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New York Times critic Dwight Garner says “The Slate Culture Gabfest is one of the highlights of my week.” The award-winning Culturefest features critics Stephen Metcalf, Dana Stevens, and Julia Turner debating the week in culture, from highbrow to pop. For more of Slate’s culture podcasts, check out the Slate Culture feed.
 
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show series
 
To say that hydration is an invention is only a slight exaggeration. Back in the 1970’s and ‘80s, no one carried bottled water with them, but by the ‘90s it was a genuine status object. How did bottled water transform itself from a small, European luxury item to the single largest beverage category in America? It took both technological innovation,…
 
This week, host June Thomas talks to Spanish-language journalist and broadcaster León Krauze, who works primarily as a local news anchor in Los Angeles but also hosts a radio show and writes for outlets like Slate and the Washington Post. In the interview, León discusses the process of figuring out which topics and stories matter most to his commun…
 
From “woke bae” to “woke-a-cola,” the word woke has taken the internet and mainstream media by storm. But how many people who use the word actually know what it means? On today’s episode, Rachelle and Madison (but, really, mostly Rachelle) explain the decades-old origins of the word, and how its meaning has evolved as it’s gone from being sung as a…
 
Let’s be clear: Rap has always been musical. But back in the day, rappers generally, well, rapped: talked in cadence over a beat. Fans judged MCs primarily by their rhymes and rhythms, not their melodies. Now? Rappers are mostly singers: MCs from Drake to DaBaby slip seamlessly in and out of melody. Some hits that appear on Billboard’s Rap charts f…
 
It’s Pride month, which means Outward is feeling particularly festive! Christina, Bryan, and Rumaan are joined by musician Julien Baker to discuss her feelings about Pride, queerness, fluidity, and ways of interpreting queer art. Then Jillian Hanlon, a trans cop in upstate New York, joins to offer her take on the recent debate over cops at Pride. I…
 
This week Dana and Steve are joined by Monica Castillo, arts and culture reporter for Colorado Public Radio, to discuss In the Heights. Next, Atlantic staff writer Sophie Gilbert comes on to talk about HBO’s Hacks. Finally, Dana and Steve dive into Liz Phair’s new album, Soberish, with the expertise of Slate music critic Carl Wilson. In Slate Plus,…
 
This week Dana and Steve are joined by Monica Castillo, arts and culture reporter for Colorado Public Radio, to discuss In the Heights. Next, Atlantic staff writer Sophie Gilbert comes on to talk about HBO’s Hacks. Finally, Dana and Steve dive into Liz Phair’s new album, Soberish, with the expertise of Slate music critic Carl Wilson. In Slate Plus,…
 
On today’s episode, Madison is joined by producer Daniel Schroeder to talk about people accusing Billie Eilish of queerbaiting on Instagram. Then discuss the way TikTok seems to be replacing Craigslist as the spot for finding missed connections, but are the videos real? To find out, Madison interviews Val and Kaycie, two women who reconnected and b…
 
Welcome to a brand new season of Decoder Ring! On this episode, we investigate the wild world of soap operas through the lens of one legendary, decades-long, ripped-from-the-headlines storyline. that dared to combine the melodrama of soaps with a serious examination of sexual assault, and how that soap turned an award-winning story about believing …
 
This week, Isaac Butler talks with Joi McMillon, an award-winning film editor and longtime collaborator with filmmaker Barry Jenkins. Her latest project, The Underground Railroad, tells the story of a woman’s escape from a Georgia plantation in the 1800s. They talk about how McMillon came to be an editor, her approach to her work, what it’s like to…
 
On today’s episode, Rachelle and Madison explain the latest drama surrounding online provocateur Trisha Paytas. They recap Paytas’ history online, how they’re connected to David Dobrik’s Vlog Squad, and why their podcast Frenemies is in predictable turmoil. Then, Rachelle and Madison give High Speed Downloads, first on the grifting of internet chef…
 
On the Spoiler Special podcast, Slate critics discuss movies, the occasional TV show, and, once in a blue moon, another podcast, in full spoiler-filled detail. This week, Slate’s movie critic Dana Stevens is joined by associate editor at Slate Marissa Martinelli and Slate’s new editorial intern Sofia Andrade to spoil In the Heights, the new film ad…
 
