As the year draws to an end, we look back on how interminably long 2018 seemed to be. There are years when you can’t believe how quickly it all went by, and then there are times like 2018 when life itself felt like it would pass by with greater speed than the next twelve months. Maybe the political climate slowly crushing us all into dust made it seem worse, or maybe as time makes fools of us all, we just forget how the passage of time works. Whatever the case: F—k, it was a long year, right?!
While sitting down to compile my end of year lists for my favourite films and television shows, I scanned my back-catalogue of pieces written for the site and spent most of my time going, ‘Wait, that happened this year?! How is that even possible?’ I’m not sure how I even forgot half of this stuff too, especially since I wrote about a lot of it. I assume that my brain decided it would be best if it let go of most of this information to make way for new traumas. How can you spend all that time thinking about Melania’s Be Best campaign when I need space in my brain to ruminate on the madness of Melania’s Christmas decorations in the White House? Choices choices…
So, let’s break it down. Looking back on the past year, digging deep into your Google search history and the stories you shared all over social media at the time, what events, stories, and scandals did you totally forget happened in 2018? Here are a few that genuinely surprised me when I looked up their dates.
The Winter Olympics
I watched so much of this year’s Winter Olympics in PyeongChang. I got oddly obsessed with the ski-jumping and started commentating on it like some kind of expert (albeit alone in my flat). I had the BBC iPlayer on non-stop while writing essays in case I missed something important. And yes, I was one of those people who got way too into figure skating, but not so much into it that I started forming shipping conspiracies about Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. You know who you are. Granted, this happened at the beginning of the year and it wasn’t like 2018 was short of major sports events that grabbed our attention (ask any Scottish person who spent the Summer panicking that England might actually win the World Cup as we suddenly became bigger Croatia fans than actual Croatian people). Still, the Olympics is one of the few times in the sporting calendar that I actually give a crap about sports, so for me to totally forget about it means a lot. It’s not like there are a whole lot of other opportunities during the year for me to watch the luge.
The internet dramas that would have defined any other year are now mere footnotes that nobody reads. Such is the fate of #planebae. For one night, millions of people became entranced by the seemingly perfect modern-day romance: A woman asked another woman to switch seats with her on the plane, and next to her sat a handsome fitness buff with whom she seemed to get on like a house on fire. They both liked workouts! They were both vegetarians! They ordered a cheese plate to eat together! They followed one another on Instagram! And as it was all going on, an actress and photographer named Rosey Blair documented it on her Instagram Stories. Blair was savvy enough to know that such stories are more likely to go viral on Twitter, so she screencapped the entire event and posted it there, where it was retweeted hundreds of thousands of times and seen by millions more. Blair and her boyfriend were invited on to plenty of morning talk shows, where Blair bragged about being the best friend in a rom-com. She even asked Buzzfeed for work. While the guy at the centre of this imagined romance took it all in his stride and milked it for publicity, the woman was far less interested in playing this game. Wouldn’t you be put off by finding out an innocent chat with a stranger on a plane had been turned into a fantasy for the world without your consent, leading to you being doxed and harassed from the internet?
It was the Milkshake Duck of internet meet-cutes, the perfect encapsulation of our moment in time, our attitudes towards privacy, our hunger for content, and our generation’s crushing mindset that views absolutely everything as a potential source of labour and revenue. It was think-piece gold, an insidious cautionary tale and the creator of new fears for anyone just trying to mind their business in a public place. But hey, 2018, amirite?
Anna Delvey the Scam Artist
The Summer of Scam was a social media delight to many, although it was a phenomenon whose appeal utterly eluded me. some found immense satisfaction and a sense of millennial justice in the story of Anna Delvey, a Russian-German woman who convinced large portions of the Manhattan socialite scene that she was a wealthy heiress. She ran up obscenely high hotel bills, took exotic holidays and made others foot the bill when her cards were mysteriously rejected, then made huge promises to pay it all back that never materialized. One Vanity Fair writer detailed her experience with Delvey, and a larger piece in The Cut further contextualised it. She became a folk hero, stealing from the ‘rich’ to be rich herself. Never mind that most of the people she exploited weren’t wealthy themselves and were left with irrevocably damaging levels of debt as a result. Delvey will be the subject of two separate television projects, one from Shonda Rhimes and one by Lena Dunham (of course), so her infamy is only building. Still, in a year full of scams, this one couldn’t help but feel ancient by the time we got to December.
Header Image Source: Getty Images.