The most meme-worthy pop culture and internet moments of 2018.
The internet can, famously, be a raging hellscape. Sometimes, however, it can offer a respite of pure joy, laughter, and schadenfreude.
Here are the best internet of 2018, according to Popdust staff:
Natalie Walker's Oscar Auditions & Cat Cohen's Entire Schtick
Here is my audition to be in a movie as lady who is married to the great white man who is solving racism forever al… https://t.co/wHpkaOFdln— Natalie Walker (@Natalie Walker)1532398139.0
Chosen by Rebecca Linde, Staff Writer
It'd be one thing if Natalie Walker simply pointed out the condescension with which Hollywood screenwriters write female characters. It'd be another if she were able to communicate the hypocritical, grandstanding, self-congratulating way that men are portrayed as all-knowing saviors while women are merely supporting characters strategically placed to help move the male lead's story along. That she is able to eviscerate these stayed double standards while in pitch-perfect character, is truly a work of artistic genius. The whole thread is worthwhile, but my personal favorite is "lady who is married to the great white man who is solving racism forever all by himself." Hollywood, take note: Natalie Walker is, in fact, the hero we deserve.
Cat Cohen at Joe's Pub - Summer 2018 youtu.be
Like Walker, comedian Catherine Cohen takes on the patriarchy in character—only her characters are a lot weirder, and they do it in song. Cohen's sets are a cross between stand-up, broadway, and diary entry, making them beautiful, hilarious, and incredibly catchy. She's self-effacing with a nod to her own ridiculousness, which gives weight to her message that being a woman in the world constitutes low-level insanity. With a clear grasp on a range of musical styles, her versatility is astounding. That her crowd work is as biting and strange as her catalog ("look at me, you invented me," she intones to an audience member) is the sign of an unstoppable brain, and her one-minute character studies, like "Keven Rachel Anniston: explorer, mama, friend," might just be what the internet was made for.
Dr. Death Trailer youtu.be
Wondery podcast: Dr. Death
Chosen by Meg Hanson, Staff Writer
This year's Dr. Death podcast validated every one of its listeners' fears about visiting the doctor. After debuting in September, the true crime phenomenon shot to #4 on the iTunes charts. The six-part series, hosted by journalist Laura Beil, uncovers the carnage of a Dallas-based spinal surgeon, Chrisopher Duntsch, who for 18 months was permitted to operate on 38 patients, despite misplacing metal screws into muscle, drilling holes into vertebrae, and severing nerves entirely. Patients of Dr. Duntsch were paralyzed for life, left in chronic pain, or, in two instances, died soon after surgery. The press named him "Dr. Death" when fellow surgeons began to report that a doctor was inflicting damage so severe that they feared he was intentionally harming patients with intent to kill. Christopher Duntsch was sentenced to life imprisonment in a "historic" precedent for a malpractice case. But the podcast's concerns are why Duntsch wasn't stopped after his first surgeries revealed gross incompetence, how even after he was forced to leave one hospital he was able to find work at another, and how a man who repeatedly failed to meet medical training standards got a license in the first place?
Some Weird Stuff I Found on Twitter
Matt Clibanoff, Editorial Lead
I'm extremely online, so this stuff might not be for everyone, but it all made me laugh until I cried. I made up titles for some of these.
Get Back Inside
Get back inside @nick_colletti https://t.co/aDWqf15eyC— Casey Frey (@Casey Frey)1545159270.0
Christmas with Donald Trump
Donald Trump, answering phone call from 7-year-old on Christmas Eve: "Are you still a believer in Santa? Because at… https://t.co/w601mEalsW— The Daily Beast (@The Daily Beast)1545701194.0
https://t.co/OCOUcYQaKI— David Harvey (@David Harvey)1543056176.0
Stretching is Bad Now?
Eric Andre's Birthday Party feat. Jack Black
#🍰 @ericandre @jackblack https://t.co/ZdZGk1yYcT— Mike Rosenstein (@Mike Rosenstein)1523213007.0
What The Fuck Is This?
https://t.co/mpljtpnE2P— David Harvey (@David Harvey)1544198502.0
Some More Weird Stuff I Found on Twitter
By Brooke Johnson, Assistant Editor
The internet is to be consumed in small doses, like tequila or family, and no platform is better at parsing out the best of the Internet than Twitter. Here are some things I loved or hated in 2018 with particular intensity. I will also make up some of their names, but do a better job at it than Matt did.
I Am Legion.
Jane Fonda couldn't unzip her gala dress so she slept in it.
I think about this post from Jane Fonda sometimes https://t.co/2uuCzgC8Ah— Lana Del Rae (@Lana Del Rae)1544128666.0
Sex ed is always funny. Always.
My friend is teaching elementary schoolers about sex Ed and she typed their questions out andddd 😭😂 https://t.co/HVNPbk1R50— remarried empress merchant (@remarried empress merchant)1531250635.0
Tom Cruise has never seen a movie.
has Tom Cruise seen a movie? https://t.co/9Li0zAq1YB— Ryan Perez (@Ryan Perez)1532970477.0
This is funny but also not, and I like that.
