Battle of the Sexes, Tom Petty, and John McPhee.

Why Tom Petty’s Death Was Such a Heartbreaker

Why Tom Petty’s Death Was Such a Heartbreaker

Slate's weekly roundtable.
Oct. 4 2017 10:21 AM

The Culture Gabfest “Too Good to Last” Edition

Slate’s Culture Gabfest on Battle of the Sexes, remembering Tom Petty, and the works of John McPhee.


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This week, the critics discuss the new movie Battle of the Sexes, about the famous tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs, and debate whether it accurately represents its historical moment. Then, Chris Molanphy joins the conversation to remember the late musician Tom Petty, his legacy, his talent for writing opening lines, and much more. Finally, Sam Anderson stops by to discuss his recent profile on one of the greatest nonfiction writers alive, John McPhee, in the New York Times Magazine. The gabbers discuss which of McPhee’s works have inspired them and whether McPhee’s new book is actually helpful writing advice.

Links to some of the things we discussed this week:



Dana: The podcast Talking Buster Keaton

Julia: The music video for “Into the Great Wide Open” by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers


Stephen: Richard “Groove” Holmes’ albums Groovin’ With Jug and After Hours, and his friend Andy’s pop-up microbar at 2175 Market St.

Outro: “Living Soul” by Richard “Groove” Holmes

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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.