Top 10 Cultural Moments of 2022

The Crimson Arts Board presents its favorite cultural moments of the year, from the fall of the 'Wife Guys' to the death of Twitter.
Adèle Haenel stars as Héloïse in "Portrait of a Lady on Fire."By Courtesy of Festival de Cannes
By The Crimson Arts Staff

10. The Fall of the 'Wife Guy'

Unfortunately, 2022 marked the downfall of “The Wife Guy” — an archetype referring to celebrity men who make their marital relationships highly visible in public discourse. From the Try Guys Fallout, in which former member and certified “Wife Guy” Ned Fulmer was exposed for cheating on his wife with an employee, to musician Adam Levine’s cringy and inappropriate Instagram DMs behind former Victoria’s Secret model wife Behhati Prinsloo’s back, it’s been a rough year for married men everywhere. —Anya L. Henry

By Courtesy of Festival de Cannes

9. Sight and Sound’s “Greatest Films of All Time” Poll Ranks a Female Filmmaker as Number One

Perhaps most college students have never heard of Sight and Sound’s Poll of the “Greatest Films of All Time,” which is published by the British Film Institute's magazine every 10 years. First established in 1952, the prestigious poll asks film industry professionals across the world to rank what they regard as the best films ever made. Since 1992, there have been two separate lists: the Critics’ list and the Directors’ list. The films that make it onto these lists are usually dominated by male filmmakers, but 2022 marked the first time the number one film on the Critics’ list was directed by a woman — Belgian director Chantal Akerman’s “Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles.” Known as a distinctly feminist film, “Jeanne Dielman” follows three days in the life of a housewife as she performs domestic tasks and earns money as a sex worker. This year’s poll is a landmark moment as women have been long overlooked within the film industry, among other marginalized communities. If you trace the history of the Sight and Sound Poll, only three other films have topped the Critics’ list: “Citizen Kane,” “Vertigo,” and “The Bicycle Thieves,” with “Citizen Kane” dominating the number one spot most 1338229years. The increased diversity of the Critics’ List and the Directors’ List is reflective of a stronger desire to amplify the stories of marginalized communities. Also on the list were the films “Moonlight,” “Cléo from 5 to 7,” “Black Girl,” “Portrait of a Lady on Fire,” and “Daughters of the Dust,” among other films made by and starring women and people of color. An esteemed poll like this is certainly not the be-all and end-all when it comes to affirming artistic merit, but this year’s list is a reflection of some positive and necessary strides toward equality in the film industry. —Jaden S. Thompson

8. ‘Don't Worry Darling,’ There’s Drama

From the moment rumors of Harry Styles and Olivia Wilde’s on-set romance hit the internet, the production of “Don’t Worry Darling” became a frequent flier on the Hollywood rumor mill. Lowlights from the film’s nightmare press tour include Wilde being served custody papers from her ex-husband, Jason Sudeikis, while presenting the film’s trailer at CinemaCon; Florence Pugh skipping the Venice Film Festival press conference ahead of the film’s premiere; and “spitgate” after a video seemed to show Styles spitting on co-star Chris Pine. While “Don’t Worry Darling” was an utterly forgettable film, the drama surrounding its production will go down in pop culture infamy. —Jen A. Hughes

We wrote about all of the “Don’t Worry Darling” drama from Florence Pugh’s criticism of the film’s marketing to “spitgate.”

7. The Takeover of BeReal

Amid a rising mindfulness around rising screen times, content consumption, and the unhealthy nature of oversharing on the internet, 2022 has seen BeReal solidify itself among social media staples like Instagram and TikTok. Pushing back against the desire to curate your online persona, BeReal’s encouragement of “being real” by taking a photo randomly throughout the day attempts to normalize, and even celebrate, the mundanity of life. An innocent way to keep up with friends and share snippets of your day has grown to the point of halting classes, parties, rehearsals, and meetings for two minutes so people can take their BeReals. The app’s rationed, single daily post of one front-camera photo and one back-camera photo asks little of users. Other users can then add comments and “RealMojis” on their friends’ posts, allowing for great potential for connection. BeReals have become a subtle tool for flexing, with people casually uploading selfies with politicians or asking artists at concerts to take their BeReals. The app’s relaxed tone around adding people and posting has made it a staple, with competitors trying but failing to reach such success with similar features. As we head into 2023, we wonder if this “anti-social media” social media app will lead to a revolution in our relationship with online posting, or become overshadowed by another app doing it better. —Anna Moiseieva

6. Wordle

You love it. Your grandfather loves it. Bill Gates wrote an entire blog post about how much he loves it. I mean really when else has there been a game that transcends boundaries of age, gender, and socioeconomic status? While Wordle falls short of solving world peace, the game was nevertheless a principal part of millions of people's days this year, bringing us closer together over guessing a five-letter word. Wordle is an entire event. First people spend genuine time thinking of the best first guesses that use the most amount of vowels and common consonants in just one word. Audio? Raise? Crane? And while the game requires some strategy, with five chances to guess a 5-letter word, it is almost inevitable that a majority of players will “win.” And maybe that’s the point. Wordle is this dependable, small jolt of positivity in everyone’s days. And if you ever get tired, you can always try Nerdle, Quordle, Worldle, Taylordle, Foodle, or any of the other Wordle-like guessing games that match your niche. Our word for this review? GREAT. Wordle is great. —Sarah M. Rojas

