Opinions & Features Workshop (Oct 26th)

Illustration by Mariah Wilson

Best, worst and WTF moments of 2020

Well, 2020 was kind of a dumpster fire. But, our staff and volunteers managed to find some good in an otherwise awful year. We’ve compiled our annual list of best and worst moments of 2020. In case you’re wondering, “global pandemic” was not an eligible option for worst moment because we all probably would have picked that. We also added a new category, “WTF” it seemed necessary.

Illustration by Mariah Wilson

Joe Exotic’s song and music video “Here Kitty Kitty”

One of the earliest bandwagons of the year, on which many jumped, was the Netflix docuseries Tiger King. The show was a quarantine staple, and will forever go down as one of the earliest available pandemic coping methods. Tiger King has an abundance of memorable moments, but a particular clip that “lives in my head rent free” is Joe Exotic’s “original” song and music video “Here Kitty Kitty” actually by Clinton Johnson Band; what has been described as a “one of the greatest country murder ballads of all time” by Rolling Stone. There are no words that can describe the level of entertainment this video provides.   

Ava Zardynezhad, general editor

Music video for “Here Kitty Kitty.” // Video courtesy of YouTube.

Harry Styles on the cover of Vogue magazine

Harry Styles made history this year by becoming the first man to be on the cover of Vogue Magazine — solo. In addition, the 26-year-old artist and actor decided to wear a Gucci dress on the front cover, which only added to the message he was trying to get across. A quote from Styles was placed on the front cover which read, “Anytime you’re putting barriers up in your life, you’re limiting yourself.” Styles was able to show his audience and followers of Vogue Magazine that clothing should not be limited to a particular gender, and that wearing whatever you want and feeling comfortable in it is what matters. He encourages his audience to not be afraid to go against societal norms that limit our curiosity. But what I found to be most impactful was the way he was able to promote a modern idea of what it means to be masculine. Styles proved how one’s clothing and accessories, along with other elements, do not determine someone’s masculinity. Along with remaining true to himself, Styles showed the world that he is not afraid to do what he loves, and most definitely not afraid to go against what society expects of men and other groups of people.

Sophia Lopez, news editor

Porch Portraits

Early on in the pandemic, people had no idea how long the world-wide lockdown would last. Families were spending more time together than ever before, confined to their homes for long stretches of time without a break from their environment or each other. Small business owners began to worry about their livelihoods, concerned about the effect that the lockdown would have on their sales and customers. In the midst of these growing challenges, one industry found a creative solution to both the growing banality of pandemic home life and the threats of financial strife. Thus was born the “Porch Portrait” trend in photography that took off across North America.

Families staged unique tableaus offering a glimpse into their lives during the unprecedented lockdown. Some dressed up, but many embraced the disheveled COVID hair and sweatpants look. Others got really creative and posed with their COVID necessities: toilet paper and disinfectant. Most of the portraits were taken of families on their porches, with the photographers at least six feet away. However, some photographs displayed the full extent of physical distancing, with families using their windows to frame their historical family photographs.

Emma Kilburn-Smith, volunteer

Gritty’s Twitter Account

2020 was a pretty crazy year — but you already know that. While there are plenty of bad moments to consider, there were also many culturally defining moments that allowed us to reflect and reconsider the way we looked at our world and the people and things we considered important. From the Black Lives Matter protests over the summer, to the talented creators on TikTok with the birth of Ratatouille: The Musical, there were quite a few moments to look back on that defined 2020. But I’d like to focus on a particular moment that brought a smile to my face, and helped get me through some tough times. The Philadelphia Flyers’ mascot known as Gritty has a Twitter account that absolutely turned out the greatest memes I have ever seen. It’s safe to say that in 2020, Gritizens were treated to an onslaught of the mascot’s inner musings — and it never disappointed. 

Cristina Paolozzi, general editor

Bridgerton

Just when I thought 2020 couldn’t make a comeback, Netflix graced our computer screens and bloodshot eyes with an escape into the Regency Era. I have been fond of this era — “most ardently” — since I saw Joe Wright’s 2005 Pride and Prejudice as a teenager. Even though Bridgerton is quite salacious and sometimes features a little too much booty for my prude nature, it is a must-see. My only regret is that I binged it far too quickly.

Mariah Wilson, visuals editor

Luke Skywalker returns

The final episode of The Mandalorian‘s second season was released on Dec. 18. Luke Skywalker’s surprise appearance delighted legions of fans, including myself, who have been less-than-impressed by the direction the Star Wars franchise was heading in recently. As soon as that X-wing made an appearance in the final moments of the episode, fans just knew it was Skywalker. And when the shadowy figure unsheathed a green lightsaber, we really knew. This episode (hopefully!) marks a return to general Jedi bad-assery under director Jon Favreau.

