Slate’s Culture Gabfest on Beasts of the Southern Wild, the Art World, and Song Reader

Slate's weekly roundtable.
Dec. 12 2012 1:15 PM

The Culture Gabfest: “I Normally Have To Be Drunk Off My Ass To Do This” Edition

Slate's podcast about Beasts of the Southern Wild, why the art world is so despicable, and Beck’s Song Reader.

Listen to Culture Gabfest No. 221 with Simon Doonan, David Haglund, Stephen Metcalf, Jody Rosen, and Dana Stevens by clicking the arrow on the audio player below:

And join the lively conversation on the Culturefest Facebook page here:

The sponsors of today’s show are and Go to and use the promo code “CULTUREFEST” for your no-risk free trial and bonus offer. Get a free audiobook from Audible’s collection of more than 100,000 titles and a subscription to a daily audio digest when you sign up for a 30-day free trial at

On the Dec. 26 episode of the Culturefest, Julia, Dana, and Stephen will gab at your behest! Call 424-255-7833 by Wednesday, Dec. 19 at 6 p.m. EST and leave us a voicemail with a question, cultural or otherwise, that you’ve always wanted to hear us discuss.


Culturefest is on the radio! “Gabfest Radio” combines Slate’s Culture and Political Gabfests in one show—listen on Saturdays at 7 a.m. and Sundays at 6 p.m. on WNYC’s AM820.

On this week’s Culturefest, our critics are joined by Slate Brow Beat editor David Haglund to discuss the award-winning indie darling, Beasts of the Southern Wild. They consider the movie’s ambition, scope, and DIY ethic as well as its potentially fetishizing gaze. The Gabfesters are then joined by Slate contributor and Barneys Creative Ambassador-at-Large Simon Doonan to discuss how the mashing up of art with fashion and popular culture has lead to the art world’s currently loathsome state. Finally, Slate music critic Jody Rosen sits in to first talk about Beck’s Song Reader and the legacy of sheet music in popular American music and then to join in on the Culturefest rendition of Beck’s “Do We? We Do.”

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

Dana’s pick: The documentary Gerhard Richter Painting, about the German artist and his ability to continue to create art with skill and craft.

Jody’s picks: Vanity Fair’sOral History of Freaks and Geeks” and three favorite songs of 2012: Justin Bieber’s “Die in Your Arms,” Alan Jackson’s “So You Don’t Have To Love Me Anymore,” and “Merry Go 'Round” by Kacey Musgraves.

Stephen’s pick: The Rolling Stones recent performance of “Gimme Shelter” with Mary J. Blige, offered as a mea culpa for recent negative comments about the group’s longevity.

Outro: “Die in Your Arms” by Justin Bieber

You can email us at

This podcast was produced by Dan Pashman. Our intern is Sally Tamarkin.

Follow us on the new Culturefest Twitter feed. And please Like the Culture Gabfest on Facebook.

Simon Doonan is an author, fashion commentator, and creative ambassador for Barneys New York.

David Haglund is a senior editor at Slate. He runs Brow Beat, Slate's culture blog.

Stephen Metcalf is Slate's critic at large. He is working on a book about the 1980s.

Jody Rosen is a Slate contributor.

Dana Stevens is Slate's movie critic.


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