Culture Gabfest: Cultural Stagnation, Louis C.K., and the Entertainers of the Year

Slate's weekly roundtable.
Dec. 14 2011 10:44 AM

The Culture Gabfest, “I’ve Been Wearing These Jeans for 20 Years” Edition

Listen to Slate's show about cultural stagnation, Louis C.K., and the entertainers of the year.


Iillustration by Robert Neubecker.

Listen to Culture Gabfest No. 169 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 discuss Kurt Andersen’s new Vanity Fair article lamenting 20 years of cultural stagnation. Next, they take a look at comic Louis C.K.’s new stand-up special. For their final segment, Gabfesters consider Entertainment Weekly’s “Entertainers of the Year.”

Here are some links to the things we discussed this week:
Kurt Andersen’s Vanity Fair article, “You Say You Want a Devolution?
Francis Fukuyama’s seminal essay, “The End of History.
Kurt Andersen’s tweet celebrates the 30th anniversary of the yuppie.
Kurt Andersen’s official home page.
’s David Haglund on Louis C.K.’s new one-hour special.
’s Troy Patterson reviews Louis C.K.’s television series.
New York
’s Vulture reports that Louis C.K.’s special is earning “big bucks.”
’s interview with Louis C.K. earlier this year.
Louis C.K., Live at the Beacon Theater
’s official website.
Entertainment Weekly
’s “Entertainers of the Year.” ($)
Media Beat’s interview with EW’s executive editor Kristen Baldwin.
The Los Angeles Times
’ Culture Monster blog on the selection of Daniel Radcliffe as entertainer of the year.
Slate’s Mike Spies listens to Adele’s new album.


The Culture Gabfest weekly endorsements:

Dana’s pick: The Go-Between by L.P. Hartley.
Julia’s pick: Kristen Wiig’s flirting consultant Rebecca LaRue and the acting chops of Katy Perry, on this week’s Saturday Night Live.
Steve’s pick: The song “A Minor Place” by Bonnie “Prince” Billy and the new pizza truck in Hudson, NY.

Outro: Bonnie “Prince” Billy’s “A Minor Place”

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.



The Irritating Confidante

John Dickerson on Ben Bradlee’s fascinating relationship with John F. Kennedy.

My Father Invented Social Networking at a Girls’ Reform School in the 1930s

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

The All The President’s Men Scene That Captured Ben Bradlee

Medical Examiner

Is It Better to Be a Hero Like Batman?

Or an altruist like Bruce Wayne?


Driving in Circles

The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.

The World’s Human Rights Violators Are Signatories on the World’s Human Rights Treaties

How Punctual Are Germans?

  News & Politics
Oct. 22 2014 12:44 AM We Need More Ben Bradlees His relationship with John F. Kennedy shows what’s missing from today’s Washington journalism.
Oct. 21 2014 5:57 PM Soda and Fries Have Lost Their Charm for Both Consumers and Investors
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 3:03 PM Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 21 2014 1:02 PM Where Are Slate Plus Members From? This Weird Cartogram Explains. A weird-looking cartogram of Slate Plus memberships by state.
Brow Beat
Oct. 21 2014 9:42 PM The All The President’s Men Scene That Perfectly Captured Ben Bradlee’s Genius
Oct. 21 2014 11:44 PM Driving in Circles The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.
  Health & Science
Climate Desk
Oct. 21 2014 11:53 AM Taking Research for Granted Texas Republican Lamar Smith continues his crusade against independence in science.
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.