HEAUXS 2018 PEOPLE OF THE YEAR
Y’all, we finally made it! Honestly, this year was sort of a dumpster fire but there were some bright spots. Our editors bring you the people people who made us smile in 2018.
It was hard to find a balm in Gilead this year, but thankfully, one came in the form of a four-part Netflix travel documentary. There’s been a lot written about why Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat was so great, and this probably won’t tell you anything you already knew about why Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat was so great. But Samin Nosrat’s genuine reverence and joy for food and for the cooks and purveyors she met along the way made for an unpretentious and delightful watch. And I have never related to any moment of television more than watching her bite into a really, really good hunk of aged Parmesan cheese and be moved to tears. May we all experience such simple beauty and pleasure in some way in 2019.
In this increasingly dark timeline, humanity is in need of heroes, and not just any will do. Batman? Batman is a joyless trust fund baby who could use his massive fortune to invest in under-resourced neighborhoods, thereby reducing crime, but instead just pisses it away on fancy gadgets. Batman is basically Elon Musk with less weed. Harry Potter? Dumbledore’s Army would have fought back with more than children’s book references and Blue Wave emojis, and also this.
No, in 2018, when our nation and world are confronted by a big orange monster, the hero we may need is… a big orange monster. The Philadelphia Flyers’ new mascot has been ubiquitous since his September debut, in TV appearances, memes and delighting and terrifying children at local hospitals. His Twitter presence is majestic, which is something I can’t believe I’m saying about anyone or anything. And despite professional sports being the most cravenly capitalist of ventures, Gritty has become a galvanizing symbol of socialist and anti-fascist efforts, on Internet meme pages as well as IRL (“Gritty is Antifa” was even acknowledged in the Philadelphia City Council resolution honoring him). When some far-right dipshits descended upon Philly to be obnoxious and hateful in public last month, counter-protesters showed up in droves to say their fuckery was not welcome in Philly, and who did many of them invoke in signs and chants? Gritty.
Where Harry Potter sends sad tweets; Gritty, in all his weird, grungy glory, shows the fuck up. And that’s the spirit we need in these times.
Klaire Randall, who heckled Louis C.K. at the Comedy Cellar
This was supposed to be the Year of Bad Men Finally Being Held Accountable for Their Actions, but even in the era of #TimesUp, what mostly ended up happening was the Year of Bad Men Half-Ass Apologizing and Kind of Laying Low for a While, But Then Going on a Redemption Tour, and in One Case Even Getting Put on the Supreme Court.
This year was a stark reminder that, in many, many cases, shitty, powerful people who commit acts of sexual entitlement or aggression against those with less power still get away with it, and for all the lip service being paid to the issue, the old boys’ clubs, from entertainment to business to the politics, will still protect the old boys. Our institutions will not save us, and so we must take matters into our own hands, to demand accountability and justice on our own terms, in our own, even small ways. One audience member yelling “get your dick out!” at one shitty comedy man at the shitty venue that defended him will not change a deeply ingrained and toxic culture, but thinking about Louis C.K. getting even the slightest sickening taste of his own medicine is satisfying and cathartic, to say the least, and we hope this isn’t the last time he does. For this small act, we say thank you, Klaire Randall, and can you attend one of Brett Kavanaugh’s kid’s basketball games next?
Literally All the Figure Skaters
You forgot the Winter Olympics happened this year, didn’t you? I know. This year has felt like several years stacked on top of each other wearing a trenchcoat, so it’s easy to forget the delightful sporting moments that briefly melted the permafrost around our cold, gray hearts. This was initially supposed to just be about America’s Sweetheart Adam Rippon finger-wagging his way into our hearts and quoting Kennedy Davenport in motivational tweets, and then I realized I couldn’t stop there. I couldn’t not also talk about Mirai Nagasu landing a triple axel like a boss, or Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir making Moulin Rouge interesting (and introducing “cunniliftus” to the international lexicon), or the lyric grace and pure dominance of Yuzuru Hanyu, or the incisive, dynamic commentary of our Fashion Overlords, Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir. Also, have you seen Michelle Kwan lately? She looks amazing and she’s still out here skating to “River” like it won’t just put us all in a glass case of emotion. Coincidentally, 2018 was the year I became a full figure skating stan, but that has nothing to do with this.
Bolu Babalola, who scammed her way to the top AKA Michael B. Jordan
In a Tweet that was both a riff on voyeuristic Internet soulmate treasure hunts and also bad photoshoppers, Babalola showed us all that even if you’ve never read The Secret, your fantasy can still become a reality. Taking a photo that showed off her best angle, she cut and paste Michael B. Jordan into it with the caption “I met this guy on holiday this summer-we had a such a [sic] great connection but I changed my number and we lost touch. Twitter do your thing” followed by a string of emojis. The Tweet went viral, after which Babalola attended a real-life “Creed II” panel where Michael B. Jordan was in attendance. Not only did he know about the viral Tweet, he then insisted they take a photo after the event - for real. I look to Babalola for inspiration in these dark times.
This Broadway baby-cum-Nickleodeon star-cum-international superstar has had a YEAR. Okay, so I’m not particularly into her evergreen aesthetic of prepubescent anime cartoon come to life, but it does make the image of her fingering the earth ten times more subversive than if, say, Cardi B did it. In 2018, Ariana recovered from the trauma of a terrorist attack at one of her concerts, took SNL dude Pete Davidson (effective author stand-in for the rest of us) on a whirlwind engagement and then broke up with him, dealt with the passing of her ex Mac Miller, made a record-breaking music video with so many iconic rom-com recreations we’ll never have to watch “Fancy” again, and instead of eating her feelings made TWO WHOLE ALBUMS. What makes Ariana a woman of our time, though, is the fact that she is hands-down the social media queen. Her balance of kookiness with gravitas and accessibility with distance make her the paragon of millennial hype. Thank u, next!