Culture Gabfest: Beavis and Butt-Head, Literary Theory, and Indie Rock

Slate's weekly roundtable.
Nov. 2 2011 12:19 PM

The Culture Gabfest, “The Erudition is Sick” Edition

Listen to Slate's show about Beavis and Butt-head, literary theory, and indie rock’s descent into banality.


Listen to Culture Gabfest No. 163 with Stephen Metcalf, Jody Rosen, 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 discuss the return of MTV’s Beavis and Butt-head and then deconstruct the legacy of literary theory. For their final segment, they’re joined by Slate music critic Jody Rosen to determine whether or not indie rock is slowly becoming adult-contemporary Muzak.

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

Troy Patterson’s Slate review of the new Beavis and Butt-head.
Dana’s Slate piece on Beavis and Butt-head in 2005.
Rolling Stone on Beavis and Butt-head’s return.
The New York Times on the eternal adolescence of Beavis and Butt-head.
The A.V. Club’s review of Beavis and Butt-head.
The New York Times’ review of The Marriage Plot.
Jeffery Eugenides on his novel The Marriage Plot and literary theory, in the New Statesmen.
The New Yorker’s Richard Brody on literary theory.
Alex Ross’ New Yorker article, “Worst College Essays 1989.”
I was an under-age semiotician,” in the New York Times.
The postmodern essay generator.
Nitsuh Abebe’s New York article “Indie Grown-Ups.”
Salon’s Stephen Deusner also worries about the status of indie rock.
Carl Wilson’s article “Reluctantly Feist” in the Toronto Standard.


The Culture Gabfest weekly endorsements:

Outro: Feist's "How Come You Never Go There."

You can email 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 Gabfest on Facebook.


Frame Game

Hard Knocks

I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.

Chief Justice John Roberts Says $1,000 Can’t Buy Influence in Congress. Looks Like He’s Wrong.

After This Merger, One Company Could Control One-Third of the Planet's Beer Sales

Hidden Messages in Corporate Logos

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

Sports Nut

Giving Up on Goodell

How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.

How Can We Investigate Potential Dangers of Fracking Without Being Alarmist?

My Year as an Abortion Doula       

  News & Politics
Sept. 15 2014 8:56 PM The Benghazi Whistleblower Who Might Have Revealed a Massive Scandal on his Poetry Blog
Sept. 15 2014 7:27 PM Could IUDs Be the Next Great Weapon in the Battle Against Poverty?
Atlas Obscura
Sept. 16 2014 8:00 AM The Wall Street Bombing: Low-Tech Terrorism in Prohibition-era New York
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 15 2014 11:38 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 4  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Listen."
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 9:13 AM Clive James, Terminally Ill, Has Written an Exquisitely Resigned Farewell Poem
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 7:36 AM The Inspiration Drought Why our science fiction needs new dreams.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 16 2014 7:30 AM A Galaxy of Tatooines
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.