Culture Gabfest

The Culture Gabfest “Talkin’ Traz” Edition

Slate’s Culture Gabfest on Us, Shrill, and Dreyer’s English.

Listen to Culture Gabfest No. 548 with Willa Paskin, Dana Stevens, and Julia Turner with the audio player below.

On Slate Plus, the hosts debate why and when (if ever) it’s worth deliberately spoiling a movie for yourself.

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This week, Dana, Julia, and Slate TV critic Willa Paskin discuss Jordan Peele’s Us, its cinematic and allegorical Easter eggs, and what it all means. Next, they take on Shrill, a Hulu series based on Lindy West’s memoir of the same name. West made a name for herself with her irreverent, unapologetic writing, so why is her fictional analog so anodyne? Finally, the critics are joined by Random House copy chief Benjamin Dreyer, the author of Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style, to talk about how Twitter helped him find his voice, the book’s reception so far, and why semicolons are criminally underused.


Links to some of the things we discussed this week:

• “Decoder Ring: Truck Nutz” by Willa Paskin in Slate
• Jordan Peele’s Us
Get Out
• “Spoiler Specials: Us” by K. Austin Collins and Dana Stevens in Slate
• “Us Is More Mysterious Than Get Out—and More Terrifying for It” by Dana Stevens in Slate
Slate Day 2019
Shrill starring Aidy Bryant
• Lindy West’s Shrill
• “Shrill Has Radical Things to Say About Being Fat in America” by Willa Paskin in Slate
• “Hello, I Am Fat” by Lindy West in the Stranger
• “Shrill is Fine” by Andrea Long Chu in Paper View
• Barry Jenkins’ If Beale Street Could Talk
• Benjamin Dreyer’s Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style
• Marjorie E. Skillin and Robert M. Gay’s Words into Type


Julia: Tavi Gevinson’s Instagram

Willa: Tessa Hadley’s Late in the Day

Dana: Summer Brennan’s High Heel

Outro: “Wild Slide” by Jules Gaia

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

Feel free to email us at or interact with us at @SlateCultFest on Twitter. You can follow all of Slate’s culture coverage by signing up for our newsletter and liking our Facebook page. And come to our Slate Plus Anniversary Party on April 3rd!