Each year Google puts together lists of the most popular search terms, which it releases on the Google Trends site. Here are some of the top questions people were asking this year. Beside each search term is a note on whether it’s a who/what/where/why/how question and the ranking within the top five searches for that type of question. My comments are in italics.
How #5: “How to pronounce psalm”
I suspect that people aren’t getting religious all of a sudden, and this has everything to do with Kim Kardashian and Kanye West naming their son Psalm. And normally I try not to comment on ugly babies, but that is one weird-looking kid.
Why #1: “Why is Madonna wearing an eye patch at Eurovision”
Perhaps she wants to be a pirate? But also, why on earth are so many Aussies watching Eurovision?
Why #3: “Why is blackface offensive”
This I find interesting because it suggests I was correct in a piece I wrote around Halloween speculating that Canadians don’t have the same awareness of the problematic history of blackface that Americans do. The issue was in the Canadian news this year when a decades-old photo surfaced of the prime minister dressed up for Halloween and wearing blackface.
Who #1: “Who should I vote for”
That’s placing a lot of trust in Google!
How #2: “How old is Dolly Parton”
I don’t have the slightest clue why so many people would be asking this.
How #1: “How to boil an egg”
It’s reasonable that some people might need to look this up, but it’s the number 1 question? Why are they eating so many eggs? And why does no one seem to retain that information for the next time they make an egg?
What #3: “What is a dead ting”
Dead thing said by someone who can’t pronounce th? Turns out someone said this on the reality show Love Island. I guess a whole lot of people in Ireland watch Love Island!
How #2: “How to start a blog”
What #1: “What is xenophobia”
This fascinates me. Why are they talking about this in Nigeria? Is theirs one of the “shithole” countries that the great pumpkin doesn’t want to let people in from? Is this causing problems for wealthy Nigerian princes who are persistently trying to obtain your assistance in moving some money around?
Question #1: “Why were cornflakes invented”
WTF? So I plugged this question into Google, and it turns out that there are some interesting rumours circulating around this topic. Take this tidbit that was in a story from News Corp Australia:
“Mr Kellogg, the man who created Corn Flakes, produced the cereal in the late 19th century and marketed it as a “healthy, ready-to-eat anti-masturbatory morning meal”. He was a Seventh-day Adventist and worked as a physician who staunchly believed in celibacy and that sex was unhealthy and immoral.”
As a daily Corn Flakes eater myself, I can say with certainty that it would be rather difficult to masturbate while eating a bowl of Corn Flakes, but that’s about the extent of its anti-masturbatory powers.
How #3: “How to floss dance”
You can look this up for yourself if you’re so inclined, and then wish you could get those couple minutes of your life back.
What #2: “What is the backstop”
With all the gong show-ness going on in the UK, apparently what was on everyone’s mind had to do with preventing border controls between Ireland and Northern Ireland.
What #2: “What is a VSCO girl”
Clearly I’m too old to know what this is. Urban Dictionary seems like a good place to go to find out what the cool kids these days are talking about. According to the top definition on Urban Dictionary, a VSCO girl: “Wears oversized t-shirts or sweatshirt with Nike shorts. Has Vans, Crocs, Birks, and wears a shell necklace. She also wears tube tops and Jean shorts. She always has a hydroflask. She can’t leave home without a scrunchie and her favorite car is a jeep.” Apparently, VSCO is a photo-editing app. That part may be new, but the rest of it sounds an awful lot like the 90’s to me. Not that these kids were born then.
Where #1: “Where is Sri Lanka”
Why on earth do so many Americans care where Sri Lanka is? And what made them think of Sri Lanka in the first place?
And on another note, why is “Sri Lanka” the tag that Medium automatically wanted to assign to this post?
What #1 (Spanish): “Qué es poligamia” aka “What is polygamy”
Come on people, has nobody been watching Sister Wives on TLC for the last 15 years?
Want to know more? Check out Google’s Year In Search 2019 — there’s even a short film.
Originally published at https://mentalhealthathome.org on December 26, 2019.