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Posts tagged: Cultural Gutter

At The Gutter: The Worst Dressed Man In The Room

Every April we switch things up at the Cultural Gutter with editors writing about things outside their usual domain. This week, Keith writes about Michael Ginsberg, Mad Men and his own experience being "The Worst Dressed Man In The Room":

Diving into the fashion of Mad Men may seem a tired topic at this point, as the show rumbles into its final season. We’ve seen analysis of the clothing from stylistic, historical, and philosophical angles, and it would seem there’d be little left to say. Even the “Don is not a style icon; he’s a style dinosaur” approach that looks at how the coolest man in the room became a square was made overly obvious in the season seven premiere, when Don Draper arrives in L.A. looking more like the fabulous Megan Draper’s dad than her slick New York husband. Luckily for those of us who obsess about both television and style, however, Mad Men is a show with a deep roster of characters and things to say. Which is why I want to take a little time out to talk about the show’s worst-dressed character, and the one with whom I most closely identify: Michael Ginsberg.

At The Gutter: “K-Dramas and Life Lessons”

During this month’s Switcheroo, Romance Editor Chris writes about her newfound love of and lessons she’s learned from Korean tv melodramas:

Last April, I wrote about my first foray into anime. I had a great time with it, and my successful venture had a of couple unintended side-effects. For one thing, I enjoyed that first series so much that I tried another, then another, then many more (which led to me finally figuring out how to make Netflix play it in Japanese. Hurrah, technological success!). And then, when my choices narrowed down to only shows I didn’t want to watch, I began to read manga instead.

I’ve read a lot of manga since then. A LOT. It was a boon to my local library, since I signed out a dozen of volumes every couple of days for months. [NB: the TPL has a pretty good manga collection] One series I couldn’t get the timing right with was Boys Over Flowers, by Yoko Kamio. So when Netflix  coughed up a Korean television adaptation of the series, I was chuffed.

"Tonight on Mad Men"

“Tonight on Mad Men”

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.”

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"The Power of Christ Impales You!"

“The Power of Christ Impales You!”

The Projection Booth podcast discusses Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter this week and features as a guest the Cultural Gutter’s Screen Editor Emeritus Ian Driscoll, who wrote the screenplay and plays Johnny Golgotha in JCVH.

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Killers’ Style

Killers’ Style

The Gutter’s own Keith has started a new side project, Killers’ Style, exploring the style of well-dressed villains. His first post is a look at Hannibal Lecter’s full Windsor knot.

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At The Gutter: Forget The Consequences, Just Get Me A Sandwich

This week at the Gutter, Screen Editor alex looks at Adventure Time, narrative, consequences and sandwiches.

Over the past several months I’ve been working my way through all of Pendleton Ward‘s Adventure Time, in part because it comes in 11 minute segments that are easy to squeeze into tiny cracks of spare time, but mostly because it’s awesome. There are lots of things to love about it – the humor, the weirdness, the clever allusions to art and literature – but I think the thing I enjoy most is how creatively they play with narrative. Watching all of the ideas they’re able to explore by ignoring the usual boundaries of time, space and consequences makes me realize how limiting conventions can be.

At The Gutter: Black Napoleon’s Throne of Satan

This week, Guest Star David Foster writes about race and the transformation of the 1967 Australian spy thriller, Black Napoleon, when it was published in the United States as Throne Of Satan.

There are many elements that made up the counter culture movement of the Sixties and Seventies. One of the most important of these elements was the Civil Rights Movement, whose aim was equality no matter what race, colour, creed or religion. While that fight continues to this day, in early 1967 a story was released that showcased the changing social values the civil rights movement had brought about.

In Australia, that story was released as Black Napoleon, penned by veteran Australian author J.E. Macdonnell. Macdonnell already had a substantial following with his numerous navy action books, but the sixties spy boom saw him scribing a series of espionage titles featuring an agent for Intertrust, Mark Hood. Black Napoleon (Horwitz Publications) was the seventh title in the Hood series.

"On The Trail Of The Golem"

“On The Trail Of The Golem”

The Gutter’s own Keith tracks the story of Rabbi Loew and the Golem–with some dips into alchemy and art–through Prague.  “So how did Rabbi Loew’s name become associated with the legend of the golem? Well, it’s no surprise, really, given how much weird, wizardy stuff is already attributed to him. It seems more or less historically accurate that he spent time as an alchemist in the employ of Rudolf…

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At The Gutter: Back To The World

Keith writes about military science fiction, unending wars and Joe Haldeman’s The Forever War.

I once read an interview with a man who was involved in some of the bloodiest fighting during the Vietnam war. This particular battle he fought, watching friends and compatriots killed while he and they tried to kill in return, and then a day or two after it was over, so was his tour of duty. Within 72 hours, he went from foxholes and firefights to standing on the tarmac of an airport back in Oklahoma or Missouri or wherever it was he was from. Within 72 hours, he went from combat to needing a lift into town, where he would have to find a job and pick up civilian life as if nothing had changed. He had been trained, if somewhat haphazardly, for the war. He had not been trained, however, for it to end.

I have no idea if his story was true, but it was certainly true for someone.

Author Joe Haldeman was himself a veteran of the Vietnam War, and his 1974 novel The Forever War is science fiction based on the American Vietnam experience, military science fiction that would be more suited to Buffalo Springfield and Jimi Hendrix as its soundtrack than synthesized epic choral music. Military sci-fi is one of those sub-genre designations that conjures up a very specific type of story for me. The blood and guts space battles of David Weber’s Honor Harrington books, or the “Horatio Hornblower in space” adventure of David Drake’s RCN series. However, I have to remind myself that it can be a more complex style of storytelling than simple tales of massive battles and old-fashioned swashbuckling but in space. One of the foundation works of military science fiction, The Forever War takes military science fiction in a much different direction, highlighting the dubious morality, the human casualties, the manipulative politicians, and the way combat experience can make it impossible for veterans to readjust to civilian life.

More at The Gutter.

At The Gutter: “And They Call It Puppy Love”

Chris looks at pets in romance novels:

I own several shares of a cat.

It’s not a weird as it sounds. A friend with a cat travels travels a lot, so the kitty spends a fair amount of time with me. She’s spending this week with me in fact, while her owner is off swimming, running, and cycling hundreds of kilometres at a triathlon training camp. Voluntarily. The cat and I are occupied with much more civilized pursuits, like synchronized napping.

There’s nothing quite like the pleasure of falling asleep with purring cat by your side (and I say that as a person who is extremely allergic). But then, there’s nothing quite like the pleasure of a dog, either. Aside from the walks, and the fetching, and the sweet, sweet, eyes, a dog loves more than anything else on earth. What’s not to like about a creature so overjoyed to see you when you come out of the bathroom it’s like you’ve come back from the dead?

So this seems like a good week to look at Romances with pets in them. Narratively speaking, pets are a smart device: they’re a great way to demonstrate character (for good or bad). But some people write pets better than others, and I thought we might take a look at a few of those.

Image: Henri Matisse, “Girl with A Black Cat” (1910) via "A Survey of Cats across the Centuries."