The real issues behind the things you watch.

Context and a Movie: "Contagion"

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A lethal pandemic that spreads like wildfire: could it actually happen? Dana Stevens, Slate's film critic and co-host of Slate's Culture Gabfest and Dr. Larry Madoff, Professor of Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, director of the Division of Epidemiology and Immunization at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) and editor of ProMED, an Internet-based emerging disease surveillance system, discusses what "Contagion" gets right and wrong. 

Comments [12]

Context and a TV Show: The Office

Friday, May 17, 2013

NBC's "The Office" comes to an endWe talk to cultural critic Linda Holmesculture blogger for NPR's Monkey See, and management expert Tim Sullivan, editor at Harvard Business Review and author of The Org: The Underlying Logic of the Officeabout the show's impact.

Comments [16]

Context and a T.V. Show: Unsafe Sex on "Girls"

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The depiction of unprotected sex on HBO's "Girls" has been criticized for sending the wrong message about how twenty-somethings should think about sex and risk. June Thomas, culture c...

Comments [68]

Context and a Movie: "Django Unchained"

Friday, January 04, 2013

Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained" has sparked conversation and controversy over its use of violence, portayal of slavery, and more. Tricia Rose, professor of Africana Studies at Brown University and author of The Hip Hop Wars: What We Talk About When We Talk About Hip Hop-And Why It Matters, discusses the film with Dana Stevens, Slate's film critic and co-host of Slate's Culture Gabfest, now airing on WNYC. Plus: how "Lincoln" and "Django" treat slavery differently.

Comments [72]

Context and a Movie: "Moneyball"

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Rob Neyer, national baseball editor for Baseball Nation and former employee of baseball statistics legend Bill James, discusses sabermetrics and how it did or did not change baseball. Dana Stevens, Slate's film critic and co-host of Slate's Culture Gabfest, joins him to discuss "Moneyball." 

Comments [4]

Context and a Movie: "Argo"

Friday, October 26, 2012

Antonio Mendez, former CIA technical operations officer, author of Argo: How the CIA and Hollywood Pulled Off the Most Audacious Rescue in History, and A. O. Scott, chief film critic at The New York Times, discuss the events depicted in the new movie "Argo" and Mendez’s role in it.


Comments [6]

Context and a TV Show: Homeland

Monday, October 01, 2012

Every so often, we pick a popular movie, play, or TV show and talk about the real-life context. Today: Showtime's "Homeland."

Bob Baer, the Intelligence Columnist for TIME Magazine and 21-year veteran of the CIA, talks about what "Homeland" gets right and what it says about counter-terrorism. Then, June Thomas, a culture critic for Slate and host of the new Slate podcast The Afterword, discusses what the show says about the evolution of spy thrillers after 9/11.

Comments [14]

Context and a Movie: "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps"

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Dana Stevens, film critic for and co-host of their Culture Gabfest, discusses the film "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps," the sequel to the "greed is good" original. Also, Joe NoceraNew York Times business columnist and author of their Executive Suite blog, offers his take on "Wall Street," the movie vs. Wall Street, the reality.

Comments [4]

Context and a TV Show: Boardwalk Empire

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Dana Stevens, film critic for Slate and co-host of the Slate Culture Gabfest podcast, discusses the HBO miniseries "Boardwalk Empire" about Prohibition-Era Atlantic City, and Daniel Okrent, writer, editor, inventor of Rotisserie League Baseball, former public editor at The New York Times and the author of Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition, offers his insight into the era and history of Prohibition.

Comments [14]

Context & A Play: Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson

Friday, October 15, 2010

Adam Feldman, theater critic at Time Out New York and Jon Meacham, co-host of "Need to Know" on PBS and the author of American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House, take a look at the new musical "Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson" about President Andrew Jackson.

Comments [7]

Context and a Movie: "The Social Network"

Monday, October 04, 2010

Dana Stevens, film critic for, discusses "The Social Network," the controversial new film about the founding of Facebook by Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg; and Baratunde Thurston, comedian and digital director of The Onion, offers his insight into the world of Harvard and social media.

Comments [7]

Context and a Movie: "The Help"

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Help, based on the popular book by the same name, opened in movie theaters yesterday. Sheri Parks, professor of American studies at the University of Maryland and author of Fierce Angels: The Strong Black Woman in American Life and Culture, and David Edelstein, film critic for New York magazine and NPR's Fresh Air, provide historical and cultural context for the book and new feature film.

Listeners: Did you see the movie yet? Did you read the book? What are your thoughts about "The Help"? Call us or comment here!

Comments [20]

Context and a Movie: American Hustle

Monday, February 03, 2014

Kevin Riordan, Philadelphia Inquirer columnist, talks about the real story of Camden Mayor Errichetti, who is the basis for one of the characters in the movie, American Hustle. Plus, Dana Stevens, Slate's film critic and co-host of Slate's Culture Gabfest, now airing on WNYC, offers a critic's take on the film.

Comments [7]

Does the Wolf Glorify Wall Street's Culture?

Monday, January 06, 2014

The Wolf of Wall Street depicts drugs, sex and financial misdeeds - portraying the true story of disgraced Jordan Belfort. NY Times film critic A.O. Scott and Bloomberg Businessweek's...

Comments [16]

Context and a Movie: "Inside Llewyn Davis"

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Dana Stevens, Slate's film critic and co-host of Slate's Culture Gabfest (now airing on WNYC) and Elijah Wald, writer, musician and co-author of The Mayor of MacDougal Street (Da Capo Press, 2006), discuss the Coen brothers’ new movie "Inside Llewyn Davis" and take your calls on Greenwich Village back in the day.

Comments [9]