Friday 31 January 2014

Skinny Puppy Music Used as Torture Device, Band Invoice US Government

In an interview with The Phoenix New Times, cEvin Key of Skinny Puppy has revealed his response to discovering that  his music was used as a torture device

"We heard through a reliable grapevine that our music was being used in Guantanamo Bay prison camps to musically stun or torture people...We heard that our music was used on at least four occasions. So we thought it would be a good idea to make an invoice to the U.S. government for musical services"

Nothing hits harder than a kick to the wallet


Thursday 30 January 2014

CFP: Digital Nightmares (IB Tauris, 2015)


Digital Nightmares: Wired Ghosts, CCTV Horror and the Found Footage Phenomenon, ed. by Linnie Blake and Xavier Aldana Reyes. Publisher IB Tauris

Following the unavoidable withdrawal of two contributors we are seeking two submissions to a collection contracted to IB Tauris.  Deadlines are tight and we are requesting completed papers by 1 March 2014. 

The themes are:

i) Technological Hauntings:
After the success of the televisual nightmare of Ringu (1998), post-millennial films have registered an important influx of literal ghosts in the machine. In fact, as White Noise (2005), Pulse (2006) or One Missed Call (2008) evince, spectres now haunt every form of information technologies, from phones to computers and radios. We are seeking a paper of around 5000 words on any of these themes.

ii) CCTV Horror
In recent years, there has also been a systematic application of new digital media to the recording methods and narrative structures of the horror genre, with films such as My Little Eye (2002) shot exclusively from the point of view of closed circuit television. We are seeking a paper of around 5000 words on the subject of CCTV horror.

Please contact the editors as soon as possible to discuss possible submissions:

The original cfp is here:

Tuesday 28 January 2014

CFP: The Walking Dead

This volume is currently under contract with McFarland & Company Inc. Publishers and is co-edited by Kim Paffenroth and John Morehead. As the title indicates, we are seeking chapter submissions that focus on the characters of The Walking Dead television series and uses the characters as springboards into discussions of larger themes developed within the character, the television series, and connected to the broader culture. Several essays are already in hand, but we need another six quality essays of 6,500 words. A firm deadline is in place for chapter draft submission by August 1. Abstracts of 200 words or further inquiries on this volume should be sent to and

CFP: “Weber and the Digital Divide: Class, Status, and Power in the Digital Age”

Call for Proposed Abstracts for a Special Section on
“Weber and the Digital Divide: Class, Status, and Power in the Digital Age”
International Journal of Communication -
Special Editors: Massimo Ragnedda, Northumbria Univ. (UK) & Glenn W. Muschert, Miami Univ. (USA)

Much of the literature on stratification in the digital sphere (i.e., digital divides) has focused on the fundamental material relations of inequality present in the digital divide, often relying on Marxist/conflict schools of thought. To broaden the scope, the current project turns to Max Weber for new perspectives on stratification in the digital sphere. The project will stimulate scholarly exchange about how social stratification in the digital age is reproduced not only based on class dynamics (economic aspects), but also by status/prestige (cultural aspects), and in group affiliations (political aspects). Access to the economic means of production can indeed limit digital participation; however, Weber also posits that the process of stratification expresses itself in two other forms, namely “status” and “party.” Potential contributors are invited to explore the importance of status and political influence in a liquid society, such as the importance of prestige in digital participation (or exclusion), or the influence of political affiliation upon digital divides. Papers may be theoretical and/or analytical in nature, and should examine digital divides in relation to dynamics social class (lifestyle and culture), social status (prestige and market influence), and/or power (political impact/legitimacy). Submissions are welcomed from scholars at all stages of their careers, and from various relevant disciplines (sociology, communications, media studies, etc.). Possible topics for articles include, but are not limited to:
· Interplay among economic (class), cultural (status), and/or political (party) factors of digital divides.
· The role of digital participation/exclusion on individual and/or group life chances.
· The relevance of skills (digital literacy), certifications, and and legitimating credentials in digital divides.
· The role of status and prestige hierarchies in digital participation/exclusion (or vice versa).
· Cultural meanings (including religious and/or secular value systems) and digital divides.
· Political life (i.e., power relations) and dynamics of digital inclusion/exclusion.
· Bureaucratic/institutional relationships and digital divides.
· Forms of rationality in the digital (e.g., Zweckrationalit├Ąt vs. Wertrationalit├Ąt / ends vs. means rationality).
· The influence of worldview (Weltanschauung) on digital participation/exclusion.
Submissions should be in the form of extended abstracts of around 750 words in MS Word, sent as an email attachment to Massimo Ragnedda ( and Glenn Muschert (

The deadline for submissions is 1 April 2014.

