Packing our 2019 pop culture time capsule

The Journal's Lifestyle editors pick five items to commemorate a wildly entertaining year

Pop culture's biggest moments this year included the end of Game of Thrones and the rise of fun pump-up anthems.

It’s hard enough to remember what we had for breakfast last week, let alone all of the crazy pop culture moments of the past year. 

To preserve and commemorate the best parts of the last 12 months, we decided to collect five mementos for our 2019 pop culture time capsule. We hope that when we eventually re-open this capsule in a few decades, we can look back on fond memories of our past culture—and relive the iconic pump-up anthems this year brought us. 

Lil Nas X’s cowboy hat

Tegwyn: Not only did Lil Nas X release “Old Town Road,” the song of the summer for 2019, but he publicly came out as gay, while his song was topping the charts. His song embodied both country and hip hop themes, two genres historically steeped in machismo and homophobia. We jammed to his addictive music and watched proudly as he became the first out gay man to ever be nominated for a Country Music Association award—which he won for his remix with Billy Ray Cyrus. While his iconic song will forever be a part of 2019, I can’t wait to see what he brings us in 2020.

Ally: I never imagined that Billy Ray Cyrus would be part of something more iconic than Hannah Montana, in which he played a long-haired, washed-up country crooner Robby Ray Stewart. I was wrong. Seeing him team up with Lil Nas X in a remix of “Old Town Road” after Billboard removed the original song from the country charts was even better. I don’t think I need to tell you that the remix galloped its way into the hearts of people everywhere, but in case you missed out on the fun, go online and watch YouTube videos of adorable children dancing to the tune. It’ll warm your “Achy Breaky Heart.”  

Greta Thunberg’s yellow raincoat

T: This 16-year-old Swedish girl has united the world in fighting harder against the climate crisis. She’s been adamant about not becoming a figurehead for the climate movement, preferring concrete policy changes to public adoration, so let me use the rest of this paragraph to give you some context. According to the United Nations, global human-caused CO2 emissions need to fall by 45 per cent from where they were in 2010 before the year 2030. How is your lifestyle and advocacy helping to reach that goal? Make Greta proud in 2020 and fulfil her demands from this year.

A: Greta’s vocal passion for the environment has made waves all over the world, Queen’s campus included. When hundreds of Queen’s students went on strike for climate action on campus and the University’s divestment from fossil fuels, Greta was present on signs, in speeches, and in the hearts of those who attended. Although, as Tegwyn points out, Greta doesn’t want to become a figurehead for the movement, it’s safe to say she’s inspired the Queen’s community to seek real, tangible change.   

The iron throne

T: Game of Thrones (GoT) finally met its end in 2019, although it was more of a disappointing death than a triumphant finish. From unfulfilled plotlines to wrongly-crowned characters, fans of the hit HBO show, myself included, thought the final Thrones season left a lot to be desired.

A: Okay, so I’ve never watched an entire episode of Game of Thrones—but I have seen an odd clip here and there. Even though I’m a GoT noob, I do know that with its final episode came the end of a worldwide pop culture phenomenon. Despite the (apparently) disappointing ending that featured Dragon Lady and Guy with Beard, the show has brought people together for episode analyses, viewing parties, and long-winded rants for eight years. Even though the show wasn’t part of my life, I think providing eight years of water cooler chat is something to be proud of.

A pool float from our Hot Girl Summer

T: The Hot Girl Summer phenomenon swept through pop culture this year. The term was coined by fans of 24-year-old Houston rapper Megan Thee Stallion, and quickly blossomed into an internet meme. The rapper even released a song called “Hot Girl Summer” in August, cementing her role as the baddest bitch of summer 2019. The concept of Hot Girl Summer is genderless, weightless, and unabashedly self-confident, and, according to Megan, it involves “hyping up your friends, doing you, [and] not giving a damn about what nobody got to say about it.”

A: Since I stayed in Kingston this summer, there was nothing I loved more than justifying every choice I made by claiming it was an integral part of my Hot Girl Summer. Nachos for breakfast? An extra mimosa while out for brunch with my friends? Choosing to sleep in whenever possible? All part of my Hot Girl Summer. Seriously, though, Megan’s message of self-love and celebrating others is important for everyone, always. If you’re interested in turning your hot girl summer into a hot girl year, The Journal’sgot you covered.

Iron Man’s mask

T: It is too soon for spoilers? Either way, the Avengers saga as we know it came to an end this year, along with the life of a beloved red-suited character, and had a much more satisfying denouement than other franchises—Game of Thrones, notably—could manage. Saying goodbye to the core group of heroes we’ve all grown to love was hard, but with Disney+ introducing all kinds of spin-off content in 2020, I’m sure we’ll find new characters to follow.

A: I still get chills when I think about the Avengers’ final fight scene. Though it’s sad that the saga had to come to an end, there’s no doubt that the filmmakers hit it out of the park with this one. I only wish there was some way to keep the Marvel universe alive. I guess the next twenty or so Marvel films that come out in the next few years will do the job. 


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