On this week’s episode of The Waves, Slate senior editor Allegra Frank and Robin Boylorn, a professor at the University of Alabama and occasional Slate contributor, discuss the enduring appeal of Keeping Up With the Kardashians as the E! reality show it comes to a close at the end of its 20th season. The pair digs into the show as a backdrop for th…
 
This week Dana is joined by Slate senior editor Sam Adams and Vulture critic Kathryn VanArendonk. First, the panel discusses the HBO mini-series Mare of Easttown. Next, they talk about Bo Burnham’s Netflix special Inside. Finally, Dana and Sam dive into the recent Amazon-MGM deal. In Slate Plus, the panel talks spoilers galore about Mare of Easttow…
 
This week Dana is joined by Slate senior editor Sam Adams and Vulture critic Kathryn VanArendonk. First, the panel discusses the HBO mini-series Mare of Easttown. Next, they talk about Bo Burnham’s Netflix special Inside. Finally, Dana and Sam dive into the recent Amazon-MGM deal. In Slate Plus, the panel talks spoilers galore about Mare of Easttow…
 
On today’s episode, Rachelle finds out that Madison is an anthro-paul-ogist. Internet star Logan Paul faced off against Floyd Mayweather in a boxing match this weekend, so Madison takes Rachelle through the troubling origins of the Paul brothers, how they’ve been able to maintain their internet fame across multiple platforms despite a series of ser…
 
This week host Rumaan Alam talks to literary magazine editor Brigid Hughes, who started her career as an intern with the Paris Review and went on to be its executive editor before leaving and starting her own magazine, A Public Space. In the interview, Brigid explains what the editor of a literary magazine does and how she works with authors to une…
 
On today’s show, Madison and Rachelle have a short discussion of the recent beekeeper drama on TikTok. Then, they’re joined by Bobby Finger and Lindsey Weber, hosts of the Who Weekly? podcast, to discuss Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez getting back together. They talk about what it was like when the pair first got together in the early 2000s, and wh…
 
David Alan Grier is a comedian’s comedian, from his iconic stint on ‘In Living Color,’ to his many sitcoms roles, including his latest on the Netflix show, ‘Dad Stop Embarrassing Me.’ He’s also a dramatic actor, with roles in Broadway classics and Ava Duvernay’s ‘Queen Sugar.’ On today’s episode of A Word, David Alan Grier joins Jason Johnson to ta…
 
On this week’s episode of The Waves, Slate Senior Editor Allegra Frank and Slate Production Assistant Madeline Ducharme talk about the latest season of Netflix’s Master of None. The pair digs into the show’s depiction of a queer Black relationship and breakup, and discusses if the show even a comedy anymore. Also: how are we supposed to care about …
 
This week Steve is joined by Slate senior editor Allegra Frank and Slate staff writer Karen Han. The group first discusses Cruella, starring Emma Stone. Next, they discuss the television adaption of Colson Whitehead’s novel The Underground Railroad. Finally, the group is joined by Slate’s Hit Parade host Chris Molanphy to dive into Olivia Rodrigo’s…
 
On today’s episode, Madison and Rachelle examine a case of mistaken identity. One of TikTok’s best features is its algorithm, which specializes in surfacing videos seemingly tailor-made for the user. That is, until the algorithm gets an idea about the user that’s very, very wrong. They discuss why TikTok is convinced Madison is an ex-Mormon and Rac…
 
This week Steve is joined by Slate senior editor Allegra Frank and Slate staff writer Karen Han. The group first discusses Cruella, starring Emma Stone. Next, they discuss the television adaption of Colson Whitehead’s novel The Underground Railroad. Finally, the group is joined by Slate’s Hit Parade host Chris Molanphy to dive into Olivia Rodrigo’s…
 
On this week’s show, Working producer Cameron Drews talks to Erin Tomasello, casting director for the Netflix reality show The Circle. In the interview, Erin explains what it’s like to work on the casting team for shows like The Bachelor, Fear Factor, America’s Got Talent, and more. Then she discusses the casting process for The Circle and lays out…
 