Abstracts will be judged on criteria of relevance and originality of topic.
Notification of initially-approved abstracts will be announced in mid-April, after which contributors will be asked to move forward to the peer-review submission phase. Contributions of 7000 words (maxi mum including abstract, footnotes, tables/figures with captions, references, and appendices, if any) will be due 1 July 2014. All submissions must adhere to APA (6th edition) formatting to include:
· Any endnotes should be converted to footnotes.
· Authors must include their profile, including affiliation and rank, when submitting a manuscript.
· All articles should include an abstract of 150 words.
· All articles must include a bibliography at the end that conforms to the most current APA style.
· All spellings must be rendered in American English. To change British or Commonwealth spellings to their
American equivalents, please see the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.
· Only one submission per author will be considered at a time.
Contributions will be subject to double-blind peer review, and to encourage coherence in the special section, all contributors will be requested to act as a peer reviewer for at least one other article. After all necessary revisions and editing, the special section is scheduled to publish in 2015.

Also, please feel welcome to post this call for papers widely and to forward it to interested colleagues and students. We hope to see some proposals from many of you, and for now, please feel welcome to be in contact if you have any questions for us.

With best regards,

Massimo Ragnedda and Glenn Muschert

Friday 24 January 2014

"Review": Stop or My Mom Will Shoot

While browsing Amazon, I came across appalling 1992 "comedy" Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot, and was abruptly stopped in my tracks by the average star rating allotted by Amazon reviewers.
4.5 stars...bear in mind that's 4.5 out of 5... 20 reviewers.
What in god's name is happening?!
I couldn't resist reading them to find out what exactly people loved about this notorious train-wreck. Rather than howls of 'so-bad-it's-good' I was greeted by numerous reviews attesting to how funny the film is, and dismay at the movie's negative critical reception. Each contained at least one grammatical mistake, and none of the reviews led me to reconsider my position on Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot.     
However, special mention goes to Mr M.E.B. Woods, who has written one of the most bizarre reviews I have encountered on Amazon. I have reposted the review in full below, as it is well worth a read. 
4.0 out of 5 stars Chuckle Riot, 24 Mar 2008
Mr. M. E. B. Woods "markbernard1981" (Bristol, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot [DVD] [1992] (DVD)
This film is so funny I almost lost the plot. 'Mom' is so old you have to laugh at her and slyvester Stalone can really act. I think the film is supposed to show you how annoying parents are and how you should distance yourself from them as quickly as you can - fairplay. I can't remember the plot totally because I wasn't listening but I think 'Mom' turns up at stalone's place because she thinks he should be married and settling down. Why she cares God knows. She's not actually stalone's 'mom'. I saw stalone's mum on Big Brother, now she is a real horror. Twice as worse as the one in this movie. So I suppose it's a biopic.

'Mom' precedes to hilariously get on Sly's nerves and screw up his life. By the end of this maternal overload stalone almost has a breakdown. Brilliant. Theres an awesome set piece, where the clueless old bag trys to wash out stalone's hand canon in the sink. Jeeze what a dummy. You can't clean a gun with washing up liquid - eveyone knows that. There's another funny bit where Sly is in a fire fight in a nappy. I can't quite remember why, but his mum was there and she was meddling as usual. Silly Cow.

