Actors on PEDs, Villainy in Sports: The Week's Best Pop-Culture Writing

The most intriguing articles about entertainment we've come across in the past seven days

Click the links in the article titles to read the full pieces, and let us know what we've missed:

The Last Day of the Old NBA

Jack Hamilton | Slate
"The NBA’s new commissioner has been on the job for less than three months, but in banning Sterling from the league for life, fining him $2.5 million (the maximum allowed by the league), and taking steps to force him to sell the team that he’s controlled for 33 years, Silver has made a stirring display of what the NBA might look like under his leadership."

The Redemption of the Hipster Punch Line
Jesse David Fox | Vulture
"Partly in spite of and because of this hackneying, a new, better, more lived-in hipster joke arose like a phoenix from the ashes of oh-so-many American Spirit cigarettes and redeemed not only hipster-based comedy but also potentially hipsters themselves."

Enhanced Performances
Patrick Hruby | Sports on Earth
"[Tom] Hardy's film came out as planned. Made a bundle. ... Moviegoers cared that Hardy looked the part, but they didn't feel angry and betrayed over what it allegedly took to get that look. Frankly, I'm starting to think they have the right idea."

The Oldest Story: Toward a Theory of a Dead Girl Show
Alice Bolin | Los Angeles Review of Books

"One question, 'Who killed Laura Palmer?,' spawned a genre — Veronica MarsThe KillingPretty Little LiarsTop of the Lake, and True Detective are notable descendants of Twin Peaks. All Dead Girl Shows begin with the discovery of the murdered body of a young woman."

Who Is the New Worst Owner in Sports?
Drew Magary | GQ
"Don't let the Orioles recent run of shockingly decent play fool you. Peter Angelos is still the same petty, controlling, litigation-adoring (no lawyer should ever be allowed to own a pro sports team) man who turned an entire city off of baseball in one short decade."

Why Can't Lupita Nyong'o Find a Role Worthy of Her?
Mark Harris | EW
"The range of opportunities for a black actress on the big screen in 2014 doesn’t look all that different than it did in 1967, the first time Disney made The Jungle Book." 

Flaws Only A Protagonist Could Have
Mallory Ortberg | The Toast
"'No one will ever love me,' she told the guy who was older than her but not creepy older, just commandingly older, like maybe seven to nine years older and was also sort of her guardian or her teacher in some capacity, but again not in a gross way, like he wasn’t her teacher boss dad or anything, just a little more in charge than she was and also he had shoulder muscles."

Jack in the Box 
Andy Greenwald | Grantland
"Four years after it went off the air, and freed from the insistent tick-ticking of its doomsday clock, 24 now actually looks quite a bit ahead of its time."

For Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Learning Simian Movements
Melena Ryzik | The New York Times
Toby Kebbell, who plays a hotheaded bonobo named Koba, offered some insight into ape behavior, picked up at zoos and on YouTube. 'Their nose is flat, so they don’t scratch up, they tend to brush it down,' he said, demonstrating with the flick of a curved finger." 

Presented by

Spencer Kornhaber is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where he covers pop culture and music. He was previously an editor at and a staff writer at OC Weekly. He has written for Spin, The AV Club, and

Ashley Fetters is a former associate editor at The Atlantic.

The Horrors of Rat Hole Mining

"The river was our source of water. Now, the people won't touch it. They are repulsed by it."

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