The Atlantic’s Week in Culture

A roundup of our recent writing on arts and entertainment

San from Hayao Miyazaki's 1997 film 'Princess Mononoke' (Miramax / Studio Ghibli)

Don’t Miss

Hayao Miyazaki and the Art of Being a WomanGabrielle Bellot reveals how the Japanese director’s stereotype-defying female characters helped her understand her own identity as a trans woman.

Erez Avissar / Customs


The Charged Protest of the Swet Shop BoysArnav Adhikari analyzes how Cashmere, the debut album by the transatlantic rap group, uses satire to voice the anxieties of a South Asian diaspora.

Tupac, Pearl Jam, Depeche Mode Among the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame NomineesSpencer Kornhaber makes sense of this year’s nominees for the class of 2017, which will raise perennial questions about the inclusion of hip-hop and electronic music.

The Deadly Certainty of Leonard CohenSpencer Kornhaber ruminates on the legendary songwriter’s 14th album, where he takes on questions of God and mortality.

Lady Gaga’s Joanne Has More Gimmicks Than GutsSpencer Kornhaber explores the flaws of the pop star’s “personal” comeback album.



Why Stephen Colbert Isn’t ConnectingDavid Sims explains why the Late Show host, known for his sharp political comedy, has fallen flat in his first year on the talk show.

The Easy Political Escapism of GravesDavid Sims watches the disappointing new Epix comedy that imagines a former Republican president deciding to atone for his sins in office.

Good Grief: TV Is Getting Better at MourningMegan Garber illustrates how the medium’s episodic structure allows it to explore that most long-running and unpredictable of emotions.

Black Mirror’s ‘Nosedive’ Skewers Social MediaSophie Gilbert recaps the first episode of the hit Netflix show, back for a third season.

Black Mirror’s ‘Playtest’ Brings Fear to LifeDavid Sims examines the second episode of the Netflix series, a tense horror story about an immersive video game.

Black Mirror’s ‘Shut Up and Dance’ Is a Horrifying ThrillerSophie Gilbert unpacks why the third episode of the new season is one of the most disturbing of the series.

Dennis Van Tine / STAR MAX / AP


Amy Schumer: The Comical Is PoliticalMegan Garber traces the comedian’s strong connections to feminist politics, after dozens walked out on her performance when she made Trump jokes.

‘Nasty’: A Feminist HistoryMegan Garber unravels the etymology of the word Trump used to denigrate Hillary Clinton during the final presidential debate.

Sympathy for the MelaniaSpencer Kornhaber considers what popular portrayals of Donald Trump’s wife reveal about cultural perceptions of gender roles.

Hamilton’s America Has Its Eyes on HistorySpencer Kornhaber argues that the new PBS documentary reveals the importance of Broadway’s biggest hit.

Fox Searchlight


The Historical Fiction of The Birth of a NationVann R. Newkirk II delves deep into the roots of Nat Turner’s legend in light of Nate Parker’s new film.

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back Isn’t Weird EnoughDavid Sims laments the latest installment in the action-movie series, which wastes a solid performance by Tom Cruise.

The Handmaiden Is a Cinematic MasterpieceDavid Sims praises Park Chan-wook’s new romantic thriller, which is a sumptuous tale of shifting identities, forbidden love, and colonialism.

Doug McLean


When Novels Frustrate, and EnthrallJoe Fassler talks to the writer Jonathan Lethem about Franz Kafka’s lasting, chaotic influence on his work, as part of The Atlantic’s ongoing “By Heart” series.