Culture Gabfest

The Culture Gabfest “St. Louis-Style” Edition

Slate’s Culture Gabfest on Dumbo, Agnès Varda, and viral food fights.

Listen to Culture Gabfest No. 549 with David Sims, Dana Stevens, and Julia Turner with the audio player below.

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This week, Dana, Julia, and the Atlantic’s David Sims discuss Tim Burton’s take on Dumbo, where it stands within the Disney tradition and the rest of his filmography, and whether its CGI hero feels real enough to win the audience’s affection. Next, they reflect on the life and legacy of Agnès Varda, the pioneer of French New Wave cinema who continued to break new ground as a director until her death at age 90. Finally, a viral tweet about so-called St. Louis-style bagels sparked the third bagel-related controversy of the year. The gabbers weigh in and unpack why we love to fight about food more generally.

• Tim Burton’s Dumbo
Blank Check With Griffin and David
Dumbo (1941)
• “Tim Burton’s Dumbo Tries to Have Its Disney-Satirizing Cake and Profit Off It Too” by Matthew Dessem in Slate
• “Tim Burton’s Dumbo Is a Dark Interpretation That Really Soars” by David Sims in the Atlantic
Disney Keeps Using Science as a Substitute for Young Female Personality” by Karen Han in Polygon
• Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland
Ralph Breaks the Internet
Mars Attacks!
• “The Indefatigable Spirit of Agnès Varda” by David Sims in the Atlantic
• Agnès Varda’s The Gleaners and I
Faces Places
• “Time Is Part of the Work: An Interview With Agnes Varda” by Aaron Stewart-Ahn in Bright Wall/Dark Room
Cleo From 5 to 7
• “Worst Thing Since Sliced Bread” by Heather Schwedel in Slate
• “Cynthia Nixon’s Controversial Bagel Order, Explained” by Whitney Filloon in Eater
• “Why Bagel Snobs Shouldn’t Kvetch About the New Bagel Emoji” by Heather Schwedel in Slate
• “I Ordered the ‘Bread-Sliced’ Bagels” by Sanam Yar in Grub Street
• “Turkey Is Trash! Actually, Turkey Is Good!” by Ruth Graham in Slate


Julia: W.S. Merwin’s “To the Words

David: Claire Denis’ High Life

Dana: The music of Billie Eilish

Outro: “The Darkness of the Light” by Johan Glössner

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 live show in New York on June 8th!