The year of 2017 has been full of ups and downs. There have been record-setting storms and hurricanes, and a lot of them. But that’s not all. The US elected a new president in 2016, and he trotted into office in 2017. We all know that every time the US elects a new president, things are crazy that year. Things are bound to change, and it will no doubt be a huge year. From nuclear weapons to old alliances gone sour, things change when a new leader is in charge. But there’s more to it than meets the surface. It’s not all about politics and who is the President of the United States, or anywhere else for that matter. Have you ever heard of a little show called Rick and Morty, or the un-enforcement of Net Neutrality? That’s what we’ll cover today: everything that happened in 2017 that no one really understands. Finally, we have some explanations that don’t make us more confused than we were before we started. These things need some special explanations.
These things that we Googled over and over and never received an answer to satisfy us. Sometimes, we don’t need a fifty-page essay. Sometimes, we just need a short, to-the-point explanation as to why the world’s gone crazy. Who has time for those over-complicated reads anyway? Not us! That’s why we’ve simplified some of the most complicated subjects of the year just for you. Right here we have fifteen things in 2017 you didn’t understand…until now.
15 Net Neutrality: The Beginning Of The End
On December 14, 2017, the government voted to end the enforcement of Net Neutrality. What does this mean for us? Well, as consumers it means that we’ll be monitored by ISP (Internet Service Provider) and that companies (The New York Times, YouTube, etc.) will be able to charge us for things that they never have been able to charge us for. For example, before this change, news sites gave us unlimited access to view their articles. But now, on most sites, you get a limited amount of views before you are forced to either get out or pay a monthly fee to read any more. This is happening everywhere!
But it’s not just paying; it’s also our ISPs that are preventing us from viewing certain sites. They now have the legal right to slow down our internet depending on the type of sites or apps we use. Net Neutrality was officially enforced in 2015 when the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) decided to keep the internet free and open. This could mean discrimination based on s*xual orientation, ethnicity, or even gender.
14 Covfefe: The Word Of 2017
We’ve all made types, but we also usually admit to them. Back in May, the President of the United States was out tweeting when he typed in, "Despite the constant negative press covfefe.” No one really knows what it means or what he was trying to say. Some say it was “coverage” and others say that it was a secret code that only a small amount of people understand.
However, one Urban Dictionary user has an interesting way of putting it: “The mighty and terrible god of internet typos. The mysterious and all-knowing overlord of the Twitter trolls, and Pepe is his prophet.” The world went in a tizzy over this word, and people made a bunch of memes about it. Safe to say, it was just a typo that people jumped on quickly, and it will probably quickly fade in our memories as that one random internet joke from 2017 that was actually kind of silly.
13 The Movement Against Harassment: #metoo
Not too long ago, Alyssa Milano, the actress, saw that there were thousands of women who had been harassed in the past. Without expecting many replies, she sent out a tweet that would change the world. She wrote, “If all the women who have been s*xually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me too’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.”
She claimed the tweet was suggested by a friend and the Charmed actress used it to spread the word. She let us all know that we’re not alone. The movement has gotten thousands of women to speak up and write "#metoo." She wasn’t the first to speak up, but she was the first one to bring it to the internet and plead women to join her. These women (Milano included) were named People Magazine’s Person of the Year, and are now known as the Silence Breakers.
12 Bitcoins: Currency Of The Future
Bitcoins started out as a currency used without any banks at all, created by a man under the alias Satoshi Nakamoto. It can now be used at many big name stores online, no bank account needed. But it isn’t the “banklessness” that’s got people hyped but the escalating trade value. People like it because you can buy stuff anonymously, no name asked. You can send bitcoins to friends via your phone, or win them by solving puzzles online. People often use them to purchase drugs or other illegal substances online, as they are nearly untraceable.
But the real draw is that everchanging value. You see, when they came out in 2010, they had a value of $0.003 per USD. In 2011, they skyrocketed to well over their own value when they reached $31. But a few months later, they were down to $2. Although the value goes up and down, they haven’t gone under $1000 since the start of the year, and have peaked at $18,000 on December 8 of 2017. However, we expect it to reach even higher heights in 2018.
