With the new year upon us, it is almost compulsory to reflect on what has happened in this past year. Culture in history has always been a solemn event. No other generation has seen as much humour depicted from events to commercials. While the internet has liberated the world and gave us constant communication with the world around us by tearing down walls of distance and time zones, it has also allowed culture to be shared and absorbed, creating a more united and understanding planet though jokes and sarcasm – the pinnacle of human evolution.
The year started with no artist willing to headline for the inauguration of the current president of America and former reality TV star, Donald Trump, best known for The Apprentice. During the Golden Globes, Meryl Streep took the opportunity to call the to-be president out on his blatant disrespect for Serge Kovaleski, a disabled reporter. But that was not all that happened – as the event was coming to a close, the announcement for Best Picture was mixed up between La La Land and Moonlight, reminiscent of the Miss Universe mix up back in 2015.
Later in May, president Trump managed to unite the nation with a misspelling of the word ‘coverage’ which posted onto his twitter account: covfefe. Around the same time, a teenager roped in a year’s worth of chicken nuggets through the same social media platform from Wendy’s and snagged the most retweeted tweet of all time, a title previously held by Ellen Degeneres with a little celebrity help and a push from giant companies like Google and Amazon. The publicity surrounding his tweet also earned a donation of $100,000 to The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.
However, it was not all fun and satire in 2017, given the acts of terror that plagued the world, even at concerts. One notable bombing took place during Ariana Grande’s benefit concert. 22 people were killed in the blast, with over a hundred injured. Undaunted, the songstress hosted another concert just two weeks later in the same arena. Joined by fifty thousand people along with other big names like Black Eyed Peas, Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber, they raised a total of $2.5 million.
The power of celebrity reignited a movement for victims of sexual harassment to step forward, beginning with Taylor Swift’s groping incident four years ago which was intended to be kept from public knowledge as her mother felt there was no need to put the artist in a vulnerable position. However, following Swift’s complaints, the radio host who harassed her was fired and being unable to find work decided to sue her for defamation and $3 million dollars in damages.
She countersued for one dollar in an effort to serve as “an example to other women who may resist publicly reliving similar outrageous and humiliating acts” and to show that she is not looking for financial gain or to benefit from her accusations. With or without her win, she landed her on the cover of Time magazine as a silence breaker.
Taylor Swift also addressed the criticisms she has had to endure by making a comeback and dropping the fastest selling album in 2017. Her first single, Look What You Made Me Do, referenced her feud with Kanye West, Katy Perry and the super publicized and ridiculed romance with Tom Hiddleston, among other things. The music video has been hailed as a masterpiece, from its clever mise en scene to the costumes, effectively taking back her identity with imagery.
Many fans also speculated that she placed her entire discography on Spotify, despite her strong opinions regarding the rights of artists and that their work should never be distributed for free, in an attempt to undermine Katy Perry’s album – due out the same day Taylor Swift decided to place all her songs on the music streaming platform.
2017 also saw an increase in interest towards bronze sculptures; two in particular. The first one was sculpted by Emanuel Santos and put on display at the renaming of a Portuguese airport. It went viral, generating thousands upon thousands of reactions from netizens all around the world. Some called it a work of art, and others made a meme out of it. The bust in question is one fashioned after soccer star, Cristiano Ronaldo. In an attempt to defend himself, the sculptor opened up to The Guardian, saying that he got the soccer player’s seal of approval for the sculpture which will be on permanent display outside the terminal entrance. He even went on to say that “it is impossible to please the Greeks and Trojans. Neither did Jesus please everyone”.
The second bronze sculpture to catch the world’s attention was created by Jose Antonio Navarro Arteaga, and was revealed last month at Santiago Bernabéu Stadium in Madrid, Spain. Fans quickly gave their approval and were satisfied that it captured the face and essence of their beloved star.
In that same vein, following the failed success of Batman vs Superman and other movies from the DC universe, Wonderwoman has surpassed all expectations. Many are calling it an advocacy for women rights and empowering, as it is the only film in history to be helmed by a woman director and given such a huge budget.
Here’s to another year filled with great mistakes, memes and memorable moments.