Honoring the rich and powerful people who enjoyed a most top-tier fall from grace this year.
In fact, it largely sucked. But we here at Mic are optimists who know how to snatch a little bit of victory from the jaws of defeat when we can — and that includes spending some time honoring the elite figures who earned their well-deserved falls from grace over the past 12 months. People like ...
Ahh, hubris. The Biden administration was supposed to be the clean slate! The fresh start after four years of wandering in a Trumpy desert. Instead, Biden has spent 2021 doing ... eh, not great, to be honest.
There were some wins right out of the gate, but as the year dragged on, all that momentum, well, imploded. Ultimately, we ended here: an internecine fight with members of his own party desperate to apply the coup de grace on what’s already become the bare skeleton of his once ambitious domestic agenda. Sad.
Donald Trump started 2021 strong. He was president! He almost pulled off a coup! He’d only been impeached a measly one time!
And then things started going downhill.
There was a second impeachment, more legal tsurus, and a nagging sense that although Donald Trump: The Movement™ is still a potent force in politics, it remains to be seen whether Donald Trump: The Guy™ will have the juice he once did.
Which isn’t to say things won’t turn back around in 2022. If anyone knows about second (and third, and fourth) acts in public life, it’s him. But 2021 wasn’t Trump’s year. More and more people are saying it.
Born with silver spoons in their mouths, the Cuomo brothers seemed destined for greatness — and at the start of 2021, who could argue with destiny? Andrew was the powerful governor of New York, riding high off his (ultimately not so successful) handling of the first wave of COVID, while Chris was one of CNN’s most celebrated anchors.
Both brothers seemed poised to do anything they wanted ... until widespread allegations of harassment and corruption tanked Andrew’s political future, and Chris’s use of journalistic resources to help his big brother out ensured both Cuomos would be out of work by year’s end. Oh well. At least they have each other.
To be clear, recently-exited Twitter head Jack Dorsey, Meta-cyborg Mark Zuckerberg, and human Reddit thread Elon Musk are doing just fine. Unless there’s a drastic reordering of the basic fundamentals of our society, they’re unlikely to face the consequences of anything they’ve done. And yet! Between embarrassing product rollouts, uncomfortable media appearances, stultifying congressional testimonies, and general weirdo behavior, 2021 was something of a “new clothes” year for these modern-day emperors.
As a widespread, nebulous, endlessly modifiable, absolutely psychotic collection of conspiracy theories and good ol’ bigotry, the QAnon phenomenon was never exactly destined for mainstream success. But 2021 was a year of quick, merciless reality checks. Deadlines kept passing; infighting among the more high-profile figures involved in the phenomenon fractured the movement; a major HBO documentary essentially outed the whole enterprise as a flim flam operation.
Sure there are still Q-heads out there holding out for the next big revelation. But QAnon is starting to finally feel like an annoying afterthought.