Kristy Koehler, editor-in-chief

The resurgence of Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton is my hero. I literally cried when I was finally able to see her in concert in all her glory it marked the fulfilment of a lifelong bucket list item. She’s beautiful, humble, principled, a true philanthropist and she was everywhere in 2020 perhaps she was the angelic beacon of kindness everyone needed. It seems like a whole new generation is discovering Dolly and that absolutely warms my heart.

Kristy Koehler, editor-in-chief

Illustration by Mariah Wilson

Australian Wildfires

Australia was hit with arguably the worst bushfires in history early last year. According to CBC, “Three billion animals were killed or displayed” and hectares upon hectares were scorched, leaving the animals that did survive in need of a new place to call home. Despite the extensive attention given to the fires from firefighters, the army, wildlife rescue teams and Australia as a whole with the support of other countries, the bushfires were extremely difficult to control. The bushfires that occur annually in Australia due to its dry climate have never reached to the extent they reached this past 2019-2020 season. Global warming seems to be a possible reason as to how the wildfires could have gotten this bad, and it’s sad and disappointing to see this change in climate only getting worse. With the help of rescue teams and volunteers, along with donations and support given by other countries, Australia has managed to save the animals that survived the fires and treat any injuries they had. Not only did these fires negatively affect Australia’s wildlife, but it also destroyed the lives of some Australians as well. Smoke filled the air throughout Australia, some lost their homes and some lost their loved ones. But let this one season not discourage us in the future. Australia remains properly equipped to handle the yearly bushfires they experience, and after the 2019/2020 season they are now even more motivated to protect their diverse wildlife and devoted community.

Sophia Lopez, news editor

The Calabasas helicopter crash

Between the Australian fires, the threat of WWIII and the Calabasas crash, I thought the month of January would be the wildest part of 2020. Little did I know that it was only the beginning of a wacky year.

To me, Kobe and Gianna Bryant’s deaths and the deaths of seven others on that helicopter marked the shift from “normality” to these strange times. The whole situation felt so avoidable and so unnecessarily tragic — like most of 2020.

Mariah Wilson, visuals editor

The death of Alex Trebek

After 36 years of hosting Jeopardy! the world lost beloved host Alex Trebek to cancer. The epitome of class, kindness and composure, Trebek’s memory will live on forever in the hearts and minds of millions of faithful game-show-watchers. His perfect pronunciation of every single word astounded me and he struck me as a man who gave it everything he had until his final day there didn’t seem to be any quit in him. Trebek made it cool to be smart. He will be sorely missed.

Kristy Koehler, editor-in-chief

Illustration by Mariah Wilson

Elon Musk’s newborn’s name

If not for state law, a child would have been named X Æ A-12. That is all. 

Ava Zardynezhad, general editor

Jake Paul vs. Nate Robinson Match 

Again, 2020 was a heck of a year. There are plenty of bad moments to list here, however something that particularly annoyed me if anything was the boxing match between Jake Paul and Nate Robinson in which Robinson was beaten by a knockout from Paul. I don’t particularly care about sports, or bother to keep up with them, however I wanted so badly for Jake Paul to be slapped upside the head. Not necessarily because of his skill or lack thereof, but because he can be so dang annoying. 

Cristina Paolozzi, general editor

Toilet paper wars

COVID-19 is not a gastrointestinal disease, and yet people hoarded toilet paper like explosive diarrhea was their main concern. “Coronavirus poop calculators” even popped up online showing people how many times they’d have to go number two in order to use up roll number 302.

Kristy Koehler, editor-in-chief

Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness

One of the strangest moments of 2020 was the world’s obsession with the true-crime documentary Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness. Directed by Eric Goode, the film focused on the peculiar life of American Zookeeper, Joe Exotic. The most talked about element of the film was the CEO of Big Cat Rescue, Carole Baskin and the mysterious disappearance of her husband, Don Lewis. Lewis went missing in August of 1997 and was legally declared dead in 2002, although his body has never been found. While Exotic argues that Baskin murdered Lewis and then fed his body to her tigers, Baskin maintains her innocence. Released on Mar. 20, the series captivated viewers during a time when COVID-19 health and safety protocols were being introduced around the world. While many people were adjusting to spending their days at home, binge-watching Tiger King became a popular past-time. During one of the darkest years in modern history, the oddities of Tiger King brought the world together.

 Josie Simon, volunteer


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