Tag Archives: CWR

CWR’s Halloween Recommendations IV

Well my repellent readers, after a horrific hiatus Culture War Reporter’s is back from the grave to fight for your faithful following. And we start with one of my personal favorites, our fourth annual Halloween movie recommendations! Now let us feast!

The Perfect Host

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As a rule, I don’t consider “comedy horror” to be a legitimate subgenre of horror. Things are either scary or they’re funny and mashing ’em together in a movie usually makes sure that it’s neither. That said, 2010’s The Perfect Host may well change my mind about that. Imagine if Hannibal was a black comedy and you pretty much have this delightful hidden gem. We bear witness to an evening of strange events as a conman knocks on the wrong door and gets more than he bargains for. And since you’re wondering, yes, that is Niles from Fraiser. He actually makes a pretty compelling villain.

 They Look Like People

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This is, without a doubt, one of the single best movies I have ever seen.

I cannot sing its praises enough. I’d spend a whole blog post breaking down all the things that make it awesome, but I don’t want to give away a single second of it. Know only that a young man receives a surprise visit from a childhood friend. What follows is a slow-burning, subtle, and staggeringly realistic film in the vein of such masterpieces as Stoker and It Follows. Amazingly written, beautifully shot, and utterly compelling. If you watch literally nothing else on this list, watch this.

 We Are What We Are

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It’s about a family of cannibals. But you knew that. You’d know that from the trailers, from the first five minutes, or from having watched even an episode or two of X-Files. But fortunately, the folks behind We Are What We Are know that you know that, and spend their time making this film less about any cliched twist (though there is certainly an unexpected jolt at the end) and more about painting a vivid and haunting picture of American Gothic. Beautifully shot, amazingly acted, and with a much needed degree of self-awareness that raises this film head and shoulders above it’s just-for-the-fans brethren. Continue reading

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Stew Departs

Hello all, and welcome back from the CWR hiatus!

It is with great sadness that I must now bow out as an author at CWR, especially after such an embarrassingly short run.  While there’s no shortage of topics to cover, it turns out that I simply cannot balance the blog with my graduate studies and teaching responsibilities this coming Fall.

As passionate as I am about science in general, and, in particular, how it interfaces with the culture we live in, I’m currently constrained to devoting most of my critical thinking to these adorable beasts:

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The Northern Map Turtle

Fun fact: there are roughly 300 known species of turtle in the world today, and nearly half of them are threatened and endangered.  That’s pretty terrible, especially since these hearty guys have been around since before the friggin’ dinosaurs.  Even more troubling is the fact that it’s basically 100% our fault.  The species I’m working with is threatened in much of its existing range in North America, so I’m both excited and apprehensive about our continued efforts on this project.  So rest assured, I’m leaving for the best reasons.

I’ve followed this blog from its inception, and will continue to do so.  I’m proud to have contributed to it, and look forward to continuing on with you, dear readers, as one of your number.  Please do continue to stop by, and comment frequently!

Cheers.

Culture War Reporters’ Memorial Day Montage

War.

For the vast majority of the lives of every writer here at CWR, wars and rumors of war have been a part of daily life. As of 2013, over 43% of the US military is comprised of men and women aged 25 or younger, an additional 22% just barely older. The majority of this nation’s army are tasked with fighting in conflicts many are barely old enough to remember the start of. The once rare presence of a person in uniform has now become a commonplace in airports all across the continent, and for good or ill, the armed forces have become a major element in our culture, and we here at CWR have engaged the subject over and over again.

Today’s post comes to you on Memorial Day for Americans. In the spirit of the day, I figured we should take a moment to offer a review on the material we’ve produced on the subject of the military. The good, the bad, the ugly- altogether.

Why We Need Graphic Violence

Violence in media is often cited as being one of the chief sources of violence in everyday life. But is our paralytic fear of showing blood and gore actually a good thing? Here we argue that disturbing images need to be seen for us to be really and truly disturbed, and that there’s no better place to start than with war. How else can we measure the real cost?

