Slate’s Culture Gabfest on “Accidental Racist,” Bitcoin, and Vice

Slate's weekly roundtable.
April 17 2013 10:36 AM

The Culture Gabfest: The Mason-Dixon Needs Some Fixin’ Edition

Slate's podcast about the Brad Paisley-LL Cool J collaboration “Accidental Racist,” the digital currency bitcoin, and HBO’s newsmagazine show Vice.

Listen to Culture Gabfest No. 239 with Stephen Metcalf, Dana Stevens, and June Thomas with 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 offer code “SLATE1” for 30 percent off new accounts. 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 episode, Slate’s Aisha Harris sits in to discuss the Brad Paisley-LL Cool J collaboration “Accidental Racist.” Our critics ponder whether this song about white guilt in the New South is mawkish, racist, or both. Then, Slate’s technology columnist Farhad Manjoo joins the conversation to provide insight into bitcoin, the peer-to-peer digital currency that is an anti-authoritarian’s dream come true. Finally, the ’festers debate the new HBO newsmagazine show Vice, from its macho posturing to its potential to bring current affairs of import to otherwise disaffected millenials.

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


Dana: The piece of music that musicians want played at their funerals, to be listened to when you’re ready to sit, look out the window, and weep: Schubert’s “String Quintet in C Major,” performed by Isaac Stern, Pablo Casals, Milton Katims, Alexander Schneider, and Paul Tortelier.

June: In light of the death of Margaret Thatcher, the contentious 1987 movie Sammy and Rosie Get Laid, about a bohemian couple in 1980s London.

Stephen: Russell Brand for the Guardian on the death of Margaret Thatcher, an essay full of wit, self-awareness, and sensitivity. Also, “When Dickens met Dostoevsky,” Eric Naiman’s essay for the Times Literary Supplement on the massive literary hoax about the supposed meeting of Charles Dickens and Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

Outro: “For Boston” by the Dropkick Murphys

You can email us at

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

Follow us on Twitter. 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.

June Thomas is a Slate culture critic and editor of Outward, Slate’s LGBTQ section. 



The Self-Made Man

The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.

Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke

Does Your Child Have “Sluggish Cognitive Tempo”? Or Is That Just a Disorder Made Up to Scare You?

The First Case of Ebola in America Has Been Diagnosed in Dallas

Why Indians in America Are Mad for India’s New Prime Minister

Damned Spot

Now Stare. Don’t Stop.

The perfect political wife’s loving gaze in campaign ads.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

The GOP Senate Candidate in Iowa Doesn’t Want Voters to Know Just How Conservative She Really Is

Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD

The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  News & Politics
Sept. 30 2014 5:19 PM Social Outcasts Republican candidates are retreating from debates on abortion, gay marriage, and contraception.
Building a Better Workplace
Sept. 30 2014 1:16 PM You Deserve a Pre-cation The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.
Sept. 30 2014 1:48 PM Thrashed Florida State’s new president is underqualified and mistrusted. But here’s how he can turn it around.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 30 2014 3:21 PM Meet Jordan Weissmann Five questions with Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 4:45 PM Steven Soderbergh Is Doing Some Next-Level Work on The Knick
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 6:43 PM Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Is Skipping Windows 9
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 30 2014 7:30 AM What Lurks Beneath the Methane Lakes of Titan?
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.