The Atlantic's Week in Culture

A roundup of our recent writing on arts and entertainment

A woman holding balloons at the Hong Kong Disneyland
Kin Cheung / AP

Don’t Miss

Disney’s Bullying Tactics Against the Press FailedDavid Sims looks at how after the company barred Los Angeles Times journalists from its movie screenings, the film-critic community united to push back.

Brad Penner / USA TODAY Sports / Reuters

Frontiers of Sports

How Kristaps Porzingis Became New York’s New King of SportsRobert O’Connell says the 22-year-old Latvian’s breakout moment is here.

Remembering Roy Halladay, Baseball’s Steady MarvelRobert O’Connell eulogizes the eight-time All-Star, who died at age 40, as one of the pitchers most committed to the daily work of the sport.

Disney / Marvel


Is Making a Marvel Movie Good for Directors?David Sims notes that nine years into the studio’s colossal franchise experiment, most filmmakers haven’t parlayed their success with comic-book projects into anything greater.

Murder on the Orient Express Is a Ride Worth SkippingChristopher Orr reviews the director and star Kenneth Branagh’s remake, which looks great but feels utterly unnecessary.

The Chilling Implications of a Disney-Fox MergerDavid Sims writes that the movie business is changing rapidly, and reported talks of a studio buying one of its biggest rivals could be part of an ongoing seismic shift.

The ‘Weinstein Effect’ Is Changing Movie-MakingDavid Sims interprets the news that Kevin Spacey’s scenes in the Ridley Scott film All the Money in the World will be reshot with just weeks left before the release date.



The Bleak World of The Girlfriend ExperienceSophie Gilbert thinks the self-serving antiheroes of the Starz show’s second season are colder than ever.

Why Larry David’s Holocaust Joke Was So UncomfortableJeremy Dauber examines the comedian’s long history of referencing the Shoah for laughs throughout his career and the wide range of results.

How Should Hollywood Respond to Mass Shootings?Sophie Gilbert considers Showtime’s documentary series Active Shooter as standing in opposition to the entertainment industry’s avoidance of an increasingly urgent subject.



The Pitfalls of Taylor Swift’s Anti-PR CampaignSpencer Kornhaber points out that a cease-and-desist letter to a blogger earned rebuke from the ACLU and attention to the star’s white-supremacist following.

The Powerful Tune That Drives ‘The Battle Hymn of the Republic’Jon Batiste reflects on how a melody can carry an undeniable purpose even before it gets paired with a lyric.

The CMA Awards Address Las Vegas, LightlySpencer Kornhaber watches the country-music ceremony, which mostly focused on uplift, unity, and maintaining the status quo in the face of tragedy.

The Old Taylor Swift Is Hiding Within ReputationSpencer Kornhaber listens to the singer’s hugely anticipated new album, which nestles moments of lovelorn bliss among chaos, noise, and trend chasing.

Carlos Barria / Reuters


The Floating World Unearths Trauma Amid Natural DisasterAmy Weiss-Meyer reads C. Morgan Babst’s debut, which follows a family in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and tests the limits of selflessness and community.

What Flannery O’Connor’s College Journal RevealsKaren Swallow Prior analyzes the brief diary as showing an aspiring writer struggling to overcome doubt and anxiety.

Brian Snyder / Reuters


All the Angry LadiesMegan Garber sees that the Weinstein moment has had a side effect: the mobilization and the normalization of women’s rage.

Can a New Vogue Editor Make Britain Great Again?Sophie Gilbert believes Edward Enninful, freshly installed at the U.K. magazine, has a dynamic and inspiring vision of an embattled nation.

Louis C.K., Roy Moore, and Hollywood’s Sexualization of GirlsMegan Garber ties together the stories of older men having relationships with teenage girls as exceptional, but also disconcertingly common.

Kevork Djansezian / Reuters


Louis C.K. and the Abuse of Power in the Comedy WorldDavid Sims states that the industry will have to grapple with what many have called an open secret after reports of sexual misconduct by the influential comic emerge.



TFW You Can Play ‘TFW’ in Words With FriendsBen Zimmer dives into why the popular mobile game is adding certain abbreviations to its lexicon, breaking with a rule held sacred by its forebear, Scrabble.