The Atlantic’s Week in Culture

A roundup of our recent writing on arts and entertainment

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Don’t Miss

On Not Saying His NameElizabeth Limbach explores why the president’s critics have taken to talking about him without actually using the words “Donald Trump.”



John Oliver Is Buying Ads on Cable News to Talk to President TrumpMegan Garber discusses the Last Week Tonight host’s plan to communicate with the chief executive.

Homeland’s Crisis of ConscienceSophie Gilbert asks whether the Showtime series is facing its toughest hurdle yet.

Galentine’s Day: How a Beloved Fiction Became a Beloved TraditionMegan Garber traces how the the pseudo-holiday from Parks and Recreation has become a part of Valentine’s Day celebrations.

Is The Walking Dead’s Villain Killing the Show?David Sims casts doubt over the effectiveness of the AMC show’s tyrannical antagonist.

ABC Has Finally Cast a Black BacheloretteMegan Garber questions why it’s taken so long for the reality show to have an African American lead.

What The Young Pope Preached About LoveSpencer Kornhaber weighs in on the first season of the HBO show, as it came to a close last week.

Game TheoryMegan Garber examines The Wall, one of many TV game shows currently winning over primetime audiences.

Big Little Lies: Sex and Murder in MontereySophie Gilbert watches the compelling new mystery series from HBO.

Saturday Night Live, LobbyistMegan Garber recaps the latest, politically charged episode of the sketch show.

Jimmy Fallon Tries to Take on TrumpDavid Sims explains how the Tonight Show host is struggling to stay relevant in 2017.

Crashing Is an Antidote to Cynical Comedy ShowsRobert O’Connell argues that Pete Holmes’s new HBO series is a refreshing break from similar shows about the lives of stand-ups.

Lucy Nicholson / Reuters

2017 Grammy Awards

Adele, Beyoncé, and the Grammys’ Fear of ProgressSpencer Kornhaber analyzes another regressive night at the music awards, which saw a black visionary work sidelined for a white traditionalist one.

The Biggest Moments From the 2017 GrammysSpencer Kornhaber highlights the awards, performances, and controversies from the ceremony.

Two Shades of #Resistance at the GrammysSpencer Kornhaber compares Katy Perry’s tentatively political performance to A Tribe Called Quest’s outspoken denunciation of the president.

The Sad State of Rock at the GrammysDerek Thompson believes the year 1991 may reveal why the genre that once dominated the popular music charts has fallen from such great heights.

Sean Rayford / Getty


Miss Manners on Rudeness in the Age of TrumpJudith Martin, the renowned etiquette columnist, offers an alternative list of virtues for a time when the president has violated all traditional expectations of statesman-like behavior.



A Cure for Wellness Is a Malevolent Thrill Ride, With EelsDavid Sims reviews Gore Verbinski’s new movie, which may be one of the most demented things Hollywood has produced in recent years.

The Disappointments of The Great WallChristopher Orr bemoans Zhang Yimou’s epic new CGI film starring Matt Damon.

Bettmann / Getty


How The Blood of Emmett Till Still Stains America TodayVann R. Newkirk II dissects the pressing relevance of a new history on the most famous lynching in the country.

George Saunders on Chekhov’s Different Visions of HappinessJoe Fassler chats with the author of Lincoln in the Bardo about the masterful Russian writer’s story, “Gooseberries,” as part of The Atlantic’s ongoing “By Heart” series.

Ali Smith’s Autumn Is a Post-Brexit MasterpieceSophie Gilbert reviews the dazzling new novel from the Scottish author, who seems to be responding to a particularly tumultuous moment.

Ellika Henrikson


Music to Celebrate the 30-Something BluesSpencer Kornhaber listens to the uplifting new record from Jens Lekman.

How Hans Zimmer Became a Rock StarDavid Sims charts the meteoric rise of the ubiquitous film composer.

Rebecca Fanuele


Steve McQueen’s Unblinking Look at Life and AfterlifeSpencer Kornhaber unpacks the 12 Years a Slave director’s video installation Ashes, on display at Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art.