Jason Statham in The Mechanic, the Onion News Network on IFC, and Jane McGonigal's Reality Is Broken on this…

Slate's weekly roundtable.
Feb. 2 2011 12:11 PM

The Culture Gabfest, "Reality Is Statham" Edition

Listen to Slate's show about Jason Statham's new movie The Mechanic, the Onion News Network, and whether video games can make us better.

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Listen to Culture Gabfest No. 124 with Michael Agger, Troy Patterson, Dana Stevens, and Julia Turner by clicking the arrow on the audio player below:

In this week's Culture Gabfest, our critics Troy Patterson, Dana Stevens, and Julia Turner discuss Jason Statham in The Mechanic and the satirical Onion News Network on IFC. For the final segment, Dana and Julia are joined by Slatesenior editor Michael Agger to discuss Jane McGonigal's new book Reality Is Broken and whether video games can make us better people.

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

The official Web site for the action thriller The Mechanic.
Dana Stevens' review of the The Mechanic in Slate.
Jody Rosen's essay on Jason Statham's charm in Slate.
The original 1972 Mechanic starring Charles Bronson.
The Statham films Crank, The Bank Job, The Transporter, and The Expendables.
English actress and former model Saffron Burrows.
Tom Ford's 2009 drama A Single Man.
The official Web site for the Onion News Network.
Slate's discussion of the Onion SportsDome on its sports podcast Hang Up and Listen.
TheOnion's satirical newspaper online.
Jane McGonigal's new book Reality Is Broken.
Slate's Michael Agger on Reality Is Broken and whether games make us better.
Jane McGonigal's TED lecture on the subject on YouTube.
The play-for-charity game Freerice.
The alternate reality game World Without Oil.
Steven Johnson's book Everything Bad Is Good for You.
Ron Rosenbaum's attack on games in Slate.

The Culture Gabfest weekly endorsements:

Julia's pick: Southern California's classic hip-hop station 93.5 KDAY.
Michael's pick: The soccer game FIFA 11 for the iPhone.
Dana's pick: Jesse Eisenberg's performance hosting Saturday Night Live (available on Hulu).

Outro: "Return of the Mack" by Mark Morrison.

You can e-mail us at culturefest@slate.com.

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.

Like Slate on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

Michael Agger is an editor at The New Yorker. Follow him on Twitter.

Troy Patterson is Slate's writer at large and writes the Gentleman Scholar column.

Dana Stevens is Slate's movie critic.

Julia Turner is the editor in chief of Slate and a regular on Slate's Culture Gabfest podcast.