This Week in Culture

A roundup of The Atlantic’s writing on entertainment

Kara Gordon / The Atlantic

Don’t Miss

Arch EnemiesMegan Garber’s magnum opus on how a new company is bringing the engineering savvy of rocket science to the design of the high-heeled shoe. She asks: Can stilettos that are actually comfortable to wear change centuries’ worth of symbolism?



The Lobster: A Dystopian Tour de ForceChristopher Orr on Yorgos Lanthimos’s allegorical rumination on finding a mate, a witty, cruel, and deeply unsettling film.

Money Monster: A Bear of a Wall Street SatireDavid Sims on how new film wastes an impressive cast on a flimsy drama that can’t find its mark.

How Capitalism Took Over Sports MoviesMike Miley on an unsettling trend in popular culture, where businessmen and managers have ousted teams and players as dramatic heroes.

Picking Sides in Captain America: Civil WarFour Atlantic writers discuss the newest installment in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe.

The Spin ZoneMegan Garber on how Twister, 20 years after its release, is an extremely dumb movie with extremely important insights.



The Women and the WineMegan Garber on television female characters’ omnipresent wine glass, and how the beverage has become a metaphor for anxieties that are uniquely feminine in their form.

Can Chelsea Handler Break the Late-Night Format?David Sims on how the comedian’s new Netflix show has a ‘near-live’ recording schedule and an eclectic mix of guests.

The Good Wife: Florrick v. the SisterhoodMegan Garber on how CBS drama’s dramatic finale brought a sad but fitting end to a show that has always been a little bit awkward about its female friendships.

Bartlet for America, ForeverDavid Sims on how pop culture—and even the White House itself—seems to be longing for the return of the fictional administration fromThe West Wing, a decade after the show ended.

Underground: A Thrilling Quest Story About SlaveryVann R. Newkirk II on a harrowing new period drama that takes its cues from both history and the apocalyptic narratives that populate today’s TV and film.

Game of Thrones: And All the Nights to ComeThree Atlantic staffers discuss ‘Oathbreaker,’ the third episode of the sixth season.


Amy Sussman / AP

Meghan Trainor: Views From the Uncanny ValleySpencer Kornhaber on the “All About That Bass” singer, which is the sound of an era of pop and Internet discourse folding back in on itself.

A Moon Shaped Pool Is Radiohead’s Strangest Album YetSpencer Kornhaber on how the band’s beautiful but difficult ninth album is as much sculpture as it is a song collection.

Ding Dong, Azealia Banks Is Off TwitterSpencer Kornhaber on the controversial rapper’s final (for now) racist freakout, which he argues exemplifies the worst Internet behavior.


Fitzgerald Publishing Company

Harriet Tubman Was My Wonder WomanFor our Childish Things series, Brentin Mock on how the black history icons he learned about as a child through comics were larger-than-life—and how they prepared him to grapple with America’s racial past.

The Growing Divide Between Game of Thrones and George R.R. MartinDavid Sims on how the new chapter of the sixth book in the sprawling A Song of Ice and Fire series shows how much the TV adaptation has diverged from the novels.

Hystopia: An Ambitious, Dystopian Retelling of the Vietnam War Amy Weiss-Meyer on David Means’s debut novel, which examines the psychological implications of a world where trauma can be erased.

The Challenge of Genderless CharactersStephanie Hayes on what the 30-year-old novel Sphinx reveals about hidden biases.



Why Stephen Curry Is So CaptivatingConor Friedersdorf on how the NBA’s most compelling player entertains with a kind of suspense unseen since Magic Johnson.


Panera Bread

One Thing Considered: Why Is Panera Selling Us Dirty Lettuce?The fast-casual bakery chain’s ad campaign, “Should Be,” navigates the thin line between food marketing and foodsplaining.