Who’s Responsible for the Bad Behavior of Frat Brothers?

Slate's weekly roundtable.
March 5 2014 2:39 PM

The Culture Gabfest “Travoltified” Edition

Slate’s Culture Gabfest on the Academy Awards, American fraternities, and the “normcore” aesthetic.

Listen to Culture Gabfest No. 285 with Stephen Metcalf, Dana Stevens, and Julia Turner with the audio player below.

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

Advertisement

The sponsors of this week’s show are Audible and Stamps.com. Get a free audiobook from Audible’s collection of more than 150,000 titles and a subscription to a daily audio digest when you sign up for a 30-day free trial at www.audiblepodcast.com/culturefest. This week’s pick for the Culture Gabfest Bucket List—the books you’ve got to read to be a smarter culture hound—is Poems by John Donne, read by Christopher Hassall. Go to Stamps.com and use the promo code “CULTUREFEST” for your no-risk free trial and bonus offer.

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.

Are you a Pesca-tarian? Slate is teaming up with longtime NPR reporter Mike Pesca to start a daily news and opinion podcast. We need a producer who’s up to the task. Apply here!

And don’t forget you can find Culture Gabfest T-shirts for sale in the Slate store.

On this week’s episode, the critics discuss the Academy Awards: a four-hour spectacle of celebrity blunders and hosting gags (sponsored by Samsung). Next the gabbers welcome Slate’s own Mike Pesca to discuss Caitlin Flanagan’s Atlantic cover story “The Dark Power of Fraternities.” Can Pesca, an Alpha Epsilon Pi brother, shed light on the appeal of frat culture given Flanagan’s findings? And finally, the critics turn to “normcore,” fashion’s latest anti-aesthetic, as defined by Fiona Duncan on the Cut. Is the sartorial pendulum swinging away from individualization—from all things bespoke, personalized, and handcrafted—and toward mass-produced, anonymous basics?

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

Endorsements:

Dana: Malcolm Clarke’s The Lady in Number 6, which won this year’s Academy Award for Best Documentary Short

Steve: George Orwell’s “Lear, Tolstoy, and the Fool

Outro: Razzamatazz,” as performed by John Travolta

You can email us at culturefest@slate.com.

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

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.

Julia Turner is the editor in chief of Slate and a regular on Slate's Culture Gabfest podcast