The Most-read WIRED Culture Stories of 2017

December 31, 2017 6:00 pm

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Earlier this year, WIRED published a story that asked a question that seemed to encapsulate internet culture in 2017: What does ‘covfefe’ mean? The nonsense term was tweeted out by President Donald Trump, and the internet went into a fit trying to define it. As WIRED culture writer Angela Watercutter wrote, “Nearly every great meme starts with an obscure word, hashtag, or image that is then granted humor based on what the internet does with it. ‘On fleek,’ ‘Damn, Daniel,’ Kermit sipping tea—all of these things have meanings given to them by people online. In fact, creating and spreading new language is one of social media’s greatest skill sets.”

The mystery was never solved, and soon we turned our attention to other great questions, like is mindful meditation BS? Can one really make a living as a D&D Dungeon Master? Or, my personal favorite, just who is Poppy?

Childish Gambino. Atlanta. Lando Calrissian. Inside the Weird, Industry-Altering World of Donald Glover

Childish Gambino. Atlanta. Lando Calrissian. Glover has just about every performance space covered, and all his projects intersect in strange ways.

—Allison Samuels, January 19, 2017

PewDiePie’s Fall Shows the Limits of ‘LOL JK’

The prominent YouTuber’s casual racism and attacks on the media have made him an idol in the eyes of the so-called alt-right.

—Emma Grey Ellis, February 16, 2017

Pepsi’s New Kendall Jenner Ad Was So Bad It Actually United the Internet

The online response to the soda company’s now-pulled marketing video was surprisingly refreshing.

—Angela Watercutter, April 5, 2017

Extremists’ Meme Armies Are Turning Into Militias

On the far-right, political memes have evolved from mere trolling to something that looks a lot more like military propaganda.

—Emma Grey Ellis, April 20, 2017

George R. R. Martin Doesn’t Need to Finish Writing the Game of Thrones Books

George R. R. Martin owes you nothing.

—Emily Dreyfuss, May 5, 2017

The guys behind the Supreme Saint streetwear shopping bot.

Ysa Pérez

Supreme, and the Botmakers Who Rule the Obsessive World of Streetwear

In the fanatical world of limited-release streetwear, milliseconds matter—and the shopping bots reign supreme.

—Lauren Schwartzberg, May 25, 2017

What Does ‘Covfefe’ Mean? The Internet Will Define That For You.

Early one morning President Trump tweeted a fake word. Social media’s reaction is a prime example of how language travels online.

—Angela Watercutter, May 31, 2017

Welcome to Poppy’s World

Pop singer? YouTube star? Cult Leader? Whoever she is, Poppy is here to take over the internet.

—Lexi Pandell, June 3, 2017

It Was Inevitable, Really: Netflix Is Turning Into HBO

Now that it’s canceling shows, the streaming service is acting more like a network than ever.

—Angela Watercutter, June 13, 2017

Is Mindfulness Meditation BS?

Is mindfulness meditation a capitalist tool or a path to enlightenment? Yes.

—Robert Wright, August 12, 2017

Alec Baldwin’s Trump Impression Is a Technical Marvel

The actor’s impersonation isn’t just funny, it’s very technically proficient.

—Angela Watercutter, August 22, 2017

The ‘Distracted Boyfriend’ Meme Photographer Explains All

Antonio Guillem didn’t mean to go viral. In fact, he only just found out what a meme is.

—Brian Barrett, August 28, 2017

Dan Winters

The Replicant: Inside the Dark Future of Blade Runner 2049

What a sequel 35 years in the making can tell us about the state of sci-fi and America’s appetite for dystopia.

—Brian Raftery, September 19, 2017

Steven Soderbergh’s New App, Mosaic, Will Change How You Watch TV

His latest project is a monumental effort designed to keep you glued to your phone.

—Angela Watercutter, November 11, 2017

Meet a Professional Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master from New York City

Timm Woods is one of several DMs-for-hire out there, but this isn’t his hobby or a side gig; it’s a living, and a pretty good one at that,

—Brian Raftery, November 19, 2017

‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Is a Near-Perfect Reinvention of the Franchise

Rian Johnson’s movie is the springiest, smartest, most assured installment in years.

—Brian Raftery, December 12, 2017

‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Will Be Too Inclusive for Some People. Good.

Don’t like diversity in your Star Wars movies? Don’t see The Last Jedi.

—Angela Watercutter, December 15, 2017


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