Culture Gabfest

The Culture Gabfest “Angry at the Lollipop” Edition

Slate’s Culture Gabfest on Ralph Breaks the Internet, Netflix’s Dogs, and clichés.

Listen to Culture Gabfest No. 533 with Dana Stevens, Julia Turner, and Stephen Metcalf with the audio player below.

Or find the Culture Gabfest via Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Play.

On Slate Plus, the hosts discuss how (and whether) Trump relies on clichés in his own rhetoric.

Go to to learn more about Slate Plus and join today.

This week, Steve, Dana, and Julia discuss Ralph Breaks the Internet, debating whether the Wreck-It Ralph sequel is a smart satire of our online lives or compromised by Disney’s own corporate agenda. Next, things get heated as they tackle Netflix’s Dogs. The furry friends are cute and the stories are heartwarming, but how do the filmmakers handle the docuseries’ underlying, real-world issues? Finally, the critics evaluate the utility of clichés, asking whether we’re right to resent stock turns of phrase and sharing some of their own writerly pet peeves.

Links to some of the things we discussed this week:

Ralph Breaks the Internet

Wreck-It Ralph

• “Ralph Breaks the Internet Is Remarkably Smart About What It Feels Like to Live Online” by Sam Adams in Slate

• Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One

• “The Culture Gabfest ‘Midnight at the OASIS’ Edition” by Sam Adams, Christina Cauterucci, and Dana Stevens in Slate

• Netflix’s Dogs

• “Netflix’s Dogs Could Melt Even a Cat Person’s Heart” by Laura Bradley in Vanity Fair

• “Clichés as a Political Tool” by Mark Abley in the Walrus

• “Politics and the English Language” by George Orwell

• “In Defense of Clichés” by Ryan Cooper in Slate


Dana: “Duck Chases Dog” on YouTube

Julia: “Editor’s Letter” by Tavi Gevinson in Rookie

Steve: Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov

Outro: “Quotes 1” by Anders Bothén

You can email us at

This podcast was produced by Danielle Hewitt and Max Jacobs. Our production assistant is Alex Barasch.

Follow us on Twitter. And please like the Culture Gabfest on Facebook.