There’s lots of good blogs out there. Here’s a few that I like.
The Cultural Gutter: There are four contributors to the Cultural Gutter that review comics, movies and TV, science fiction, and romance novels. I haven’t read a romance novel since, oh, Wuthering Heights, way back when, but I do read Chris Szego’s posts. I do watch movies and read comics and science fiction. I disagree with the opinions expressed on TCG a lot. But I still like to read the posts. Szego:
By its very nature, a Romance is suffused with positive attitude. The characters learn who they are, what kind of lives they want, and then proceed to go out and get them. The end result is effort rewarded (which is frankly more interesting than virtue rewarded, because virtuousness can be boring). We like to read about good things happening to decent people. On good days, that makes us feel even better.
But some days aren’t so good. Some days actively suck. And some don’t just kick you in the teeth, they also pick your pocket on your way down, ruin your favourite jeans in the process, and convince Revenue Canada to audit you while you lie there wondering what the hell just happened.
That, my friends, is the day you need a good Romance the most.
Chris, I’ll take your word for it.
Consumed and Judged: Jeffrey Sconce reads trashy old books so that you don’t have to. Seriously, it’s a dirty job but you know you want somebody to do it. Sconce visits thrift stores and buys old paperbacks if, and only if, they have great trashy covers or cover blurbs that identify the contents as the product of a diseased mind. For example, Caligula: Divine Carnage, one of a series on atrocities committed by Roman emperors. A bit of the review:
…author Stephen Barber, a “noted cultural historian and the leading authority on Antonin Artaud,” was once called “the most dangerous man in Britain (Barber co-wrote the book with Jeremy Reed, who, while not necessarily dangerous, was called “England’s greatest visionary” by J.G. Ballard, which strikes me as even better than being the most dangerous). It looked very promising.
For the first twenty or so pages, Barber and Reed almost have you convinced. Sure, a lot of what they describe seems improbable. Maybe Tiberius forced everyone in the palace to kneel every morning before his “diseased, blackened sexual organ,” maybe he didn’t. … But then Barber and Reed go too far, writing that Rome’s “plebian scum” loved Caligula because:
…he was a visible presence in the filthy backstreets of Rome, often to be seen carried about in a litter with Drusilla by his side, energetically masturbating with one hand while distributing gold coins with the other; the plebian scum elbowed and crushed one another into the dust in order to simultaneously catch the imperial spurting semen in their mouths and the coins in their hands.
Now, this strikes me as highly improbable on any number of levels.
Well, indeed! Now perhaps you find it a good thing that Sconce has read this book and you don’t have to or perhaps you don’t, but certainly you can sleep more soundly at night knowing that this piece of rotten trash has been properly reviewed, flayed, and eviscerated. Yes! And Sconce has preserved the good parts, too! I think this site is best browsed by selecting the tag that most interests you, for instance “author demonstrably insane” or “greenwich village as portal to hell”.
Sconce also has another site, Ludic Despair
, that features rants on important subjects like Zooey Deschanel (who?) but that is nowhere near as valuable a site as Consumed and Judged.
Total Dick-Head: I am a Philip K. Dick fan. I read his books and stories. I think Blade Runner sucked because it ignored the vision of PKD. This site, one of many about Philip K. Dick and his work, is more agnostic about Blade-Runner. (Hyphen or not? Even the studio can’t decide. Or maybe it’s just Ridley Scott’s way of creating yet another expensive DVD boxed set in two versions, one hyphenated, the other not. Fans can debate the difference to their heart’s content, but probably not on this site.)
Anyway, blogger Ragle Gumm (!) often goes for long periods without a new entry, but then he comes up with gems like this:
We… have the opportunity to enjoy the most Dickian presidential election in history, which has so far pitted a womanizing African American pizza tycoon, against a theocratic foster mother to some 28 children, against The Three Stigmata of Newton Gingrich, against a pro-life Libertarian, all vying for the chance to challenge the first African American president, who’s up for re-election.
Yes! In the mid-70s, Dick bemoaned the fact that it was no longer possible to predict the future, it had already overtaken us and science fiction was really history.
Pass It To Bulis: I’ve been a Vancouver Canucks fan for forty disappointing years. Now that the team has a good shot at the Cup (second in two seasons) blogs about the team have proliferated like goals given up by the Columbus Blue Jackets. This is the best blog of the lot. PITB covers each game in the on-going feature “I Watched This Game” and even comes up with strange statistics (Drance Numbers) if you’re into that kind of thing. From “I Watched This Game”, February 18, versus Toronto:
The Leafs came into Vancouver having lost 9 straight games to the Canucks and were hoping to prove that they’d made the changes necessary to be successful in the West, like the American Office. Instead, they just wound up being awkward and cringe-inducing, like the British Office. It was initially exciting to watch the Canucks absolutely dominate an opponent, but by the end of the game I just wanted to look away. This game was executive-produced by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant. I watched this game.
Right! Sometimes it’s embarrassing to be great. According to the evil Eastern media, the Canucks are the most-hated team in the NHL, but every time I see them play as visitors, there seem to be lots of fans in the stands. PITB follows a great team on its march toward victory (or horrific tragedy, which is also a worthy story).
Okay, that’s it for this session. There are obviously some blogs I like (in the list on the right) that aren’t here, but this time I wanted to give a nod to some that don’t (yet) get a full-time link.