Can Stephen Colbert Revive Late Night?

Slate's weekly roundtable.
April 16 2014 2:46 PM

The Culture Gabfest “Silent T Party” Edition

Slate’s Culture Gabfest on Stephen Colbert’s move to The Late Show, Adam Begley’s Updike, and Futurism at the Guggenheim.

Listen to Culture Gabfest No. 291 with Stephen Metcalf, Dana Stevens, Julia Turner, and Jacob Weisberg with the audio player below.

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

Advertisement

The sponsor of this week’s show is Audible. 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 Homer's Odyssey. If you can't wait for the forthcoming version translated by Robert Fitzgerald, read by Dan Stevens, you can start listening now to the Robert Fagles translation, read by Ian McKellan.

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.

Go to Slate.com/webby to vote for the Slate podcasts, which have been nominated for a Webby Award.

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 Stephen Colbert’s impending move to The Late Show, where he will replace David Letterman. Can another middle-aged white male reinvent late night? Next, the gabbers welcome Adam Begley to discuss his new biography of John Updike, and why we have trouble accepting a well-adjusted artist. And finally, the gabbers take a fieldtrip to the Guggenheim to view Italian Futurism 1909-1944: Reconstructing the Universe. Curator Vivien Greene guides the critics up the Guggenheim’s iconic ramp, describing the thrills and perils of representing a movement as diverse and paradoxical as Italian Futurism.*

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

Some of the Futurist art discussed is featured below:

Giacomo Balla, Speeding Car
Giacomo Balla
Speeding Car (Velocità d’automobile), 1913
Oil and ink on paper, mounted on board, 73 x 104 cm
Private collection

© 2014 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/SIAE, Rome

“The Founding and Manifesto of Futurism” (“Le Futurisme”)
F. T. Marinetti
The Founding and Manifesto of Futurism (Le Futurisme)
Published in Le Figaro (Paris), Feb. 20, 1909
Newspaper, 61.2 x 43.8 cm
Private collection

© 2014 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/SIAE, Rome

Synthesis of Radio Communications (Sintesi delle comunicazioni radiofoniche)
Benedetta (Benedetta Cappa Marinetti) Synthesis of Radio Communications (Sintesi delle comunicazioni radiofoniche), 1933–34 Tempera and encaustic on canvas, 325 x 199.8 cm Palazzo delle Poste di Palermo, Sicily, Poste Italiane © Benedetta Cappa Marinetti, used by permission of Vittoria Marinetti and Luce Marinetti’s heirs.

Photo courtesy AGR/Riccardi/Marino Paoloni

Synthesis of Marine Communications (Sintesi delle comunicazioni marittime)
Benedetta (Benedetta Cappa Marinetti) Synthesis of Marine Communications (Sintesi delle comunicazioni marittime), 1933–34 Tempera and encaustic on canvas, 324.5 x 199.5 cm Palazzo delle Poste di Palermo, Sicily, Poste Italiane © Benedetta Cappa Marinetti, used by permission of Vittoria Marinetti and Luce Marinetti’s heirs.

Photo courtesy AGR/Riccardi/Marino Paoloni

Synthesis of Telegraphic and Telephonic Communications (Sintesi delle comunicazioni telegrafiche e telefoniche)
Benedetta (Benedetta Cappa Marinetti) Synthesis of Telegraphic and Telephonic Communications (Sintesi delle comunicazioni telegrafiche e telefoniche), 1933–34 Tempera and encaustic on canvas, 325 x 199.2 cm Palazzo delle Poste di Palermo, Sicily, Poste Italiane © Benedetta Cappa Marinetti, used by permission of Vittoria Marinetti and Luce Marinetti’s heirs.

Photo courtesy AGR/Riccardi/Marino Paoloni

Synthesis of Aerial Communications (Sintesi delle comunicazioni aeree)
Benedetta (Benedetta Cappa Marinetti) Synthesis of Aerial Communications (Sintesi delle comunicazioni aeree), 1933–34 Tempera and encaustic on canvas, 324.5 x 199 cm Palazzo delle Poste di Palermo, Sicily, Poste Italiane © Benedetta Cappa Marinetti, used by permission of Vittoria Marinetti and Luce Marinetti’s heirs.

Photo courtesy AGR/Riccardi/Marino Paoloni

Synthesis of Overland Communications (Sintesi delle comunicazioni terrestri)
Benedetta (Benedetta Cappa Marinetti)
Synthesis of Overland Communications (Sintesi delle comunicazioni terrestri), 1933–34 Tempera and encaustic on canvas, 325 x 199 cm Palazzo delle Poste di Palermo, Sicily, Poste Italiane © Benedetta Cappa Marinetti, used by permission of Vittoria Marinetti and Luce Marinetti’s heirs.

Photo courtesy AGR/Riccardi/Marino Paoloni

Magical Doorway (Sportello magico)
Fortunato Depero
Magical Doorway (Sportello magico), 1917
Charcoal on paper 52 x 38 cm
MART, Museo di arte moderna e contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto, Italy
© 2014 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/SIAE, Rome

Photo by MART/Archivio Fotografico

Solidity and Transparency (Solidita e trasparenza)
Fortunato Depero
Solidity and Transparency (Solidita e trasparenza), 1917
Charcoal on paper, 49 x 35 cm
MART, Museo di arte moderna e contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto, Italy
© 2014 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/SIAE, Rome

Photo by MART/Archivio Fotografico

Mystical Silence (Silenzio mistico)
Fortunato Depero
Mystical Silence (Silenzio mistico), 1917
Charcoal on paper 44 x 33 cm
MART, Museo di arte moderna e contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto, Italy
© 2014 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/SIAE, Rome

Photo by MART/Archivio Fotografico

Subterranean Perspective (Prospettiva sotterranea)
Fortunato Depero
Subterranean Perspective (Prospettiva sotterranea), 1917
Charcoal on paper, 48 x 34 cm
MART, Museo di arte moderna e contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto, Italy
© 2014 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/SIAE, Rome

Photo by MART/Archivio Fotografico

Endorsements:

Julia: “The Food Room,” Amy Schumer’s very funny video skewering Aaron Sorkin.

Steve: Robert Frost’s “Two Tramps in Mud Time,” a poem for an April day.

Outro: Colbert and John Legend singing seductively about nutmeg from A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All!

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.

Correction, April 17, 2014: This post originally misspelled the first name of curator Vivien Greene.

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.

Jacob Weisberg is chairman and editor-in-chief of The Slate Group and author of The Bush Tragedy. Follow him on Twitter.

TODAY IN SLATE

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

Global Marches Demand Action on Climate Change

Politics

Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

Moneybox
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM Americans' Inexplicable Aversion to the 1990s
  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
  Life
Quora
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 21 2014 1:15 PM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 5  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Time Heist."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 21 2014 2:00 PM Colin Farrell Will Star in True Detective’s Second Season
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 21 2014 8:00 AM An Astronaut’s Guided Video Tour of Earth
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.