Contagion, Anderson Cooper, and the USPS on this week's Culture Gabfest podcast.

Slate's weekly roundtable.
Sept. 14 2011 12:02 PM

The Culture Gabfest, "Stop Touching Your Face" Edition

Listen to Slate's show about Steven Soderbergh's Contagion, Anderson Cooper's new talk show Anderson, and the demise of the U.S. Postal Service.

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Listen to Culture Gabfest No. 156 with Stephen Metcalf, Dana Stevens, and Julia Turner by clicking the arrow on the audio player below or opening this player in another tab:

Don't miss a single episode of the Culture Gabfest. Subscribe to the free Culturefest podcast in iTunes or directly with our RSS feed. You can also download this week's episode here. And join the lively conversation on the Culturefest Facebook here:

In this week's Culture Gabfest, our critics Stephen Metcalf, Dana Stevens, and Julia Turner wash their hands of Steven Soderbergh's new disease drama Contagion. Next, they discuss CNN anchorman and Vanderbilt progeny Anderson Cooper's new daytime TV show. Finally, Gabfesters lament the possibly impending demise of the United States Postal Service.

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

The official website of Contagion.
Forrest Wickman's Slate review of Contagion.
A Slate dialogue on the science of Contagion.
Tony-winning actress and Contagion star Jennifer Ehle.
Time'stake on the very real threat of new pandemics.
The official website of Anderson Cooper's new daytime talk show Anderson.
Anderson Cooper's walk down memory lane at the Daily Mail.
The New York Times' analysis of Cooper's new daytime gambit.'s Cooper photo gallery "The Silver Fox."
Gawker's opinion about Anderson Cooper's public persona.
Salon's review of Anderson.
Annie Lowrey's assessment of the postal crisis in Slate.
Slate transport columnist Tom Vanderbilt's piece on the slowing of trains in America.
Frequent Gabfester June Thomas' 1998 ode to the USPS in Slate.
Business Week's case that the USPS needs to reinvent itself.
The Guardian'sanalysis of the privatization of the postal service in the Netherlands.

The Culture Gabfest weekly endorsements:

Dana's pick: Rimbaud's Illuminations in a new translation by John Ashbery.
Julia's pick: Tumblr page "Faces of the Last Season of Oprah" and New York City's East River Ferry.
Steve's picks: Ian Frazier's essay "Dearly Disconnected" and the key lime pie at Tortillaville in Hudson, N.Y.

Outro: PJ Harvey's "The Mess We're In" 

You can e-mail us at

This podcast was produced by Jesse Baker. Our intern is Matt Sigl.

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

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



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