Culture Gabfest

Culture Gabfest “Station 2022” Edition

Slate’s Culture Gabfest on Station Eleven, Joan Didion’s legacy, and Movie Club 2021.


Episode Notes

This week, the panel begins by breaking down just what makes HBO’s pandemic series Station Eleven so successful with Slate’s senior managing producer of podcasts and co-host of Slate’s Working podcast, June Thomas. Next, the panel appreciates the legacy that writer Joan Didion left behind. Finally, the panel rehashes the 2021 edition of Slate’s Movie Club (including Dana’s list of the year’s best films) while discussing the future of film.

In Slate Plus, the panel responds to Parul Sehgal’s article “The Case Against the Trauma Plot” in the New Yorker.

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Dana: The magical work of Swedish stop-motion animator Niki Lindroth von Bahr. Four of her animated shorts can be found on the Criterion Channel, but you can find one—The Burden—on Amazon Prime.

Julia: A recipe for Italian rainbow cookies adapted by Bon Appétit from Rich Torrisi and Mario Carbone (of popular eateries Carbone and Torrisi Italian Specialties).

Steve: First, his monster music playlist of mellow deep cuts, which includes work from Rickie Lee Jones’ great ‘81 album Pirates, particularly the song “Living It Up.” Second: Susan Tallman’s criticism for the New York Review of Books as a whole, but particularly her recent review of Jasper Johns titled “The House That Johns Built,” inspired by a Johns catalog titled Jasper Johns: Mind/Mirror.

As promised, here are the panel’s most advised Didion recommendations:
On the Central Park Jogger: “New York: Sentimental Journeys” for the NYRoB.
On Newt Gingrich: “The Teachings of Speaker Gingrich” for the NYRoB
On Reagan: Mentioned in her collection of essays, Political Fictions, discussed here in AV Club.
On grief: The Year of Magical Thinking, a memoir following the death of Didion’s husband, and Blue Nights, a memoir following the death of Didion’s daughter.
On self-respect: the Vogue article, “On Self-Respect: Joan Didion’s 1961 Essay from the Pages of Vogue” which also includes an incredible anecdote at the top.
On place: “Goodbye to All That” from Slouching Towards Bethlehem and “Trouble in Lakewood” for The New Yorker
The White Album
Where I Was From
And, lastly, on Didion: Gustavo Arellano for the LA Times

Podcast production by Asha Saluja. Production assistance by Nadira Goffe.

Outro music is Freak Out! by Zorro.


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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  • June Thomas is the co-host of Slate's Working podcast. She is writing a book about archetypical lesbian spaces.

  • Dana Stevens is Slate’s movie critic.

  • Julia Turner, former editor in chief of Slate, is a deputy managing editor at the Los Angeles Times and a regular on Slate’s Culture Gabfest podcast.

  • Stephen Metcalf is Slate’s critic at large. He is working on a book about the 1980s.