The Week in Pop-Culture Writing: Virtual Reality and Hamlet

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

Inside Epic’s Incredible First Attempt at Real VR Gaming
Adi Robertson | The Verge
“VR development occasionally sounds like the kind of thing that sends science fiction protagonists into existential crises. ‘After a day of heavy VR, I get this weird reality effect,’ says Davis. ‘It’s like you're now becoming more ... scrutinizing [of] reality or something.’”

Is Hamlet Fat?
Iasaac Butler | Slate
“But what if our mental image of Hamlet is wrong? What if the grieving, vengeful prince is actually fat? Just because you’ve never considered the possibility doesn’t mean that Shakespeare scholars haven’t argued about it, just one front in a centuries-old debate about how you determine meaning in Shakespeare’s plays.”

Do Feminists Read Erotic Romance Novels?
Batya Ungar-Sargon | Aeon
“The very contradiction at the heart of romance fiction is a lesson: Within feminism lies the permission, even the imperative, to enjoy, even if the fantasies you enjoy are not very feminist.”

I Wish the Intern on The Intern Had Been a Woman
Ann Friedman | The Cut
“I am positive that Hollywood does not understand how interested younger women are in representations of older women who are doing their own thing. It’s why we love The Golden Girls and follow Advanced Style, and know who Baddie Winkle is.”

Against Happiness
Russell Williams | The Los Angeles Review of Books
“Our strings have been pulled: We’ve been made to feel a certain way by a director by means of a traditional dictatorial address that propagates the illusion that we are coherent, autonomous, and, most importantly, content subjects.”

Pop for Misfits
Kelefa Sanneh | The New Yorker
“In her own songs, Boucher takes delight in rewriting the old music-industry story of the female performer in the spotlight and the male mastermind behind the curtain. ‘It’s like I’m Phil Spector, and then there’s Grimes, which is the girl group,’ she says.”

Searching for Eve
Meredith Talusan | Medium
“The image of Eve’s eye was her only flirtation with the physical world until a few months ago, when she posted a picture of half of her real face, with her chin tucked and eyes gazing shyly at the camera.”

Mike Nichols’s Life and Career: The Definitive Oral History
Sam Kashner and Charles Maslow-Freen | Vanity Fair
“Mike Nichols, who died at home in New York last November 19, 13 days past his 83rd birthday, left a crater-size hole in the cultural landscape and in the life of the city he loved.”

Fresh Off the Boat's Constance Wu Still Isn’t Sure About This Whole TV Thing
Alex Wong | GQ
“If there’s a reason Asian Americans haven’t broken through in entertainment, it’s probably because we haven’t taken advantage of how special our viewpoint is. It’s not something to be ashamed of. If some motherfucker made you feel ashamed for it and teased you about it on the playground, then they’re the asshole. Don’t let that be the thing that dictates how you’re perceived.”

Misty Upham: The Tragic Death and Unscripted Life of Hollywood’s Rising Star
Kristen Millares Young | The Guardian
“When Misty Upham was 12, she announced herself to a Seattle classroom of aspiring performers. ‘My name is Misty Upham, and someday you will know that name as the best living Native American actress.’ Years later and against all odds, her prophecy became true.”