Category Archives: popular culture

Forthcoming articles and reviews

I’m excited to announce a bunch of newly written (and co-written) articles and reviews have been accepted for publication and are forthcoming soon:

  • McCutcheon, Mark A. “Reading poetry and its paratexts for evidence of fair dealing.” Studies in Canadian Literature / Études en littérature canadienne, in press.
  • —-. “Paratextual and ‘sampladelic’ techniques for ‘committing centonism’ in contemporary poetry published in Canada.” Cento-Texts in the Making: Aesthetics and Poetics of Cento-Techniques from Homer to Zong!, edited by Manuel Baumbach, Bochumer Altertumswissenschaftliches Colloquium series, in press.
  • —. “Frankenstein meets the FAANG five: figures of monstrous technology in digital media discourse.” Beyond Modern Science: Essays on Frankenstein and STEAM for Charles E. Robinson, edited by Robin Hammerman. Delaware UP, in press.
  • Clitheroe, Heather and Mark A. McCutcheon. Review of The Expanse [TV series]. SFRA Review, in press.
  • McCutcheon, Mark A. Review of The Monster Theory Reader, edited by Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock, U of Minnesota P, 2020. Extrapolation, in press.

“This Machine Chills Copyright Bots”: a #DJmix coda to #FairDealingWeek

A mad mash of Billie Eilish, Deadmau5, Lil Jon, Carly Rae Jepsen, Armand Van Helden, Public Enemy, Young Galaxy et al:

The general idea here’s a thick mix–2-4 tracks playing at most times* (all in the key of Gm/Bb)–seeking to scramble copyright bots’ capacity to discern properties; and in the process to share a genre-bent (#twotone) music mix for use in your socials that hopefully won’t get taken down by copyright bots. Which are just the worst judges of #fairuse and #fairdealing. (If you do use this mix but find your socials take it down, I’d welcome a comment about it.)
What CV Dazzle is to face recognition tech, a mix like this wants to be to automated copyright enforcement. And a coda to #fairdealingweek.
(* except the intermezzo with Sasha’s “Xpander”)

This mix, btw, began as an improvised #ValentinesDay jam for my basement #rollerskating fam…which I add to reflect how critique proceeds as a labour of love.

Downloadable-file version: TBA. Here’s the full track list:

“Alien is the thing that made me want to write the books”: Ty Franck

Alien is the thing that made me want to write the books and the screenplays for the show,” says Ty Franck—half of the authorial team known by their nom de plume, James S.A. Corey—on the 16 Dec. 2020 episode of The Expanse Aftershow. Talking with Thomas Jane, director of season 5’s third episode, “Mother”, and Wes Chatham, Franck expounds:

“The movie Alien is the single largest influence on The Expanse. I saw that movie when I was, like, I think ten or eleven, and it never left my mind…so, the two characters in Alien that are what The Expanse is, is Parker and Brett. Two guys in jumpsuits walking around fixing pipes on a spaceship, and they’re treating it like a job. They’re not starfleet, they’re not admirals, they’re not like Klingons. They’re a couple of guys with pipe wrenches fixing stuff and complaining they don’t get as much money as everybody else…those guys, those two guys are the foundation of The Expanse.”

As a scholar of science fiction’s representations of labour, I find Franck’s reflection a helpful specification of the source material for The Expanse’s refreshingly sympathetic depictions of organized labour. I find three particular things striking about his words here:

  • It’s a clear, co-authorial assertion of labour and working-class perspective as an oppositional premise (“they’re not…”), and thus as both an aesthetic and an ethos;
  • It’s an open acknowledgment of intertextual influence and (unlicensed) adaptation, and so it models transformative fair use (as does a lot of SF, to be fair); and
  • In the process of explaining Alien’s influence, Franck also names—inadvertently, perhaps, but suggestively—two other SF classics, viz., “foundation” and “the thing.”
Link

New post at my other blog: “On fielding a press inquiry about how pop culture depicts the oil industry”

English professors don’t often get press inquiries, but a writer for EnergyWire, an oil business-facing news service, contacted me last week to ask what I think of the video for Justin Bieber’s new song “Holy.”…

Drum & Bass Country: a new #TwoTone or a crime against nature?

Click here for downloadable MP3 version.

Just in time for #CanadaDay, I thought I’d share a DJ mix in which I improve US country anthems (by the late great Kenny Rogers, and Taylor Swift, among others) with infusions of UK drum & bass (and, yes, some CanCon rock too — cue to the 20-minute mark to hear The Guess Who meet Shy FX).‬#PlayItLoud #BlameCanada

Track list:

Dr Teeth's Drum & Bass Country DJ mix tracklist

House In The Country: an April Fools mix

So here’s a hot messy miscellaneous mix: hits by everyone from the Dixie Chicks to the Tragically Hip, all banged up with house and techno beats by the likes of 2 Bad Mice and Armand van Helden. (It’s also got “April Skies” for April Fools Day and “Poets” for National Poetry Month.) Play it loud! Dance at home! If you never hear these songs the same way again, you’re welcome.

Downloadable version
Tracklist:

Research on unions and science fiction, mobilized

Last summer, the annual WorldCon (World Science Fiction Convention) included a panel, based on my & Bob Barnetson’s research on representations of unions in science fiction, that featured some of the authors I and co-author Bob Barnetson had discussed, namely Eric Flint and Cory Doctorow. (Wish I’d been there!)

Since then, that panel’s organizer, Olav Rokne, has hosted a still-continuing conversation on this topic via his Twitter account; see the thread (and Rokne’s excellent blog post):

(BTW, if you want a copy of Barnetson’s and my article, “Resistance is futile: on the under-representation of unions in science fiction,” e-mail me a request or see this link for details.)

