Zhang: Top pop culture moments of 2023

Christina Zhang, Entertainment Editor

Elon Musk Buying Twitter

On Oct. 27, 2022, Elon Musk officially became the owner and CEO of Twitter after buying it for $44 billion. Thanks to him, Twitter has welcomed back controversial users such as Donald Trump and Kanye West while it also said bye-bye to 80% of its employees. In the noble pursuit of freedom of speech and reducing disinformation, Musk banned comedian Kathy Griffin’s account for making fun of him and provided users the opportunity to pay him a subscription fee in exchange for a blue verified checkmark! Twitter will always be remembered for the good times — a place to build parasocial relationships or share insignificant opinions about politics.

George Santos’ Drag Queen Past

In January, our favorite gay Republican House Representative was allegedly exposed for having a fierce past as a drag queen in Brazil. Freelance journalist Marisa Kabas posted a tweet with photographic evidence of him at a 2008 drag show. His drag name? Kitara Rivache. At first, Santos denied the allegations by tweeting, “The most recent obsession from the media claiming that I am a drag queen or ‘performed’ as a drag Queen is categorically false.” Days later, after being confronted, he said “I was young and I had fun at a festival. Sue me for having a life.” He left us gagged. 

Hailey Bieber’s Nepo Baby Shirt

While the nepo baby movement had been gradually gaining momentum over the past decade, the December 2022 Nate Jones article in New York Magazine: “Extremely Overanalyzing Hollywood’s Nepo-Baby Boom” truly hoisted it into our everyday lexicon. Hailey Bieber, the daughter of famed actor Stephen Baldwin, decided to weigh in on the discussion by wearing the term on her shirt, attempting to reclaim it using her full chest. Thank you, Hailey, for your bravery and public service. Justin’s wife lets us know she won’t be reduced into two words! You go, girl! 

Harry Styles Spitting on Chris Pine

Also known as spit-gate, a short clip of Harry Styles allegedly spitting on his co-star Chris Pine at the Venice Film Festival quickly went viral, with many Twitter users spinning memes and forming conspiracy theories to solve the historical altercation. In the video, Pine suddenly stops clapping with a look of shock on his face after Styles pulses in front of him, appearing to hack something out of his mouth. This work-friendly quarrel only added fuel to the flames known as the “Don’t Worry Darling” drama. Did Harry Styles spit on Chris Pine? Was it intentional? Pine v. Styles will go down in history as one of the greatest battles of all time.

Taylor Swift and Ticketmaster

On Nov. 15, millions of eager Swifties queued on Ticketmaster for a chance to get their hands on presale tickets for Taylor Swift’s highly-anticipated “Eras Tour.” What they didn’t know, however, was that they would spend hours stuck in the queue and even get booted off the website. The cause? An unprecedented influx of demand and bot attacks. As retaliation, more than two dozen Swifties filed a class-action lawsuit against Ticketmaster for fraud, misrepresentation and antitrust violations. The fiasco also prompted the Senate Commerce Committee to discuss the lack of competition in the live entertainment business. Leave it to the Swifties to demonopolize the ticket industry.

Doja Cat and Kylie Jenner at Fashion Week

The lion from “The Wizard of Oz” and a blood clot have finally met through a brief exchange of vocal-fried “Good to see you”’s at the January 2023 Schiaparelli Haute Couture Spring/Summer show. Both Doja and Kylie showed up competing for the title of best dressed with their bold and daring looks. According to the internet, Kylie and her faux lion head expected to be the center of attention until Doja showed up in 30,000 Swarovski crystals. To garnish the icy interaction, the two sat one seat apart in the same row but still ignored each other during the entire show. Oh who is she…oh who is she…

While this was a fantastic year for pop culture, like the influencers at this year’s Met Gala, not everyone could make the list. Here are some honorable mentions:

Miss USA Costume

On Jan. 14, 2023, R’Bonney Gabriel was crowned Miss Universe 2022, all thanks to her iconic national costume. As Gabriel is a Houston native herself, her costume paid homage to the Apollo 11 lunar landing. Unafraid to do some heavy lifting to impress the crowd and judges, her costume weighed over 30 pounds and spanned 36 inches in diameter. A true, patriotic representation of what our country is: subtle.

Prince Harry’s Book 

Prince Harry’s “Spare” is nothing short of a tell-all. Whether you care about the royals, Prince Harry, or England at all, chances are that you’ve heard a lot about them coming into 2023. Thanks to Harry’s devoted transparency to the world, we now know about the time that William KO’ed Harry in his cottage, Harry’s wartime kill count, and all of the royal family tea. Much to digest.

Met Gala Cockroach

Among the sea of A-listers at fashion’s biggest night out, a measly vermin stole the spotlight as it got snug while crashing the red carpet. Unfortunately, Variety reports that the uninvited guest was later stomped to death by an unverified party. RIP Met Gala Cockroach 2023-2023. With what little it had to work with, I think the cockroach truly left its mark on the fashion world.