The Mandatory 2018 Hall of Fame: Our 20 Most Inspired Stories of the Year
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It’s the end of the year, that time when we look back and reflect on the accomplishments of the past 12 months and set new goals. Here at Mandatory, we’re proud of what we’ve done in 2018 and want to review the best of the best with you in our Mandatory Hall of Fame.
While we know how much you love our weekly funny photos, GIFs, memes, and tweets, we want to go beyond a good laugh. We also want to share outstanding and inspiring stories that motivate us to be better, give back, and do more good in the world.
Come along with us as we remember the stories that stimulated our minds and touched our hearts. (It’s cheesy, but it’s true.)
Here’s to another great year with you, Mandatory faithful!
Looks as good as it sounds: The Best Album Covers of 2018
Taylor Swift Uses Her Voice to Encourage Voter Registration
We never would’ve guessed that a pop star would be the one to get young people to the polls, but that’s how it played out for the historic 2018 Midterm Elections. Read about how T-Swift led the charge for a blue wave here.
Photo: Jun Sato/TAS18 / Contributor (Getty Images)
‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor?’ Will Remind You To Be A Bit More Neighborly
We learned a lot from Mister Rogers' Neighborhood when we were kids, and thanks to the documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor, we can learn a lot from the show’s creator, Fred Rogers, too. Find out how you can be more neighborly in your everyday adult life here.
Photo: Fotos International / Contributor (Getty Images)
Why ‘Black Panther’ Is the Most Important Superhero Movie to Hit So Far
Released during Black History Month of 2018, superhero flick Black Panther made history itself as the first superhero film with an all African-American cast (plus plenty of ass-kicking female characters). Not only that, it grossed an insane amount at the box office. Let’s hope this is just the first of such POC, female-driven film successes. Read more about this monumental flick here.
Photo: Walt Disney Pictures
LeBron James’ New School is a Slam Dunk for Success
LeBron James is one of the good guys, and he just keeps getting better – and giving back. The basketball star’s I Promise school opened earlier this year, providing kids with an extended school day, longer academic year, a free bicycle and helmet, and access to a fitness trainer, among other perks. Read more about this innovative initiative here.
Photo: Slaven Vlasic / Stringer (Getty Images)
3 Current Stunning Education Movements That Need Our Help
Being a teacher has always been a tough gig, but it’s never been more challenging than it was in 2018. These three teaching-related news stories will inspire anyone who’s ever had a great teacher to get out of the bleachers and start supporting educators in a big way. Read more here.
Photo: Thomas Barwick (Getty Images)
Fighting to Give Kids an After-School Space
How do you keep kids off the streets? Teach them how to fight. Seriously! Former Twitter employee Ben Kovacs founded Guardian Gym, which provides free jiu jitsu and boxing classes to kids in Oakland. Read his story here.
Photo: Provided by Ben Kovacs
Anthony Bourdain Considered Himself ‘Lucky’ During Sincere Final Shoot
Badass chef, author, and TV personality Anthony Bourdain is everything we wanted an idol – and a role model – to be. His suicide in June of 2018 devastated Parts Unknown fans, fellow chefs, and anyone who’s wrestled with addiction or depression. During his final shoot in Kenya, Bourdain was said to have felt fortunate for his life and career. Read more here (and bring tissues).
Photo: Mike Pont / Contributor (Getty Images)
5 Little-Known Facts About Stan Lee, Grandfather of Marvel Comics
Stan Lee was a legend for comic book lovers. Cult-like though his following may be, how well did you really know the man behind your favorite super heroes? We’ve got some fun and obscure facts that’ll give you a fresh appreciation for the granddad of Marvel here.
Photo: Amanda Edwards / Contributor (Getty Images)
Genius Amish Entrepreneur Starts Horse-And-Buggy 'Amish Uber'
The Amish seem to be shrouded in secrecy or grossly stereotyped. But in truth, the Amish are really cool – and innovative, like the man who started his own “Amish Uber” service. One of our writers, who happens to hail from Amish heritage, shares the enterprising entrepreneur’s story here.
