Listen to Culture Gabfest No. 516 with Stephen Metcalf, Dana Stevens, and Laura Bennett with the audio player below.
On Slate Plus, the hosts answer a listener question about their “cultural warm blanket”—the books, movies, and albums they find themselves returning to when the world is bleak.
Go to Slate.com/cultureplus to learn more about Slate Plus and join today.
This week, Stephen, Laura, and Dana are joined by Veralyn Williams to talk Boots Riley’s Sorry to Bother You, unpacking the film’s politics and evaluating its effectiveness as a satire. Next, the hosts discuss Succession, a new HBO show from The Thick of It’s Jesse Armstrong. How well does the series balance drama and comedy, and what sets it apart from other depictions of the rich and powerful? Finally, they take on the recent spate of stories about grifters, from Anna Delvey to Elizabeth Holmes: Does the “summer of scammers” say anything about our current moment? Why are we so fascinated by them?
Links to some of the things we discussed this week:
- Boots Riley’s Sorry to Bother You
- “Sorry to Bother You Is a Fever Dream About Capitalism You Won’t Be Able to Shake” by Inkoo Kang in Slate
- Slate Day at Capital Factory in Austin, Texas
- Critical Drinking at Erv’s in Brooklyn
- “Greed Is Not Good: The Anti-Capitalist Message of Succession” by Jason Concepcion in the Ringer
- “In HBO’s ‘Succession,’ a Family So Cruel You’ll Be Sorry You Ever Met Them” by Hank Stuever in the Washington Post
- “How Anna Delvey Tricked New York’s Party People” by Jessica Pressler in the Cut
- “Who Is Anna March?” by Melissa Chadburn and Carolyn Kellogg in the L.A. Times
- “ ‘As an Added Bonus, She Paid for Everything’: My Bright-Lights Misadventure With a Magician of Manhattan” by Rachel Deloache Williams in Vanity Fair
- “How Elizabeth Holmes’s House of Cards Came Tumbling Down” by Nick Bilton in Vanity Fair
- “The Fiends and the Folk Heroes of Grifter Season” by Jia Tolentino in the New Yorker
Dana: “Trump’s White House Can Be Divided Into Grifters and Grafters” by Jacob Weisberg in Slate and the video streaming service Kanopy
Laura: BrainXcape’s Prison Break escape room
Outro: “Retro Inspector 1” by Anders Bothén
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This podcast was produced by Benjamin Frisch. Our production assistant is Alex Barasch.
Correction, Aug. 8, 2018: This post originally contained audio for the incorrect episode of the Culture Gabfest.