Gal Gadot and Stranger Things: The Week in Pop-Culture Writing

Highlights from seven days of reading about arts and entertainment

Gal Gadot at the L.A. premiere of 'Wonder Woman'
Gal Gadot at the L.A. premiere of Wonder Woman ( Jordan Strauss / Invision / AP)

Gal Gadot on Becoming Wonder Woman, the Biggest Action Hero of the Year
Alex Morris | Rolling Stone
“Gal Gadot is ostensibly here to talk about her rise from almost total unknown to an iconic, worldwide symbol of all that is good and powerful as the first-ever feature-film incarnation of Wonder Woman. But it's hard not to see elements of the superheroic in the way she just is. Never mind that she was up at 5 a.m. with a four-month-old (‘Dude, it’s exhausting, but it's the best’); in person, her aura hovers somewhere between Earth mother and glamazon.”

Turned Upside Down
Adam Sternbergh | Vulture
“This is the story of the Duffers’ breakout show, Stranger Things, which debuted last year and quickly became Exhibit A for the kind of hit that both harks back to an age of office watercoolers yet could happen only at this very modern moment—a moment characterized by unfettered social-media chatter and short-season TV shows you can binge-watch in one manic, unhinged weekend.”

St. Vincent’s Cheeky, Sexy Rock
Nick Paumgarten | The New Yorker
“It had been more than three years since the release of her last album, which she’d named St. Vincent, as though it were her first under that name, rather than her fourth—or fifth, if you include one she made with David Byrne, in 2012. ... The self-titled album was widely considered to be a breakthrough, a consummation of sensibility and talent, a fulfillment of the St. Vincent conceit—this somewhat severe performer who was both her and not her.”

Degas’s Model Tells All
Jeff Nagy | The Paris Review
“Degas, as seen by the model Pauline, is no stoic devotee of the Muses but a curmudgeon subject to sudden bouts of theatrical self-pity, always on the verge of collapsing into melancholy ruminations over his failing sight, his oncoming death. The artist famous for his deft public quips becomes, in private, a mealy mouthed, repetitious prattler, retailing 20-year-old anecdotes for the two-hundredth time.”

How Atlanta Is Taking Over the Entertainment Industry
Alison Herman | The Ringer
“In Hollywood’s eyes, the South used to be a place to be utilized for its specific qualities and then left alone the rest of the time. … Now, it’s every place, a phenomenon that’s had a dramatic impact on the region even as that region’s flexibility—and therefore anonymity—has meant Georgia’s filming boom hasn’t attracted much notice outside of the area.”

A White, Hot Supremacist Summer
Wesley Morris | The New York Times
“To watch the movies or TV ... is to know that normalized white supremacy has been here all summer. It’s to know that the people who manufacture all sorts of popular culture have also, intentionally or not, tossed some racism onto the assembly line. It’s to know that whatever occurred in Charlottesville and then at that news conference didn’t happen in a vacuum. They were just the gnarliest flare-ups in a season of provocations that seem so business-as-usual that they scarcely feel provoked.”

Two Paths for the Personal Essay
Merve Emre | Boston Review
“For a certain breed of personal essayist at work today, there exists a necessary and desirable trade-off between aesthetic clarity and moral complexity; a bargain premised on the depressing notion that words are always insufficient to the task at hand and so we may as well stop trying to choose the clearest or most precise ones. The adjective that best captures the conditions of this bargain is messy.

Farewell to the Village Voice, the Publication That Welcomed Me to America
Liel Leibovitz | Tablet
“Had you asked me what role I believe journalism played in public life, I would’ve given some sterile speech about speaking truth to power and reporting honestly so that we citizens can decide. The Voice changed all that. Journalism, it taught me, was about something larger than that: It was about community.”