The pandemic, Karens, crypto craziness: We’re over you, 2022

Dec 2, 2022, 8:32 AM | Updated: 8:56 am
FILE - The FTX logo appears on home plate umpire Jansen Visconti's jacket at a baseball game with t...

FILE - The FTX logo appears on home plate umpire Jansen Visconti's jacket at a baseball game with the Minnesota Twins on Sept. 27, 2022, in Minneapolis. The FTX bankruptcy filing followed a bruising of crypto companies throughout 2022, due in part to rising interest rates and the broader market downturn that has many investors rethinking their lust for risk. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn, File)

(AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — The rudeness pandemic, the actual pandemic and all things gray. There’s a lot to leave behind when 2022 comes to a close as uncertainty rules around the world.

The health crisis brought on the dawn of slow living, but it crushed many families forced to hustle for their lives. Karens went on the rise. Crypto currencies tanked. Pete Davidson’s love thing with Kim Kardashian made headlines.

A list of what we’re over as we hope for better times in 2023:


The pandemic released a tsunami of overwrought Karens and Kens, but heightened incivility has stretched well beyond their raucous ranks.

Researcher Christine Porath restricted herself to rudeness, disrespect or insensitive behavior when she recently wrote about the subject in Harvard Business Review. The professor of management at Georgetown University found incidents of incivility way up, in line with a steady climb stretching back nearly 20 years.

Particularly hammered this year, Porath wrote, were frontline workers in health care, retail, transportation, hospitality and education. All were declared heroes when the pandemic struck. It didn’t take long for that to become a beat down.

Noting that incivility can and does escalate to physical aggression and other violence, Axios dubbed it the rudeness pandemic.

Stop it, mean people. We’re all stressed out, including you we’re quite sure.


Will the implosion of FTX, the world’s third-largest cryptocurrency exchange, bring on broader chaos in a digital world that millions of people already distrust?

Time will tell as other and otherwise healthy crypto companies face a liquidity crisis. And there’s the philanthropic implications of the FTX bankruptcy collapse here in the real world, since founder Sam Bankman-Fried donated millions to numerous causes in “effective altruism” fashion.

The FTX bankruptcy filing followed a bruising of crypto companies throughout 2022, due in part to rising interest rates and the broader market downturn that has many investors rethinking their lust for risk. That includes mom-and-pop investors along for the ride.

While more people than ever before know what cryptocurrencies are, far fewer actually partake. Is it any wonder? Get it together, crypto.


Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. It began, innocently enough, as brain tingles brought on by whispering, tapping, brushing or scraping. Then, bam, it took off on social media like a really loud rocket on a mission to annoy.

Today, we’ve got millions of videos filled with people attempting to calm by speaking in low tones, armed with anything they can get their hands on in conjunction with their expensive, ultra-sensitive mics.

Companies are selling beer and chocolate, paint and home goods using ASMR. All the calming — and commerce — is deafening.


Gray walls, gray floors, gray furniture. Is gray passé? Here’s hoping.

The color spent much of 2022 as a purportedly neutral “it.” The problem was, we were already feeling gray on the inside.

Of course, gray has been around since color itself but it took over as an alternative to beige and Tuscan brown. Gray took a tumble mid-year but one doesn’t paint or swap out the couch as quickly as trends fade. We’ve been stuck with gray, thanks to TV home shows and social media loops.

“What would your reaction be if I told you that color is disappearing from the world? A graph suggesting that the color gray has become the dominant shade has been circulating on TikTok, and boy does it have folks in a tizzy,” wrote Loney Abrams in Architectural Digest in October.

By that, she explained, the upset folks she mentioned stand firmly behind the notion that a lack of color “spells tragedy.”

Abrams, a Brooklyn artist and pop culture curator, speaks of the fixer-uppers of Chip and Joanna Gaines and the Calabasas compound of Kim Kardashian. And she cites Tash Bradley, a trained color psychologist who works for the U.K. wallpaper and paint brand Lick.

Bradley, Abrams wrote, points to the hustle-bustle of pre-pandemic life as one villain leading to The Great Gray Washing. Bradley, the interior design director for Lick, sees no psychological benefits to gray.

Many actual colors are calming. Find one. And speaking of design trends, quit turning around your books, pages out. Read one instead, perhaps a volume on color theory.


Not the King of Staten Island himself, per se. Look deeply into your hearts and decide for yourselves whether to love him or Ye him.

