Slate’s Culture Gabfest on Leave No Trace, Who Is America?, and plastic straws.

Has Sacha Baron Cohen Lost His Ability to Shock Us?

Has Sacha Baron Cohen Lost His Ability to Shock Us?

Slate's weekly roundtable.
July 18 2018 1:35 PM

The Culture Gabfest “Grasping at Straws” Edition

Slate’s Culture Gabfest on Leave No Trace, Who Is America?, and plastic straws.

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Sacha Baron Cohen as Col. Erran Morad and Billy Wayne Ruddick Jr. in Who Is America?

Photo illustration by Slate. Photos by Showtime.

Listen to Culture Gabfest No. 513 with Stephen Metcalf, Dana Stevens, and Julia Turner with the audio player below.

Or find the Culture Gabfest via Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Play.

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On this week’s Slate Plus, Dana, Julia, and Stephen debate the importance of reading a book before seeing the movie based on that book.

Go to Slate.com/cultureplus to learn more about Slate Plus and join today.

This week, the critics discuss Leave No Trace, directed by Debra Granik, about a veteran with PTSD who has been living off the grid with his daughter. They unpack the movie’s scarcity of dialogue, its absence of villains, and the performances of Ben Foster and Thomasin McKenzie. Next, Sacha Baron Cohen is back with a new show, Who Is America? How does his comedy play during the Trump presidency? Finally, the gabbers weight in on Starbucks’s plastic-straw ban and wonder whether it will actually make a significant environmental impact.

Links to some of the things we discussed this week:

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Endorsements:

Dana: The Jerusalem Post’s article “World’s Oldest Bread Found at Prehistoric Site in Jordan

Stephen: Bartlett House in Ghent, New York, and Slow Burn

You can email us at culturefest@slate.com.

This podcast was produced by Benjamin Frisch.

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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.