11 Despacito: More Than Slowly
The word "despacito" really does mean slowly in Spanish, but translating the entire song isn’t that easy. In case you weren’t aware, the Spanish song "Despacito" by Luis Fonsi rose to the charts, stealing the number one spot this year. It is now the most viewed YouTube video in history with over 4.5 billion views since its release as of the beginning of December. That’s over 12,000,000 views every single day this year. There is literally 150 people watching that video at any given time (every single second, averaged out).
But what does it mean? Billboard translated the lyrics, and found out that the song speaks (from Luis’ point of view) of a woman who he is practically gawking at as she dances at a club. There are some pretty sultry lines like, “Until I make you scream and you forget your last name.” Then there are those that don’t translate well like, “firmly in the walls of your labyrinth and of your body, I want to create a manuscript.” All in all, it’s a very steamy song, as expected… or is it just about dancing?
10 That Eclipse: Did Anyone Go Blind?
The short answer is no. However, there were injuries, as eclipse-shaped spots were burned into onlooker’s eyes who stared too long. But do you even know what an eclipse is, and whether the one we saw was lunar or solar? On Monday, August 21st, we had a total solar eclipse, covered by NASA. This was the first time that the moon passed completely over the sun since 1979.
Since no one really went blind, why did we wear glasses, though? Isn’t viewing the sun always dangerous? The answer is, yes, it is. But during an eclipse, the sun is less bright, so our eyes will let in more of those harmful rays than usual. Normally, our eyelids and pupils will sort of protect us from the sun. But during a solar eclipse, our eyes are confused and assume it’s safe since it’s darker than usual. What they don’t know is that we’re staring into the sun directly for an ungodly amount of time.
9 13 Reasons Why: Why All The Hate?
13 Reasons Why is an extremely popular 2017 Netflix series. The story follows a boy who listens to “13 reasons why” a girl committed suic*de via recordings she made beforehand. The description alone is enough to make one steer clear. But the fact that they are teenagers makes it so much worse. This strikes a nerve with so many considering there are about 120 suic*des a day in real life. Nearly everyone knows someone who has committed such a sad act. The show seems to make people (especially young) reflect on taking their own lives. They will even plan out their own death whether they intend to follow through or not. In a way, it’s glorified.
This is likely far from the intentions of the writers, but that doesn’t change the fact that many see it that way. Taking one's own life is not a way to show those who care about you what they did wrong. It’s something that should not be a part of everyday life.
8 Polyamory: What Is The Trend?
Whoever thought that a specific type of s*xuality could actually be a trend? No one! But the bottom line is that being “polyamorous” is the new in thing. It’s what “cool kids” do. Some say that polyamory is a way to faithfully cheat while others say it’s what is intended for our world. Unlike many other polygamous ways, this is described as "consensual, ethical, and responsible non-monogamy.”
However, not all agree. Even when polyamory couples argue that they, “just have too much love for one person.” Many say that it makes the two in the original relationship feel lesser, as if their love isn’t enough. But with it becoming more and more common to be in polyamorous relationships, it seems that soon there will be laws everywhere allowing polyamorous marriages outside of a polygamous faith. Ironic how it is the secular people who decided this was the way things should be.
7 Fidget Spinners: Why, Though?
Most of us see fidget spinners as a hip new toy or a completely over-glorified waste of space. But no matter what you think, you have to agree that the origins are pure and beautiful. The first fidget spinners were actually designed for kids with attention problems. They are described as “helping people who have trouble focusing or those who fidget by relieving nervous energy or psychological stress. There are claims that a fidget spinner can help calm people down who suffer from anxiety and other neurological disorders like ADHD and autism.”
But that all changed when people realized they are a good stress reliever and fun for kids. They’ve now turned into a toy that will soon be as classic as yo-yos or slinkies. But no matter how popular they become, know that yes, you did get addicted to a toy made for kids with ADHD. It was a great idea that got out of hand.
6 Charcoal: Is It Good For Your Health?
Charcoal has been all the rage this year. It has been used in face masks and other beauty products. Why would anyone look at burned wood and go, “Hey, I’m going to put that on my face?” Some people even put it in ice cream and other desserts. As for the masks, doctors say, “While it won’t harm your skin, it’s not terribly effective at removing toxins because charcoal isn’t fat soluble.” The fact of the matter is that it does nothing below the very surface. It does nothing more than anything else that can absorb the oils on the surface of your skin. Some doctors even say that face peels should not be painful, and that charcoal masks may, “permanently enlarge pores. You can get scarring. People of darker ethnicities, black patients, Asians, Hispanics, can actually get permanent hypopigmentation.” And the food? Well, it won’t hurt you, but there are no health benefits whatsoever.
