The Atlantic's Week in Culture

A roundup of our recent writing on arts and entertainment

Mackenzie Davis in "San Junipero," the third episode of Black Mirror's new season (Netflix )

Don’t Miss

The Complex Humanity of Black MirrorJeff VanderMeer analyzes the Netflix show’s unique moral and narrative depth, as it returned for a third season.

20th Century Fox


How Rom-Coms Undermine WomenMegan Garber traces the popular genre’s consistently reductive portrayals of love, and how they particularly affect female characters.

The Message of Newtown: Please Don’t ForgetSophie Gilbert reviews the heart-wrenching new documentary that examines how a community can begin to heal in the wake of unspeakable tragedy.

In Hacksaw Ridge, Faith Is a Bloody BusinessDavid Sims watches Mel Gibson’s new film, a characteristically violent and passionate portrayal of a conscientious objector in World War II.

There’s Little Magic to Be Found in Dr. StrangeChristopher Orr laments the disappointing new addition to the Marvel film universe.

Loving and the Ordinary Love That Made HistoryDavid Sims looks at Jeff Nichols’s beautifully restrained film about the couple behind the case that struck down bans on interracial marriage.



Atlanta’s Brilliant Reckoning With MoneySpencer Kornhaber unpacks the season finale of Donald Glover’s hit FX show.

One Key to Westworld: Video GamesDavid Sims analyzes how the HBO drama is offering intelligent commentary on the appeal and limitations of immersive, fictional universes.

Hulu’s Bid to Replace CableDavid Sims indicates what the company’s new deal with Disney and Fox could mean for the future of television.

Mel Gibson Is Not SorryMegan Garber questions whether the controversial actor-director is really seeking forgiveness after his appearance on The Late Show.

The Crown Is a Sweeping, Sumptuous History LessonDavid Sims weighs in on the opulent new Netflix show, which focuses on the early years in the reign of Elizabeth II.

Trevor Noah’s Eventful YearVann R. Newkirk talks to the Daily Show host about his upcoming book, the cultural similarities between South Africa and the U.S., and the absurdity of the 2016 election.

Rick Diamond / Getty


What Beyoncé’s ‘Daddy Lessons’ Had to TeachSpencer Kornhaber discusses the significance of the singer’s collaborative performance with the Dixie Chicks at this year’s CMAs.

Max Richter’s Soundtrack to DystopiaSophie Gilbert chats with the British composer about his pervasive, ethereal music, featured on shows such as The Leftovers and Black Mirror.

The Gloriously Hammy Potential of The Hamilton MixtapeSpencer Kornhaber basks in the excess and schmaltz of two new songs featuring Kelly Clarkson and The Roots, released from the upcoming album.

The Stickiest Hit of 2016 Is Appropriately DepressedSpencer Kornhaber offers some insight into why the Chainsmokers’ “Closer” is already among the longest-running No. 1 songs of all time.

Charlie Riedel / AP


The Heartbreak and Joy of Being a Lifelong Cubs FanKatherine Riley shares what the historic World Series victory taught her about disappointment and forgiveness.

How to Make the Most of a Predictable NBA SeasonRobert O’Connell finds other things to look forward to as the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors will almost certainly make the Finals for the third year running.

The Secret Joy of Baseball CursesAdrienne LaFrance argues that the sport’s long history of rumored hexes is ultimately integral to the game.

Lauren Garfinkel

Art and Design

Donald Trump, Circus PeanutMegan Garber revels in an artist’s delicious depictions of the election’s popular political figures as food.

Politics, on Your Starbucks CupMegan Garber shows how this year’s divisive presidential race has permeated everything, including your coffee container.

Jordan Strauss / Invision / AP / Katie Martin / The Atlantic


How Disappointment Became Part of FandomMegan Garber looks at how let-down is being woven into the fabric of fan culture as Americans are asking ever more of their celebrities.