Thomas Piketty’s Capital Doesn’t Have to Be Read to Make a Difference

Slate's weekly roundtable.
April 30 2014 10:46 AM

The Culture Gabfest “Gild This” Edition

Slate’s Culture Gabfest on Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century, Last Week Tonight With John Oliver, and spring cleaning.

Listen to Culture Gabfest No. 293 with Stephen Metcalf, 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 the celebrity of French economist Thomas Piketty and the surging popularity of his book Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Is Piketty a modern-day Keynes or just a new name to drop at liberal cocktail parties? Next the gabbers turn to Last Week Tonight With John Oliver on HBO. Cheeky and uncensored, the British comedian of Daily Show fame brings a global perspective to late night. And finally, the critics welcome Slate assistant editor J. Bryan Lowder to discuss his recent series “Rethinking Spring Cleaning.” Is the annual ritual an outdated relic or the key to comfort at home?

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

Endorsements:

Dana: The Great Divergence by Timothy Noah about the growth of American income inequality in the late 20th century.

Julia: Cheryl Mendelson’s Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House, the single-greatest manual about how to keep your home clean and a work of philosophy in its own right.

Bryan: Showing a tourist around your city. It allows you to see your city with fresh eyes.

Steve: The Partially Examined Life, a great, nonbloviating philosophy podcast on which Steve was a guest last week.

Outro: “Spring Cleaning” by Fats Waller

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.

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