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Charting 2012’s top cultural obsessions

Bonus: GIFs! 


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Posted on Dec 31, 2012   Updated on Jun 2, 2021, 4:36 am CDT

You can’t talk 2012 without talking GIFs: the year’s cultural superstar, the Oxford American Dictionary’sword of the year, and the means by which the internet shared its obsessions (and we all know the internet really likes to obsess). From the GIF to politics to the apocalypse to Honey Boo Boo, the guys from I Love Charts bring you the year’s top cultural obsessions — in GIF form, of course.


2012 was a year where major issues dominated the global narrative. Mainly we talked about the election and zombies.



The world didn’t end in accordance with a misreading of the Mayan calendar, though we certainly wasted a lot of time dissecting the possibility. Add it to the list of disappointments. 


The Election

America got really into the 2012 presidential election. It was as heartening to see the nation take part in the democratic process as it was predictable to see it go back to ignoring politics immediately afterward.



Remember how suddenly everybody felt like it was their place to talk about rape this year? We never found the right chart to say just how disgusted we were.


50 Shades of Grey

The book that stole America’s loins. 


Honey Boo Boooooooooo

Nuff said.


Foreign Pop Stars

The summer of 2012 was dominated by pop music made by artists not born in America. 


Mohawk Guy

2012 was a huge year for science, we assume. As seems to often be the case, science reporting remained marginalized unless the stories involved Bill Nye, a dude with a mohawk, or cool space things we could fantasize about.


Gabby Douglas

Sorry, Neil Degrasse Tyson fans, our hero for 2012 was Gabrielle Douglas, who captivated us all at the 2012 Olympics. 



Yes, Brooklyn. With Jay-Z as its figurehead, the borough not only picked up a professional basketball team but also a brand new stadium. Oh right, and a whole lot of artisanal pickles.


By Jason Oberholzer & Cody Westphal/I Love Charts

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*First Published: Dec 31, 2012, 9:00 am CST