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On this week’s Culture Gabfest, our critics are joined by Slate culture editor John Swansburg to consider the legacy of Helen Gurley Brown, who undoubtedly revolutionized American womanhood. But were her ideas about women a boon for feminism or ultimately too retrograde to remain relevant? The Gabfesters then take on the new Will Ferrell-Zach Galifianakis movie The Campaign and debate its merits as a political satire, a morality tale, or a wacky character comedy. Finally, the critics go deep discussing summer swimming, sharing their thoughts on pools, oceans, lakes, and ponds, which body of water is suitable for which activities, and the unmistakable delight of simply being afloat.
Here are some links to the things we discussed this week:
- Margalit Fox’s obituary of Helen Gurley Brown and the obituaries she’s authored for the New York Times.
- Cosmopolitan covers from Helen Gurley Brown’s era.
- Slate’s brief history of Cosmo covers.
- Brown’s 1962 advice book Sex and the Single Girl and its movie adaptation.
- The HBO series Sex and the City.
- David Plotz for Slate on Brown’s career and cultural influence.
- Alyssa Rosenberg on Brown as savior of the “mouseburgers” for Slate.
- Forrest Wickman for Slate on sex appearing in the top left corner of most Cosmopolitan magazine covers.
- Brown’s memoir Having It All: Love, Success, Sex, Money Even If You're Starting With Nothing
- Zach Galifianakis’ movie The Hangover.
- A few of the movies Jay Roach has directed: Game Change, Recount, and the Austin Powers franchise.
- The movies The Candidate and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.
- The Will Ferrell comedy Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.
- The inevitable confusion between Dermot Mulroney and Dylan McDermott.
- Zach Galifianakis’ character from The Campaign, Marty Huggins, based on the character of his twin brother Seth Galifianakis.
- Between Two Ferns, Zach Galifianakis’ web talk show and his stand-up special Live at the Purple Onion.
- Katherine LaNasa, who played the wife of Will Ferrell’s Cam Brady in The Campaign.
- The unforgettable leech scene in the 1986 movie Stand By Me.
- Lynn Sherr’s book Swim: Why We Love Water and her DailyBeast article “Are You a Pool or Ocean Person?”
- “The Joy of Swimming Pools” by Ingrid Fetell.
- Jane E. Brody on the “Zen of swimming” for the New York Times’ Well blog.
- The movies Jaws and The Abyss.
Julia’s pick: In honor of Jean Merrill who died this week, her 1964 children’s novel The Pushcart War, a delightful portrait of New York City and the tale of underdog pushcart vendors battling trucks to keep from being crowded off of the city’s streets.
John’s pick: Gloves for the feet. John says Vibram Five Fingers, unlike today’s overly cushioned athletic sneakers, return wearers to a more natural state of interacting with the ground beneath us.
Dana’s pick: David Simon’s remembrance of DeAndre McCullough, who died this week at 35. As a 15-year old Baltimore drug dealer, McCullough inspired Simon’s book The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner City Neighborhood.
Outro: “Swimming Pools” by Thao.
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This podcast was produced by Dan Pashman. Our intern is Sally Tamarkin.