Slate’s Culture Gabfest on Amour, Self-Help, and Maria Bamford’s Special Special Special!

Slate's weekly roundtable.
Jan. 16 2013 11:36 AM

The Culture Gabfest: Love and Death in a Fabulous Apartment Edition

Slate's podcast about Michael Haneke’s Amour, self-help, and Maria Bamford’s comedy Special Special Special!

Listen to Culture Gabfest No. 226 with Stephen Metcalf, Dana Stevens, and Julia Turner 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

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 discuss the incredible performances in Michael Haneke’s Amour and how the movie departs from the confrontational style that has become Haneke’s hallmark. The Gabfesters then delve into Kathryn Schulz’s New York article about the self in “self-help,” pondering the genesis of the modern self-help movement and the efficacy of its accompanying literary genre. Finally, the critics discuss Special Special Special! the new stand-up comedy hour from Maria Bamford. They consider her dark wackiness and how her material about her own mental illness makes for a compelling (though not necessarily laugh-out-loud-funny) set.

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


Dana’s pick: “Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop,” an exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art about the alteration of photographs from the beginning of photography to the digital era. And Stephen Colbert on Fresh Air talking with Terry Gross about his most meaningful musical moments.

Julia’s pick: Really excellent cornbread with just right density and heft. This recipe from the Cambridge restaurant East Coast Grill, reprinted by Sam Sifton in the New York Times, will make you feel like a prairie frontierswoman.

Stephen’s pick: English singer songwriter Labi Siffre whose 1970’s songs have been sampled by Kanye West and Eminem.

Outro: “I Got the …” by Labi Siffre

You can email us at

This podcast was produced by Julia Furlan. Our intern is Sally Tamarkin.

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.



Don’t Worry, Obama Isn’t Sending U.S. Troops to Fight ISIS

But the next president might. 

The Extraordinary Amicus Brief That Attempts to Explain the Wu-Tang Clan to the Supreme Court Justices

Amazon Is Officially a Gadget Company. Here Are Its Six New Devices.

The Human Need to Find Connections in Everything

It’s the source of creativity and delusions. It can harm us more than it helps us.

How Much Should You Loathe NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell?

Here are the facts.

Altered State

The Plight of the Pre-Legalization Marijuana Offender

What should happen to weed users and dealers busted before the stuff was legal?

Surprise! The Women Hired to Fix the NFL Think the NFL Is Just Great.

You Shouldn’t Spank Anyone but Your Consensual Sex Partner

Sept. 17 2014 5:10 PM The Most Awkward Scenario in Which a Man Can Hold a Door for a Woman
  News & Politics
Sept. 17 2014 7:03 PM Once Again, a Climate Policy Hearing Descends Into Absurdity
Business Insider
Sept. 17 2014 1:36 PM Nate Silver Versus Princeton Professor: Who Has the Right Models?
Sept. 17 2014 6:53 PM LGBTQ Luminaries Honored With MacArthur “Genius” Fellowships
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 17 2014 6:14 PM Today in Gender Gaps: Biking
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 17 2014 9:37 AM Is Slate Too Liberal?  A members-only open thread.
Brow Beat
Sept. 17 2014 8:25 PM A New Song and Music Video From Angel Olsen, Indie’s Next Big Thing
Future Tense
Sept. 17 2014 7:23 PM MIT Researchers Are Using Smartphones to Interact With Other Screens
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 17 2014 11:18 AM A Bridge Across the Sky
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.