Is It Too Soon for a 9/11 Museum?

Slate's weekly roundtable.
May 28 2014 1:33 PM

The Culture Gabfest “Sadness as the Bread” Edition

Slate’s Culture Gabfest on HBO’s The Normal Heart, commencement speeches, and the 9/11 Memorial Museum.

Listen to Culture Gabfest No. 297 with Dan Kois, 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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The sponsors of this week’s show are Harry’s and Audible. Go to harrys.com and use the promo code “cultural” to save $5 on an elegant razor and shaving kit that’s cheaper and better than drugstore competitors. 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 And the Band Played On: Politics People and the AIDS Epidemic by Randy Shilts, read by Victor Bevine.

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On this week’s episode, the critics discuss The Normal Heart, an HBO film adaptation of Larry Kramer’s 1985 play about the AIDS epidemic in New York and how the gay community mobilized a response. Next, inspired by the spate of student protests of graduation speakers at elite colleges, the gabbers discuss commencement addresses, a literary form destined to make even the best writers banal. And finally, the critics tour the 9/11 Memorial Museum, which opened on May 21 in lower Manhattan. Is it too soon to create a history museum of this tragedy?

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

Endorsements:

Dana: Penciltopia, a group that teaches kids to create stop-motion animation and Claymation.

Dan: “Bud,” an essay in The Common by Nalini Jones about her relationship with an anonymous folk singer, and the 1989 album Standing Eight by that singer Bill Morrissey.

Julia: Wild, Cheryl Strayed’s memoir of hiking the Pacific Crest Trail.

You can email us at culturefest@slate.com.

This podcast was produced by Chris Wade. Our intern is Anna Shechtman.

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

Dan Kois is Slate's culture editor and a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine.

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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