Listen to Culture Gabfest No. 282 with Stephen Metcalf, Dana Stevens, and Julia Turner with the audio player below.
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On this week’s episode, the critics discuss The Lego Movie, a new animated film from writers/directors Chris Miller and Philip Lord. With attention to detail and a self-conscious wit, Miller and Lord create a vivid Lego universe and a narrative that seems to vilify mega-corporations while hawking Lego toys. Next, the gabbers welcome journalist, gay rights activist, and Russian émigré Masha Gessen to talk about the Sochi Olympics and Russia’s global reputation in the Putin era. Finally, Rebecca Onion, the editor of Slate’s history blog The Vault, joins the critics to talk about the scourge of Twitter accounts circulating historical photos online without dates or attributions. What’s the appeal—and risk—of reducing history to 140 characters?
Here are links to some of the things we discussed this week:
- Dana’s review of The Lego Movie on Slate
- Slate’s Spoiler Special on The Lego Movie with Dana and David Haglund
- Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs directed by Philip Lord and Chris Miller
- Commodify Your Dissent by Thomas Frank
- Preston Sturges’ Sullivan’s Travels
- Parks and Recreation, co-starring Chris Pratt
- James Cameron’s Avatar
- The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin by Masha Gessen
- Words Will Break Cement by Masha Gessen
- Julia Ioffe writes about “Olympic schadenfreude” in the New Republic
- Journalists at Sochi live-tweet their “hilarious and gross” hotel experiences
- David M. Herszenhorn at the New York Times reports on the Sochi opening ceremony and claims, “Russia is back”
- Masha Gessen writes on Slate about her decision to leave Russia
- Rebecca Onion’s Slate piece about historical pictures on Twitter
- The Vault, Slate’s history blog
- @HistoryInPics on Twitter
- Matt Novak at Paleofuture exposes many of the most-retweeted history photos as fakes
- Sarah Werner, digital media strategist at the Folger Shakespeare Library, pleads with readers of her blog to unfollow historical pictures accounts
- Rebecca’s list of alternatives to @HistoryinPics
Rebecca Onion: Hild by Nikola Griffith, a historical novel about the seventh-century nun Saint Hilda of Whitby.
Dana: Graham Greene’s inflammatory review of Shirley Temple’s Wee Willie Winkie in a 1938 issue of Night and Day magazine. (See more info here.)
Julia: Duolingo, the “game-ified” language learning app that’s super fun, edifying, and free!
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This podcast was produced by Ann Heppermann. Our intern is Anna Shechtman.