Best Moment 2022
Avigail Oren (senior co-editor): I will never not laugh at my local TV news station’s gaffe in March, when they prematurely put up a graphic about the State of the Union at the exact moment when the anchor began a segment on a 71-year old sex offender. It’s not quite at the level of Ken Bastida’s “Dana is off tonight, he was murdered and then set on fire while celebrating his birthday,” but deserves an entry in the TV News Bloopers Hall of Fame.
Ryan Reft (senior co-editor): Honestly, I’ve always been fairly ambivalent about Twitter. For those among us, who have built considerable followings on the bird app, that’s no joke. It requires real engagement, which I frankly find exhausting. Twitter undoubtedly has fostered equal amounts of light and heat, tragedy and triumph, outrage and comfort. That said, it’s opened the door to so many new voices that otherwise would have been ignored or drowned out by larger media. With all that acknowledged, Elon Musk’s train wreck of a takeover at least confirms my priors about the man. He’s hardly the genius his fanboys have made him out to be, and the current debacle goes a long way in demonstrating the old cliched adage, the emperor has no clothes.
Charlotte Rosen (co-editor, Disciplining the City/Disciplining the Nation series): We are not an Oscars household, but for some reason we randomly decided to tune in this year, allowing us to experience The Slap first hand. Need I say more?
Matthew Guariglia (co-editor, Disciplining the City/Disciplining the Nation series): I’m not a deep follower of UK politics, but the artificial stakes and urgency created by the question of whether Liz Truss as Prime Minister would outlast a head of lettuce in a blonde wig will be something that sticks with me for a long while.
Best 2022 Podcast
(Can be an ongoing podcast or a new one)
Ryan: Admittedly, Bomani Jones has been around for some time, and the same is true of his podcast, The Right Time with Bomani Jones. There are a million sports podcasts out there, but few as cogent and incisive as Jones. He always seems to find a seam of thought that shines a new perspective on the issues of the day. I’d also rep for Strict Scrutiny. For folks invested in legal history, Melissa Murray, Leah Litman, and Kate Shaw provide sharp analysis from a liberal perspective regarding not only the Supreme Court but the often ignored but incredibly important “inferior courts,” a.k.a. the US District and Appellate Courts. For the past few decades, due in part to congressional gridlock, and for better or worse, the courts operate as an almost legislative arm of the government making podcasts like Strict Scrutiny even more important in the long run.
Charlotte: I love my intellectual, political, and leftie pods, but sometimes I need to go full sicko mode on pop culture and celebrity gossip, of which there are numerous podcasts to choose from. My favs are: Celebrity Memoir Book Club, Eating for Free, and Beyond the Blinds. I also love Normal Gossip—nothing like a good, juicy, no-stakes story about people you don’t know being unhinged. I’ve also recently started listening to Other World, which is about people who have had paranormal experiences—as a deeply a-religious and a-spiritual person, I find some of it hard to swallow but enjoy the lore and thought that ghosts are real.
Matthew: This is the year I dug deep into The Dig. The quality of interviewing on that podcast is just top notch.
Angela Stiefbold (copy & formatting editor): The most interesting podcast I blundered into this year is Articles of Interest, on the history of clothing, particularly its recent series of episodes about the history of “Ivy Style,” otherwise known as “preppy.”
Best Cultural Development of 2022
Avigail: I feel like albums made a comeback this year, and I’ve always been more of an album than a playlist person. Obviously, there was Beyoncé’s Renaissance, which invites us all to dissolve the boundaries of our skin and bones and explode into ethereal sparkles of dancing love. Harry’s House and Midnights both spent more time in rotation than I anticipated, though I was surprised by how quickly I tired of Rosalia’s MOTOMAMI. Probably my favorite release of the year, though, was Experts in a Dying Field by The Beths.
Ryan: First, let me second Avigail’s celebration of Midnights. Like her, I had not anticipated liking it so much. Granted I thought her 1989 album was class, don’t believe me? See here. Anyway, what does this have to do with “best cultural development?” Well Taylor’s debacle with Ticketmaster sparked no small amount of fury among her fans, some of whom took to questioning capitalism. For the olds among us, it rekindled once-flanneled, pre-cell phone memories of a certain bunch of longhairs from the Pacific Northwest and their attempt to take down the concert monopoly during the 1990s. Spoiler alert, it did not go well for a little band named Pearl Jam. Now I’m too old to think Adam Smith’s free market fantasy is going anywhere, but do I think it’s good young folks are questioning it? Yes. After all, the nasty thing about capitalism is we’re all implicated. To quote Swift:
“It’s me, hi, I’m the problem, it’s me.
At tea time, everybody agrees.
I’ll stare directly at the sun but never in the mirror
It must be exhausting, always rooting for the anti-hero”
Question away folks.
Charlotte: Is it embarrassing to say The Mars Volta reuniting, going on tour, and offering me a nostalgic and transcendental live music experience??? Oh, and maybe Bennifer 2.0. I genuinely want to believe they are hopelessly in love; although my PR stunt senses are tingling. We’ll see!
Matthew: Best—easy, the massive outburst of unionization efforts across the United States. But by far one of the worst is CNN’s decision to cancel Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy. He had so many more regions to visit! So many local delicacies to try! Not that I want to flood good attention or tourism dollars onto a neo-fascist government, but that show, with its joy of regional cuisines and its commitment to showing how diverse modern Italy is, was a real breath of fresh air.
Featured image (at top): “New York, New York: The Di Costanzo family, owners of a restaurant on Mulberry Street, hold their annual family dinner in the restaurant on New Year’s Eve. There are few customers on that night. At left is a flag and picture of their son who is in the United States Army. Two of the Di Costanzo girls at their New Years’ family party.” Marjory Collins, photographer, December 1942. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress.