Culture Gabfest: ¡Rob!, Online Piracy legislation, and Ill-Timed Ringtones

Slate's weekly roundtable.
Jan. 18 2012 11:18 AM

The Culture Gabfest, “¡Ay, Marimba!” Edition

Listen to Slate's show about ¡Rob!, online piracy legislation, and ill-timed ringtones.


Listen to Culture Gabfest No. 174 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 weigh in on ¡Rob!, the new sitcom starring comedian Rob Schneider. Next, they debate SOPA, the proposed anti-piracy legislation that’s got Silicon Valley up in arms. For their final segment, Gabfesters relate the story of the New York Philharmonic, Mahler’s 9th symphony, and a very unfortunate marimba ringtone.

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


Slate’s Jessica Grose on ¡Rob!.
Entertainment Weekly
’s Aly Semigran calls ¡Rob! an insult.”
New York
’s Matt Zoller Seitz defends ¡Rob!.
Rob Schneider’s classic SNL character, “the Richmeister
CBS’s official site for ¡Rob!.
Wikipedia’s entry for the Stop Online Piracy Act.
’s Daniel Politi thinks that SOPA is losing support in Washington.
’s Future Tense blog thinks the tech industry needs better lobbyists.
GigaOM’s Tim O’Reilly on why he is fighting SOPA.
Rupert Murdoch’s Twitter post on SOPA.
The New York Times
’ Bits blog reports that Wikipedia is going dark to protest the law.
ReadWriteWeb’s report of everything you “need to know” about SOPA.
Senator Ted Stevens’ famous comment that the Internet is a “series of tubes.”
Abbie Hoffman’s counterculture classic, Steal This Book.
The New York Times
interview with “Patron X,” the marimba offender.
Thousandfold echo’s blog entry that broke the story.
The Economist
’s Babbage blog on “Marimba vs. Mahler.”
’s Deceptive Cadence blog on “l’affaire marimbaire.”
Hugh Jackman’s confrontation with a cell phone offender while starring on Broadway.
Walter Benjamin’s classic essay, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.”

The Culture Gabfest weekly endorsements:

Dana’s pick: Crow goes Sledding Down Rooftop” on YouTube. Also, the PBS documentary A Murder of Crows.

Julia’s pick: The song “Kansas City” from the Rodgers & Hammerstein classic Oklahoma. Also, Patti Smith’s memoir Just Kids.

Stephen’s pick: Cyril Connolly’s essay “One of My Londons,” Robert Frost’s poem “Good Hours,” Richard Wilbur’s poem “Transit” and Saul Bellow’s story “A Father-To-Be.”

Outro: Mahler's Symphony No. 9 in D: IV, performed by the Berliner Philharmoniker and Claudio Abbado.

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.


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