We’re talking about the vast quantities of air volume his love life has sucked up on a near-hourly basis, especially in 2022, otherwise known as his Kim Kardashian era (which actually started in late 2021 for the obsessives).

Davidson’s love roster has puzzled for years, stretching back to his MTV “Guy Code” days in 2013 while still a teenager, leading to his Carly Aquilino phase.

There were stops along the way with Cazzie David (Larry Davidson’s daughter), Ariana Grande, Kate Beckinsale (briefly), Kaia Gerber (even more briefly), and others, including his latest: model Emily Ratajkowski.

The “SNL” alum and self-described — in appearance — “crack baby” is a paparazzi, social media, gossip monger magnet. Rather, his love life is.

As Ratajkowski mouthed recently in a TikTok video to some random audio track while riding in a car: “I would be with multiple men. Also some women as well. Um, everyone’s hot but in an interesting way.”

So be it. Live your life, Pete. Can the rest of us stop chasing every relationship-confirming kiss?


The film industry, to state the obvious, has produced decades of genre-spanning grossness, much of it significant and legit to show on camera.

However, there’s one particular cinematic exclamation point we could do without, or at the very least, with significantly less of: The dispensable spew.

Implied vomiting with an urgent rush to a curb, hand to a mouth or turn of a head would sometimes suffice, thanks. Who spread the word in Hollywood that movie watchers actually desire all the nauseating details. The projectile-ness, the color combinations, the chunks.

Well, in some cases, audiences themselves.

That notable dress shop scene in the 2011 smash hit “Bridesmaids” was a gender test of sorts, according to the Daily Beast. Would audiences accept all the spewing and other grand scatology from women in a wedding-themed movie as they do for the bros of producer Judd Apatow’s other comedies?

Apatow and director Paul Feig extensively tested “Bridesmaids” with audiences and they were fine.

Fast forward to 2022’s notables. There’s the satire “The Triangle of Sadness,” which could hardly do without, but there’s also “Tár,” a far more serious film that wouldn’t make the vomit hall of fame with Lydia Tár’s one fleeting gush. We ask, what’s the point of that? Meaning, the upchuck as aside.

Cate Blanchett’s Tár has far bigger problems, so let’s rein in all the gratuitous spewing. Make it count, people!


Elon Musk put it thusly in an email to his remaining employees:

“Going forward, to build a breakthrough Twitter 2.0 and succeed in an increasingly competitive world, we will need to be extremely hardcore. This will mean working long hours at high intensity. Only exceptional performance will constitute a passing grade.”

Musk is Musk, but he illustrates a moment: A need to remain in motion, to work harder, climb higher, sweat longer. With the volatile economy, political chaos, extreme weather and wars, it’s no wonder that a blanket of anxiety has kept the ultra hustle alive.

As if all the slow living and work-life balance talk is meaningless, or more to the point, can’t exist for many.

“We’re hustling to make ends meet, `building our brand,´ ensuring our startup doesn’t tank, or dreaming about the day our side hustle takes off and we can walk into the office and give everyone the bird,” wrote Benjamin Sledge on Medium.

It stands to reason, he said, that “most of us are hustling because we literally have to in order to survive.”

Bring on a 2023 that allows for all those long walks in the woods we’ve been hearing so much about.


Follow Leanne Italie on Twitter at

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              FILE - SpaceX owner and Tesla CEO Elon Musk arrives on the red carpet for the Axel Springer media award, in Berlin, Germany on Dec. 1, 2020. (Hannibal Hanschke/Pool via AP, File)
              FILE - A model wears an outfit by designer Hentsch Man for their Autumn/Winter show during Men's London Collections in central London on Jan. 7, 2013. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP, File)
              FILE - The FTX logo appears on home plate umpire Jansen Visconti's jacket at a baseball game with the Minnesota Twins on Sept. 27, 2022, in Minneapolis. The FTX bankruptcy filing followed a bruising of crypto companies throughout 2022, due in part to rising interest rates and the broader market downturn that has many investors rethinking their lust for risk. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn, File)
            FILE - Tesla CEO Elon Musk attends the opening of the Tesla factory Berlin Brandenburg in Gruenheide, Germany on March 22, 2022.  (Patrick Pleul/Pool Photo via AP, File) FILE - Pete Davidson attends the premiere of "Meet Cute" in New York on  Sept. 20, 2022. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File) FILE - Kim Kardashian, left, and Pete Davidson attend The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala on May 2, 2022, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)


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The pandemic, Karens, crypto craziness: We’re over you, 2022