Why Nerds Love “Weird Al” Yankovic

Slate's weekly roundtable.
July 23 2014 9:56 AM

The Culture Gabfest “Ape Not Kill Ape” Edition

Slate’s Culture Gabfest on Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Kickstarter, and “Weird Al” Yankovic.

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Listen to Culture Gabfest No. 305 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 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 Voyage of the Beagle by Charles Darwin, read by Richard Dawkins.

In this week’s Slate Plus bonus segment, the gabbers describe how they feel about pronunciation, particularly of the fancy lexicon of foreign words (au courant, anyone?) their jobs demand. Go to slate.com/cultureplus to learn more about Slate Plus and join today.

Culturefest is on the radio! “Gabfest Radio” combines Slate’s Culture and Political Gabfests in one show—listen on Saturdays at 7 a.m. and Sundays at 6 p.m. on WNYC’s AM820.

And don’t forget you can find Culture Gabfest T-shirts for sale in the Slate Store.

On this week’s episode, the critics talk about Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, the sequel to 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Is the movie’s array of great motion-capture acting a strength or a weakness? Next, one man has attained Internet notoriety by raising tens of thousands of dollars on Kickstarter for the financing of potato salad. The critics assess Kickstarter’s reputation as a democratizing force in business. Finally, trends come and go, stars rise and fall, but “Weird Al” Yankovic remains. Slate’s music critic Carl Wilson joins the gabbers to talk about Weird Al’s 14th studio album, Mandatory Fun.

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

Endorsements:

Dana: The Best and Worst of Tom Lehrer, a double album of the comic’s darkly funny songs.

Julia: Marcella Hazan’s recipe for potato salad, from her book Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking.

Steve: New jazz pianist Eldar and McCoy Tyner’s classic album Reaching Fourth.

Outro: “Poisoning Pigeons in the Park” by Tim Lehrer.

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.

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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