Downton Abbey, the censored Huckleberry Finn, and Ted Williams of the "Golden Voice" on this week's Culture Gabfest podcast.

Downton Abbey, the censored Huckleberry Finn, and Ted Williams of the "Golden Voice" on this week's Culture Gabfest podcast.

Downton Abbey, the censored Huckleberry Finn, and Ted Williams of the "Golden Voice" on this week's Culture Gabfest podcast.

Slate's weekly roundtable.
Jan. 12 2011 10:35 AM

The Culture Gabfest, "Rags to Riches … and Back Again?" Edition

Listen to Slate's show about Downton Abbey, the new censored edition of Huck Finn, and the overnight fame of Ted "Golden Voice" Williams.


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Listen to Culture Gabfest No. 121 with Stephen Metcalf, Dana Stevens, June Thomas, and Julia Turner by clicking the arrow on the audio player below:

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The Jan. 27 episode of Slate's Audio Book Club will discuss Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, by Amy Chua. For the February selection, for the first time you get to help us decide the book. The five nominees are: Cleopatra, by Stacy Schiff; Foreign Bodies, by Cynthia Ozick; Life, by Keith Richards; Room, by Emma Donoghue; and The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, by David Mitchell. Learn more and vote for your favorite nominee here.

In this week's Culture Gabfest, our critics Stephen Metcalf, Dana Stevens, June Thomas and Julia Turner discuss PBS's new upstairs-downstairs drama Downton Abbey, the controversy over NewSouth Books' new censored edition of Huckleberry Finn, and the overnight fame of "homeless man with a golden voice" Ted Williams.

Here are some links to the things we discussed this week:

The official PBS Web site for Downton Abbey.
Episodes of the series are available to stream here.
June Thomas' review of Downton Abbeyfor Slate.
The plot device known as a MacGuffin.
Robert Altman's 2001 comedy-drama Gosford Park.
The 1981 British television series Brideshead Revisited.
Cultural theorist Jean Baudrillard's conception of simulacra.
Publishers Weekly's report announcing NewSouth's Huckleberry Finn.
An excerpt from editor Alan Gribben's introduction to the edition.
Hal Holbrook's tours performing Mark Twain Tonight!
Adam Kirsch's op-edon the new Huck and Congress' selective reading of the Constitution.
Dahlia Lithwick's article comparing the new Huck and the "Constitutional Whitewash" in Slate.
Mark Twain's essay on "Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offenses."
"Homeless man with the golden voice" Ted Williams' story as told by the Today show.
The New York Daily News' reporting on "the story's real hero," Williams' ex-wife.
The overnight success of singer Susan Boyle.
New York's Nitsuh Abebe on "Why golden voices make for the best feel-good stories."

The Culture Gabfest weekly endorsements:

Dana's pick: The 2002 PBS miniseries The Forsyte Saga.
Julia's picks: Meghan O'Rourke's Slateseries on grieving in America, "The Long Goodbye," and her forthcoming book based on the series.
Steve's pick: Richard Lester's 1965 comedy film The Knack … and How to Get It, available for streaming on Netflix.

Outro: "My Sharona" by The Knack.

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This podcast was produced by Jesse Baker. Our intern is Forrest Wickman.

Follow us on the new Culturefest Twitter feed. And please Like the Culture Gabfeston Facebook.

June Thomas is managing producer of Slate podcasts.

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

Dana Stevens is Slate’s movie critic.

Julia Turner, the former editor in chief of Slate, is a regular on Slate’s Culture Gabfest podcast.