Photo: John Greim / Contributor (Getty Images)
A New Leaf: Stormy Simon On How Cannabis Will Save the World
Former Overstock president Stormy Simon left traditional e-commerce to raise awareness for, and increase access of, cannabis. She now consults for cannabis companies and is on the advisory board for CannaKids, a California-based group that provides medicinal marijuana in the form of oil and tinctures for patients of all ages. Read more about her quest to end the stigma against weed here.
Photo: Светлана Зайцева (Getty Images)
Mindful Living: 3 Tips That Train Your Brain to Think Kindly
In a world where we’re always rushing, being bombarded with notifications, and spending most of our time interacting with one another on screens, it’s not always easy to be kind. Kindness is a skill, one that we need to practice in order to get better at it. Mindfulness is one way to do that. Find out how slowing down, getting quiet, and focusing inward can make you a more pleasant person here.
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Doing Good Deeds Will Shake Off the Stress That Comes From Depressing Headlines
The news is no good these days. (Was it ever?) The more we watch, the more anxious, stressed, and depressed we get, yet we still can’t seem to change the channel. There is a way to reverse the “vicarious trauma” experienced from too much CNN, though. It’s called volunteering! Read more on how to turn your bad habit into good works through donating your skills and dollar bills here.
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Being an Ally Means Ditching the Gay Panic “Buffer Zone”
Being woke is no longer optional; it’s Mandatory. In this approachable piece, we show you why “no homo” should have no place in your vocabulary and how to be a (better) LGBTQ+ ally. It’s ain’t always easy, but evolving and changing mindsets are essential tasks in our modern-day society. Read more here.
Photo: NurPhoto / Contributor (Getty Images)
Ladies Love Intelligence: How to Date Like Einstein
There’s no advantage to playing dumb in relationships. Let your freak (err…nerd) flag wave and watch the ladies flock to you! We’ve got expert tips on how to embrace your bold, brainy self while impressing the women you date here.
Photo: RyanJLane (Getty Images)
10 Easy Ways College Students Can Go Green
Even if you’re not a college student, going green is one of the greatest things you can do to ensure a long life for the Earth. We all have to live here, after all, so you might as well start taking care of the planet. Find out how much the little things count when it comes to slowing or even reversing the detrimental effects of climate change here.
Photo: Tempura (Getty Images)
The Best Ways You Can Send Help for California Fire Disaster Relief
California wildfires were even more out of control than usual in 2018. Camp Fire the unfortunately named and most devastating wildfire in the state’s history, left over 80 dead and torched over 150K acres of land. But don’t let those stats bum you out; you can still support some of the first responders and non-profits that showed up for those affected by the vicious blaze. Read about them here.
Photo: JOSH EDELSON / Contributor (Getty Images)
19 Modern Female Rockers with Mad Guitar Skills
Women rock. You already know this. But do you know which women rock the hardest? We do. Read about the 19 female rockers who wail on the guitar here.
Photo: Flashpop (Getty Images)
Dead Music Gods We Want to See Resurrected as Holograms
Sometimes technology really is on our side, especially when it results in holograms of beloved (but deceased) rock stars. Tupac Shakur’s hologram, for example, has made multiple appearances onstage, but there are other musical artists we’d also like to resurrected via technology for a posthumous encore. Read more here.
Photo: Christopher Polk / Staff (Getty Images)
Best LGBTQ Films to Watch During Pride Month
You don’t have to wait for July; you can have pride all year long. These films provide tender, titillating, and humorous takes on LGBTQ relationships that are universally relatable no matter what your sexual identity. Read more here.
Photo: Focus Features
Avoid Inappropriate Costumes and Slay Halloween
We no longer live in an age when just any old Halloween costume is OK. (In fact, it never was, but it took some of us longer to get wise to this than others.) Racist, transphobic, religiously offensive, and body-shaming disguises are out. Though Halloween has passed, you can use our handy-dandy flow-chart to ensure next year’s costume is appropriate. Read more here.
Photo: Maurice Nowatzke / EyeEm (Getty Images)