Of Course Goodnight Moon Is a Masterpiece!

Slate's weekly roundtable.
July 30 2014 10:42 AM

The Culture Gabfest “Dumb Culture Gabfest” Edition

Slate’s Culture Gabfest on TV comedy Nathan for You, Blake Lively’s new website Preserve, and the surprising power of children’s literature.

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Listen to Culture Gabfest No. 306 with Julia Turner, Dana Stevens, and Dan Kois with the audio player below.

And join the lively conversation on the Culturefest Facebook page here:

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The sponsor of this week’s show is Audible. 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 One and Only SHREK! Plus 5 Other Stories by William Steig, read by Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci.

This week Slate Plus listeners will hear a bonus segment in which Gabfest guest Dan Kois discusses the new Haruki Murakami excerpt on Slate and gives away the solution to Tsukuru Tazaki’s Puzzle. Go to slate.com/cultureplus to learn more about Slate Plus and join today.

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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:

The Gabbers’ recommendations from children’s literature:

Endorsements:

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.

You can email us at culturefest@slate.com.

This podcast was produced by Ann Heppermann. Our intern is Josephine Livingstone.

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

Dan Kois is Slate's culture editor, co-host of Mom and Dad Are Fighting, 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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