Gabfest Radio: The We Love Boston Edition

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City Hall is flying the city flag (left) and the Boston flag to show solidarity following the twin bombings in the city.

On this week’s episode of Gabfest Radio from Slate and WNYC, Political Gabfest panelists Emily Bazelon, John Dickerson, and David Plotz discuss the bombing of the Boston Marathon and the subsequent manhunt. Plus, the Senate rejects a compromise on background checks, defeating the effort to craft a gun control bill that began after a December school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

Then on the Culture Gabfest portion of the show, Stephen Metcalf, Dana Stevens, and June Thomas discuss the Brad Paisley-LL Cool J collaboration “Accidental Racist.” Our critics ponder whether this song about white guilt in the New South is mawkish, racist, or both. Then, Slate’s technology columnist Farhad Manjoo joins the conversation to provide insight into bitcoin, the peer-to-peer digital currency that is an anti-authoritarian’s dream come true. Finally, the ’festers debate the new HBO newsmagazine show Vice, from its macho posturing to its potential to bring current affairs of import to otherwise disaffected millenials.

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):

Read all of Slate’s continuing coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing.

Emily discusses how the American response to terrorism has changed since Sept. 11. She also researched why some attacks go unsolved.

Gabfest intern Jeff Friedrich was in Boston during the attacks and interviewed several people about their experience.

Atul Gawande’s writing about systematic approaches and how they may have aided the emergency response in Boston. After the attacks, Gawande also wrote about why Boston’s hospitals were ready.

David says that there have been “relatively few” terrorist attacks in the United States since Sept. 11. Brad Plumer reports that “the number of terrorist attacks has declined since Sept. 11, although the number of fatal attacks has ticked up of late.”

Slate’s Will Oremus has been writing about Reddit’s crowdsourced investigation and reporting efforts.

David notes that the gun bill was blocked by a group of Senators who represent a small minority of the country’s population—the Atlantic Wire has a graphical breakdown of this aspect of the vote.

The New Republic’s Adam Winkler says that “while the commission acted unusually fast by Washington standards, in effect it served to delay unnecessarily the announcement of proposed reforms.”

John wrote about why Newtown wasn’t enough.

After the vote, Gabrielle Giffords opined about the gun lobby’s grip on the Senate.

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

Aisha Harris for Slate on “Accidental Racist.”

The Not-So-Accidental Racism of Post–Civil War Songs About the South,” by Rebecca Onion for Slate.

The 2012 shooting of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin.

Jody Rosen for Slate on where to start with Brad Paisley.

Ebony and Ivory,” the 1982 collaboration between Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder.

The Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates on why “Accidental Racist” is actually just racist.

Slate’s Farhad Manjoo on the bitcoin bubble.

Why bitcoin is popular with libertarian hipsters and criminals, by Annie Lowrey.

The three-minute video that answers your bitcoin questions.

Bitcoin, Explained” by Adam Serwer and Dana Liebelson for Mother Jones.

Satoshi Nakamoto’s 2009 paper explaining bitcoin: “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System.”

Lizzie Widdicombe’s profile of Vice Media for The New Yorker.

Norman Mailer’s Miami and the Siege of Chicago: An Informal History of the Republican and Democratic Conventions of 1968.

Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail, by Hunter. S. Thompson.

Kony 2012,” the viral video of the Stop Kony campaign.

Willa Paskin on Vice for Salon.

Vice’s masterminding of the operation that brought Dennis Rodman to North Korea.


Dana: The piece of music that musicians want played at their funerals, to be listened to when you’re ready to sit, look out the window, and weep: Schubert’s “String Quintet in C Major,” performed by Isaac Stern, Pablo Casals, Milton Katims, Alexander Schneider, and Paul Tortelier.

June: In light of the death of Margaret Thatcher, the contentious 1987 movie Sammy and Rosie Get Laid, about a bohemian couple in 1980s London.

Stephen: “When Dickens met Dostoevsky,” Eric Naiman’s essay for the Times Literary Supplement on the massive literary hoax about the supposed meeting of Charles Dickens and Fyodor Dostoyevsky.




End Music: Schubert, Quintet in C Major for 2 Violins, Viola & Two Cellos