On today’s episode, Rachelle is joined by producer Daniel Schroeder to discuss the online legacy of Keeping Up With the Kardashians. After 14 years and 20 seasons, the series is finally coming to a close, so Daniel and Rachelle look back at its infamous origins, trace the show’s evolving relationship with social media, and look ahead to what life m…
 
In Part 2 of this episode of Hit Parade, Chris Molanphy continues his analysis of Milli Vanilli, the musical act that many of us who were around in 1989 listened to more than they might admit. They also have quite a legacy: a blend of pop, dance and rap that now seems commonplace but was still relatively novel then. If you’ve danced to Europop that…
 
On the Spoiler Special podcast, Slate critics discuss movies, the occasional TV show, and, once in a blue moon, another podcast, in full spoiler-filled detail. This week, Slate’s movie critic Dana Stevens is joined by Slate staff writer, Dana Stevens, to spoil Cruella, the new Disney live-action origin story for one of it’s most infamous villains, …
 
On today’s episode, Madison and Rachelle open with High Speed Downloads on two viral stories: the photos of Tessa Thompson, Rita Ora, and Taika Waititi sharing an apparent three-way kiss, and the journey of the woman who live-tweeted her cross-country flight to pursue a man who might be just not that into her. Then they examine how the song “Castaw…
 
This week Steve, Dana, and Julia discuss HBO Max’s film Those Who Wish Me Dead, starring Angelina Jolie. Next, the panel is joined by Slate books critic Laura Miller to dive into a strange publishing trend—where literary criticism meets self-help. Finally, Slate’s technology editor Jon Fisher talks with the hosts about M.O.D.O.K., Hulu’s latest ser…
 
This week Steve, Dana, and Julia discuss HBO Max’s film Those Who Wish Me Dead, starring Angelina Jolie. Next, the panel is joined by Slate books critic Laura Miller to dive into a strange publishing trend—where literary criticism meets self-help. Finally, Slate’s technology editor Jon Fisher talks with the hosts about M.O.D.O.K., Hulu’s latest ser…
 
This week, host Isaac Butler talks to dialect coach Samara Bay, who helps film and TV actors learn new accents. In the interview, Samara describes her coaching process and explains the importance of combining good dialect work with good acting. Then she teaches Isaac how to speak in an Irish accent. After the interview Isaac and co-host June Thomas…
 
On today’s episode, Rachelle and Madison chronicle the long, complicated life of Shrek online. They argue that the film, which premiered in 2001, was primed to become an internet meme before Shrek fans even got their hands on it. And then they explain all the different iterations, some funny and some downright creepy, of Shrek content that have kep…
 
Whoopi Goldberg’s early views, Barack Obama’s youthful indiscretions, Diahann Carroll’s big break. Those stories and thousands more have been preserved by The HistoryMakers, a video archive of notable African Americans. On today’s episode of A Word, Jason Johnson speaks with the founder and president of The HistoryMakers, Julieanna Richardson, abou…
 
For a musical project that’s synonymous with deceit, Milli Vanilli sold an awful lot of records. They also have quite a legacy: a blend of pop, dance and rap that now seems commonplace but was still relatively novel in 1989. If you’ve danced to Europop that fronts like hip-hop, you’re living in a world Milli Vanilli helped create. In this episode o…
 
This month, Christina, Bryan, and Rumaan are joined by Sarah Schulman, whose new book Let the Record Show sets out to correct inaccurate representations of ACT UP New York, its tactics, and its philosophy of direct action in response to the AIDS epidemic. Then they discuss three collections of photographs of LGBTQ people. Who are they for, and will…
 
For the past week, while the violence between Israel and Palestine has escalated, a separate battle has accelerated on social media, one fought with rocket emojis instead of rockets and celebrities like Israeli actress Gal Gadot and Palestinian-American model Bella Hadid getting involved. If you don’t post, are you tacitly anti-Palestine? Anti-semi…
 
This week Steve, Dana, and Julia discuss Netflix’s animated film The Mitchells vs. the Machines. Next, the panel dives into the cultural resonances of Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck aka “Bennifer.” Finally, the group is joined by Isaac Butler, co-host of Slate’s Working podcast, to talk about the latest Zoom version of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for …
 
