Should Schools Be Teaching Home Economics? 

Slate's weekly roundtable.
June 11 2014 11:06 AM

The Culture Gabfest “Re-Stephening” Edition

Slate’s Culture Gabfest on Obvious Child, young adult literature, and home economics.

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Listen to Culture Gabfest No. 299 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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The sponsors of this week’s show are Bermuda Tourism and Audible. Discover Bermuda’s dramatic beauty and charming villages on your next vacation. 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 the His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman, read by Philip Pullman, aided by actors.

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On this week’s episode, the critics discuss Obvious Child, an indie rom-com starring Jenny Slate as a Brooklyn-based comic with a fledgling stand-up routine and an unwanted pregnancy. Does the film’s matter-of-fact presentation of abortion make it apolitical or too political? Next, inspired by a Slate piece from Ruth Graham that disparages adults for reading young adult fiction, the gabbers debate the merits of the genre for readers of all ages. And finally, they turn to a New Republic essay by Rebecca Traister advocating the reinstatement of Home Economics—for girls and boys. Should schools be teaching students to cook, clean and sew?

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

Endorsements:

Dana: Rachel Nuwer’s “Murder in Miniature,” a fantastic piece about dollhouse dioramas and forensic science on Slate.

Julia: The semi-forgotten Paul Simon album The Rhythm of the Saints.

Steve: Van Gogh studies, including Van Gogh: The Life by Steven Naifeh and George White Smith and The Portrait of Dr. Gachet: The Store of a Van Gogh Masterpiece, Money, Politics, Collectors, Greed, and Loss by Cynthia Saltzman.*

Outro: “Obvious Child” by Paul Simon

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, June 17, 2014: This post originally misspelled author Cynthia Saltzman's last name. 

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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