Gabfest Radio: The NSA Has Your Selfies Edition

Email a Friend

On this week’s episode of Gabfest Radio from Slate and WNYC, Political Gabfest panelists Emily Bazelon, John Dickerson, and David Plotz discuss the oversight of the National Security Agency’s secret intelligence-gathering efforts. Plus, they talk about a New York Times photo tour of Beastie Boy Mike D’s new home in Brooklyn—a piece that incited a rousing email debate within the Slate office.

Then on the Culture Gabfest portion of the show, panelists Stephen Metcalf, June Thomas, and Nina Shen Rastogi discuss HBO’s hit epic fantasy TV series Game of Thrones as it reaches near Sopranos-level popularity. Then, the Gabfest crew discusses director Joss Whedon’s new loose, naturalistic, Santa Monica-based film adaptation of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. Finally, the gabbers take on the now-ubiquitous trend of smartphone self-portraiture, the “selfie”—innocuous social-media phenomenon, or 21st-century narcissism gone wild?

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):

Confused about what we know about government surveillance efforts? Check out ProPublica’s informative timeline.

The Obama administration is too vague about what the NSA programs do and where they stop, writes Will Saletan.

Some polling suggests that Democrats and Republicans have reversed their positions on domestic surveillance. Nate Silver thinks this could impact 2016 primaries.

An NSA PowerPoint slide suggested that the government had “direct access” to servers at participating tech companies. But then several tech companies issued forceful denials. So how exactly does PRISM work? See Tim Lee’s Wonkblog FAQ

The piece that inspired a heated Slate email thread about Mike D’s new house. In particular, don’t miss the pics!

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

HBO’s Game of Thrones.

George R.R. Martin’s series of fantasy novels, A Song of Ice and Fire.

Nine Shen Rastogi on the infamous “Red Wedding,” for New York’s Vulture.

Dana Stevens reviews Much Ado About Nothing, for Slate.

A.O. Scott on the film, for the New York Times.

Kenneth Branagh’s Much Ado About Nothing.

Ethan Hawke in Hamlet, and Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet.

The TV series Franklin and Bash.

Kate Losse on selfies, for The New Yorker.

Bill Davidow on Internet narcissism, for the Atlantic.

The Culture of Narcissism, by Christopher Lasch.

The infamous “duck face” selfie expression.


Nina: The album Devotion, by British singer-songwriter Jessie Ware, and the young adult book Eleanor and Park, by Rainbow Rowell.

June: The BBC’s new atmospheric five-part drama The Fall, starring Gillian Anderson, which is now available on Netflix.

Stephen:  The song “Sex Tourists,” by the band French Kicks. And, of course, the perfect garden fertilizer: alpaca poop.

Outro: “Sex Tourists,” by French Kicks.