Culture Gabfest

The Culture “Bullets or Exposition” Edition

Slate’s Culture Gabfest on Narcos, Jonathan Franzen, and students at Duke refusing to read Fun Home.

Listen to Culture Gabfest No. 363 with Stephen Metcalf, Laura Miller, and Dana Stevens with the audio player below:

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This week on Slate Plus, Laura, Dana, and Steve talk about the most exotic vacations they’ve ever taken.

On this week’s Slate Culture Gabfest, the critics discuss Narcos, a new Netflix drama that follows the story of the rise of Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar and the infamous Medellín cartel. Does it offer a nuanced explanation of the escalation of the American drug wars, or does it oversimplify? Next up, Jonathan Franzen’s new novel, Purity, was released this week. The critics discuss his cultural impact, including why his work has become such an irritant to some and a touchstone to others. Finally, a group of first-year students at Duke University have publicly refused to read Alison Bechdel’s graphic novel Fun Home based on what they feel is “pornographic” content. Does Fun Home belong on a reading list for first-year students? Is it homophobic to assume that it doesn’t?

Links to some of the things we discussed this week:

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Dana: The Elena Ferrante Neapolitan trilogy: My Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name, and Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay

Laura: The audiobook for H Is for Hawk and “The Sounds of Rain” by Josephine Livingstone in the Awl

Steve: “Jackie O” by John Cougar Mellencamp on Uh-HUH! and “The Trapeze Swinger” by Iron and Wine on Around the Wall

Outro: “Chicago” by Tom Waits

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This podcast was produced by Ann Heppermann. Our intern is Lindsey Albracht.

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