Gabfest Radio: The I See a Red Line and I Want To Paint It Black 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 President’s plan to attack Syria. They also discuss the debt ceiling, immigration, and other challenges that confront Congress on its return to session.

Then on the Culture Gabfest portion of the show, our critics discuss the The World’s End, the final film in Edgar Wright’s Cornetto Trilogy. The film follows five childhood friends who reunite in middle age to conquer the Golden Mile—a herculean beer binge across 12 pubs in the fictional Newton Haven, England—and find themselves in a position to save the world. The gabfest reviews the film and situates it among this summer’s other apocalypse parodies.

Next, with the help of Slate critic Aisha Harris, the gabbers take on Miley Cyrus’ now-viral performance at the MTV Video Music Awards, which featured an African-American dance crew, a twerking Miley, and a foam finger in all the wrong places. Was it racist? Over-sexed? Or just terribly awkward? Lastly, the gabfest celebrates the end of summer with a discussion of amusement parks: their hedonism, romance, and iconic place in an American summer.

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):

“It seems likely that President Obama will bomb Syria sometime in the coming weeks,” writes Fred Kaplan.

John says that Obama backed himself into a corner with his “red line” rhetoric.

In The New Yorker, Dexter Filkins cited Syrian opposition groups who say Assad has used chemical weapons as many as thirty-five times.

Nearly 80% of Americans want Obama to receive congressional approval for a strike in Syria, according to an NBC poll.

The U.S. has no legal basis to intervene, writes Eric Posner.

Ezra Klein is scared of the latest round of debt ceiling fights and he thinks you should be, too.

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

The other films in the Cornetto Trilogy, Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz.

Dana’s review of The World’s End.

Attack the Block.

This is the End.

Miley Cyrus at the 2013 VMAs.

The official music video for “We Can’t Stop.”

Jody Rosen’s analysis of Miley’s “minstrelsy” on Vulture.

Britney Spears’ performance of “I’m a Slave 4 You” at the 2001 VMAs.

The interview with Miley’s songwriters in which they claim that she requested a song that “feels black.”

Hannah Montana.

The interview in which Miley said she’d never heard a Jay Z song even though she sang about liking his music in her hit “Party in the USA.”



Canobie Lake Park.


June: The summer wardrobes on USA’s Royal Pains and Suits.

John: Good Humor’s King Cone.

Sam: “There Can Be Only One,” a new single off of Cass McCombs’ forthcoming album Big Wheel and Others.

Julia: The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson, 2013 Pulitzer Prize winner for fiction.