The Atlantic’s Week in Culture

A roundup of our recent writing on arts and entertainment


Don’t Miss

Pop Culture’s Fascination With Captive WomenMegan Garber on how current works of television and cinema, from comedy to drama, are putting a new spin on a very old trope.



Considering Creativity and Addition in The Life and Times of DJ AMSophie Gilbert on how the Showtime documentary about Adam Goldstein argues that its subject’s musical brilliance was separate from his self-destructive tendencies.

The Secret Life of Pets Is Redeemed by Good DogsSophie Gilbert on how the latest feature from the makers of Despicable Me imagines the zany hijinks animals get up to when their humans go out.



The Night Of Reinvents the Murder Mystery, CarefullySpencer Kornhaber on how HBO’s eight-part drama takes a meticulous and mesmerizing approach to its genre.

A Tale of Two Fireworks DramasSpencer Kornhaber on how the national character can be glimpsed even in squabbles over Independence Day authenticity in Washington, D.C. and Boston.

Mark Blinch / Reuters


How Garrison Keillor United AmericaJoshua Rigsby on how the host of A Prairie Home Companion used storytelling to bridge the gap between red and blue states.

Drake’s Crucial Political AwakeningSpencer Kornhaber on how the killing of Alton Sterling led the biggest rapper in the world to break his silence about Black Lives Matter.

The Hurt and Rage of This Week’s Protest MusicSpencer Kornhaber on how Jay Z released a remarkable confession of psychic pain, while lesser-known rappers imagine radical action.

GlebStock / BohBeh / Shutterstock / Zak Bickel / The Atlantic


In The Continuous Katherine Mortenhoe, Death Is a Reality ShowJeff VanderMeer on how the 1974 science-fiction novel by D.G. Compton predicted a future where even the most private moments are broadcast as entertainment.

The Art of HandwritingMary Savig on how the personal letters of luminaries like Philip Guston, Dorothea Lange, and Robert Rauschenberg offer insight into their work as much as their lives.

The Subtle Genius of Elena Ferrante’s Bad Book CoversEmily Harnett on how readers complain about the imagery that adorns the author's highbrow novels, even though there’s value in embracing the oft-scorned "women's fiction" genre.