Mr. Robot and Superheroes: The Week in Pop-Culture Writing

Highlights from seven days of reading about arts and entertainment

Rami Malek in 'Mr. Robot'
Michael Parmelee / USA Network

Mr. Robot Knew in 2016 What America Would Be Like in 2017
Scott Meslow | GQ
“No other modern TV has so compellingly captured the sense of futility and exhaustion that has so thoroughly penetrated American life in 2017. The world of Mr. Robot, like the world of today, is corrupt and stupid and cruel—and the people who might be able to change things refuse, because the corruption and stupidity and cruelty of the system is what enabled them to reach positions of power in the first place.”

How Fox Is Beating Marvel at Its Own Game
Ira Madison III | The Daily Beast
“There’s no denying Fox has had a string of flops commercially and creatively. Fantastic Four (pick one) was a disaster. The X-Men films are hit or miss (for the record, X-Men, X2, First Class, and Days of Future Past are the good ones). But this year, Fox has absolutely flourished by taking a chance on new ways to tackle source material that we’ve seen repeatedly.”

Here’s Why So Many Women Knew the Rumors About Harvey Weinstein
Anne Helen Petersen | BuzzFeed
“We knew about him because of a much-derided and feminized way that women gain knowledge: celebrity gossip. … That’s how gossip has long worked: through pun, innuendo, and blind items, which speak the unspeakable. The gossip columnists of classic Hollywood embedded signals of which stars were gay and which ones were cheating, who was secretly dating whom and whose wedding was shotgun and who’d been on the original ‘casting couches.’”

The Glorious Bullshit of Reservoir Dogs, 25 Years Later
Tom Shone | The New Yorker
“Tarantino’s influence became so wide that it influences the very notion of influence: What had hitherto been an unconscious borrowing or homage was now flushed out into the open and worn as a badge of one’s pop-cultural savvy—intertextuality hits the multiplex. Never mind that Tarantino’s original intent was straightforward realism. Most movie characters, he thought, talked about the plot too much.”

The Making of Sean Hannity: How a Long Island Kid Learned to Channel Red-State Anger
Marc Fisher | The Washington Post
“When the president was still opening casinos in Atlantic City, Hannity was systematically building a following, identifying the issues that could stir up listeners (homosexuality, he declared in his first radio gig, is ‘disgusting’) and portraying himself as a brash truth-teller whose plain talk was too blunt for the entrenched and the powerful.”

Daisy Ridley on Star Wars, Superfans, and Her Lightsaber Workout
Gaby Wood | Vogue
“Ridley often used the language of the set—she referred to daily scripts as ‘sides,’ to assistant directors as ‘our first’ and ‘our second,’ and to her personal assistant as ‘my personal.’ These abbreviations … suggest that she speaks to more people inside the film world than out of it, and if you count the years she has committed to Star Wars, you understand the nature of the bubble. When she did the first audition, she was 21; when it’s over, she’ll be 27.”

Magazine of the Living Dead: The Bloody Rise and Frightful Fall of Fangoria
Clark Collis | Entertainment Weekly
“There is every chance you have never picked up a copy of Fangoria. You may have never heard of the title before now. But it is hard to overestimate the New York-based magazine’s importance to the horror genre. … The truth is that for much of its life-span—and in particular during the pre-Internet age—the magazine was pretty much the only source of in-depth information about a type of film most media outlets considered too disreputable to cover.”

The Charcuterie Board That Revolutionized Basketball
Baxter Holmes | ESPN
“[Steve] Kerr swipes clear the wooden board, casting the handle in the role of a basket. He positions the board’s dried cranberries and marcona almonds into two five-on-five teams in a half-court setting, with the cranberries relegated to defense. Suddenly, Almond Stephen Curry, hovering near the top of the key, swings an imaginary ball to Almond Klay Thompson on the wing, then cuts to the near corner while Thompson dumps it down to Almond Andrew Bogut.”