The top US culture stories of 2017: Get Out, rightwing comics and Christian rock

This year saw the downfall of many Hollywood heavyweights and confessions from many of its actors, and proof that diversity is both necessary and profitable

The influence of a president with a background in showbiz was felt in every corner of the cultural world in 2017, from politically inflected theatre to a revitalized late-night comedy scene.

The year also saw the downfall of many Hollywood heavyweights in a climate that gave those with less power the ability to speak out against sexual predators, from Harvey Weinstein to Kevin Spacey.

It wasnt just a barrage of bleakness, though, with a number of refreshing and vital box office hits showing that diversity is not only necessary but profitable (from Get Out to Wonder Woman to Girls Trip) and a seemingly unending embarrassment of riches on the small screen with The Handmaids Tale, Mindhunter and Big Little Lies among many fantastic options.


Mike Pence, finding God and the shifting agenda of Christian music festivals

Alongside our coverage of Coachella, we found time to focus on a less-reported subsection of music festivals. Jemayel Khawaja attended the worlds biggest Christian gathering, looking at the part that such events now play and how their dwindling attendance has led them to seek a more progressive attitude, at odds with those held by Mike Pence, who found his religion at one in 1978.

There is strange irony in the fact that after decades of trying to break Christian acts into mainstream music and eventually succeeding at doing so, that open-door facilitated a cross-pollinization of Christian and secular culture, one that has had deleterious effects on the singular importance many youthful believers place on Christian music as their source for their cultural engagement.

The result is that attendance and profits for Christian festivals around the country have dropped significantly over the past decade. Many of the smaller events have ceased to exist, while a sizable portion have been swallowed up by the still massive Creation series of festivals including Ichthus in Kentucky, where Mike Pence found Jesus. Even more worrying for traditionalists is that many of the acts performing are not overtly religious in their messaging and do not sing about God, while others even make questioning their faith a central theme of their music. Like it or not, modern Christianity has become intersectional, and its a lot harder to influence a generation who pick and choose their identity in a bricolage rather than a one-size-fits-all worldview.

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