10 Pop Culture And Celebrity Artifacts That Defined 2013

Aristotle Eliopoulos
Authored by
Aristotle Eliopoulos
Pop Culture Guyd!
December 31, 2013
10:42 a.m.

Screenshot 2013-12-31 11.37.37

When I was in elementary school we had this strange time capsule encased in the wall near our Principal’s Office. It was strange because, since I was still a child, it never really occurred to me that we might want to preserve something to the extent of actually sealing it away from public view. The time capsule was set to be opened in 2000 and while I never made an effort to go back and see what was in that damn thing, a part of me wonders what was of so much cultural or personal importance to that school that they felt they need to stick it in a hole in the wall.

But enough about holes (teehee). This year was actually a great year in pop culture. And while Miley Cyrus could fill an entire time capsule with just half the shit she did, you have to wonder, if time capsules didn’t die out with the trend of snap bracelets and saying YOLO, would these be the artifacts from 2013 we’d store away for a future generation to see?

1. Miley’s Foam Finger


I don’t think anything flustered us more this year than Miley Cyrus’s provocative MTV Video Music Awards performance with Robin Thicke. But in retrospect, what were we so outraged about? Miley Cyrus’s scandalous dancing? Her lack of clothes? The whole thing just feels like a blur to me given the controversy, right? Oh wait! Miley’s vigorous acts of simulated masturbation with a foam finger! I knew I was forgetting something. Heck, even the inventor was hot-mad about this. Speaking of hot, I hope that thing’s cooled down enough that I can throw it in the capsule without causing a fire. While we’re on the subject, though…

2. Sinead O’Connor’s Angry Letter to Miley Cyrus


While Sinead O’Connor is no stranger to controversy, when she wrote an open letter to Miley Cyrus as a warning to not let her controlling label “prostitute” her, the news helped escalate the already rising popularity of “Wrecking Ball” to new heights. But while the letter helped give more press to Cyrus, at the end of this year, it stands more so as an artifact to Sinead’s character than anything. Sinead O’Connor, a woman who sabotaged her future success years ago by targeting the Catholic Church on a highly publicized Saturday Night Live performance for their abuse of children, still trying to protect someone she believes is being marginalized. Only to learn of course that the girl isn’t being prostituted; she just likes being naked.

3. Kanye West’s “Bound 2” Video


“Bound 2” is not the best song Kanye West has written, but it does mean something for us because we know it’s a love song written about Kim Kardashian. The video is also bizarre, with its strange use of hyperrealistic expensive CGI, paired with the two celebrity lovebirds sitting on a motorcycle that has less real movement going for it than a senior citizen who just ate some bran flakes. But despite the message being lost in post-production (I hope), it still speaks to the psyche of West; a man who relishes in his celebrity status so much that his delusions about his own power and influence are slowly starting to take over. The eccentricities of the video also resulted in a popular shot by shot remake by James Franco and Seth Rogen, showing the video worked better as a comedy piece than an honest devotion of love and affection. But at least 1/2 of the relationship got one last laugh…

4. Kim Kardashian’s Swimsuit Selfie


After months and months of people, tabloids, and paparazzo telling her how fat she got from, you know, carrying a baby inside her, Kim Kardashian disappeared for a bit once the birthing ritual of North West was completed and she was relinquished from the holds of the Illuminati. Girl took a bit of time off but once she came back with a steamy white one-piece picture of her ass swallowing an itsby bitsy swimsuit, the girl who couldn’t catch a break about her body got a nice tasteful “F U” thrown in there without having to say a word. I just hope she realizes she can never wear that suit the next time she sits next to Diddy and Oprah.

5. Adam Levine’s People Magazine Cover


Print might be dying as a medium, and while I sure had my own qualms with settling on Adam Levine as this year’s Sexiest Man, what’s a time capsule without a Sexiest Man Alive cover? It’s all in the name of precaution, you know? Like taking out a little bit more extra cash out at an ATM before a night on the town. Or grabbing some mints before you head out on your date. Among other things… Until something better comes along, People’s list is still something that needs to be stored away for others to see. Plus, an aged People with Adam Levine’s face never hurts to have if we just so happen to open this thing during a zombie apocalypse, you know?

6. Glee‘s Memorial Episode to Finn/Cory Monteith


What do you say about a show with a name that is a synonym for happiness having to do an episode honoring its star’s death by a drug overdose? The memorial episode of Glee,while a powerful artifact in keeping the memory of Cory Monteith alive, is also just something that creates pause or a need to reflect. Not just because of Monteith’s death, but because the way the episode blurs the line with life and art, acting and honest emotion – going from breaking any form of a fourth wall to something that rather hugs that wall and hands it a tissue as it simultaneously dries its tears.

7. The “Everytime” Scene from Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers


Whether or not you were a fan of any of the ballads on Brit Brit’s new album, Britney Jean, any true Britney fan will appreciate “Everytime”; the Spears written, Guy Sigsworth-produced heartbreak hit from her fourth studio album, In the Zone. So when director Harmony Korine added it into his ultra-violent, pastel-colored tween flick Spring Breakers this year in a montage of young teenage girls dancing with guns while wearing pink ski masks and DTF (down to fuck) sweatpants, it was the right juxtaposition needed to put into perspective how strange pop culture has become with the Internet. Speaking to a young generation supposedly so desensitized by violence while also noting that the youth of today would indeed believe that something “inspiring” and “uplifting” is the music of Britney Spears, this scene helped escalate the song into what it truly is, a modern classic. Take that, JT.

8. Jeff Koons’ Lady Gaga Statue


We’ve said a lot about ARTPOP this year, but something that we were kind of only hinted at was the fact that Jeff Koons created quite a big sculpture of Lady Gaga as part of her ARTPOP release. While many wondered if the idea of ARTPOP was a bit half-baked, you gotta admit that the artistic collaboration really hit the album’s concept on the head, while at the same time cementing Lady Gaga as someone who isn’t just a pop star but someone who is worthy to be made into art, as well (depending on who you ask, of course).

9. Nicole Kidman Falling


Earlier this year I predicted this as the most interesting picture to reflect on for 2013, but no one really kept it in mind. To me, even though Nicole Kidman is a respected actor and celebrity, this picture accurately depicts a change in the way we view celebrities and celebrity status. Remember that classic Chanel No 5 commercial with Nicole Kidman as the most famous actress in the world, and then no one could find where she disappeared to? It could have been true, but in a world of aggressive press and paparazzi, and the Internet, the plot now sounds unfathomable, no? The belief that as a celebrity you can have a private and public life is slowly disappearing, and this picture truly states that, as a celebrity, if you can’t take the paparazzi heat, you simply might just have to leave the kitchen.

10. Madonna’s #secretprojectrevolution


Props to our girl Madge who, although not promoting any new musical material this year, kept herself in the public eye and busy. The best bit of work we got from the M-girl was her short film with Steven Klein titled #secretprojectrevolution, a black and white 17 minute film that let her explore her already existing political side without the context of an upcoming musical project. It was a ballsy work that allowed Madonna to try something new with technology (the work was only available to see via various BitTorrent websites, or in certain city capitals projected on the walls of buildings), while at the same presenting Madonna as the same unwavering girl with opinions and a need for social reform; this time with less burning crucifixes.


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