreign Farm (1931), Japanese science fiction in the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries and “the White Peril.”

White One Hundred

BadAzz MoFo debuts, “White One Hundred: 100 Great Films Starring Only White People”: ” The entire purpose of this project is not to condemn the films and the filmmakers as being racist, but merely to point out the incredible extent of omission that goes on in film, and is accepted as being perfectly normal.” (via […]

“We can do better”

At Gamasutra, Game Developer David Gallant writes about how the indie game developer community can do better. “Shaking up the status quo invites anger as you threaten the privilege you share with your privileged peers. But in our fear, we are politely allowing our communities to be less. We are letting them exclude the differences […]

BGN on Interracial Relationships

The Black Girl Nerds Podcast focuses on interracial relationships.  “The highest rated BGN podcast yet is about guess what?  Interracial Relationships.  We actually received more calls from men on this topic then women which speaks volumes to men’s thoughts on the hot button issue.”

The Rants of GDC 2013

Games Industry International is publishing transcripts of this year’s rants at the Game Developers Conference. The first rant is from Tiniest Shark founder, Mitu Khandaker. “I’m 100 per cent able and willing to identify with white male characters – I don’t need characters to look like me to identify with them. That would be really […]

“Uncanny Avengers, X-Men, Rick Remender, and Oppression Comix”

“[T]he X-Men are a lot of things to a lot of people, but one of the most important things they are—I’m talking top two, right after “sexy people with cool powers”—is an oppression metaphor. You cannot escape this. It is built into the X-Men’s DNA….The oppression metaphor is a vital piece of the engine that […]

Deciding Not To Repel Women

“As nice as it must be to be that [18-25 year old male] demographic—when you’ve got everyone banging on your door, trying to court you, it must be very pleasant—what’s it like for someone who isn’t in that demographic? We know they play our games. We can see that they do. OK, there’s support for […]

Listen Up

Listen Up: The Lives of Quincy Jones –a 1990 documentary about composer and musician Quincy Jones is online and complete.

“Ask Dr. Racism”

At 4thLetter, David Brothers, aka, “Dr. Racism,” talks about “Blackface, Cosplay, Intent, Reactions and Responsibility.” “You don’t have to know the history of race relations to not be a dick about race.”

Diverse Writers, Diverse Readers and Happily Ever Afters

NPR talks about romance written by and for people of color with authors Brenda Jackson, Michelle Monkou, Camy Tang and romance critic Sarah Wendell at the Romance Writers of American convention. (The radio piece is stronger than the written synopsis).

Superman vs. The Ku Klux Klan

Listen to Superman defend Tommy Lee and his family from the Ku Klux Klan in the 1946 Adventures of Superman storyline, “The Clan of the Fiery Cross” at the Internet Archive.

“Remembering Dwayne McDuffie On His Birthday”

Comics Alliance remembers Dwayne McDuffie. “McDuffie was an incredible talent who was often seen as a “black writer” as opposed to just a writer, largely due to both his stature in the industry, and his ability to eloquently discuss the difficulties that face black writers in comics.”

Jim Brown’s Hollywood

“As a Black man in American, I brought something to the screen that hadn’t really been there before.”Jim Brown talks about his film career, making the transition from football to film and producing films in two parts of a documentary by Spike Lee. Here and here.

“Welcome To Black History Month”

At Comics Alliance, David Brothers takes us on a walk through Black history in comics from Krazy Kat; Orrin C. Evans’ All-Negro Comics; Billy Graham’s Panther’s Rage; Hardware and Milestone Comics to now.

“Outrage Deferred: On the Lack of Black Writers in the Comic Book Industry”

“[T]wo major initiatives over the past 18 months from the two biggest comic publishers in this country [were] meant to update their brands in an attempt to better reflect the world we currently live in. Yet somehow, from the angle of a black writer trying to break into comics, this current era in the industry […]

Loving the Alien: Superman and Masculinity

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Since alex, Chris and I decided to write about masculinity this month, I’ve been thinking about Superman. Actually, I’ve been thinking and rethinking Superman almost as long as I’ve been writing for The Cultural Gutter. I began really thinking about him while watching Justice League and Justice League Unlimited. I’ve spent most of my life—and […]

Scouting the Orientalist Fantasy of a Perfect Chinese Restaurant

Scouting NY writes of the difficulty of finding a Chinese restaurant that satisfies directors’ ideas of a Chinese restaurant in New York, because that restaurant doesn’t exist. “Literally every time I get asked to find a Chinese restaurant, it’s the same description. ‘I want a place with really over-the-top Chinese decor,’ our director will say. […]

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    At Paleofuture, Matt Novak writes about Idiocracy‘s unpleasant implications: “Sure. As an over-the-top comedic dystopia, the movie is actually enjoyable. But the movie’s introduction makes it an unnerving reference to toss around as our go-to insult….Unlike other films that satirize the media and the soul-crushing consequences of sensationalized entertainment (my personal favorite being 1951′s Ace in the Hole), Idiocracy lays the blame at the feet of an undeserved target (the poor) while implicitly advocating a terrible solution (eugenics). The movie’s underlying premise is a fundamentally dangerous and backwards way to understand the world.” (via The Projection Booth)

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    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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