Those who only casually listen to the lyrical stylings of hip-hop scribe Eminem may not be aware of the many intricacies found therein. However, any serious scholar of the man’s oeuvre will inform you that, should one truly wish to understand the depth and sheer breadth of his work, one must listen to it in the original Klingon. Only then will one truly grasp his mastery of the language, the way in which he subverts and molds the guttural utterances, fashioning witty puns and subtle adianoetae — which are, more often than not, lost in the translation to English — making him very much the Nabokov of rap. To that end, I present his classic treatise and social indictment, Without Me performed in his native tongue.

Sut Jhally’s Media Smackdowns

The above is a short but fascinating trailer for Dreamworlds 3, an hour-long documentary on the use and abuse of women’s bodies in modern-day pop music videos. You needn’t be a scholar of gender studies or media literacy to appreciate what you see here. If you’re a fan of thoughtful video editing, deadpan humor, or the ladiiiiies, this one’s for you.

Narrating over a relentless cascade titillating music-video imagery, Jhally finally explains the problem of sexual objectification in our culture in a way that does not, unlike many other texts that deal with this, make you feel like a real shit for objectifying others in your mind, or for wanting to be objectified. This point comes into clarity at the 29:30 mark:

There is nothing inherently wrong with [the techniques of objectification] in and of themselves. It is not that it is always negative to present women as ready to be watched, or wanting to be watched. We all – men and women – present ourselves to be watched, to be gazed at. We all – men and women – watch attractive strangers with sexual desire. To treat another as an object of our desires is part of what it means to be human. The problem in music video and in the culture in general is that women are presented as nothing else.  If the story about femininity could be widened beyond sexual objectification to include many other qualities of individuals – [intellectual, emotional, spiritual, creative, etc] – then there would be no problem with a little objectification as a sexual aspect of femininity, to be balanced out and integrated with many other human qualities. The problem is that in our contemporary culture, the complexity gets crowded out by a one-dimensional femininity based on a single story of the body.

Click here for the full-length feature. It has a stupid watermark on it, but the documentary’s compelling enough that it really doesn’t matter. Even if you don’t have time to watch the whole thing, the 5-minute version included here stands as a fascinating vignette on the subject on its own.

Dreamworlds 3 is only one of several media literacy titles that Jhally’s produced or contributed to over the years. Here are a few other favorites:

  • Dreamworlds 2 – Same as the above, but retro! Made in 1995.
  • Advertising & the End of the World – A discussion of advertising’s promise to deliver happiness, society’s high-consumption lifestyle and the coming environmental crisis.
  • Reel Bad Arabs – On the vilification of Arab characters in the American cinema.
  • Wrestling with Manhood: Boys, Bullying & Battering –  Focuses on “professional wrestling and the construction of contemporary masculinity, they show how so-called “entertainment” is related to homophobia, sexual assault and relationship violence.”



Yes, yes. You’ve already seen blurbs about Machinarium all over the friggin’ bloggitysphere. But when a game this scrappy and adorable and smart and just painfully lovely pops up, we can’t not archive it here.

Amanita Design is the Czech indie game studio who brought the ‘wub those delightful point-and-click adventures, Samorost and Samorost 2. Aesthetically, their latest creation follows somewhat in Samorost‘s footsteps, but delves far deeper. For all its gorgeous visuals, ambiance, clever puzzles, and creaking, rusty robot action, what sets Machinarium apart and above other point-and-click games is its surprising depth. Such tenderness and subtlety, humor and intelligence!

machinarium1 copy

This is worldbuilding of the highest caliber, with a compelling narrative that slowly unfolds as you play through, bringing Wall-E, Perdido Street Station and The City of Lost Children to mind in equal measure. No spoilers. Just click here, try out the demo, and you’ll understand why it might just be the best 17 bucks you spend all month.

A Catalog Of Willful Human Ignorance

A powerful series of photographs by Chris Jordan detailing the deaths of albatross chicks on Midway Atoll. Here, albatrosses canvas the pacific ocean looking for food for their chicks, instead harvesting various bits of detritus which they then poison and asphyxiate their offspring with.

To document this phenomenon as faithfully as possible, not a single piece of plastic in any of these photographs was moved, placed, manipulated, arranged, or altered in any way. These images depict the actual stomach contents of baby birds in one of the world’s most remote marine sanctuaries, more than 2000 miles from the nearest continent

The photos here are both beautiful and terrible, the stomachs of the deceased birds neatly confining jumbles of colorful trash in dessicated frames. It is a stark reminder of just how much power we have over our environment and how little we take responsibility for it.

Fiancée Cat Is Not Having It

Greetings, comrades. Coilhouse print issue #04 continues to slowly, lazily eat our brains with those dainty little egg spoons.

