2015 Year in Review: Culture

Posted by on Dec 31, 2015 in Year in Review
Social Media. Photo: Robert Churchill/Getty Images

Social Media. Photo: Robert Churchill/Getty Images

As we close the page on another year, btw brings you its traditional year-end look at what took place as the world took another spin. Last week, we brought you an overview of events that took place around the world. This week, we take a closer look at the Culture stories that captured our attention.

Digital Life

President Obama signed up for a new Twitter account (@POTUS) this year as a way to be more in touch with the American People. Meanwhile, average citizens discovered the power of a single tweet, when a woman named Justine Sacco posted an insensitive comment to her 170 followers that ended up causing outrage when it was reTweeted to more than 15,000 people. We explored the rise of a possible “digital dialect” as we become more accustomed to communicating with more than just words. And Google announced that it was created a “parent company” as a way to organize all of its activity and plan for the future.

Notable Figures

The flood of biopic movies at this year’s Academy Award celebration influenced us to examine the responsibilities of the creators of those at the helm of those productions. Because we liked shining such a light on people we think everyone should know, be dug a little deeper in our annual look at Black History Month. This summer, we let “You Decide” whether (and which) woman should be featured on the new $10 bill. But then the current face of that bill—Alexander Hamilton—gained our attention by way of a hit Broadway show. Vocal powerhouse Adele also regained our attention after a four-year break, with the release of her third album 25. The details of another comeback were more controversial, as publisher Harper Collins decided to release a contested “prequel” of Harper Lee’s beloved To Kill a Mockingbird called Go Set a Watchman. Royals young and old made our feed this year. Queen Elizabeth II became Great Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, while her great-grandson, Prince George (and his parents) deal with an ever-aggressive paparazzi. We shared with you the latest Nobel Prize winners and stood with a schoolboy named Ahmed.

Notable Institutions or Events

When terrorists struck the Charlie Hebdo offices, we brought you an overview of the history of political cartoons as a way to provide some context and make some sense out of such a horrific act. The 9/11 Flight 93 visitor center opened this year as a way to shed some light on another horrific event. Two beloved cultural institutions made the news this year: Sesame Street introduced a new character who has autism and the Peanuts gang showed up on the big screen, But not all institutions were met with equal reverence, as we questioned the importance and popularity of the Olympic Games.

Lists and Recaps

Once the list of nominees is issued (whether it be for the Grammys, Oscar, Emmys or any other major award) the growing list of those “snubbed” is equally entertaining as are the recap of the actual winners, And we were especially concerned about you having enough to read, watch and watch while you were on summer vacation.

What Do You Think? What do you think the biggest national story of the year was? Why? Choose a topic from the story above that you are less familiar with and dig a little deeper, writing at least one paragraph on what you learned and why it might not have captured your attention before.