Below is a list of some of those things – in particular, the ones we wish we could forget the most. Please feel free to argue about our choices in the comments.
1. Cecil the Lion
Big game hunting raises a lot of issues worth discussing. But the reaction to the death of one lion, at the hands of a Minnesota dentist, went nuts and hung around the top of the news cycle for days. The reaction included a massive attempt to avenge Cecil by leaving bad Yelp reviews for the dentist’s practice.
2. When the Internet upstaged a bride
A viral photograph of a man proposing to a woman at someone else’s wedding rode across the Internet on a mighty wave of outrage earlier this year. Except … the bride – whom everyone assumed would be furious about being upstaged — had proposed the idea herself, she later said. The lucky woman in the foreground is the bride’s sister, and neither she nor her future husband deserved the shaming they received.
The founders of a terrible idea for an app — sort of a “Yelp for people,” where users could rate other human beings like they were a restaurant — seemed to have only the best of intentions. And that, paradoxically, made the whole idea of Peeple seem even worse.
4. The Dress
IS IT BLUE AND BLACK OR WHITE AND GOLD?!?!?!??!?!?!?!?!?
5. Shaming people for talking about The Dress.
It is okay to dislike The Dress (see above). The Dress became a topic of international intrigue on the same slow news day that a bunch of llamas escaped and ran around free in an Arizona town, and something about that prompted a bunch of people to shame anyone discussing either dumb topic, instead of more serious discussions. As it turns out, humans are capable of paying attention to more than one thing at the same time.
6. Weaponized crowdfunding
Do you remember Memories Pizza? The Indiana restaurant whose owners said that the business would not, hypothetically, cater a gay wedding? Do you remember how supporters donated $800,000 to its GoFundMe campaign? The case of Memories was just one example of something we called “weaponized crowdfunding,” and it became an inescapable addition to a series of social issues debates for a period of several months this year.
7. Social media star sex scandals
The young community of our planet’s Vine stars was embroiled in a really bleak sex scandal over the summer, after a video leaked showing Carter Reynolds repeatedly pressuring his underage girlfriend into performing oral sex.
At around the same time, the Ashley Madison leak swept up Sam Rader of Sam and Nia, a Christian vlogging couple. The pair had recently become extra famous, and extra controversial, after posting a video where Sam surprised Nia with the news of her own pregnancy. Sam confessed to opening an Ashley Madison account, and said that his wife and God had forgiven him for it.
8. Pizza rat
9. Red cups
Most Christians don’t actually seem to care whether Starbucks’ holiday cups have snowflakes or other Christmas-y symbols on them. But that fact didn’t stop a controversy over a new, minimalist red cup design from becoming a Big Huge Issue earlier this month after a pastor posted a viral video encouraging people to “prank” Starbucks by giving their name as Merry Christmas, in protest of the less Christmasy cups.
10. The blogger who lied about having cancer
Belle Gibson, an Australian health blogger, admitted that she had lied about curing terminal cancer with a healthy, whole-food diet, a narrative that was the basis of her business as a heath writer.