It is that time of year again. It is time for a list of lists. Surprisingly, however, end of year lists have not dominated the internet in recent weeks in comparison to years past.
When I mentioned this to a friend that is very online she responded that it is because “nothing good has happened in a while. I seriously can’t remember anything memorable other than things going to shit. The only good things are people/s reactions to those things.” This year was mid.
Pick of the list: Julia Bullock’s solo debut, Walking in the Dark. A long awaited debut, Walking in the Dark comes in at 14 on this list. Known as “a keen curator, building programs of intellectual rigor that straddle classical and popular music,” Bullock’s debut is weaves together works from Nina Simone, Sandy Denny and Connie Converse with those from the classical cannon like Samuel Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915.
What’s missing: Little Simz’s NO THANK YOU. NO THANK YOU likely didn’t make the list due to its late release on December 12th, but it is my favorite album of the year. Everything about the album endlessly works together, and with each listen the depth of nuance in the lyrics and production deepens. I’ve been evangelizing it to anyone who will listen.
Pick of the list: Rocky Mountain Massacre by Ryan Devereaux for The Intercept. I love wolves, and I this year I’ve spent a lot of time exploring the interior of the country. While I’ve never been to Montana, one of my best friends is from there and I spend a lot of time listening to her talk about the state. Reporting on the wolves of Yellowstone, Devereaux investigates “how their fate has become tangled with the politics of Montana’s ascendant right wing. This is the (exceedingly) rare environmental policy investigation that reads like a crime thriller,” as Seyward Darby described in her summary of the piece.
What’s missing: Compiled of all of the number 1 picks from Longreads’s weekly top 5, technically there isn’t anything missing. However, I do wish something—anything—from Pipe Wrench was on this list.
In addition to this list, Longreads also published numerous other best of lists for everything from personal essays to investigative reporting that are well worth checking out.
Pick of the list: Clarence and Ginni Thomas. This isn’t a list as much as a declaration, but I did pick it because Clarence and Ginni Thomas, the Supreme Court Justice and his right-wing wife were some of the worst scoundrels of the year. And that is saying a lot because there are a lot to chose from. However, “the most corrupt couple in Washington,” and because of his position on an ultra-conservative Federal Society court, he literally has the ability to change federal laws. While the two have said they “operate in ‘separate lanes’ professionally,” a myriad of things, including Ginni’s involvement in the January 6th Insurrection, have come to light this year that disprove that claim. It seemed like every week this year we were learning about a new way the Thomases did something corrupt and abused their power.
What’s missing: Honestly, thinking about it, I’m not quite sure who I would pick as a bigger scoundrel this year—particularly someone who is US based.
Pick of the list: Queen Elizabeth’s Death. The Queen’s death was FUNNY! I spent days laughing! As I wrote about it in December when linking to Nitish Pahwa’s opinion in Slate, “There [was] generally a stark divide between those ‘who have origins in formerly colonized nations—places like Ireland, India/Pakistan/Bangladesh, Barbados, Zambia, and far too many others to list,’ and those who’ve benefited from that colonization.”
What’s missing: Megan Thee Stallion and Tory Lanez. Canadian rapper Tory Lanez, whose legal name is Daystar Peterson, was just convicted of shooting Megan Thee Stallion in the foot and of other charges related to the assault. Although Megan was not on trial or charged, and only appeared as a witness, she has faced much racist and sexist harassment, and misinformation is constantly being spread about her, much of it originating on blogs or gossip sites. The trial only started earlier this month, which, again, is likely one of the reasons it isn’t on this list. It is an important case to follow and understand because it highlights how poorly Black women, how Megan, are treated.
Pick of the list: Gaslight. There wasn’t much choice of a pick. I think it is interesting and important that Gaslight is word of the year, especially because of the very public Johnny Depp and Amber Heard trial and now that Tory Lanez is awaiting a verdict after being charged with shooting Megan Thee Stallion in the foot amongst other things. I do, however, hope the word doesn’t get co-opted and weaponized against people who are being gaslighted.
What’s missing: Boundaries. While the term “boundary” has been used in popular culture for a while, this year I saw more and more therapists—and people—taking issue with how the word is colloquially being used. Dr. Montiniquë McEachern of QueerWoc Podcast does an excellent job of addressing “the growing buzz around setting boundaries in relationships and the difference between a rule and a boundary,” in episode 114 of the show.
Pick of the list: A League of Their Own: “Stealing Home” (Amazon Prime Video, Season One, Episode Six). A League of Their Own has been slept on! A reimagination of the nineties movie, the TV version of A League of Their Own both pays homage to and “act as a corrective to it, dealing with race and sexuality in ways the film didn’t (or couldn’t),” and does so in a way that doesn’t feel harmful. While a little clumsy at times, it was such a good watch and I hope it gets a second season!
What’s missing: Riches on Amazon Prime. This could have been left off the list due to its December release. However, while it is a good, entertaining, and solid show about family drama, it isn’t revolutionary TV. The father and CEO of a company dies and leaves it to his estranged eldest children much to the dismay of the family he left them for. Chaos and secrets emerge from the fallout. It isn’t necessarily a story I haven’t seen before, but it is worth the watch!
Pick of the list: “nothing has been real since march 2020.” Someone could tell me this every year—probably even every day—for the rest of my life and I would believe them. I have no clue what has happened since March 2020.
What’s missing: I spend so much time on Twitter and have seen so many Tweets this year I have no clue which one I laughed at the most. I do, however, find myself constantly laughing at Black Twitter Threads on Instagram.
Pick of the list: Don’t Worry Darling. I have not seen Don’t Worry, Darling, nor do I want to, but the DRAMA surrounding the film was so entertaining. There was “Salad dressing! Potential spitting! Custody papers served on stage!” It was a glorious mess.
What’s missing: I’m not sure I would classify some of these as fails or failures, but the The Root has an interesting list of pop culture scandals from 2022, most of which are missing from this list. While I would not consider the Wendy Williams show ending without Wendy a fail on the legendary host’s part, it is unfortunate.
Pick of the list: All of them. Honestly, this year was all about Keke Palmer, so I’m not sure why she wasn’t featured as heavily on any of the other lists. I did love her on the NOPE press tour, and enjoyed that this video made the rounds again.
What’s missing: Idk if it is her best quote of the year, but I LOVED Keke’s reunion with Angela Bassett for Vanity Fair. There is so much love, care, and comparsion between the two of them.
Pick of the list: Amazon Dating. This is one of the funniest and most accurate websites I have seen. I’d believe it if Amazon actually made something like this—which is also kind of a terrifying thought to have.
I only go on this website once a year and it is for this list.
What’s missing: I don’t spend a whole lot of time on random websites so I don’t have any to add here.