The end of the year internet is always the same, filled with lists, so this week’s column includes ten of the best year-end lists. Highlights: The New York Times had a lot of scary headlines, I kinda forgot to read the New Yorker this year, Amy Sherald won pop culture, memes define contemporary visual culture, TV is having a moment, it was a political year, Longreads is pretty great, some V good albums were released this year, celebrities spilled a lot of tea, and Kanye beefed with the world.
1. New York Times: We dare you to live through the year again.
This isn’t a list as much as it is a video game that you continuously play until you just can’t anymore. The game pairs NYT headlines — “the fun, the serious, the absurd, the tragic” — side by side and allows viewers to click through them. Every now and again you get awards that it prompts you to screenshot. But it doesn’t seem to promote winning, only an endless cacophony.
2. The New Yorker: The Twenty-Five Most-Read New Yorker Stories of 2018
Pick of the list: I spent a lot of time this year with one of my friends that is an avid vaper, so I found The Promise of Vaping and the Rise of Juul particularly interesting. I don’t smoke or vape, and don’t like either taking place in my apartment. My friend would often come over and forget about this rule. Every now and again I would smell something sweet behind me, turn around, and catch my friend in the act. Her eyes widened as I glared at her, then we both would start laughing. After reading this article she told me that because of Juul she smoked less than she used to, but is more addicted to nicotine.
What’s missing: I feel like I didn’t read as much of the New Yorker this year as I normally do. If I had to add to this I would The Misreading of Mitski, but that is probably because it came out this month and most of my friends are obsessed with Mitski. It is a few years old, but I also just read Elizabeth and Alice, which chronicles the story of Elizabeth Bishop’s last liaison with Alice Methfessel.
3. Artsy: Year in Visual Culture 2018
Pick of the list: Amy Sherald’s Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama. The artworld rarely makes a lasting impact on pop culture, but that is exactly what Sherald did with this painting. I spend an absurd amount of time at the National Portrait Gallery, and I constantly overhear people talking about Michelle, as everyone seems to affectionately call the painting.
What’s missing: Memes! Memes are talked about in the analyses of Juul and Colin Kaepernick’s Nike Ad Campaign, but they do make the list in and of themselves. When it comes to visual culture, memes are always amongst the most dominate and shareable images we have.
— Sarshimus P (@snoodmonger) May 14, 2018
Pick of the list: One of my favorite memes by far this year was #BBQBecky, which arose after a white woman called to cops on black people having a bar-b-que in Oakland, California. The woman, dubbed Becky by the black internet, was then quickly photoshopped into various situations where she called the police on people she had no business calling the police on. My favorite variation features Obama.
What’s missing: This is a pretty comprehensive list, but I would probably add an astrology meme, but astrology kinda just uses all of the memes. Instead, I’ll just suggest following @poetastrologers on Twitter, or @jakesastrology on Instagram (but he is also active on twitter). @poetastrologers posts both memes and horoscopes, and @jakesastrology mostly posts memes.
5. The Atlantic: The 22 Best TV Shows of 2018
Pick of the list: All of my favorite shows (apart from Grey’s Anatomy which I know doesn’t count as good TV anymore) made this list —if you include “also noteworthy”— and it is hard to choose between shows that vary so much in themes and genres. But, if you are going to watch 3 TV shows on this list I would choose The Good Place, Killing Eve, and Pose.
What’s missing: Now, I know the only reason this didn’t make the list is because the show — or movie rather — was just released a couple of days ago, but Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, which allows viewers to chose their own paths, is doing some crazy things in the world of TV. Personally, I have not gotten past the second episode of Black Mirror, and I probably never will. The show makes me too paranoid.
6. Huffington Post: 2018: The Year In Ideas: A Review Of Ideas
Pick of the list: Yeah… I don’t know if I am particularly drawn to the ideas in the list, but I’m interested in the idea of the list. I guess I would pick “The Year Is Ending: Here’s What That Means For 2018” because it is so obvious and redundant? Like in a comical way?
What’s missing: An idea that isn’t about American politics! I mean yes, everything is political. But this list is explicitly about politics in the political arena. The idea I would add to this is the thesis in Wesley Morris’ The Morality Wars, which is that “artistic value has been replaced by moral judgment” in cultural criticism.
7. Longreads: All of Our No. 1 Story Picks
Pick of the list: Losing Earth: The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change by Nathaniel Rich is arguably the most in-depth climate change coverage by a major news outlet this year. At 30,663 words it is also one of the longest longreads published this year. If you want to learn about this history of climate change and its politics, this is the place to start.
What’s Missing: I read Longreads all the time, and their weekly “Top 5 Longreads of the Week” is often where I find articles for my own lists. I found one of my absolute favorite stories from this year is on that Longread’s list. Now I know this list is only the No. 1 article picked from the weekly top 5, but The Breakup Museum: Archiving the Way We Were by Leslie Jamison, published on the Virginia Quarterly Review is one of the most interesting stories of heartbreak and creating a public space in which to grieve I have ever read.
8. NPR: Best Albums of 2018
Pick of the list: Honestly, this list is super dope and three albums I have been listening to a lot recently — Isolation by Kali Uchis, Be the Cowboy by Mitski, and Dirty Computer by Janelle Monáe — are all in the top 10. My pick has to be Dirty Computer because I was very skeptical of the album with it came out, but it has grown on me so much over the year.
What’s missing: Like I said, this is a very comprehensive list. I would add John Adams: Doctor Atomic recorded by Julia Bullock, Gerald Finley, BBC Singers, BBC Symphony Orchestra and John Adams only because of Bullock. I could listen to her sing all day.
9. Washington Post: The most revealing celebrity interviews of 2018, from Gwyneth Paltrow to Quincy Jones
Pick of the list: LMAOO, defs the Quincy Jones profile. The whole thing is him saying, “We can’t talk about this in public, man” then spilling vats of piping hot tea. But Jones is 85, so YOLO I guess???
What’s missing: So maybe this isn’t a ~traditional~ profile, but Rihanna’s photoshoot by Deana Lawson for Garage Magazine is what magazine dreams are made of. I could look at those forever. I don’t even what to know how the photos came to be. I’m perfectly happy in continuous and perpetual awe of them.
Pick of the list: Okay, again I can’t pick just one! I love celebrity shenanigans too much! But, my two favorites are Kim Cattrall vs. Sarah Jessica Parker— where Cattrall and SJP got into a public debate over the state of a third Sex and the City movie, and Cattrall told SJP via an Instagram post that she didn’t her “love or support at this tragic time” — and Lana Del Rey vs. Azealia Banks because of course, Azealia Banks made this list.
What’s missing: The feud between Kanye and Drake made this list, but with the year Kanye had, it should really be Kanye vs. the world.
*All images taken from reference articles*
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