The Angle

The Angle: Uncanny Valley Edition

Slate’s daily newsletter on Alex Acosta, Christian bookstores, The Lion King, and Colson Whitehead.

Money-colored glasses: Labor Secretary Alex Acosta claimed on Wednesday that he did nothing wrong when, as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida, he cut a sweetheart deal for alleged sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein. The only way he could do that, Dahlia Lithwick writes, is by willfully, callously ignoring dozens of victims: “Alex Acosta chose to sign a non-prosecution agreement around what he opted to see, which is what he wanted to see, which was close to nothing.”

Not just “Jesus junk”: Christian bookstores, once an important gatekeeper of evangelical culture, are now a dying breed; two major chains, LifeWay and Family Christian Stores, closed all their brick-and-mortar locations in the past two years. Ruth Graham traces the history of these stores and what’s lost with their passing.

Recircle of life: The new Lion King, a near shot-for-shot remake of the 1994 Disney classic, comes out next week. Dana Stevens says the CGI film looks “startlingly photorealistic, like a high-end nature documentary”—for better and worse. Whenever the animals (voiced by a star-studded cast including Beyoncé and Donald Glover) open their mouths to sing or deliver a punchline, the spell is broken.

The follow-up: Colson Whitehead is on quite the hot streak: a Pulitzer Prize, a TV adaptation of his novel The Underground Railroad, a Time magazine cover. But can his latest book, The Nickel Boys, measure up to the “quicksilver ironies” of his earlier work? Laura Miller weighs in.

For fun: A brief history of Kanye West, Star Wars fan.

I am one with the Force, the Force is with me,