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Posts tagged: Cultural Gutter

At The Gutter: Stale Candy, Punk Rock, Failure, Assimilation and Punisher: War Zone

This week, Carol watches Punisher: War Zone and thinks about what it means to be “good,” what it means to fail, and what it means when your community succeeds.

I’m not arguing for a kind of absolute relativism here, in which if I like or enjoyed Punisher: War Zone it’s good. I’m not arguing that for a lot of reasons, the most important being that the converse is sketchy as hell: dislike = bad. That’s a corrosive line of thinking. At the most basic level, I know that “dislike” “bad” because there is art I dislike even while knowing it’s good. But I can appreciate and even learn from it. The greater geek/nerd/fan community tends to smooth over differences by saying that we respect each other’s likes, that if you like something there must be something good about it, while at the same time organizing around liking the same things, creating canons and having a lot of received wisdom about what is good or bad–like my repairmans’s assertion, “Wonder Woman is a bad character.”
But people can like the same thing, superheroes in general or the Punisher in particular, for instance, without liking it the same way, in the same form or the same thing about it. A huge chunk of the whole fake geek girl thing is as much about “You’re liking it wrong” or “You like the wrong thing about it” as it is just plain sexism**. And when your tacit understanding about what makes something good or bad generally comes down to labeling things good and bad, it’s hard to notice when you are tacitly arguing against diversity–like my repairman, who has felt so deprived for so long that he doesn’t recognize he’s not losing something by not getting everything. There can be grim and dark movies like Nolan’s Batman, shiny colorful movies like The Avengers and crazy-ass odes to campy, comic book violence like Punisher: War Zone–even scruffy action like Machete Kills, The Raid and the Fast & Furious movies.
Only 14 hours left in the Gutterthon. (Thanks to @DrMattFinch for the sweet art)/

Only 14 hours left in the Gutterthon. (Thanks to @DrMattFinch for the sweet art)/

Juggernaut is just one of the five supervillain pin-ups in the Sexy Supervillain postcard set available as a Gutterthon perk. He was drawn by Evan Munday and you can give him a new home while supporting thoughtful writing about disreputable art by donating to the Cultural Gutter’s indiegogo campaign here. Only 3 days left!

Juggernaut is just one of the five supervillain pin-ups in the Sexy Supervillain postcard set available as a Gutterthon perk. He was drawn by Evan Munday and you can give him a new home while supporting thoughtful writing about disreputable art by donating to the Cultural Gutter’s indiegogo campaign here. Only 3 days left!

General Zod plays without a safe word in this supervillain pin-up by Evan Munday. It’s included in our Gutterthon fundraiser's Sexy Supervillain postcard set.
There’s only about a week left to donate. If you like our work, please consider donating. You’ll help us out and get a sweet perk, too.

General Zod plays without a safe word in this supervillain pin-up by Evan Munday. It’s included in our Gutterthon fundraiser's Sexy Supervillain postcard set.

There’s only about a week left to donate. If you like our work, please consider donating. You’ll help us out and get a sweet perk, too.

Carnival and Clairvoyance: Why Casino Royale (’67) is Your New Favourite Bond

Carnival and Clairvoyance: Why Casino Royale (’67) is Your New Favourite Bond

Gutter Guest Star Matt Finch shares his favorite Bond film at Of Inhuman Bond Age: “Right at the start of Casino Royale, an alliance of world powers attacks the mansion of our hero, James Bond, an ageing World War I veteran. (Perpetually 35-ish no more.) Only such drastic invasion of privacy can motivate Britain’s happily retired super-spy to take on one last mission. David Niven plays this…

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Thanos looking sassier than usual in this image from the Gutterthon Sexy Supervillain postcard set. It was conceived and drawn by artist and writer Evan Munday. There are still a couple of sets available to claim. Help keep the Gutter going and get five Sexy Supervillains up to no good!

Thanos looking sassier than usual in this image from the Gutterthon Sexy Supervillain postcard set. It was conceived and drawn by artist and writer Evan Munday. There are still a couple of sets available to claim. Help keep the Gutter going and get five Sexy Supervillains up to no good!

At The Gutter: For Worse and For Better. But Mostly Worse.

Chris shares her least favorite current trends in Romance.

We’ve finally gotten down to actual summer weather in the last two weeks. So of course I spent the last two weeks without AC as I dealt with a series of cascading electrical problems. One complete power shut-down later, things are finally back on the level… just in time for the humidity to drop to a bearable level.

Argh, argh, argh.

Since I’ve pretty much hit peak Crabby, I’m believe I’m in a good place to write my annual complaints piece.  This is the column in which I enumerate the things I dislike about the Romance genre. As usually, I won’t single out specific titles — rather, I’ll talk about the larger trends and habits across the genre that make me go “”@#$%!”

But since I didn’t manage to burn every good feeling out of my heart (because the AC came back on before I actually had to sacrifice the contractor to the dread gods of the humidex), this time I’ll also add  counterexamples, writers who manage to do whatever-it-is well instead of poorly.

Image: “Ruby Loftus Screwing a Breech Ring” (1943) by Laura Knight. (via The Guardian)

At The Gutter: Self-Control and Other Things That Make It Worse Later

Screen Editor alex writes about Mad Men's Don Draper, True Detective's Marty Hart and the limits of self-control.

Self-control is rooted in stopping something that feels good because you can see that it will lead somewhere bad later. Adults are pretty strongly motivated by the avoidance of imagined future pain, so if they envision their boss calling them into her office and yelling at them for doing something, that’s usually enough to stop them from doing it. Children, however, aren’t very good at predicting consequences. They need adults to act as a control while they’re learning because their primary motivation is the experience they’re having right now. They’re figuring out how to avoid getting in trouble later by making a better choice in the moment, but they’ll get all the way to being yelled at before they realize it was a mistake, at which point they’d do anything to make it stop. And that anything is often just another thing that seems like a good idea at the time, but actually makes it worse later.

And his article was one of RogerEbert.com’s “Thumbnails.” Check it out here.

A steamy picture of Solomon Grundy drawn by Evan Munday. He and 5 more Sexy Supervillains are available as part of our Gutterthon Sexy Supervillain Postcard Set. It’s a perk for our indiegogo fundraiser. If you donate today, you can support the Cultural Gutter’s mission of thoughtful writing about disreputable art, help us stay online, help us keep our commitment to paying writers and get sexy supervillainy on the side.

A steamy picture of Solomon Grundy drawn by Evan Munday. He and 5 more Sexy Supervillains are available as part of our Gutterthon Sexy Supervillain Postcard Set. It’s a perk for our indiegogo fundraiser. If you donate today, you can support the Cultural Gutter’s mission of thoughtful writing about disreputable art, help us stay online, help us keep our commitment to paying writers and get sexy supervillainy on the side.