Actually I know how stalone feels. 'Mom' got on my nerves something chronic too. I wish she wasn't in the movie. I don't think her input was necessary. Yeah, sure she gets the laughs, but I can't honestly say she helped catch the bad guys . At one point Mom had the opportunity to blast some baddie in the face with a six shooter. Instead she just had a chat with him. I mean seriously, waste the guy. Sly would. Way to ruin my enjoyment 'Mom'. Doing stuff like that just makes the film miserable for eveyone. I was pretty upset with her. Stupid women. If I was director I would axe mum and just call the film "Stop or I'll Shoot". Hey, it works already. I would also axe Stalone's girlfriend, she is crap. They're not suited to each other and she's boring. Basically she's not good enough for him. To be honest she's a minger and should go away. He should be doing it with Angelina Jolie and J-Lo. It's a bit tight but I would also replace Slyvester. I think someone like Steven Siegal would play the part better and he moves faster and has a deep understanding of native american beliefs and all forms of hand to hand combat. Actually I only watched the film cos my mate said Steven Siegal was in this film - he's not. I find that sort of deception abhorent and unforgivable and we are no longer friends (it's not the first time it's happened either).

However, personally I think that 'Mom' isn't the worst mum in the world. She buys sly an uzi as a bday present for gods Sake. YES! YES! YES!. If my mum bought me an uzi she could come round and do the washing up\laundry every day of the week (hang about, she already does). You know Sly should give that woman a break. I don't know why he has to be such a jerk wad. Anyone else would just explain to their mum, that they needed some space. Stalone thinks he's hard cos he plays a cop who doesn't play by the rules. Big deal. Bruce Willis and Mel Gibson didn't played even less by the rules better. Stalone makes a rubbish cop. No proper cop would allow his mother to interfer with his duties. He should be stripped of his badge and go back to boxing.

4 stars out of 5. Dropped one because of 'Moms' went easy on the baddie.

Porn News: Moving to Vegas, CGI Bareback and Google[Gl]ass

Three thematically-linked but very different stories caught my attention this morning. The US porn industry has been fighting a drawn out battle to survive following the rise of Tube sites (among other factors). The recent spate of HIV scares and Measure B  - which made condom use compulsory in LA porn production, and which is now being extended to cover the whole of California - only amplified the sense that the US porn industry is floundering.

The first story is that many LA-based studios are seeking to move away from the San Fernando Valley to Las Vegas in order to facilitate production. A number of major studios (such as Brazzers) already operate out of Vegas. One motivation for this shift is to avoid the condom law.

Falcon Entertainment Logo.pngThat leads me to the second story, which provides a safer and less disruptive work-around for the condom law. Falcon Studios have digitally removed the condoms from sex sequences, thereby protecting the performers while preserving the fantasy. There is certainly a market for bareback porn as a kind of fetish activity, but I am less convinced that condoms would spoil the sexual fantasy for other porn viewers. Of course, that is an easy declaration for me to make because I am not gambling any money on such a theory, unlike porn producers. Either way, I am an advocate for condom use in porn to at least protect performers, and CG bareback provides that protection, so I hope it catches on.

Rather than focusing on preserving fantasy, the third story involves making real sex more like watching porn. According to a report about Google Glass, an app is being developed that will allow one partner to see sex from the other partner's viewpoint. The Guardian report (linked) on this innovation suggests that it may provide an ego boost for users, allowing them to "go and f**k themselves". 

However, it strikes me that there are two alternative implications. One is that the app could epically backfire: users will get chance to witness how unattractive they look while huffing and puffing over or under their partner. Rather than an ego boost, this device might provide the kind of vision of oneself that one cannot "unsee" and which will inspire self-consciousness. The product of such self-consciousness might be increased vanity, soaring rates of celibacy(!) and porn use (see above), or a self-oriented detachment from one's partner. 

A far more optimistic interpretation is that seeing sex from a partner's perspective could provide increased intimacy and new degrees of sexual empathy. As long as neither partner is distracted by the rather silly-looking Google Glass headset, or the thought that "I'm having space-age sex from the future!". 

The app is currently called Sex with Glass, which is appalling. If the creators want to buy out my alternative name - Google [Gl]ass - I'm open to negotiations. I'm also taking a book on the first divorce that results from one partner discovering that the other is covertly watching porn during sex. My bet is on October 14th 2016. Any takers?