Culture Gabfest

“Secrets of the New York Times Spelling Bee” Edition

Slate Culture Gabfest on Nomadland, the NYT Spelling Bee, and group chats.


Episode Notes

This week Steve, Dana, and Julia talk about Chloé Zhao’s Nomadland. Next, they dig into their obsession with the New York Times’s Spelling Bee puzzle and interview its editor, 24-year-old Sam Ezersky. Finally, they discuss group chats in light of Heidi Cruz’s recent troubles with the forum.

In Slate Plus, the hosts discuss a piece of culture that they used to love and are now done with? Thanks to listener James Callan. Send us your questions and topic suggestions at

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

Outro Music: “Back to Silence” by OTE

Further reading:

Nomadland Is a Masterpiece Made by Two Separate Virtuosos” by Dana Stevens in Slate


Dana: “The Silent Comedy Watch Party” (also on YouTube)

Julia: “Golden Globes voters in tumult: Members accuse Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. of self-dealing, ethical lapses” by Stacy Perman and Josh Rottenberg in the LA Times

Steve: Playing Piano for Dad by h hunt


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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