Amy Poehler was named one of the 40 most powerful people in comedy and her answers to these questions are genius: (… https://t.co/HqsNeupDyy— Rachel Dratch (@Rachel Dratch)1529019019.0
This is my own tweet but I stand by its cultural significance.
So a UPS guy was delivering a package to a farm and he saw a llama go into labor and no one was home at the farm so… https://t.co/OPFx2BO1sD— Brooke Ivey Johnson (@Brooke Ivey Johnson)1528086709.0
Seth Rogen's mom is funnier than he is.
Jesus mom https://t.co/dJZPr2Y27o— Seth Rogen (@Seth Rogen)1525756346.0
Bonus—What Popdust readers couldn't get enough of in 2018:
POP⚡DUST | Read More...
- The funniest memes and viral moments of 2018 - INSIDER ›
- Best Memes of 2018: Most Popular Memes of the Year - Thrillist ›
- Yanny, Gritty and a massive cow: The year of 2018 in fun/weird ... ›
- 15 internet moments in 2018 that made us scream 'NOPE' ›
- Five Times the Internet Was Actually Fun in 2018 - The New York ... ›
Plus celebrities react to Nigerian protests.
Young people across Nigeria have been pouring into the streets for the last two weeks to protest police brutality, specifically the controversial special police force known as the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
Tension came to a head on Tuesday when armed forces fired on protestors in Lagos, the biggest city in Nigeria, who were out past the state-mandated curfew. According to AP News, "Police also fired tear gas at one point, and smoke could be seen billowing from several areas in the city's center. Two private TV stations were forced off the air at least temporarily as their offices were burned."
Not all non-binary people prefer gender-neutral pronouns.
October 21, 2020 marks the third annual International Pronouns Day.
Created by an independent board and first observed in 2018, it's one of those small commemorative holidays that trends on Twitter in hopes of drawing attention to a pressing social issue, like International Women's Day (March 8th) or the ever so serious National Taco Day (October 4).
But Pronouns Day in particular "seeks to make respecting, sharing, and educating about personal pronouns commonplace." The organization's website further describes, "Referring to people by the pronouns they determine for themselves is basic to human dignity. Being referred to by the wrong pronouns particularly affects transgender and gender nonconforming people. Together, we can transform society to celebrate people's multiple, intersecting identities."
But in the words of nonbinary activist and Trevor Project's Head of Advocacy and Government Afairs, Sam Brenton, "Pronouns are hard." Never before have pronouns been scrutinized as closely as they are in 2019 for their power to (in)validate or accurately describe something as fluid as gender identity. In fact, it was only this year that the Merriam-Webster Dictionary expanded the definition of "they" "to refer to a single person whose gender identity is nonbinary" (thus codifying a long history in English language of using "they" to refer to a singular non-gendered entity).
‘Everyone has the responsibility to be respectful.’ — The @TrevorProject’s Sam Brinton is explaining why pronouns a… https://t.co/pMMO8KRvBR— NowThis (@NowThis)1571253180.0
But throwing an additional wrench in the works is the fact that not all non-binary people prefer gender-neutral pronouns.
Take me, for instance: Despite having female biology, I couldn't pass a lie detector test saying I'm a "woman." But my pragmatic, Puritan family is still endearingly confused by the idea of "liberal arts," let alone the notion of gender fluidity. And I'd rather share a communal language with them than do the emotional and mental labor of re-orienting their worldview for them. Plus, I have the privilege of passing as female without feeling too, too, terribly dysphoric (which non-binary people can definitely suffer from, despite not identifying as trans).
But enough about me, look at Queer Eye's beloved Jonathan Van Ness. While he's been outspoken about being genderqueer, gay, and HIV positive, he prefers he/him pronouns. "The older I get, the more I think that I'm nonbinary," Van Ness said. "I'm gender nonconforming. Like, some days I feel like a man, but then other days I feel like a woman." As he told Out magazine, he doesn't identify as a man, but he does prefer "he/him/his" pronouns. In his view, those pronouns don't detract from or contradict his non-binary identity, because gender is not about simple binaries between masculine and feminine identifiers. "Any opportunity I have to break down stereotypes of the binary, I am down for it, I'm here for it," he said. "I think that a lot of times gender is used to separate and divide. It's this social construct that I don't really feel like I fit into the way I used to."
On the other hand, last month non-binary singer Sam Smith announced that their preferred pronouns are "they/them." Smith posted to Instagram, "I've decided I am changing my pronouns to THEY/THEM ❤ after a lifetime of being at war with my gender I've decided to embrace myself for who I am, inside and out." People like Smith and Trevor Project's Sam Brenton simply feel more validated, seen, heard, and true to themselves with gender-neutral pronouns. Smith wrote, "I'm so excited and privileged to be surrounded by people that support me in this decision but I've been very nervous about announcing this because I care too much about what people think but f*ck it!"
Most importantly, as pretty much every non-binary person and activist is aware, changing cultural norms is hard. While LGBTQ+ activism is inspired and passionate and dedicated to expanding human rights to all gender identities, we all know that changing society's entire understanding of gender and pronoun usage is about slowly opening minds. As Smith wrote, "I understand there will be many mistakes and mis gendering but all I ask is you please please try. I hope you can see me like I see myself now. Thank you." Happy Pronouns Day to you/him/her/they/(f)aer/zim.