Gabfest Radio: The Empty Chair Edition

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On this week’s episode of Gabfest Radio from Slate and WNYC, Political Gabfest panelists Emily Bazelon, David Plotz, and John Dickerson discuss the Republican National Convention, including speeches by Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, and the unusual appearance by Clint Eastwood talking to an empty chair. They also preview next week’s Democratic Convention, and assess what President Obama needs to do to recapture the excitement of 2008.

On the Culture Gabfest portion of the show, panelists Stephen Metcalf, Dana Stevens, and Julia Turner discuss TLC’s hit reality show "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo," the new movie "Sleepwalk With Me," which was born from a This American Life collaboration, and the growing trend of public marriage proposals posted on YouTube. 

Here are links to some of the items mentioned in this week’s episode:


POLITICAL GABFEST (Click here for this week’s individual episode at Slate):

Full texts of the speeches: Mitt Romney; Paul Ryan; Clint Eastwood.

John mentions the latest CBS poll on voter opinions about Romney.

John’s reaction to Romney’s night: a good, workmanlike speech.

Emily’s view is that the campaign should go with Romney as Superman; she also raises this idea in her reaction to Anne Romney’s speech.

Dave Weigel compares Clint Eastwood’s speech to a bad wedding toast.

Ron Fournier says Romney is playing the race card. John and Ron were involved in a heated exchange at a National Journal forum; watch that here.

In the discussion about fact-checking and the media, Emily mentions a change NPR made to its ethics policy.

The Atlantic’s James Bennet has more on the discussion about welfare and fact-checking.


Cocktail Chatter:

David chatters about this letter from the wife of Revolutionary War general Henry Knox.

Emily chatters Susan Shrieve’s new book, You Are the Love of My Life.

John chatters about a website where Robert Caro talks about his process of writing.


CULTURE GABFEST (Click here for this week’s individual episode at Slate):

Alyssa Rosenberg for Think Progress on media and parental exploitation of children in "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo."

Salon’s Willa Paskin on Honey Boo Boo’s mimicry of “sassy black women.”

Tony Wong for the Toronto Star on whether "Honey Boo Boo" is exploitative or empowering.

Michelle Dean for Slate on hillbilly and “white trash” entertainment in American culture.

Go-go juice, Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Shannon’s pre-pageant energy elixir.

The reality show "Jersey Shore" on MTV and TLC’s reality show "Toddlers and Tiaras."

Mike Birbiglia’s appearances on This American Life.

Marc Maron’s podcast WTF.

"Comedian," the documentary starring Jerry Seinfeld that explores the world of stand-up comedy.

Love in the Age of Digital Reproduction,” Silvia Killingsworth’s meditation on pubic marriage proposals for The New Yorker.

A few of the marriage proposal videos that have gone viral: "Isaac’s Live Lip-Dub Proposal," David Pogue’s trailer for a pretend movie, "Luck: An NYC Marriage Proposal," and another movie trailer video proposal.



Dana’s pick: Jessica Oreck’s "Mysteries of Vernacular," a project of animated shorts, each one exploring the etymology of one letter of the alphabet.

Julia’s pick: A last chance summer read: the wildly popular bestseller "Gone Girl," Gillian Flynn’s dark portrait of a twisted marriage.

Stephen’s pick: The 2007 Tom Junod essay, “My Father’s Fashion Tips,” an evocative portrait of the author’s relationship with his father and a strong example of “show don’t tell” non-fiction writing.