Culture Gabfest

“Algorithmic Rosebud” Edition

Slate Culture Gabfest on Mank, Spotify Wrapped, and best books of 2020.


Episode Notes

This week Steve and Dana are joined by co-host Laura Miller, books and culture columnist for Slate. First, the three of them talk to Slate’s own Matthew Dessem about what’s real and what’s made up in the new David Fincher movie, Mank. Then Julia Turner joins the show for a discussion about Spotify’s end-of-year “wrapped” feature. For the third segment, Laura talks about the best books of 2020.

In Slate Plus, Laura talks about a debate that keeps cropping up in literary circles about whether kids should be taught more contemporary literature.

Podcast production by Cameron Drews. Production assistance by Rachael Allen.

Outro music: “Ruins” by Origo


Dana: Send your suggestions for a “Winter Walk” playlist to! Lyric-free songs are usually best, and classical music from different cultures and wallowing songs are especially welcome. Playlist to be shared on a future show…

Laura: Wintering: How to survive when life is frozen by Katherine May and Moominland Midwinter by Tove Jansson

Steve: The Elementary Particles by Michel Houellebecq. “I alternate between wanting to hurl the book out the window … and just greedily flipping the pages,” Steve says. Send your thoughts to


About the Show

New York Times critic Dwight Garner says, “The Slate Culture Gabfest is one of the highlights of my week.” The award-winning Culturefest features Slate culture critics Stephen Metcalf, Dana Stevens, and Julia Turner debating the week in culture, from highbrow to pop.

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