5 Taylor Swift: What’s She Up To?
You may have noticed that Taylor Swift never fails to land on the front page of every news site in the world this year. Although she was as popular as ever, nothing really made her stand out too much until she released the song "Look What You Made Me Do." Since its release in August, the music video has thus far gained almost 800 million views. The song is different from her other songs as she claims to be “dead” after going crazy. The video shows her crazy and arguing with every version of Taylor Swift from every other video (and then some) that she has ever appeared in. She ends up killing all of the old Taylors, insinuating, that she’s changed and she’s letting go of the past. Also, that she can make fun of herself.
Since then, her new releases like “Reputation” have been edgier than the usual soft Taylor. We can expect something darker in the near future from the former country sweetheart.
4 Unicorns: Why The New Craze?
It seems like it’s all about unicorns lately. They’re rare, beautiful, unique, and majestic! Scots will tell you that the national animal of Scotland has been the unicorn for hundreds of years, and claim to be the original unicorn lovers. But it seems just this year the world’s love of unicorns has skyrocketed. This was evident went everyone went Black Friday crazy to get a taste of the Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino. The thing is the exact same frap with a different name would never have sold as well as the Unicorn one did. In April of 2017, the Google search for “unicorns” reached an all-time high!
Owner of a “unicorn scrub” that made him billions says, “I think it has something to do with the broader cultural and political landscape in America. Unicorns represent every happy dream you ever had as a child, and that is useful when you’re living in an age where things are darker and scarier than you’d like.”
3 Rick And Morty: Why So Popular?
How can a cartoon get over 1 million followers on Twitter? How can Rick and Morty merchandise be selling out during Christmas? What if I told you that the show first aired in 2013? But it only gained insane popularity in 2017 (by 81% to be exact), something must be up! The show is disgusting, crude, lame, and gory. Yet it’s the most watched comedy series in America, with Pickle Ricks everywhere!
Viewers say that somehow this crazy show is relatable. They take everyday problems (family reunions) and take them to new heights by following through with those impulses you dream about. One writer described their show as a way to express the “shared agony of being alive.” Rick and Morty takes real life and overdramatizes just how awful it is, all the while throwing in the love of family that just can’t be broken. The world needs Rick in Morty, the polar opposite of 13 Reasons Why.
2 DACA, The Battle Protecting Innocent Children
Who's to say that a child’s own welfare depends on where their parents were born? Turns out, a lot of people. DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. But what does that mean? Well, DACA was introduced in the 1970s and it allowed children who were in the country illegally to be granted a contract that would delay their deportation. This would allow them to be eligible for a work permit, and even go to school.
As of 2017, there were about 800,000 of these people in the United States that were considered Dreamers, or DACA enrollees. In the end, the benefits of DACA means that fewer families and children in America living in poverty, and fewer illegal immigrants as they are giving them time to gain citizenship. What are the downfalls? Statistically, there are none, but many are trying to prove that there are. But when they tried to run tests to see if DACA members committed more crimes than others, they got the results that read, "There is no evidence that DACA holders are more likely to commit crimes than U.S. citizens.” And that "numerous studies have found that immigrants do not commit crimes at a higher rate than non-immigrants."
1 Dabbing: More Than Just A Way To Sneeze
You may have seen the signs urging children to sneeze in their shoulder or arm rather than their hand or out in the open. That’s because sneezing in your hand is absolutely a great way to spread germs. But what we’re focusing on here is the “dab” or the dance move that they use for advertisement. Though it’s so much more than a way to sneeze, it’s modern-day culture.
As for who invented the dab, it is unknown. Many hip-hop artists claim they were the original dabber. Bow Wow even claimed it came from the cannabis dabbers community (a way to use cannabis oil). But many disagree. That didn’t stop Saudi Arabia from literally banning the dab altogether. In most countries, though, it’s just a youth’s way of saying “I’m cooler than you,” or just their go-to dance move. And remember kids, dab when you sneeze to stay clean and well!