Culture Gabfest

The Culture Gabfest “As in Her Royal Highness” Edition

Slate’s Culture Gabfest on Bohemian Rhapsody, Abducted in Plain Sight, and NASA’s Opportunity rover.

Listen to Culture Gabfest No. 543 with K. Austin Collins, Stephen Metcalf, and Dana Stevens with the audio player below.

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This week, the critics discuss Bohemian Rhapsody. The Queen biopic’s editing is comically bad, its representation of Freddie Mercury’s sexuality feels retrograde, and its first director faces credible allegations of sexual misconduct—so how did it become a Best Picture favorite and a box office smash? Next, they attempt to make sense of Abducted in Plain Sight, a wild true crime documentary that’s gone viral since arriving on Netflix. Finally, the death of the Mars rover Opportunity sparked an outpouring of love and anthropomorphism. The gabbers debate why we’ve latched onto “Oppy” and whether our long-standing cultural fixation with space registers differently in 2019.

Links to some of the things we discussed this week:

Bohemian Rhapsody
Walk Hard
• “Bohemian Rhapsody Will Not Rock You” by K. Austin Collins in Vanity Fair
• “Bohemian Rhapsody Doesn’t Ignore Freddie Mercury’s Sexuality, but You May Wish It Did” by Jeffrey Bloomer in Slate
• “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen
Abducted in Plain Sight 
Stolen Innocence: The Jan Broberg Story by Mary Ann Broberg
• “RIP, Oppy the Mars Rover” by Shannon Palus in Slate
2001: A Space Odyssey


Dana: Amy Walker’s YouTube channel

Kam: Don Cheadle’s Protect Trans Kids shirt on SNL this weekend

Steve:Motion Sickness” by Phoebe Bridgers and Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle

Outro: “Sunbeam Dream 1” by Andreas Boldt

This podcast was produced by Benjamin Frisch. Our production assistant is Alex Barasch.

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