5. Will Smith Slapping Chris Rock

The Oscars have no shortage of drama and entertainment, and this year was no exception. In what became one of the first defining cultural moments of the year, Chris Rock was presenting the award for best documentary when he decided to crack a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s bald head — which she shaved due to her alopecia, a condition that causes hair loss — saying: “Can’t wait for G.I. Jane 2.” Moments later, Will Smith stalked on stage and slapped Rock, shouting, “keep my wife’s name out of your f-cking mouth!” The slap, as it came to be known, elicited shocked laughter from an audience who may have just realized the slap was unplanned. Rock appears slightly fazed but rolls with the punches (pun intended), cracking another joke and moving on with the show, [a testament to his professionalism][CUT?]. Afterwards, Will Smith apologized to the Academy and his fellow nominees during his Oscar acceptance speech for his brilliant performance in “King Richard,” a dampening on what should’ve been a triumphant moment for him. Instead, the slap overshadowed the entire show, making it the biggest hit (pun intended) of the night. The Academy was not pleased, calling the altercation “unacceptable,” and Smith later issued a public apology, saying he was “out of line and wrong.” He has since apologized several times. All in all, the “slap heard around the world” raises interesting questions about comedians crossing boundaries, the layers of violence Black women face, repercussions for violence involving celebrities, and award show etiquette. —Arielle C. Frommer

4. Elon Musk Buys Twitter

On Oct. 27, billionaire Elon Musk’s months-long ordeal to buy and then try to get out of buying Twitter culminated in Musk taking ownership of the social media platform for $44 billion dollars — something that tech experts have called “one of the most overpaid tech acquisitions in history.” He immediately proceeded to fire a large number of staff across Twitter’s ranks, including the chief executive and chief financial officer, as well as key content moderation staff. Musk took to poking fun at his critics and making and reversing massive platform-altering decisions on apparent whims, while Twitter, which millions of people rely on to stay up to date with current events and conversations (including thousands of journalists), quickly approached the verge of becoming unusable. And in an increasingly unpredictable turn of events, Musk is now searching for a new CEO to replace him following the results of a Twitter poll. The fate of Twitter remains uncertain. In the meantime, you can find me trying and failing to understand Mastodon, Post, and the countless other social media networks that are vying to fill the vacuum left by Musk’s Twitter. —Sofia Andrade

3. FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022

Since Nov. 20, it seems the whole world has stopped whatever they are doing to watch the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. At Harvard alone, it is not unusual to see flocks of students crowded around a TV to watch soccer’s brightest stars play on the world’s biggest stage. Play at the World Cup has been fantastic, with underdogs Croatia and Morocco reaching the semifinals, the latter being the first African nation ever to do so. Of course, the event isn’t without its serious controversies. The deaths of thousands of migrant workers in preparation for the tournament and the host country Qatar’s hostility towards members of the BGLTQ+ community have cast a shadow on the tournament and the joy that it has brought so many viewers, whether they be dedicated fans or new enough to still be confused by the offside rule. As the final kicks off on Dec. 18, though, one thing is for certain: The entire world will be watching, for better or for worse. —Daniel S. de Castro

2. Soup on a Van Gogh

“What is worth more, art or life?” That’s what 21-year-old climate activist Phoebe Plummer asked when, on Oct. 14, she and other ‘Just Stop Oil’ activists threw canned tomato soup onto Vincent van Gogh’s “Sunflowers” at London’s National Gallery and glued themselves to the wall of the museum. Just Stop Oil has made a name for itself as an activist movement using disruptive tactics to fight against the fossil fuel industry and its role in the climate crisis. Though the famed “Sunflowers” painting was unharmed — it was protected by glass — the action was internationally polarizing, with some believing it only served to alienate others from the climate movement. A member of the British Conservative Party called it “attention-seeking.” But the action accomplished its goals nonetheless: to raise awareness of Just Stop Oil’s mission, and to call into question the priorities of a society that expresses more outrage at the potential destruction of a painting of sunflowers than at the destruction of the planet that houses it. —Sofia Andrade

1. The Death of the Queen

Through her 70-year reign, Queen Elizabeth II has touched the hearts of fans across generations, as evidenced by the 4.1 billion people who watched her state funeral earlier this year. As the longest reigning monarch in British history, Queen Elizabeth will be remembered by some as a cultural icon who stood as Britain’s figurehead through enormous times of change from the Cold War to COVID-19. She will be cherished by royalist fans for her love of her pets, particularly her horses and many corgis. As a queen of the British empire, though, her legacy isn’t all rosy. Her death in September sparked prolonged conversation about her role in Britain’s harmful legacy of colonization and oppression. Others chose to focus on her unique position as a female ruler and possible role model during a century marked by changes in tradition. Whatever one saw her as, though, her cultural significance cannot be ignored. The Queen is succeeded by her eldest son Prince Charles and buried in George VI Memorial Chapel alongside her father, mother, and sister. —Allison S. Park

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