Life & Culture

The 10 Best Pop Culture Moments of 2021

The most decorated US gymnast ever had eyes and world pressure on her in July when she withdrew from the women’s team final at the Tokyo Olympics. Her suffering was underlined on the carpet by a heavy mental toll: Biles was among more than 150 women and girls who were sexually assaulted by former team doctor Larry Nasser, and USA still hasn’t reached a settlement with the victims. “In the year that’s gone by, I’m not really surprised how that happened,” Biles said.

In May, Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka took a similarly brave step, withdrawing from the French Open after organizers refused to allow her to withdraw from her post-match press briefing. Osaka revealed on Instagram that she has had “enormous anxiety waves” addressing the tennis press and has had bouts of depression since the 2018 US Open, adding, “I’ve had a real hard time dealing with that.”

Biles and Osaka chose to protect their mental health, especially black and Asian women, and sent a powerful message, not only to athletes and high achievers but to everyone watching them. “At the end of the day, we’re human too, so we have to protect our minds in our bodies instead of just going out there and doing what the world wants us to do,” Biles said. Together, they redefine what it means to be a hero.

squid game US Kroos

From its very first moments – the “Red Light, Green Light” survival game – the drama at your fingertips has achieved complete cultural penetration. Created by Hwang Dong Hyuk and inspired by his social and economic struggles, squid game It quickly took the number one spot on Netflix – and became the platform’s most-watched show ever) – the first Korean show to do so. excitement SNL ironic and non-horrific Halloween costumes, squid game It was the entertainment (and the horror) that struck a chord, arriving at a moment of widespread economic insecurity. “I wanted to write a story that was an allegory … about modern capitalist society, something that depicted intense competition,” Huang said. diverse, “Somewhat like intense competition in life.”

The Rise of Olivia Rodrigo

We were all heartbroken teens again, casually driving near our ex-husband’s house, when we heard 17-year-old Rodrygo’s “Driver’s License”. The single, which went viral in January (it’s been streamed over a billion times), had it all: soulful lyrics, powerful vocals, and real-life inspiration (rumored to be about former Rodrigo and former Disney Channel star Joshua Bassett). release of her first album, sourOnly in May did Rodrigo jump into the stratosphere, channeling the anxiety of Alanis Morissette and Fiona Apple and the songwriting prowess of Taylor Swift (who made her a known Rodrigo fan). Lest there be any doubt that Rodrigo became America’s first teenager: When the White House wanted to promote vaccinations for young adults 12 and up, they tapped Rodrigo—who appeared in a Cher Horowitz-ish Chanel suit and pads—as a defender.

summer white lotus

Likes Succession-Meets-Save him by ringing the bell Malibu Sands Episodes, the HBO series captured the summer with a cast of irresistible and irresistible characters mingling and serving one another at a five-star resort in Hawaii. Chief among them: Armond (Divine Murray Bartlett), the director who quickly disintegrates into the honorary white lotus; Shane (Jake Lacy), a bloated boy on an ill-fated honeymoon; Jennifer Coolidge as Tanya, who scatters her mother’s ashes (and her personal woes) in a hotel bar. white lotus It served an eye and an escape from reality, but, like the best shows of 2021, it gave viewers something deeper as well, shedding class tensions between guests and staff, capitalism and colonialism. Months later, the subject of agonizing addiction is still screaming in my ears.

The multimedia version that dominates the news cycle Red (Taylor version)

From the long-awaited ten-minute version of “All Too Well” complete with a short film adaptation, Plus Blake-Lively-Directed and Miles Teller starring in “I Bet You Think About Me” filled with Easter eggs. All this, perfectly timed for Sad Girl Fall! Nobody releases (or reissues!) an album like Swift.

every 7.8 hours from The Beatles: come back

Director Peter Jackson + docu’s docu series The Hour of Gluttony to End All Hours of the Party for 2021 provided one of the most intimate images ever of the Beatles’ creative process, unfolding as it was made. Let it be They prepared to perform on top of the Apple Corps headquarters in London in January 1969. A year later, they separated. The Beatles: come back It’s an exercise in myth-busting: While the tension is palpable — at one point, George Harrison temporarily quit — the famous quartet never takes a beating. Rather, they are civilized, communicators, and above all brothers.

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