Slate’s Culture Gabfest on Whit Stillman’s Amazon pilot The Cosmopolitans,, and Ivan Kreilkamp’s jeremiad “Against ‘Against [X].’ ”

Is Whit Stillman’s Amazon Pilot Charming or Infuriating?

Is Whit Stillman’s Amazon Pilot Charming or Infuriating?

Slate's weekly roundtable.
Sept. 3 2014 11:35 AM

The Culture Gabfest “Vancouver, France” Edition

Slate’s Culture Gabfest on Whit Stillman’s The Cosmopolitans,, and “Against [X]” essays.

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Illustration by Robert Neubecker.

Listen to Culture Gabfest No. 311 with Stephen Metcalf, Julia Turner, David Haglund, and Seth Stevenson with the audio player below.

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On this week’s episode, Steve, Julia, and Slate senior editor David Haglund talk about the new Whit Stillman pilot The Cosmopolitans, part of the current raft of Amazon pilots. Is this a return to form, or just more of Stillman’s characteristic bourgeoisie-skewering? Next up, Seth Stevenson joins the gabbers to talk Amazon has just bought the online platform for watching other people play video games. Are video games the new spectator sport and, if so, how should critics of more, er, classic media feel about it? Finally, Ivan Kreilkamp's screed contra screeds in the New Yorker takes on the genre of [X]-bashing, citing Cicero, Sontag, and Slate's Ruth Graham in the process. But what's a critic to do, if she may not critique? The gabbers weigh in on Kreilkamp’s aggressive argument.


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

This year’s call-in show is coming up! Don’t forget to call in with your questions for the gabbers while they’re on retreat: 725-222-FEST (725-222-3378).



David: the late singer Phyllis Dillon, particularly her version of “Perfidia

Julia: Women in Clothes, by Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits, and Leanne Shapton

Steve: A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush (1958) by Eric Newby

Outro: Phyllis Dillon, “Perfidia

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David Haglund is the literary editor of 

Stephen Metcalf is Slate’s critic at large. He is working on a book about the 1980s.

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