Culture

Our most-read stories of 2018

From searing Apple criticism to a controversial take on skincare.
Culture

Our most-read stories of 2018

From searing Apple criticism to a controversial take on skincare.

Ah, what a year. We came, we saw, we read articles online. Here’s what most of you read on The Outline.

20. The booming business of luxury chicken diapers

This story, by former Outline intern Michael Waters, is one that has it all: chickens, diapers, and late capitalism.

19. MySpace Tom beat Facebook in the long run

Irony lives, as our Culture Editor, Jeremy Gordon, proves in this post.

18. Inside the group chats where people dump cryptocurrency

Paris Martineau spent a day lurking in 12 crypto “pump and dump” groups, in which prospective altcoin investors are routinely scammed. “The fact that it is so easy to lose money may just be due to the structure of the scam, however, in which elite members are the only ones positioned to profit,” Martineau writes.

17. My dad painted the iconic cover for Jethro Tull’s ‘Aqualung,’ and it’s haunted him ever since

Robert Silverman’s father, Burton, painted the image on the cover of Jethro Tull’s legendary 1971 album. He earned a flat fee of $1,500 for what has become an iconic piece of art, and hasn’t seen a penny since. This is the tale of the “palpable sense of unease and frustration” Burton experienced “at seeing something he created become immensely popular — define his career, even — only to see his ownership of the work taken away, thanks in no small part to the persistent myths and outright falsehoods that have been told about the artistic inspiration for the cover.”

16. How to cheat at HQ Trivia

This cleverly SEO’ed post was very popular at the beginning of the year.

15. Juggalos figured out how to beat facial recognition

One of the most triumphant stories of 2018: Juggalo makeup makes it nearly impossible for facial recognition software to identify someone. “To be very clear, The Outline is not endorsing the creation of a Juggalo-makeup powered society that strives to avoid the utilization of facial data at all costs, even as we come to terms with the implicit bias embedded in the technology,” writes Caroline Haskins. “But… Juggalos… Welcome (Back) to The Resistance.”

14. The OK sign is becoming an alt-right symbol

This 2017 post by Rollin Bishop on how the alt-right co-opted what was once an innocent and amiable hand gesture remained relevant enough to occupy the No. 14 spot on this list.

13. The new MacBook Pro is ruining my life

Preeminent Apple critic and Outline Future Editor Casey Johnston’s piece on how a speck of dust could cripple a $2,000 machine made by some of the brightest minds of America proved that it is of enduring interest to the interneteratti. We can reveal that Apple was not happy with this post and that the keyboards are still bad.

12. The keto diet is a recipe for disaster

2018 was the year of the “keto” diet, Outline contributing writer Yvette d'Entremont is here to tell you why it sucks.

11. Let Guillermo Del Toro finally make ‘At the Mountains of Madness’

Culture Editor Jeremy Gordon provided a summation of this post, which was published shortly after the Oscars last March: “Guillermo Del Toro was tragically denied in his years long attempt to adapt H.P. Lovecraft's iconic horror story, ‘At the Mountains of Madness.’ Following a history-defying win at the Oscars, I argued that a studio should ride the momentum, and give him the money.” Thank you, Jeremy.

10. Don’t buy the MacBook Pros even on sale, in my opinion

Our preeminent Apple critic (Casey Johnston) is back at it again with the critcism (of Apple). Here, she lays out her recommendation for those looking to invest in a new Apple machine: Don’t. (Maybe try a Lenovo?)

9. Everyone’s favorite houseplant only wants to die

The houseplant of 2018 was the pothos. “You have for sure seen a pothos plant before,” writes Casey Johnston. “Pothos are extremely popular with millennials, who, given the state of the world and economy and political atmosphere, tend to raise plants rather than new human beings.” Unfortunately for those who love it and cultivate it, the pothos will not accede to life — it strongly wishes to not be here.

8. Chiropractors are bullshit

Listen, you might swear your chiropractor cured your back, but please keep in mind that they are not a doctor and they could kill you. Read why in this deep dive by Yvette d’Entremont.

7. The skincare con

This essay by Krithika Varagur, which essentially argues that spending $50 on a serum that won’t work might be unwise, was met with spirited debate. “Perfect skin is unattainable because it doesn’t exist,” Varagur writes. “The idea that we should both have it and want it is a waste of our time and money. Especially for women, who are disproportionately taxed by both the ideal of perfect skin and its material pursuit.”

6. Crybaby boomers

Ironically, it became fashionable this year for Baby Boomers to accuse millennials of ruining sex and fun. “Even though younger millennials are half as likely to be sexually active in their early 20s as older generations — a factoid featured in countless headlines — our society could not, we could not be further from puritanism, thanks to the abuses of our elders,” Outline contributing writer Alex Nichols argues.

5. What’s the deal with Jerry Seinfeld?

Jerry Seinfeld hasn’t progressed much from his sitcom days. As Luke O’Neil writes of Seinfeld’s latest project, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, “...it feels more like the exercise of a man who spent his life obsessing over fancy cars and needed an excuse to write off his expensive hobby.”

4. We believe Tom DeLonge, who quit blink-182 to prove aliens exist

Enough said in this headline of a post by Culture Editor Jeremy Gordon...

3. Being frugal is for the rich

Turns out that in order to performatively blog about being thrifty you have to be rich in the first place, writes Miles Howard.

2. What are PopSockets? Trash. Absolute trash.

Many things divide our nation, and apparently of them is the PopSocket. Here, Paris Martineau argues that they are unsightly and ridiculous.

1. Justin Timberlake is rebranding as a white man

Curiously, the world has not heard much from Timberlake since Ann-Derrick Gaillot’s scathing review of his Southern-inflected flop of an album, Man of the Woods.

That’s it. Thank you for reading this post, and for reading The Outline. See you next year.

Leah Finnegan is The Outline’s executive editor.