Here’s a funny cat meme to keep the tumbleweeds at bay:

O, the pathos!

FAM: John Carpenter’s Apocalypse Trilogy

You know what, screw it. We’re taking off today. Yeah, that’s what we’re gonna do. I mean, how many times have we been told that if we don’t take those sick days we’re gonna lose ’em. Fine, if that’s the way they want to play it then maybe we’ll just take off every Friday from here on out. We’ll see how they handle the end of the quarter when the entire accounting department is home with “the swine flu”. Hope you’re mighty familiar with a calculator, ’cause we’re off to the movies, suckers!

In a fit of indecision, the FAM is super sized today, a John Carpenter Triple Feature comprised of 1982’s The Thing, 1987’s Prince of Darkness, and lastly 1994’s In the Mouth of Madness; what the director has referred to as his “Apocalypse Trilogy”. Certainly, the man has directed some shockingly awful films but his earlier work is pure gold and the first two of these rank as some of my favorite sci-fi/horror movies.

Juha Arvid Helminen’s Shadow People


Finnish photographer Juha Arvid Helminen has created a black on black series that has me all aflutter. It’s the same mix of fear and attraction as the first time I read The Invisible Man or watched The Headless Horseman at the age of six. And a more recent instance–a shameful tickle in my pants upon discovering Pyramid Head in Silent Hill.


Besides the fetish appeal of complete coverage, tight-lacing, and uniforms, for me the mystery factor is the most potent reason for such a strong visceral response. Masking to create apprehension and giving the imagination freedom to explore its limits is such a common literary and artistic instrument that it’s almost surprising to feel just how effective it is. I’m sipping a cup of tea in the middle of afternoon–far from a spooky ambiance–yet every time I look at these images another infinite, matte black dimension of anxiety unfolds.

Strange Worlds Collide: Cosplayers at the Aquarium

You may have already seen this photo at BoingBoing or elswhere, but it’s too charming not to include here. Strange creatures from a strange world gazing at other strange creatures from another strange world. This photo was taken with a point-and-shoot camera by a hobbyist photographer, who was attending the aquarium with her friends during Dragon*Con. The photographer, positivespace on Flickr, had this to say about the photo in the BB comment thread:

For what it’s worth, the only editing I did in Photoshop was a small amount of cropping (apparently trying to center an image crouching while dressed as the third Good Fairy in a hoop skirt and a giant stuffed bra was difficult… who knew?!).

I was very lucky with this photo. Awesome environment, awesome models (my lovely friends) and, IMO, an awesome point-and-shoot camera. I basically wandered by this window, saw a great opportunity, directed my friends to stand under it, stuck the camera on Auto and fired away.

There’s another shot from this series that I also quite like, but this one’s the winner.

The Chapman Bros. Shoot Claudia Schiffer to a Pulp

Harpers Bazaar UK employed Jake and Dinos Chapman who, with the help of photographer Michelangelo di Battista and illustrator Jon Rogers, produced this fantastic set for their November issue, which focuses on the always stunning Claudia Schiffer and features the supermodel in a variety of Grade-A pulp situations such as “Femme Fatale With Gun”, “Sexy Girl Tied Up and Being Threatened by Hand With Whip”, and “Sexy Girl Bound and Gagged Being Threatened by Ghoul”. I have linked the entire series after the jump, in standard, tiny Coilhouse image form but you should go here to see these in all their huge, scanned glory. I love them, but then, I’m a sucker for stuff like this. The pulp fiction thing. Not, you know, the sexy girl bound and gagged thing.

I’m gonna go now.

Via Super Punch who found them at Who Killed Bambi? who found them at My Modern Met and The Telegraph.

The Great Handcar Regatta of 2009

Three cheers for Oakland-based photographer Neil Girling! Longtime readers may recall his beautiful work from this 2007 post about California’s thriving underground circus scene. More recently, Neil braved scorching temperatures and hoards of cheerfully chafing, corseted quaintrelles to bring Coilhouse the following photo essay about the second annual Handcar Regatta. A tip o’ the topper to you, good sir, and thanks again. ~Mer

The Screaming Vortex races down the track.

September 27th saw the second installment of the Great Handcar Regatta, an afternoon of nonsensical anachronism, whimsy and ingenuity in Santa Rosa, CA. Though temperatures burned hot in the triple-digits, many thousands of spectators and participants flooded the Railroad Square historic park, perusing vendors, sipping refreshments, seeing live music, and — of course — watching the races.

Rock*N*Roll Sunday School Fixed Gear, powered solely by running, crosses the finish line.

Official MC Les Claypool provided commentary to the thronging crowds, which were said to have reached nearly 10,000 (a keen-eyed friend said Tom Waits was among them), many of whom were dressed appropriately old-timey for the occasion.

[Scads more photos after the jump.]