Civil War: What Is It Good For?

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On this week’s show, Slate culture writer (and Very, Very Good Friend of the Show, a.k.a. VVGFOP) Nadira Goffe sits in for Dana Stevens. The three begin with Civil War, writer-director Alex Garland’s (Ex Machina, Annihilation, Men) dystopian travelog starring Kirsten Dunst, Cailee Spaeny, and Wagner Moura that imagines a burned out, bombed out America in the throes of a raging internal conflict. But who is fighting whom? Our panel discusses. Then, they examine Jerrod Carmichael Reality Show, an eight-part series on Max depicting a very different civil war. Here, the exemplary sit-down stand-up comedian goes to war with himself, his public image, and the very nature of “reality.” It’s “Seinfeld meets reality TV meets Sylvia Plath,” and is a painfully naked confessional that begs the question: “Is Jerrod Carmichael trolling us?” (Read Nadira’s fantastic piece, “Who Did People Think Jerrod Carmichael Is?” Finally, the trio turns to “gaslighting,” the pop psychology term up for debate in Leslie Jamison’s essay for The New Yorker, “So You Think You’ve Been Gaslit.” Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Year in 2022, is “gaslighting” a handy term used to describe harmful behavior? Or has “gaslighting” become so ubiquitous, it’s lost all meaning? The panel gets into it. 
In the exclusive Slate Plus segment, the hosts explore stuffed animals (including but not limited to: Squishmallows, Jelly Cats, and “lovies”), the difference between a blanket and blankie, and the joys of embracing one’s inner child, inspired by Valerie Trapp’s essay for The Atlantic, “Welcome to Kidulthood.” 
Email us at culturefest@slate.com. 
Outro music: "200 Dont's" by Conditional
Endorsements:
Nadira: (1) The Wiz revival on Broadway. 
(2) Costco! 
(3) Willow Smith’s new song, “b i g f e e l i n g s” off of her upcoming album, empathogen. 
Julia: G. T. Karber’s book of puzzles, Murdle: 100 Simple to Impossible Mysteries to Solve Using Logic, Skill, and the Power of Deduction. “It’s a cross between an LSAT logic puzzle and a murder mystery.” 
Stephen: Becca Rothfeld’s debut essay collection, All Things Are Too Small: Essays in Praise of Excess. (Becca will be on the show next week to discuss! For extra credit, grab a copy of her book and come prepared.)
Podcast production by Jared Downing. Production assistance by Kat Hong. 
Hosts
Nadira Goffe, Julia Turner, Stephen Metcalf
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Civil War: What Is It Good For?

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