The Case for Watching the Unbelievably Gory The Knick

Slate's weekly roundtable.
Aug. 13 2014 4:18 PM

The Culture Gabfest “Goodnight, Robin Williams” Edition

Slate’s Culture Gabfest on the late, great Robin Williams; Steven Soderbergh’s new show, The Knick; and how to talk about the weather.

Listen to Culture Gabfest No. 308 with Dana Stevens, John Swansburg, and Julia Turner with the audio player below:

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

Advertisement

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 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 Great Bridge: The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge, by David McCullough, read by Nelson Runger.

This week Slate Plus listeners will hear the gabbers’ take on another question from our Facebook page, this time on the movies that inspired them as youths. Who fully intended to become Annie Hall, and who asked for nothing more than to be in Sneakers? 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, Julia, Dana, and Slate deputy editor John Swansburg talk about the glorious career of Robin Williams, who died this week. They each discuss some favorite moments from Williams’ oeuvre and celebrate the work of a truly remarkable man. Next, in Steven Soderbergh’s new medical drama, The Knick, Clive Owen plays Dr. John Thackeray, a racist, cocaine-addicted surgeon in 1900s New York. Rich with detail about surgical history, will the show steer period television in a thoughtful new direction, or is this just a moustachioed ER? Finally, weather: Is it interesting? The gabbers don their etiquette Sou’westers to decide once and for all whether you can bring your meteorological observations to a cocktail party.

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

Endorsements:

Julia: Following up on Dana’s endorsement from last week, Julia suggests two other musical portraits of the ’70s: the soundtracks to Dick and Dazed and Confused.

John: Tom Wolfe’s classic of autosports writing, “The Last American Hero Is Junior Johnson. Yes!” in 1965 Esquire.

Dana: Paul Mazursky’s 1984 movie Moscow on the Hudson, a lovely film about immigration starring Robin Williams.

Outro: Elliott Smith, “No Name #3

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

You can email us at culturefest@slate.com. Follow us on Twitter. And please “like” the Culture Gabfest on Facebook.

Dana Stevens is Slate's movie critic.

John Swansburg is Slate's deputy editor.

Julia Turner is the editor in chief of Slate and a regular on Slate's Culture Gabfest podcast.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Irritating Confidante

John Dickerson on Ben Bradlee’s fascinating relationship with John F. Kennedy.

My Father Invented Social Networking at a Girls’ Reform School in the 1930s

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

The All The President’s Men Scene That Captured Ben Bradlee

Medical Examiner

Is It Better to Be a Hero Like Batman?

Or an altruist like Bruce Wayne?

Technology

Driving in Circles

The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.

The World’s Human Rights Violators Are Signatories to the World’s Human Rights Treaties

How Punctual Are Germans?

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 22 2014 12:44 AM We Need More Ben Bradlees His relationship with John F. Kennedy shows what’s missing from today’s Washington journalism.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 21 2014 5:57 PM Soda and Fries Have Lost Their Charm for Both Consumers and Investors
  Life
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 3:03 PM Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real
  Slate Plus
Working
Oct. 22 2014 6:00 AM Why It’s OK to Ask People What They Do David Plotz talks to two junior staffers about the lessons of Working.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 21 2014 9:42 PM The All The President’s Men Scene That Perfectly Captured Ben Bradlee’s Genius
  Technology
Technology
Oct. 22 2014 8:13 AM Good Teaching Is Not About Playing It Safe Classroom technology can make learning more dangerous, and that’s a good thing.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 22 2014 7:30 AM An Illusion That Makes Me Happy and Sad
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.