The Slatest

Slate’s 2022 Yearbook Superlatives

The good, the bad, and the ugly.

An illustration of a bunch of pink exclamation points in the style of block letters, with a bear and a blonde girl peaking out.
Illustrations by Alex Eben Meyer

Well, it was another year of firsts and lasts, with many unique winners, losers, disappointments, and regrets. Some illustrious “main characters” shot for the moon; some just debased themselves. Behold: Slate’s list of superlatives for those persons, places, and things that defined 2022—usually by doing something strange, but sometimes, inspiringly, by being normal. These are in no way presented in order of importance. As we cross into 2023, may many (but certainly not all) stay behind.

Most Overlooked Political Sojourn: Sen. Tim Kaine getting stuck on I-95 for 27 hours 


Most Likely to Have Become a Widely Admired Household Name in an Alternate Universe Where We Weren’t Too Busy Thinking About Stuff Like QAnon, Jan. 6, and Elon Musk: Ketanji Brown Jackson

Most Likely to Succeed, in Spite of the Will of the Populace: The conservative justices of the Supreme Court

Most Surprising Attempt to Change the Nature of Reality: The Senate attempting to eliminate daylight saving time

An illustration of a large golden clock. A group of people is trying to turn back one of the hands.

Most Radicalizing Moment for a Generation: Ticketmaster’s bungling of the Taylor Swift “Eras Tour” sale

Most Suspenseful Will They/Won’t They With Massive Import for the American People: Federal student loan forgiveness

Most Consequential Supreme Court Decision: The 4–4 split (Barrett recused) in Bradley LeDure, Petitioner v. Union Pacific Railroad Company regarding the question of whether a train is “in use” when it makes a temporary stop at a railyard (just kidding—it was Dobbs, and it is horrible)

Event Most Likely to Make New Parents Wonder if They Are Living in a Sadistic Simulation: The baby formula shortage

Most L_KELY to Get Annoying Once Bought by the New York Times: Wordle

An illustration of a bunch of green and grey tiles with legs and arms.

Most Notable World Leader Who Used to Be an Actor: Volodymyr Zelensky

Second Most Notable World Leader Who Used to Be an Actor: Hmm, fine, yes, the previous entry was a bit contrived

Least Indicted Trump: Tiffany

Least Correct Version of the Massachusetts State Flag: The imaginary one used on the fake pamphlets about refugee benefits that Ron DeSantis’ associates made to lure Venezuelan migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, which was posted on Imgur by a user who said they created a new design because “the current one blows”


Least Likely to Get the Memo: Jim Clyburn, the only octogenarian who decided not to step down from Democratic leadership for the coming Congress

Least (but Also Most) Surprising Fact Revealed in a Culture-War Dispute With a Republican Governor: There is a section of Florida that is literally governed by Disney

An illustration of a man wearing a pair of Mickey Mouse

Biggest Sacred Secret-Society Code Broken: Madison Cawthorn saying Congress has orgies


Biggest Loser of a Holy War: Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano

Biggest Shorts Guy: John Fetterman (Runner-up: Sam Bankman-Fried)

Best Homecoming: Brittney Griner

Best Side Hustle: Kyrsten Sinema on Facebook Marketplace

Best Dance: Jenna Ortega as Wednesday Addams

Best Video Footage of a Man Running From His Purported Convictions: Republican Missouri Sen. and leading “Stop the Steal” rally promoter Josh Hawley hot-footing it the hell away from actual Capitol rioters after they got into his workplace

Best Snack Run: Nancy Pelosi on Jan. 6, 2021, with a meat stick, in a video released by the Jan. 6 Committee

An illustration of a stick of meat wearing a badge that says SNACK.

Best Reason for an Unexpected Turn Toward Cautious Optimism: The Inflation Reduction Act

Worst Substitute for a Secure Storage Space: The closet by the pool at Mar-a-Lago where a bunch of national secrets were apparently kept

Most Inspiring Response to Vladimir Putin: The people of Ukraine

Most Revitalized Family Name: Cheney (Liz)

Most Humiliating DM/Text Exchange: Adam Levine’s “Holy fucking fuck

Most Humiliating Nonsexual DM/Text Exchange: Ginni Thomas’ “Help This Great President stand firm, Mark!!!”

Most Adorable Capitol Hill Scamp That Was, Uh, Eventually Euthanized: The fox that kept biting people

An illustration of a long fox.

Most Cautious Sign of Hope in an Area Otherwise Marked by Literally Unimaginable Levels of Grief and Horror: Biden signing the first new gun safety legislation passed in decades

Most Obnoxious Billionaire Union-Buster: Howard Schultz

Most … Compelling Day on Twitter (We’re Not Saying It Was FunDon’t Write Us a Letter Complaining That We Said It Was Fun): When Queen Elizabeth died

Most “Holy Shit, That Was THIS YEAR?” Moment:The Slap

An illustration of a hand slapping.

Most Consequential Saliva, Even if Hypothetical, but Why Not Believe Because It Adds to the Drama: Harry Styles “spitting” on Chris Pine

Relatedly, “Moviest” Movie: Don’t Worry Darling

Funniest Girl: Lea Michele

Darkest Brandon: Dark Brandon

Funniest Guy, Class Clown, Coolest Dude, Whatever, Maybe if We Give Him This He Will Leave Everyone Alone: Elon Musk

Most Bitter About Not Being Invited to a Wedding: The White House press corps

Scammiest Limbs: Mark Zuckerberg’s animated metaverse legs that weren’t

An illustration of a man in a blue shirt, without legs. The legs are next to him. He's pointing to them.

Most Unable to Stop Self-Canceling: Kanye West/Ye

Biggest Red Flag: Posting a Johnny Depp GIF

Greatest Commitment to Censorship: The town in Michigan that defunded its own library

Most Rhode Island Political Ad: Not Bad for a Govunah Who Lives With His Motha

Riskiest Strategy That Somehow Didn’t Backfire Completely: Democrats funding MAGA nuts’ primaries

Lowest-Stakes Cheating Scandal: Fat Bear Week

An illustration of a bear playing with a ballot box.

Most Un-Banned From a Famous Restaurant: James Corden 

Most Political Food Item: Crudité

Shade-iest Political Dig:Candidate quality

Cutest(?) Couple: T.J. Holmes and Amy Robach of Good Morning America

Largest Number of Secret Children: Herschel Walker

Most Likely to Prove We Can’t Spell: Beyoncé’s Renaissance