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On this week’s episode, Julia and Dana are joined by Slate’s newly-minted culture editor Dan Kois. First up, Comedy Central’s Nathan for You is a faux-reality show which sees Nathan Fielder dispense absurd advice to struggling businesspeople. Is it a knowingly funny satire of capitalism or just an exercise in cruelty? Next, Blake Lively has followed in Gwyneth Paltrow’s footsteps and started up her own internet enterprise, the oddly-named lifestyle site Preserve. The gabbers talk about the products Lively shills and the stylistic merits of her “Letter from the Editor.” Finally, inspired by Aimee Bender’s recent piece on Goodnight Moon (and responding to a listener request), Julia, Dana, and Dan talk us through their relationship to children’s books, describe their surprising literary qualities, and read—or, as the case may be, sing—from the best in their own collections.
Links to some of the things we discussed this week follow:
- Nathan for You on Comedy Central.
- “Dumb Starbucks” as reported on Slate.
- Vintage MTV show Punk’d.
- Blake Lively’s letter from the editor on Preserve.us.
- Goop’s recommendations for working moms.
- Maggie Lange in The Cut thinks Preserve looks like an unfashionable horror movie.
- Preserve’s statement of commitment to philanthropy and guide to chivalric bow tie-tying.
- Cher’s lifestyle catalog Sanctuary, for sale on eBay.
- Entertainment Weekly profiles Jessica Alba’s stellar personal brand extension.
- Aimee Bender’s lovely New York Times piece on the sophistication of Goodnight Moon.
- David Plotz on Mo Willems’ We Are in a Book! on Slate.
- Dana’s beautiful rendition of the Little Fur Family song.
The Gabbers’ recommendations from children’s literature:
- Margaret Wise Brown’s classic Goodnight Moon and Little Fur Family.
- Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House in the Big Woods, illustrated by Garth Williams.
- Corduroy by Don Freeman.
- What Do You Say, Dear? by Sesyle Joslin and illustrated by Maurice Sendak.
- Nothing Ever Happens on My Block by Ellen Raskin.
- James Marshall's Mother Goose and the George & Martha stories.
- Arnold Lobel, Mouse Soup.
- William Steig, Sylvester & the Magic Pebble.
- Charlotte Zolotow, Over and Over and Mr. Rabbit & the Lovely Present.
- Uri Shulevitch, How I Learned Geography and Snow.
- Tomi Ungerer, Moon Man and Crictor.
Dana: Swedish director Roy Andersson’s 2007 movie, You the Living.
Dan: Spoon’s new album, They Want My Soul.
Julia: “Stanley Tucci and the Art of Transformation,” Terry Gross’s Fresh Air interview with the actor.
Outro: “Rent I Pay” by Spoon.
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This podcast was produced by Ann Heppermann. Our intern is Josephine Livingstone.