Best of 2016: The Cultural Moments That Defined the Year

With 2017 just ahead of us, we take a critical look back at the most significant highlights and lowlights that made 2016 a year for the history books.

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However you feel about 2016—John Oliver, for example, sent it a middle-fingered kiss off on his series’ season finale—you can’t say it was boring. For better or worse (probably worse) American electoral politics dominated the national, and international, conversation. But really all this tumult really just reflected profound seismic shifts in a society whose stasis we had taken for granted. After all, it’s when you’re most comfortable that the earthquake happens. The world turned in 2016 and left us no shortage of things to talk about over the holiday dinner table. Here are some of the cultural touchstones we’ll be dissecting over some heavily spiked eggnog.