Episode #48

Gabfest Radio: The This Town Makes Me Nostalgic Edition

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Saturday, July 20, 2013

On this week’s episode of Gabfest Radio from Slate and WNYC, Political Gabfest panelists Emily Bazelon, John Dickerson, and David Plotz are joined by special guest Mark Leibovich, chief national correspondent for The New York Times Magazine. They discuss Leibovich’s new book, This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral-Plus, Plenty of Valet Parking!-in America's Gilded Capital. They also discuss the acquittal of George Zimmerman

Then on the Culture Gabfest portion of the show, panelists Stephen Metcalf, Dana Stevens, and Julia Turner take a look at Guillermo del Toro’s new science-fiction film Pacific Rim. Is it the rare imaginative blockbuster we've been waiting for, or just more of that same old CGI-doused, cash-cow popcorn filmmaking we can’t avoid? Our critics then discuss Drunk History, a new Comedy Central series with a simple premise: Get funny people debilitatingly inebriated, have them attempt to recall an important episode of American history, and get famous actors to perform a reenactment based on the stumbling narrative. The show was born from a 2007 Funny or Die video series of the same name. Finally, a recent New York Times article by journalist John Tierney argued that nostalgia is good for you. Our critics consider the place of nostalgia in pop psychology, how the term has often been misused and simplified, and their own thoughts on nostalgia.


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):


“A users-guide to why D.C. is so loathsome,” says special guest Mark Leibovich about his new book, This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral-Plus, Plenty of Valet Parking-in America's Gilded Capital.


An excerpt of This Town in The New York Times Magazine profiles the rise and fall of Hill staffer Kurt Bardella.


This Town has rattled the D.C. social scene, says Politico’s Lois Romano.


Emily’s initial reaction blamed Florida’s laws for the George Zimmerman verdict. But she also points to Joseph Kennedy’s piece in Slate, which argues that the verdict reflects a broader problem with the law of self-defense.


Richard Florida explains how race does factor in ‘Stand Your Ground’ verdicts.



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

Director Guillermo del Toro’s film Pan’s Labyrinth.

The Hellboy films.

Dana Stevens’ review of Pacific Rim for Slate.

Special effects pioneer Ray Harryhausen.

Pacific Rim’s underperformance at the box office.

Comedy Central’s Drunk History official site.

The original Drunk History videos on humor website Funny or Die.

Adult Swim on Cartoon Network.

John Tierney’s New York Times piece on nostalgia.

Martin Heidegger.



Dana: The new film Fruitvale Station.

Julia: The 1999 comedy Dick.

Stephen: The Never List, by Koethi Zan.

Outro: "Don't Look Back" by She & Him.

Comments [2]

Additional points:

A decision to initially charge GZ with "manslaughter" instead of a murder charge would have provoked the same "the system devalues black lives" claims that the jury verdict has seemed to provoke now; would have left every claim GZ had for "the justifiable use of deadly force" in place; and allowed the claim that "if the persecutors presented a more serious charge, perhaps the jury would have been more appropriately impressed" for GZ's unavoidable acquittal under most State's law.

The only departures from regular investigative procedures that seems to have taken place involve the circumstances surrounding the family's group identification of their son's alleged voice, an identification that was held in a meeting that the police were barred from. The other departure from regular procedure involveded Ms. Jeantal's testimony. Her initial statements were apparently tailored and dry cleaned in the presence of the Martin family and their attorney before she allowed herself to be interviewed by the prosecuting attorneys.

Ms. Bazelon seemed to be disingenuously citing the the "Marissa Alexander" case (also persecuted under the direction of the same unethical Florida prosecutor, Angela Corey).

" . . . the jury, ... decided she was not acting in self-defense. Prosecutors argued that Alexander fired in the direction of her husband and two of his children, endangering their lives.
"The act amounted to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Because Alexander fired the gun while committing a felony, Florida’s harsh gun laws required the 20-year sentence.
(Note the feminist critique of "Florida’s harsh gun laws")

Anyone who cares to can read a recitation of the facts established at trial.(Even Ms. Jeantal, as it is not written in "cursive".)

Jul. 21 2013 07:32 PM

The police response was not "six weeks late": Zimmerman was arrested the night of the incident and the police were pursuing the investigation - it is true that the prosecuting attorneys advised the police to release Zimmerman because of SYG but the investigation continued. There was no claim by the Special Persecutrix or her deputies, in the trial or anywhere else to my knowledge, that the police failed or delayed to make use of any investigative technique called for by the circumstances. (No one, on the Left, has commented on the prosecution's delay in complying with its "Brady" discovery duties. Stay turned for the upcoming sanctions hearing (which will probably garner zero media mention unless the cast is somehow made more inter-racial))
EARTH TO GABFEST PANEL: Minds are a terrible thing to waste in simplistic media memes.

Jul. 21 2013 06:42 PM

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