The Worst Takes of 2022

Celebrating a great year for bad ideas

A bored and sad teen student after hard work with computer
Gawker Staff
year in review

Dropping a link into Slack and mercilessly tearing it apart was a treasured pastime of the Gawker staff in 2022. To let you in on our most cherished tradition, here is a collection of the worst takes upon which we laid our miserable eyes over the past 12 months. Happy trashing!

“No, Lydia Tár Is Not Real” from The Cut

“I couldn’t wait to see actual footage of the story I had just seen and was so ready for my Wikipedia deep dive to sate me during my ride home. But when I frantically typed ‘Lydia Tar?’ into Google as I waited for my train, I was greeted with a confusing and upsetting realization: Lydia Tár is not real.”

“When My Son Started to Ask How to Masturbate” from Slate

“Recently, when I went away on a writing retreat for a week, my son put all this talk into action. He brought himself to ejaculation on the toilet. I know this, because the first thing he did afterward was talk to his mom about it. He wanted her to know what had happened and also ask a question: It felt weird, but not great. Was that OK?”

“Escape from Dimes Square” from The Baffler

“One thing is certain: we are living in a time of shibboleths, of passwords. Lately, language is being thrown about like confetti, like all those business cards for boutique weed delivery services scattered on the sidewalk; it is being stretched out and reshaped, made to mean everything and nothing all at once. We are quirked, we are goated, we are bruh, we are bestie. Those of us living in certain corners of New York are exposed to hyperspecific tweets and memes on a daily basis, ones that gesture toward the bars, clubs, restaurants, and even intersections that we frequent or are alleged to frequent. Do these memes make us feel good? Do they even make us laugh?”

“The Far Right and Far Left Agree on One Thing: Women Don’t Count” from the New York Times

“As reported by my colleague Michael Powell, even the word ‘women’ has become verboten. Previously a commonly understood term for half the world’s population, the word had a specific meaning tied to genetics, biology, history, politics and culture. No longer. In its place are unwieldy terms like ‘pregnant people,’ ‘menstruators’ and ‘bodies with vaginas.’”

“So, We’re All Just…Fine With Incest on TV Now?” from Cosmopolitan

“So even though IRL, incest is wrong (‘Children resulting from an incestuous relationship can sometimes suffer from congenital anomalies when blending familial genetics,’ says Gary Brown, PhD, LMFT, a prominent couples therapist in Los Angeles. ‘This is one of the primary reasons that incest is a taboo to begin with.’ This, apart from the fact that when it does happen, it’s often a result of sexual abuse), Game of Thrones exists in an entirely different world, which allows us to be far enough removed from it where we can accept (and, uh, enthusiastically root for) the taboo.”

“‘Small Penis Fall’ Is Officially Here to Celebrate the Growers, Not the Showers” from Men’s Health

"’It’s literally just been everyone uplifting each other while having fun at the same time, it’s been very wholesome. I’m glad it’s blowing up. Everyone seems to be having a lot of fun with it. Also, I’ve gotten a ton of DMs from guys with small penises thanking me for actually showing them some love, so it makes me feel good to actually be helping people!’"

“Is the Dirty Shirley the Drink of the Summer?” from the New York Times

“After two years of a pandemic, the Dirty Shirley gives drinkers the go-ahead to embrace the colorful and over-the-top. ‘The Dirty Shirley is like, “Let’s have fun!” It’s about freedom, it’s about being a kid again,’ said Ms. Baira, adding that it’s just what ‘we need this summer.’”

“New York’s Hottest Club Is the Catholic Church” from the New York Times

“Faith, to these trendsetting Catholics, may be partly a pose — a ‘LARP,’ in internet slang. But as Ms. Levy explained on a recent episode of ‘Wet Brain,’ ‘You just do the rituals, and then it becomes real, even if you don’t [initially] believe in it.’ She added, ‘That’s what religion is.’ Ms. Levy’s co-host, the casting director Walter Pearce, agreed: ‘There’s not a problem in the world that three Hail Marys can’t fix.’”

“Against houseplants” from Dirt

“For me, houseplants represent the widespread evacuation of dignity from many of our lives. You know the drill: the cost of living is skyrocketing while England (where I live) predicts 20 years of stagnating wages, and economists warn of a ‘lost generation’ of working-age people who can’t expect the same security or quality of life as the previous generations. Those entering middle age are beginning to realize their youthful brokenness has become meaningful adult poverty and ongoing precarity. In turn, the low-stakes Gen X single ficus, ready to be thrown out upon the move to the house with a backyard, has become the Gen Z 140 succulents from floor to ceiling as people scramble to counterbalance the fact of the perpetual uprootedness of their lives.”

“‘Feral Girl Summer’ is the latest dating trend to make single women feel inadequate” from the Independent

“Here’s when things get complicated. The feral girl summer is rooted in insouciance. Yes, it’s about female autonomy but fundamentally, it’s about not giving a f***. This attitude is similar to that perpetuated by the cool girl trope, a problematic yet seductive depiction of subdued femininity created for the male gaze. Both concepts exist as aspirational models of womanhood. The difference with the feral girl summer, though, is that it’s been disguised as feminism.”

“Want to Be the Best Guest at Thanksgiving Dinner? Bring These 3 Things.” from Wirecutter

“Upon arrival, hang up your coat, don an apron you brought from home — or better yet, wear the apron under your coat so you can reveal it Clark Kent–style — stride into the kitchen and declare, ‘I’m here to help.’
You have just become a holiday hero.”

“Make Birth Free” from The Atlantic

“A better tack: Rather than tee up an exhausting, decades-long legal battle over whether crisis pregnancy centers (the modern anti-abortion movement’s preferred delivery method for services, money, and goods for women in need) ought to receive state funds and under what conditions, agree that pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum care should all be free, and demand that the federal government make it so.”