By Addison Oken
2022 was an immensely eventful year, to say the least. There were countless highs and lows regarding politics, pop culture, and our own Beaver community. To name all would be too much, but to highlight the most substantial would perfectly sum up the past year.
The 2022 Winter Olympics taking place in Tokyo was a great way to kick off the year with the United States winning eight gold medals and 25 medals overall, and finishing fourth in the medal standings for the third Winter Olympics in a row.
The Johnny Depp and Amber Heard trials were highly streamed, as details were uncovered not only all over the news but all over TikTok as well. Clips from the trial were trending and statements made by Heard went viral. The seven-week trial concluded in early June and ended with Depp being rewarded $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages. Not only was the money substantial, but Johnny Depp’s name was cleared of any alleged domestic abuse.
A calendar highlight of the year came in mid February. The day that had been talked about for months leading up to it: Twosday: Tuesday, February 22nd, 2022, (2/22/22). Not only was this day full of twos, it was full of major milestones for the women’s soccer community. The players on the Women’s National Team filed an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint over the inequity of pay between the mens and women’s teams. After many months, the U.S. Soccer Federation agreed to a $24 agreement which will see millions of dollars into the back pay of female soccer players.
Speaking of higher payment, inflation was noticeably high in the United States this past year. Americans watched as gas prices went up around the country, with gas that was once less than $2 a gallon shooting up to $6 a gallon. However, on August 16th, President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law, making the most significant action Congress has taken on climate change and clean energy in the country’s history.
While all of this was going on in America, Europe was a whole different story. On February 24th, Russian President Vladymir Putin announced a “special military operation” seeking the “militarism” and “denazification” of Ukraine. From then on, bombs, missiles, and many other dangerous weapons were launched into Ukraine leaving the country in ruins. 7,000 Ukrainians have been killed in this war, and the detriment is still being faced today. Ukrainian citizens are still reeling from the aftermath of watching their home be destroyed before their eyes. Ukraine, once filled with vibrant life and culture, has crumbled into ruins and it’s impossible to picture it as the same country it once was.
Not only were there physically violent crimes this year, but verbal crimes as well. “Separate the art from the artist”; a common phrase many people now associate with the famous rapper and songwriter Kanye West. In early October, West posted an extremely anti-semetic tweet for the eyes of his 30 million followers, which is double the amount of Jewish people in the world. Brands and media were quick to respond to his hate speech. Adidas has stopped selling all Kanye items and completely cut ties with him, and Prada has done the same by disassociating with Kanye after he wore their clothes to Paris Fashion Week the day before the tweets were posted. Thousands of people have shown their anger towards his hateful words by cutting off his music and famous brand ‘Yeezy’.
On the more positive side of music: Taylor Swift, after receiving her MTV VMA award, announced an upcoming album premiering in October of last year. The album, ‘Midnights’ was released on October 21st at, you guessed it, midnight. The album was number 1 on the chart list for 11 weeks in a row, and her song ‘Anti-Hero’ still holds top spot. Following the album release, she has also announced that she’ll be going on her ‘Eras’ tour, which is a combination of all her past albums. Buying tickets for the concert was a whirlwind leading Ticketmaster to shut down and causing many to lose their spot in the stadiums in 2023. Taylor has addressed this issue and ticket sales started going more smoothly.
Closing off the milestones of 2022, the world’s population hit 8 billion people. 8 billion. This number seems impossible to imagine. The question now becomes: will the effects of overpopulation hit us even harder in 2023? I guess we will have to find out throughout this upcoming year, one which has so much promise, and so much to unfold.