Stars Earn Stripes (Is A Terrible, Awful, Idiotic Abomination)

Fortunately cancelled after only four weeks of airtime, NBC’s Stars Earn Stripes stands as a demonstration of just how depraved we can be when it comes to exploiting the horror of war and our sympathy for folks in uniform. Here we break down every repellent detail of why this show (and shows like it) are as damaging as they are deluding.

No War, No More

During the height of tensions with North Korea during the spring of 2013 there was more than a little bravado on the side of Americans mocking the little dictatorship and laughing at the prospect of bombing the country out of existence. Frustrated by the cavalier attitude of so many, we provided this reminder of the actual nature of war and conflict.

Shame Day: War As A Fashion Statement

Later that same year, Evan covered the trend on militaria as a fashion, targeting the ironic(?) use of Vietnam War caps specifically. Disrespectful to veterans? Trivializing of combat? Read on to see for yourself.

(Admittedly, the title’s probably a giveaway. It’s still a good piece- read it anyways.)

America Wants Dead Soldiers

In what was perhaps the most shocking titles ever given to a post here at CWR, yours truly argues that the sympathy offered the members of the armed services (especially on days such as today) are by and large crocodile tears. Actual gratitude to the men and women in uniform has a strange habit of disappearing when it involves any actual sacrifice or effort on our part. Read on to discover why.

The Black And White Of American Sniper [No, This Isn’t About Race]

While real support for the armed forces is no easy task, honest criticism’s no picnic either, as Evan demonstrates in his analysis of the reactions to American Sniper. In addressing the legacy of celebrated marksman Chris Kyle we examine how quickly both history and our depictions of it can be distorted to complement our own views. If you look at nothing else today, look at this one.

Writers’ Roundtable Interview: Stew, Old Friend and New CWR!

EVAN: I have a dream. That one day this blog will rise up and establish a regular schedule. From that point on each weekday will have its own writer, and all five will be equal. Today, friends, we grow one step closer to that dream becoming a reality.

Joining us officially as of this week is Stew, who both Gordon and I attended college with. He’s also left a grand total of 47 comments on this blog, so you know he is a person with thoughts to share and things to say. Honestly, I could go on, so let’s just start things off already.

Similar to our introduction of Kat two years ago [has it really been that long?] each of the CWR regulars will be asking Stew four questions apiece, ending with the chance for him to throw a couple of his own at each of us. Considering that she knows him the least well, and not for any chivalrous reasons…

KAT: My first question for you is, what makes you want to write for the blog?

EVAN: Wow, Kat, way to take my first question. And now I regret my decision.

STEW: Too slow, Evan.

KAT: Sorry, but you guys wanted me to go first, so…

STEW: Well, I’ve been a pretty avid reader of CWR since it first started. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the diversity of topics that you guys cover. But I’ve been harassing Evan to cover more science-y topics for ages now, and apparently this is the best way to make that happen.

EVAN: Favourite Lovecraft-themed alcoholic beverage?

STEW: Narragansett Lovecraft Honey Ale, both because it is delicious, and because I don’t think anything else fits the category.

GORDON: Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the Communist Party?

STEW: Nah, I love sitting on the fence.

KAT: Would you consider yourself a feminist and/or feminist ally?

STEW: Absolutely!

KAT: I feel a little bit like we are browbeating you right now, haha.

EVAN: If his brow makes it out in one piece we will have failed in our mission.

STEW: Generally, brows should be in two pieces anyway. Mine is no exception. Continue reading

Talking About Talking About Culture

Reader’s, we here at CWR have been at this for a while.

We’ve made you laugh, we’ve (probably at some point) made you cry, we’ve filled you with feelings of inconsolable rage, and judging by some of the search terms used to find our blog, we’ve done other things to you which we shall never speak of.

You people are into some shameful, ****ed up stuff…

Now with all that said, we’ve only ever defined the blog you’ve come to know and love as being about “figuring out” culture. We’ve never really set any ground rules, and today, I’d like to change that. Continue reading

2013 In Review

It’s been one long year readers, and I’m not gonna lie, probably the toughest in at least my life so far. In spite of (heck, because of) all the blood, sweat, and strings of profanity, I think we down at Culture War Reporters have really knocked it out of the park.

Let me break it down so that you may properly bask in our glory.

