The Cultural Gutter

we've seen things you people wouldn't believe

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

Knowing is Half the Battle

Cobra Industries promotional video. Like this:Like Loading…

Real Life Superheroes

Usually, when the media talks about Real Life Superheros they mean firefighters or EMTs or police.  NPR’s Monkey See blog means something more awesome: costumed superheroes, featuring the World Superhero Registry. If only they’d included the superheroes’ one costumed mad scientist, Professor Widget. Like this:Like Loading…

Crocheted Dalek Doom!

Crochet your own dalek with amdown’s pattern–or planetjune’s modifications–force humans to hollow out the earth so you can drive it around the universe. Daleks conquer and destroy! Like this:Like Loading…

Marvel’s Kings of the Night Time World

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In 1977, the most powerful band on earth was KISS with their pyrotechnics, monster boots and the largest army a band had ever fielded, the KISS Army, fully prepared to rock and roll all nite, party every day and read comics in between. Marvel had their ever-lovin’ fingers on the pulse of the youth and […]

Perfect Candidates for Costumed Aggression

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Alienated, ranting about how the world could be perfected if only the fools would listen, plotting intricate schemes, focusing great minds on tiny slights, losing their beloved and scarred by experiments gone awry, revenging themselves on the world, supervillains are where it’s at. Here are some of my favorite villains–in alphabetical order to avoid retribution. […]

10 Comics I Liked in 2007

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The “best of” list is a tricky seasonal form and I’m no master.  I might not know what’s best, but I do know what I like.  So here’s ten good comics I read in 2007. Like this:Like Loading…

Stainless

Fearing what he can do.  Fearing what he won

Recently, one of my friends told me that Superman was an inch from becoming a dictator. It didn’t seem likely to me, but I didn’t have any arguments, just a sense that Superman wasn’t inclined toward world domination. Luckily enough, the public library system provided me with, The Man from Krypton: A Closer Look at […]

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 […]

Easy Prey

You can

Prey is the latest science fiction thriller from perennial best-selling author, Michael Crichton. It’s been a few years since I read any Crichton novels so I was curious to see if my memory of his work – topical, easy to read in the way that bestsellers have, but flat and unoriginal – holds true for […]

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    NPR interviews Hank Willis Thomas on his exhibition showcasing images of white women in advertizing. It’s a follow up to his 2008 exhibition, “Unbranded: Reflections in Black by Corporate America.” “I think what happens with ads — when we put text and logos on them, we do all the heavy lifting of making them make sense to us. But when you see the image naked, or unbranded, you start to really ask questions.”

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    Our friends at Pornokitsch share a 1898 Philadelphia Press article on ghosts of the Capitol in Washington, D.C.

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    The Journal of Popular Romance Studies interviewed author Joanna Russ in 2007 about slash fiction: “Her 1985 essay, ‘Pornography By Women For Women, With Love’ helped to set the terms of the discussion for feminist scholars who followed, and it is widely cited in fan studies. Russ argues that fantasy has to be read in more complex ways than simply seeing it as an effort at one-dimensional wish fulfillment. She posits fantasy as something rich and metaphorical. She reads slash as a genre that tells us new things about women’s sexuality and sexual desire, things that—in 1985—weren’t being talked about except in the very divided feminist ‘sex wars,’ where ‘pro-sex’ and ‘anti-porn’ feminists created ever more polarized stances.”

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    At Hyperallergic, Jeremy Polacek writes about the history of Afrofuturism and the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s exhibit, “Space Is The Place: AfroFuturism On Film”:  “Afrofuturism is an empowering rubric, an approach and aesthetic that clarifies and connects history and the hope, creativity, and pain there within. Afrofuturism is wry, wise, and leveling — it believes that a brighter, more equal, funkier future is within the realm of possibility. You can be different; this world can be different — self-invention commingles with worldly reinvention; Africa is both glorious past and technocratic future.

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    Sweet Jane shares a 1967 fashion editorial shoot mixing mod fashion and the work of illustrator Aubrey Beardsley. (via arabellesicardi.com)

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    BBC Radio 4 is presenting an adaptation of Ursula Le Guin’s The Left Hand Of Darkness. You can listen to the first episode here. There are also other features, including an interview with Le Guin. (via Pornokitsch)

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