10 cultural movements that defined 2022

The Queen died and Will Smith smacked Chris Rock on the Oscars stage. What a year.

by A&E Staff

As far as years go, 2022 went pretty smoothly.

Yes, a horrific war broke out in Europe, inflation skyrocketed across the globe and the world’s most famous person died. Yet, after two years of COVID-19 and four years of Donald Trump, it felt like the most chill year in a while from A&E’s perspective.

“Chill” in the age of internet addictions and late-stage capitalism still means that many headlines read like pre-apocalyptic mad-libs done by Lana Del Rey. Politicians weighed in on popstar ticket sales and about a half-dozen of the English-speaking world’s most famous entertainers beefed on one movie set.

Grab an accidentally-legal THC seltzer or a negroni, sbagliato, with prosecco in it, and settle down for A&E’s full debrief on 2022’s (somewhat) subdued cultural chaos. -James Schaak

The Queen’s death
One cannot overstate the gravity of Queen Elizabeth II’s death. For seven decades, the Queen reigned as the most famous person in the world amid colossal changes in nearly every aspect of humanity’s existence, keeping an admirable, if distant, composure. Now that she’s gone, the British monarchy’s future seems potentially inexistent and definitely uncertain. As Britain faces major socio-economic challenges, young people across the globe have begun pointing out the flippantly racist and classist ideals behind the monarchy. On Sept. 8, the day the Queen died, it felt like the crown’s seismic cultural clout died too. -James Schaak

Taylor Swift’s Ticketmaster debacle
I, like many other Swifities out there, spent most of Nov. 15 stuck in a queue for presale tickets to Taylor Swift’s “Eras Tour.” Like many others hoping to see Swift on her first tour in five years, I also didn’t end up getting those tickets. Due to unprecedented demand for tickets and the pure chaos of the presale, Ticketmaster canceled the public sale scheduled later that week in a move that sparked outrage among the general public and drew accusations of a monopoly from prominent politicians. Perhaps the one good thing to come of the great Taylor Swift Ticketmaster debacle will be a necessary revamp of the company’s sales process. Special shoutout to the Swifites suing Ticketmaster. -Sophia Zimmerman

The Oscars slap
Those watching the Oscars from home back in March were caught by surprise when the award show included some uncharacteristically alarming drama. Many of us headed to Twitter for answers over what was going down as ABC attempted to censor the content. Videos quickly began to circulate of Will Smith smacking presenter Chris Rock across the face in response to a distasteful joke made by Rock about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. The event sparked widespread discussion on topics like violence, race and stereotypes. Smith gained one Academy Award for best actor and lost at least a few movie deals within one hour of live television. -Victoria Schutz

The Johnny Depp & Amber Heard lawsuit
Sometimes, unfortunate celebrity gossip rises above the tabloid fodder and into the New York Times’ mobile notifications. Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s incredibly toxic and abusive relationship, which played out in the Depp v. Heard defamation trial, did just that. When celebrity gossip reaches this level of ubiquity, think about why anyone should care about the behavior of abhorrent multi-millionaire celebrities. This matters because Heard’s loss in the case signaled the end of the #MeToo movement in some ways. Whether one believes Heard’s innocence is almost beside the point. For the next few years at least, expect less whistle-blowing from Hollywood’s women.             -James Schaak

“Don’t Worry Darling” drama
Director Olivia Wilde’s sophomore film, “Don’t Worry Darling,” has seen its fair share of headlines since it was first announced in July 2019. Some of the most talked-about bits of drama include highly disputed cast replacements, Wilde’s relationship with Harry Styles and split from ex-husband Jason Sudeikis, “spitgate,” the film’s sex scenes and alleged drama between Wilde and actress Florence Pugh. In spite of (or perhaps because of) its numerous headline appearances, the film still managed to earn $19.2 million at the box office before a swift release on HBO Max.              -Sophia Zimmerman

Lea Michele and the “Funny Girl” casting
Lea Michele, in her relentless pursuit to play Fanny Brice in Broadway’s “Funny Girl,” is living proof that manifestation works. From Rachel Berry’s “Funny Girl” era on “Glee” to that time she sang “Don’t Rain on my Parade” in Central Park, Michele has been publicly campaigning for the role for more than a decade. When Beanie Feldstein opted to leave the production over the summer following poor reviews, theater fans across the country wondered whether Michele would finally nab the role. After the decision was made to cast the infamously unprofessional Michele in her dream role, her first performance as Fanny Brice reportedly received four standing ovations. -Sophia Zimmerman

Negroni sbagliato with prosecco in it
TikTok is nothing if not a landscape for wildly unpredictable trends and this October, an interview with the “House of the Dragon” cast brought a bizarre drink to the forefront of everyone’s FYP. In the original video clip, Olivia Cooke asks co-star Emma D’Arcy, “What’s your drink of choice?” D’Arcy theatrically replies, “Negroni…sbagliato…with prosecco in it.” Olivia exclaims in response, “Oh, stunning!” The sound went viral on TikTok and the cocktail trended on both sides of the pond as viewers indulged their curiosity. -Victoria Schutz

Julia Fox
Julia Fox, the “Uncut Gems” star and NYC it-girl, popped out earlier this year as Kanye West’s rebound girlfriend and quickly displayed why she’s the one who deserves America’s attention. Oddball TikToks, utterly insane outfits and lore from her career-long endeavor to combine the lowbrow with the highbrow turned Fox from a niche celebrity into a household name this year. Well, maybe if your household consists solely of 20-year-olds, but still. As for her thoughts on that problematic ex-boyfriend? Fox told writer Hunter Harris that she only dated Ye early this year to, “give people something to talk about.” -James Schaak

Minnesota accidentally legalizing edibles
Despite their clear position opposing recreational marijuana legalization, the Republican-controlled state Senate passed legislation that legalized the sales of edibles and beverages containing up to five milligrams of THC. Some Republican state senators indicated they were caught off guard and did not know the legislation they voted to pass would broadly legalize THC-containing products. Now that Democrats have control of Minnesota’s state government, former Gov. Jesse Ventura says it’s only a matter of time before more widespread THC legalization occurs, this time intentionally. -Victoria Schutz

Everyone and their mother played this New York Times word game at some point this year. Even more so than BeReal, another viral once-a-day app phenomenon, Wordle gripped the nation with an iron fist. There is something indescribably thrilling about getting the day’s word correct in fewer turns than your friends and family. Wordle is something I will continue to forget about and sporadically rediscover over and over again for years to come.                 -Victoria Schutz