Arts & Culture News

Tiger King, Karens and a Halloween Bloodbath: The Most-Read Culture Stories in 2020

The Tiger King, Joe Exotic, left a memorable impression in Dallas, where he lived briefly.
The Tiger King, Joe Exotic, left a memorable impression in Dallas, where he lived briefly. Netflix/Screenshot by Alex Gonzalez
Every article this year seemed to contain the dreaded c-word, but there was more to 2020 than COVID-19, the presidential election and protests. We reveled in the tacky reign of Tiger King, celebrated holidays or gained online fame by making asses of ourselves in public. And the coverage for those (admittedly less urgent) news stories seemed to most interest our readers this year.

Here are the top culture stories in 2020.

10. We Smoked Some Delta-8 THC ... for Science
At the Observer, we are committed to seeking hard truth through journalism, even if that means having to smoke mind-altering substances and risking an irreversible gateway to a doomed, crime-ridden future. Thanks to writer Malen Blackmon’s bravery and sacrifice, we now know the difference between Delta-8 and Delta-9. You’re so welcome.

9. Dallas Porn Star Rachel Starr Says She Warned Joe Exotic Not to Get Even With Carole Baskin
At this point, most of us would be happy to never hear the names Joe Exotic and Carol Baskin ever again. But we’d yet to have our fill back in April, and our readers were eager to learn of Dallas’ royal ties to the Tiger King.


8. Allen Man Becomes Shredded Cheese Husband Overnight
In the middle of a global pandemic, a local man decided to send a tweet to a Mi Cocina in Allen to complain about poor service. His wife, he wrote unironically, was in agony while waiting several minutes for shredded cheese for her fajitas. The internet responded with gloriously sarcastic sympathy.

7. Meta TV: Pandemic-Themed Series and Movies You Can Binge-Watch on Netflix
While we’re overwhelmed by all the death and worry and 6-feet-apart rules, paradoxically, it seems we can’t get enough of the coronavirus. Our list of pandemic-themed films and TV shows was one of the most searched stories this year.

6. Since No One Knows What’s Going On, We Turn to Psychics for Pandemic Answers
We tried to get some information about what the future had in store by turning to the people who always have answers — whether true or not. Dallas psychics obliged and gave us their best pandemic predictions.

5. Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders Will Have Training Camp in a "Bubble"
While we’ve all been living in some form of bubble lately — physically or ideologically — the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders announced they would begin training in an actual bubble.


4. 'Horrified' Woman Filmed a Family Pulling Out Fish at the Dallas Arboretum
In more “Dallasites Gone Wild” news, a family was caught on video trying to catch koi in a pond at the Dallas Arboretum with nothing but their bare hands, and in bare faces. (They weren't wearing face masks.) The arboretum called the noodling incident “embarrassing.”

3. Dallas Became the Karen Capital of the World This Past Weekend
It’s not anything to boast about, but Dallas produced some of the best Karen moments of the year in just one weekend when several locals went viral for equally ridiculous reasons. In an analysis of the local Karenpire, we even had to claim “MAGA Bonnie and Clyde” — the McCloskeys from St. Louis, who "protected" their mansion "from" protestors by "holding" weapons. They met at Southern Method University, where they studied law, of all things.

2. All The Crazy Things Borat Did in Texas
Sacha Baron Cohen’s Borat Subsequent Moviefilm was filmed partially in Texas in locations such as Galveston and the State Fair of Texas in Dallas. The comedy shines a light on societal blind spots, tackling timely topics such as COVID, blind Trumpism and Rudy Giuliani’s sleaziness. A Dallas doctor and North Texas-based influencer unknowingly played a part in the film, and we thank them for their service.

1. An East Dallas Home's Halloween Decorations Prompt Multiple Police Visits
International media outlets — from People to CNN and publications in the Middle East — picked up our story about a Dallas artist’s gory Halloween decorations. The elaborate Halloween display prompted several visits from Dallas police after neighbors called in to complain about what they believed to be a literal bloodbath.
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Eva Raggio is the Dallas Observer's music and arts editor, a job she took after several years of writing about local culture and music for the paper. Eva supports the arts by rarely asking to be put on "the list" and always replies to emails, unless the word "pimp" makes up part of the artist's name.
Contact: Eva Raggio