Cartoon fandom is a tumultuous place. Centralized on primarily Tumblr and Twitter, fans of series both new and old share fan art, fanfiction and comments about cartoon series. While fandom has long been a hotbed of collaboration and creation, fandom drama is inevitable. Most recently, cartoon fandoms have been plagued by fan accusations of the invocation of harmful tropes in LGBTQ representation, namely queerbaiting and “bury your gays.”
Two weeks ago, BuzzFeed laid off approximately 15 percent of its staff in what was a devastating blow to digital media. However, the incident also sparked discourse about BuzzFeed’s community model, which allows any user to create content using BuzzFeed’s content management system with the possibility of having their work featured or shared on BuzzFeed social channels.
This past week, a significant number of netizens tacitly agreed that Shaggy from Scooby-Doo was the single most powerful being in the universe. This was something that I was willing to take at face value. Apparently, enough other people were willing to as well. A series of memes featuring an omnipotent Shaggy quietly (and then all at once) proliferated across Twitter, Tumblr and Reddit this past week in what is currently the best meme of 2019 thus far.
The past week in digital media has been devastating, and it’s not over yet. BuzzFeed is in the midst of a 15 percent staff layoff. After a round of layoffs last Friday, BuzzFeed’s national security desks no longer exist and several other BuzzFeed teams were disbanded. Verizon Media Group, which owns the Huffington Post, AOL and Yahoo, announced a 7 percent layoff last Wednesday. The Huffington Post lost 20 employees on Thursday, and its entire opinions and health sections were dismantled.
In the past week, the #2009vs2019 (or alternatively, #HowHardDidAgeHitYou) challenge has been inescapable on all major social media platforms. My timeline has been full of 10-year-old pictures of my friends, complete with pigtails, questionable graphic tees and braces. While staying at my parents’ house, I trawled through our family desktop full of photos looking for the cringiest photo I could find, with the sole goal of exposing my middle-school self on Twitter.
2018 has been an incredible year for memes and a nostalgic pop culture resurgence. Here are my picks for the best of the year, month by month.
If you’re not familiar with Twitter’s top meme of the week, allow me to paint you a picture. Imagine a photo of a grape with it’s skin delicately peeled back and tiny surgical instruments hovering above its surface. In the bottom right corner of the image is the text, “They did surgery on a grape.” A Facebook caption runs along the bottom of the image, reading, “They did surgery on a grape.” Superimposed over the photo is a Snapchat caption, stating — well, you get the idea.
"She-Ra and the Princesses of Power" is one of the best cartoons of 2018. A reboot of the original 1985 series, the new "She-Ra" (headed up by "Nimona" creator Noelle Stevenson) updates the show’s familiar themes of heroism, friendship and empowerment to the present day. There’s magic, charming characters, innovative technology and a really cool sword, which frankly is all I need to bite on a series.
I have lived in a lot of places. In the past year and a half, I’ve spent no more than four consecutive months in one location, and as a result, there’s a small set of cities to which I feel personally connected. I lived in Los Angeles for three months and then spent a semester in Minneapolis. I studied abroad in southern France for a semester and then moved to New York City for the summer. Visits to my hometown have been sprinkled in the transitional periods.
On Nov. 1, the official Burger King account tweeted the following exchange: “him: it’s only a month / waifu: ………..” followed by the sobbing emoji. I had to reread the tweet a few times before I realized Burger King had ostensibly tweeted about No-Nut November. I have some feelings about it: confusion, resignation and awestruck rapture. In that particular order.