Culture Gabfest: The Fabric of the Cosmos, Once Upon a Time, and the New Classics

Slate's weekly roundtable.
Nov. 9 2011 10:43 AM

The Culture Gabfest, “I Want My Happy Ending” Edition

Listen to Slate's show about The Fabric of the Cosmos, Once Upon a Time, and the 21st century’s cultural canon.


Listen to Culture Gabfest No. 164 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 wrap their brains around physicist Brian Greene’s new NOVA television series The Fabric of the Cosmos. Next, they discuss the new fairy-tale inspired television drama Once Upon a Time. Finally, Gabfesters ask what works of art from the last decade will stand the test of time.

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

“Where does Brian Greene stand in the pantheon of physicists?” at Slate.
The New York Times’ review of The Fabric of the Cosmos.
Brian Greene’s last NOVA special, The Elegant Universe.
Freeman Dyson’s review of Greene’s book The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality at the New York Review of Books.
The Fabric of the Cosmos
’ official site.
Troy Patterson’s review of Once Upon a Time and Grimm, at Slate.
Entertainment Weekly
’s Once Upon a Time recaps.
The New York Times’ review of Once Upon a Time and Grimm.
An interview with Once Upon a Time creator Adam Horowitz.
Once Upon a Time
’s official site.
’s critical survey of the 21st century, “The New Classics.”
Dana’s top 10 films of the aughts. 
The Clearview typeface is changing the look of American highways.
on which of Slate’s new classics you think will stand the test of time.

The Culture Gabfest weekly endorsements:

Dana’s pick: Cronenberg on Cronenberg
Julia’s pick: Christoph Niemann’s live sketches of the New York City Marathon.
Steve’s pick: Joan Didion’s The White Album, Frank Kermode’s The Sense of an Ending, and Richard Williams’ 1971 animated version of A Christmas Carol.

Outro: The Black Eyed Peas’ “I Gotta Feeling”

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.

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.



Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore, and Schools Are Getting Worried

The Good Wife Is Cynical, Thrilling, and Grown-Up. It’s Also TV’s Best Drama.

  News & Politics
Sept. 19 2014 9:15 PM Chris Christie, Better Than Ever
Sept. 19 2014 6:35 PM Pabst Blue Ribbon is Being Sold to the Russians, Was So Over Anyway
Inside Higher Ed
Sept. 19 2014 1:34 PM Empty Seats, Fewer Donors? College football isn’t attracting the audience it used to.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 4:48 PM You Should Be Listening to Sbtrkt
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 19 2014 5:09 PM Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?   A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.