Dr. Parik's Year in Review: Memes, Milestones, and Metaverse Mayhem

The meme doc gives an overview of the most memorable news and events from 2021 — and the memes that came with 'em!

We are rapidly nearing the end of 2021, and it goes without saying that it’s been an intense trip around the sun. There were a myriad of milestones — almost too many to count — from the Suez Canal blockage and Elon Musk hosting Saturday Night Live, to the Gamestop short squeeze and Roaring Kitty’s subsequent testimony in front of Congress. There was Joe Biden’s election, Bill Gates’s divorce, and Jeff Bezos traveling to space. Plus, numerous business landmarks, such as Robinhood’s IPO, Coinbase’s IPO, and Facebook rebranding itself as Meta while diving into the metaverse.

And it’s been a momentous year for me, too. I started the Dr. Parik Twitter account in August 2020 to interact with a handful of FinTwit accounts that I found funny. Since then, I’ve been lucky enough to gather nearly 400,000 followers, including some of my personal comedy and investing heroes. I’ve made friends, roasted quite a few public figures, and even launched a newsletter, which you are currently reading. Big shout out to the thousands of subscribers who tune in every week!

It’s been a rollercoaster of a year. And in YouTube rewind style, I’m here to take you back through the highlights and lowlights. All the ups, downs, twists, turns, and memes that were memorable this year. So buckle up, brew a cup of chai, and get ready for some serious deja vu as I take you through the events that stuck out to me in 2021, starting right at the beginning with the Capitol insurrection.

Capitol Insurrection (January 2021):

The year started with a bang — a seriously troubling one — with the Capitol insurrection. On January 6th, a group of Trump supporters seeking to overturn the 2020 election results stormed the US Capitol in Washington. It started with a “Save America” rally, and ended with thousands of attendees walking to the Capitol, with many breaching police perimeters to gain access to the building. Twitter, as it does best, decided to meme the event. Here were some of my favorite takes:

Gamestop Short Squeeze (January 2021)

If someone asked me what the most memorable moment of 2021 was, I’d have to say the Gamestop short squeeze. In many ways the successor to the Occupy Wall Street movement, the $GME short squeeze rocked the finance world to its core. Friends with zero interest in finance and investing were suddenly excited about stocks. So, what actually happened?

It all started when Keith Gill, aptly named u/DeepFuckingValue, began purchasing call options on Gamestop in 2019 and writing up regular updates on the r/WallStreetBets subreddit, believing the stock to be undervalued. His thesis was simple: the stock was in deep value territory and heavily shorted, meaning a rerate upwards could be sizeable if hedge funds were forced to cover.

And boy did his thesis play out. As his Reddit posts began to attract attention, the self-proclaimed “apes” on /r/WallStreetBets collectively bought into the stock, pushing the price up more than 1,500% from less than $18 to $325 at the peak, and forcing several hedge funds to cover their shorts.

But it all came crashing down when several brokers including Robinhood decided to suspend purchases of Gamestop and several other “meme stocks” to manage liquidity.

The Gamestop short squeeze was a lot more than just an ordinary trade. It represented real anger towards Wall Street and in many ways felt like a remote successor to the “Occupy Wall Street” movement of 2011.

Beeple’s NFT Sells for $69 Million (March 2021)

Skipping straight to March, NFTs started to become a “thing” in the public consciousness after Mike Winkelmann — aka Beeple — sold his artwork Everydays: the First 5000 Days at auction for $69,400,000 on March 12th. This was the fourth most expensive artwork ever sold by a living artist, and suddenly, everyone started taking NFTs seriously. Well, everyone except for Twitter, which naturally decided to meme the whole event:

Suez Canal Blockage (March 2021)

And then came the Suez Canal blockage, which threw global supply chains into disarray (and which still haven’t fully recovered). On the morning of March 23rd, a large container ship called the Ever Given tried to pass through the Suez Canal. However, strong winds blew the boat off course, and soon the ship found itself wedged across the canal with both its bow and stern wedged into the banks. 