In related news, I’m finally watching the enthralling TV series The Expanse, based on the eponymous novels by James S.A. Corey, which I think I’ll have to read too, since unions feature so prominently in this story — and, refreshingly, are depicted in a nuanced and more positive than negative light. (They’re about more than strikes, here; they enact an ethos of community, democracy, and the greater good.)

Link

Recent drum & bass & pop mix: link & track list

Track list

  1. Taylor Swift & Mefjus, “This is why we can’t saturate nice things” (Dr Teeth’s smash the patriarchy mashup)
  2. S.P.Y., “Shadows of the mind”
  3. Inja & Whiney, “She just wanna dance”
  4. Rider Shafique, Sam Binga & Tiffanie Malvo, “Proud” (Enei remix)
  5. Was A Be & Synth Ethics, “Resolute”
  6. The Ting Tings, “Basement”
  7. Enei, Kasra & Jakes, “Transmitter”
  8. S.P.Y., “Dreaming”
  9. Royalston & LYFLYK, “Fork tongue”
  10. Nothing To Lose, “Love like this”
  11. Silence Groove, “Shift”
  12. Urbandawn, “Sleeping awake”
  13. Taylor Swift & Keeno, “Dancing with our enigma tied” (Dr Teeth’s two great tastes mashup)
  14. Hugh Hardie, GLXY, 3-Card, & Zoe Phillips, “She moves”
  15. Bladerunner, “Flying technique”
  16. Mage, “Total indifference”
  17. Calibre, “Addict”
  18. The Ting Tings, “Word for this”
  19. Hugh Hardie, “Fireflies”
  20. Camo & Crooked, “Last of the tribe” (break remix)
  21. Hugh Hardie & Pola & Bryson, “Emerald City”
  22. S.P.Y., “Love unlimited” (VIP)
  23. Etherwood & FEELS, “A hundred oceans”

“Frost and desolation”: AU #Frankenreads, 10-12, Oct. 31, at the Matrix Hotel

[full track list at bottom]

Amidst frost and desolation, amidst the everlasting ices of the north — that is, in Edmonton, Alberta — Athabasca University, Canada’s open university, will host a multi-disciplinary, multimedia symposium on Frankenstein, as part of the worldwide Frankenreads event happening on Hallowe’en 2018.

Where? The Matrix Hotel, Edmonton.

When? 10:00 am – 12:00 pm, Oct. 31, 2018.

Please RSVP here to attend in-person online via live stream. (If you can attend in person, we encourage you to attend in costume 🙂

Schedule of proceedings:

10:00-10:25 – Arrivals & coffee set to a multimedia prelude, Canadian Frankensteins, mixed by Dr Mark A. McCutcheon (AU Frankenreads organizer, Professor of Literary Studies, & author of The Medium Is the Monster)

10:25 – Welcoming remarks by Dr McCutcheon

10:30-10:45 – – Dr Paul Kellogg (Chair of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies & Associate Professor of Integrated Studies): “The social construction of ‘monsters’ — from Frankenstein to Donald Trump”

10:45-11:00 – Dr Jolene Armstrong (President of the Athabasca U Faculty Association & Associate Professor of English): “‘It was the secrets of heaven and earth that I desired to learn’: Negotiating liminality in the Netflix series The Frankenstein Chronicles

11:00-11:15 – Dr Angie Abdou (Associate Professor of Creative Writing and author of Home Ice and In Case I Go): “Sorcery Meets Science: The Frankenpheme in Andrew Pyper’s The Only Child

11:15-11:30 – Dr Mark A. McCutcheon: “Mary Shelley, Marshall McLuhan, and the discourse of technology”

11:30-12:00 – Question & Answer period

12:00 – 1:00 – Postlude: a Frankenreads Halloween DJ mix, which might sound a bit like the demo mix linked at top.

The full track list of that mix is as follows:

  1. 00:00 Parliament – Prelude to The Clones of Dr Funkenstein
  2. 01:39 Bobby “Boris” Pickett & The Cryptkickers – The Monster Mash
  3. 04:35 Peter Tosh – Vampire
  4. 07:44 Byron Lee & The Dragonaires – Frankenstein Ska
  5. 10:11 Brainbug – Nightmare (Sinister Strings mix)
  6. 17:04 Ladytron – Ghosts (Cassette Jam mix)
  7. 19:46 Burial – Ghost Hardware
  8. 21:56 Sinead O’Connor – I Am Stretched On Your Grave
  9. 25:41 Maestro Fresh Wes – Let Your Backbone Slide (Power mix)
  10. 29:53 Deadmau5 – Dr Funkenstein (original mix)
  11. 30:04 Deadmau5 & Michael Howe – Dr Funkenstein (Michael Howe remix)
  12. 31:37 Deadmau5 & Danny Jay – Dr Funkenstein (Danny Jay remix)
  13. 32:39 Deadmau5 – Moar Ghosts ‘n’ Stuff
  14. 35:41 Deadmau5 – Ghosts ‘n’ Stuff (instrumental version)
  15. 36:42 Michael Jackson – Thriller
  16. 41:34 Nine Inch Nails – Came Back Haunted
  17. 46:04 Siouxsie & The Banshees – Cities in Dust
  18. 49:48 Taco – Puttin’ On the Ritz*
  19. 53:06 The Paladin Project – Afraid Of the Dark
  20. 1:00:49 Deadmau5 – Complications
  21. 1:03:39 Leonard Cohen – You Want It Darker

* If you know why this song’s on the playlist, then you’ve done some homework.

 

“working out an inter-ACCUTE thought exercise” music mix

[In my post-#congreSSH post about this year’s ACCUTE dance party, I’d said I’d be following up with a post reflecting further on that event. Voilà: further thoughts, related to other current concerns, in the form of a DJ mix. What can I say? I have a phonographic memory.]

Playlist: