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

Should Schools Be Teaching Home Economics? 

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.

The Culture Gabfest has moved! Find new episodes here.


Listen to Culture Gabfest No. 299 with Stephen Metcalf, Dana Stevens, and Julia Turner with the audio player below.

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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:



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

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

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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, the former editor in chief of Slate, is a regular on Slate’s Culture Gabfest podcast.