Gabfest Radio: The Cabinets Full of Men Edition

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On this week’s episode of Gabfest Radio from Slate and WNYC, Political Gabfest panelists Emily Bazelon, John Dickerson, and David Plotz discuss the embattled nomination of former GOP senator Chuck Hagel to head the Defense Department, and the sticky question of gender parity in the Obama administration.

Then on the Culture Gabfest portion of the show, panelists Stephen Metcalf, Dana Stevens, and Julia Turner discuss the year in movies including the best of 2012, standouts previously discussed on the Culturefest, and Gabfester favorites. Then, Slate columnist Dan Engber joins the conversation to discuss the NBC reality show "The Biggest Loser" and obesity in American culture. Finally, the critics consider the American shopping mall and how it came to be, its unique place in popular culture, and whether we’ll miss the mall when it’s gone.

Join the Gabfest discussion all week long at the Political Gabfest Facebook page and the Culture Gabfest Facebook page.

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):

Slate’s Fred Kaplan says the opposition to Chuck Hagel’s nomination has more to do with President Obama than the former senator from Nebraska.

David says the Hagel nomination signals Obama’s intention to cut defense spending, a point David Brooks advances in a New York Times column.

Brad Plumer gives the defense budget the Wonkblog chart treatment.

Annie Lowrey’s New York Times piece features the discussed picture of a male-dominated Oval Office.

John argues that it’s unfair to charge Obama with a gender bias, but John thinks the president has brought the blame on himself.

Emily references Anne-Marie Slaughter’s 2012 Atlantic piece, “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All.”

Ruth Marcus has a “binders full of women” look at who Obama could have nominated.


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

The 2013 Slate Movie Club, a conversation about the year in movies between Dana Stevens, Wesley Morris, Keith Phipps, and Stephanie Zacharek.

A.O. Scott’s favorite movies from 2012.

David Edelstein’s Top 10 movies from 2012.

Movies discussed on the Culturefest throughout 2012: "Django Unchained," "Beasts of the Southern Wild," "Magic Mike," "Zero Dark Thirty," "The Queen of Versailles," "Pitch Perfect," "Argo," "Flight," and "The Master."

Other notable 2012 movies: "Lincoln,"  "How to Survive a Plague," and "The Central Park Five."

The study in the Journal of the American Medical Association that sheds new light on the link between weight and mortality.

“What Does The Biggest Loser Do for Obesity?” by Margaret Hartmann for Jezebel.

Paul Campos for The New York Times on our culture’s fear of fat.

A “where are their weights now?” roundup of past contestants on "The Biggest Loser".

Jeff Jordan on the decline of the American shopping mall for The Atlantic’s Cities blog.

The Economist on the rise and fall of the shopping mall.

Malcolm Gladwell for The New Yorker on the origins of the mall.

Deadmalls and Labelscar, online clearinghouses for information about defunct malls and shopping centers.

Joan Didion’s essay “On the Mall” in her book "The White Album."

Joel Lovell’s New York Times piece “George Saunders Has Written the Best Book You’ll Read This Year.”



Dana’s pick: The Slate Book Review’s author-editor interview between George Saunders and Andy Ward, a touching dialogue between a writer and his editor.

Julia’s pick: Tom Hooper’s 2008 HBO series "John Adams."

Stephen’s pick: "My Man Godfrey," one the great American comedies.

[End music: “Valley of the Malls” by Fountains of Wayne.]