Slate’s Culture Gabfest on Spike Jonze’s Her, Isaac Asimov’s 1964 predictions for 2014, and the pretense of anonymity in restaurant criticism.

Should Restaurant Critics Really Be Anonymous?

Should Restaurant Critics Really Be Anonymous?

Slate's weekly roundtable.
Jan. 8 2014 12:49 PM

The Culture Gabfest “Do Androids Dream of Joaquin Phoenix?” Edition

Slate’s Culture Gabfest on Her, Isaac Asimov’s predictions for 2014, and the pretense of anonymity in restaurant criticism.

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On this week’s episode, the critics discuss Her, Spike Jonze’s futuristic film about a man’s love affair with his sentient operating system. Starring Joaquin Phoenix and the voice of Scarlett Johansson, the film has received near-universal praise from critics, but does it merit the hype? Next the gabbers turn to a 1964 essay by science-fiction demigod Isaac Asimov, outlining his predictions for 2014. Then the critics take stabs at envisioning the cultural landscape 50 years from now. Finally New York magazine restaurant reviewer Adam Platt joins the Gabfest to discuss the pretense of anonymity among food critics.

Links to some of the things we discussed this week follow:



Dana:  Comfort Me With Apples, the second volume of Ruth Reichl’s autobiography.

Julia: Looking out airplane windows and using the Wi-Fi–enhanced flying experience to identify features like the Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project, with its tower of molten salt.

Steve: Deb Perelman’s granola bar recipe at and Joe Strummer’s “letter of recommendation” for Bruce Springsteen, republished in the Guardian.

Outro: “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out” by Bruce Springsteen.

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This podcast was produced by Ann Heppermann. Our intern is Anna Shechtman.

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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, the former editor in chief of Slate, is a regular on Slate’s Culture Gabfest podcast.