Slate’s Culture Gabfest on The Grand Budapest Hotel, Cosmos with Neil Degrasse Tyson, and the trials of bitcoin.
Was Newsweek’s Bitcoin Cover Story a Success for Print Journalism?
Slate's weekly roundtable.
March 12 2014 10:38 AM

The Culture Gabfest “All Aboard the Model Train” Edition

Slate’s Culture Gabfest on The Grand Budapest Hotel, Cosmos with Neil Degrasse Tyson, and the trials of bitcoin.

Listen to Culture Gabfest No. 286 with David Haglund, Dana Stevens, and Julia Turner with the audio player below.

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


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On this week’s episode, the critics discuss Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel and debate the moral stakes of Anderson’s distinctly affectless directorial style. Next, the gabbers discuss the relaunch of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos, now hosted by Neil Degrasse Tyson on FOX. Can a kitschy TV spectacle be an educational platform for science? And finally, in light of Newsweek’s cover story about bitcoin’s origins, the critics welcome Reuters financial blogger Felix Salmon to unpack the promises and pitfalls of the virtual currency.

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


David: The music streaming service Pandora, which led him to Sibylle Baier’s song “Tonight” from her album Colour Green

Julia: Bird-watching around Central Park’s melting reservoir, where she spotted a wood duck, the “harlequin harlot of birds”

Outro: Tonight” by Sibylle Baier

You can email us at

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

Follow us on Twitter. And please Like the Culture Gabfest on Facebook.

David Haglund is the literary editor of 

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.

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