This week Steve, Dana, and Julia discuss Netflix’s animated film The Mitchells vs. the Machines. Next, the panel dives into the cultural resonances of Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck aka “Bennifer.” Finally, the group is joined by Isaac Butler, co-host of Slate’s Working podcast, to talk about the latest Zoom version of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for …
 
This week, host Rumaan Alam talks to Jordan Moblo, the man behind the Instagram account @jordys.book.club, which features artful photos of both fiction and nonfiction books, as well as short reviews of titles Jordan feels like promoting. In the interview, Jordan discusses the creative decisions that go into his posts and explains what it was like t…
 
On today’s episode, Rachelle and Madison discuss the latest news about Chrissy Teigen and Courtney Stodden. Earlier this week, Stodden, who rose to fame as a teenager in the early 2010s after marrying middle-aged character actor Doug Hutchison, came forward saying that they had been harassed on Twitter by Teigen, who sent tweets wishing for their d…
 
Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility climbed back on the best-seller charts after George Floyd’s murder. On today’s episode of A Word, she talks with Jason Johnson about what white allyship looks like after Derek Chauvin’s conviction, and the challenges of building an anti-racist society. The two originally spoke at the Crosscut Festival, an online con…
 
On the Spoiler Special podcast, Slate critics discuss movies, the occasional TV show, and, once in a blue moon, another podcast, in full spoiler-filled detail. This week, Slate’s Brow Beat nights and weekends editor Matthew Dessem is joined by Slate books and culture columnist Laura Miller to spoil Woman in the Window, the new Netflix thriller base…
 
This week Steve, Dana, and Julia discuss Tina Fey’s new Peacock sitcom Girls5Eva. Then the panel dives into vaccine personalities—how did Pfizer really become the “status vax”? Finally, the group discusses Netflix film The Disciple with LA Times film critic Justin Chang. In Slate Plus, the panel talks about their relationship with cars, courtesy of…
 
Rachelle and Madison discuss Elon Musk’s episode of Saturday Night Live. Specifically they break down the ”Gen Z Hospital” sketch, where everybody seems to be speaking in internet slang, and the backlash to it. Rachelle explains how all the language used isn’t just from the internet or from Zoomers but from African-American Vernacular English. This…
 
This week Steve, Dana, and Julia discuss Tina Fey’s new Peacock sitcom Girls5Eva. Then the panel dives into vaccine personalities—how did Pfizer really become the “status vax”? Finally, the group discusses Netflix film The Disciple with LA Times film critic Justin Chang. In Slate Plus, the panel talks about their relationship with cars, courtesy of…
 
This week host Isaac Butler talks to actor Blair Underwood about performing for the stage and screen. In the interview, Blair talks about landing a role on the legal drama L.A. Law when he was still an undergraduate student at Carnegie Mellon. He also explains how he prepares for roles and how he gets in the right mindset to play tormented characte…
 
On today’s episode, Rachelle and Madison discuss Facebook upholding their ban of Donald Trump from their platform—sort of. Then they interview someone about their own experience getting banned: legal journalist Rachel Stone, who was banned from Twitter after she jokingly threatened the man who cautions you to take a break from scrolling through Tik…
 
On today’s episode of A Word, Jason Johnson is joined by Emmy-nominated actor William Jackson Harper. Fans might know him as indecisive professor Chidi from The Good Place. But he’s back on screens this spring in Barry Jenkins’ The Underground Railroad. The series is based on the Pulitzer prize-winning novel from Colson Whitehead. Harper talks abou…
 
This week Steve, Dana, and Julia discuss the Netflix film Stowaway with Slate book and culture columnist Laura Miller. Then the panel dives into the French dramedy Call My Agent! with New Yorker staff writer Lauren Collins. Finally, the group discusses the social realities and challenges of the CDC’s new guidelines on masking outdoors. In Slate Plu…
 
On today’s episode, Madison and Rachelle answer a couple of listener questions in a new segment we’re calling Read Receipts. First, they explore the origins of the “this shit bussin’—sheesh” meme that’s all over TikTok and why teens are getting their parents to do it. Then Rachelle digs into the drama currently embroiling the fan-fiction website Ar…
 
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