The Suez Canal is a man-made waterway providing the shortest maritime route between Europe and Asia, and is thus integral for global trade. Stucky Boi screwed everything up. Wedged in the Canal for six days and seven hours, it prevented an estimated $9.6 billion of trade from taking place. Luckily, yours truly had some great ideas to solve the crisis...

Bill Gates Gets a Divorce (May 2021)

Again, skipping forward a couple months to May… Bill and Melinda Gates, the billionaire couple intent on saving the world, announced their divorce after 27 years of marriage. In a tweet from the couple, they wrote, “We no longer believe we can grow together as a couple” and, “After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage.”

Bill and Melinda met in the 1980s when Melinda went to work for Gates’s company Microsoft, and since Bill departed as CEO, they have been jointly managing the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, fighting for important causes such as polio vaccinations in Africa and other infectious diseases. The breakup came as a shock to many who saw their marriage as the perfect partnership, showing that even in billionaire land, nothing is as rosy as it seems. 

Elon Musk Hosts SNL (May 2021)

A few days after Bill and Melinda announced their divorce, Elon Musk — meme lord, as well as the guy who founded Tesla (in case you forgot) — hosted SNL. His stint started with an epic monologue addressing his public persona, in which he said:

“To anyone I've offended, I just want to say — I reinvented electric cars and I'm sending people to Mars on a rocket ship. Did you think I was also gonna be a chill, normal dude?”

The rest of Elon’s hosting appearance included him playing various characters including a doctor (like me!), a partygoer, a TV show producer, a priest, and even Wario…?

Elon’s appearance on SNL was significant because it marked a crossover from “hyper influential tech god on the internet” to a public figure performing for a mainstream pop culture audience. Elon doesn’t conform to societal norms (as he’s made abundantly clear time and time again), but it’s his difference that makes him so special, and SNL gave him a chance to showcase that to America outside of the Twittersphere. 

Facebook Changes Name to Meta (October 2021)

Once again, Big Tech continues to be at the forefront of innovation, this time by — **drum rolls please** — changing its name! In October, Zuck decided to take the plunge into Web3 (whatever that means…) and change the name of his social media giant with billions of users to Meta.

It’s always a big deal when a company changes its name, let alone the largest social network in the world. Zuck’s decision to rebrand as “Meta” reflects his confidence in this new frontier of technology. Or, he’s just trying to distract us from a whole host of privacy and mental health issues associated with his platform. Either or… You judge.

Elon Named TIME’s Person of the Year (December 2021)

And to close the year out… Elon Musk, meme lord, emperor of Mars, founder of TITS university (and that little known car company, Tesla) was named TIME’s Person of the Year. In their op-ed, TIME described him as:

"The man who aspires to save our planet and get us a new one to inhabit: clown, genius, edgelord, visionary, industrialist, showman, cad; a madcap hybrid of Thomas Edison, P.T. Barnum, Andrew Carnegie and Watchmen’s Doctor Manhattan, the brooding, blue-skinned man-god who invents electric cars and moves to Mars."

Truly a revolutionary. But I think I post better memes. Maybe next year I’ll get the nod….

Well, that’s all folks! 2021 was a crazy year. Whether it was Gamestop's rally or Elon’s SNL stint, the key lesson from the past 12 months is that memes really do run the world. And it has been a ton of fun contributing to that as Dr. Parik Patel. I am incredibly grateful to have the support of 400,000 people on Twitter and here on Beehiiv, and I hope that my memes have brought you some joy over the past year. So, what can we expect from 2022?

- MORE MEMES. Well, that was a given. 

- The S&P hits fresh all-time-highs because #stonks only go up

- Elon Musk forces the world to accept Dogecoin as the global reserve currency

- Dr. Parik Patel hits 500k followers on Twitter

- NFTs get disintermediated by new forms of screenshotting

~ Dr. PP out

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