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On this week’s Culturefest, our critics delve into Skyfall, the latest installment in the James Bond franchise, and the evolution of the Bond universe, including its villains and its sexual politics. They then consider Publishers Weekly’s Top 10 Essays Since 1950, zeroing in on a few particular pieces and discussing how the essay has changed as a form over the past 60 years. Finally, the Gabfesters are joined by Dan Pashman, Culturefest producer and host of the podcast The Sporkful, for a discussion of Thanksgiving’s best practices and favorite traditions for omnivores and vegetarians alike. Hint: they include the Veggieducken.
Here are some links to the things we discussed this week:
- Dana Stevens’ review of Skyfall for Slate.
- The evolution of the Bond girl by Alyssa Rosenberg for XX Factor.
- Issac Chotiner’s exhaustive explanation of what makes Bond great and his ranking of all things 007 for Slate.
- The movies American Beauty and Revolutionary Road, also directed by Sam Mendes.
- Jane Martinson for The Guardian online asking if Skyfall is a “less sexist Bond film.”
- Art Threat’s Michael Lithgow on gender and homophobia in Skyfall.
- Spy novelist Jeremy Duns on the origins of Ian Fleming’s James Bond.
- Actors who have been considered for the role of James Bond over the course of the franchise.
- Skyfall’s theme song sung by Adele.
- The BBC series The Hour.
- Robert Atwan’s selections for top essays of the postwar period including those by David Foster Wallace, James Baldwin, Norman Mailer, and Phillip Lopate,
- David Foster Wallace’s 1997 essay “A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again.”
- Joan Didion’s 1979 book The White Album: Essays.
- Michel de Montaigne’s pioneering book Essays (the collection of prose that pioneered the form).
- Normal Mailer’s 1967 book The White Negro.
- The Turducken, Frankenstein of holiday roasts.
- The Thanksgiving centerpiece every vegetarian should have on the table, Dan Pashman’s multitudes-containing Veggieducken.
- How To Turn a Full-Body Turkey Suit Into a Turducken Costume.
- The Slate Culture Gabfest, “Great Granola Showdown” Edition.
Dana’s pick: “Of Friendship,” by Michel de Montaigne, which laments the loss of his best friend and is the first essay to use the term “essay.”
Julia’s pick: Joan Didion’s 1967 essay “Goodbye to All That,” about how the newly arrived twentysomething’s enchantment with New York City evolves and fades over time.
Stephen’s pick: Stephen Jay Gould’s book The Mismeasure of Man, originally published in 1981, which explains trends in the cultural analysis of psychometric data and reveals the fallacies inherent in biological determinist explanations of intelligence.
Outro: “Skyfall” by Adele
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This podcast was produced by Dan Pashman. Our intern is Sally Tamarkin.