The Shame Day/Fame Day cycle and our midweek discussions were implemented late last year, so we’re only really seeing the full fruits of our labor as 2013 draws to a close. Along with Evan’s reviews of 2 Broke Girls (yes, that still pains me), our relentless salvos of biting-yet-undeniable truth have all helped us pass 100,000 views (and then some).

Our daily viewer average has also grown and is currently hovering at around what our all-time high was last year (that’s roughly 200), and speaking of all-time highs, we have utterly and wholly smashed our previous most-views-record with September 6th’s 3,081 hits. Of course I want us to continue our by-now-normal habit of vanquishing our old records and dragging them behind our chariots, but I’d also like to see us pass 15,000 for total views in a month (our current recording being about 13,000).

I also want to direct your tearful, nay, hysterical applause to Evan, who continues to outdo himself as an editor and Kat, who has really come in swinging.

And of course, audience, what end-of-the-year review would this be if it didn’t include a saccharine bow to you guys for making it all happen? You guys keep coming back, we’ll keep pumping it out. See you in 2014.

-Gordon

I was pretty excited when a childhood friend (Chris, that means you) contacted me this summer to let me know that his cousin was looking for a female writer to contribute to his blog. He thought I might be a good fit and, lucky for me, Evan and Gordon agreed. Joining the guys on CWR has really been a great time. It’s been a good discipline for me to write so regularly, plus it’s fun to get to write about the things that really interest me. Even though I’ve only been at CWR for about 6 months, it’s been exciting to see how our readership has increased even within that time.

Whenever someone asks me what would be the end goal of pursuing a degree in English I usually end up telling them, “pretty much what I’m already doing on the blog right now.” So you should probably go tell all your friends about this blog so that we can all just live the dream and write for a living. Or at least so that we can get their feedback on our posts, because we LOVE hearing back from you.

-Kat

Up above we have Gordon doing some number crunching and Kat sharing what her experience has been like so far, and I’m going to try as hard as I can not to overlap too much with their year-end blurbs.

2013 has definitely been a year of expansion for CWR. We wrote roughly twice as many posts this year and brought on a new writer. That’s all well and good, but in the immortal words of Tony Stark to Steve Rogers in Issue #1 of Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers when discussing their titular group:

We have to get bigger

But not just bigger, like the expansion of their roster to 18 heroes, but also better, like adding Shang-Chi, Master of Kung-Fu, to the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. My dream is for Culture War Reporters to one day be a place where you can consistently drop in to read what others think about today’s culture, from comic books (of course) to race issues to television to music, but in such a way that it forces you to think about it as well.

We’ve got a long ways to go, that’s clear, but just know that we’re always aiming to improve ourselves and the site as a whole. This is our third year on the internet, and as far as I’m concerned our fourth can only be better. Huge thanks to all our readers who’ve helped us get where we are today.

And yes, I’m going to finally be getting to writing those posts I promised.

-Evan

Below we have something about some sort of WordPress.com stats helper monkeys preparing a 2013 annual report for this blog:

Click the image above to gaze upon statistics for a site we hope you frequent regularly.

Evan and Gordon Interview: Kat, Our Newest CWR!

EVAN: Ladies and gentlemen, it brings me the greatest sort of joy to announce that we will be announcing a third Culture War Reporter to our blog. Ever since Elisa’s departure I have long wished to have a female perspective, and after a little bit of searching I was connected to Kat via one of my many, many cousins-

This edition of E&GT will consist of both Gordon and me asking Kat ten questions apiece, to present to all of you nice people a greater picture of who she is. At the end she’ll have the opportunity to ask each of us five questions, just to be fair.

You can of course find out more about her by reading her bio. Now, without further ado, I’m going to let Gordon start us off-

GORDON: You’re in a desert, walking along in the sand when all of a sudden you look down and you see a tortoise, Kat. You reach down and flip the tortoise over on it’s back, Kat. The tortoise lays on its back, it’s belly baking in the hot sun, beating it’s legs, trying to turn itself over but it can’t. Not without your help.  But you’re not helping. Why is that, Kat?

KAT: Because I’m hungry and I plan to eat it?

GORDON: Well, we’ve determined she’s not a replicant. That’s progress, at least.

EVAN: Gordon, you are a huge nerd. Continue reading