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Essential Media: Gather your Lists

VH1, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, Me - everybody loves a list. 500 best albums, 100 greatest songs ever recorded, best books ever, sexiest man alive, top ten movies featuring mimes, the five best conspiracy theories....well, you get the point. You could make a list of the best lists ever and people would read it.

Here's the thing I don't like about Best Albums Ever lists: they are so arbitrary. Rolling Stone is an indie artist's dream - you probably have never heard of half the artists on their year end best of list. VH1's best albums are probably limited to bands that have videos that are actually played on VH1. Spin Magazine is going to give you a much different take than Billboard.

The only way to combat the subjectiveness of these lists is to make them more specific, like Best Albums of 2003 that did not feature a duet with Kid Rock. Or Best Movies of the Last Decade that Starred one of the Quaids.

It's November and it's time to gather the lists. Soon, they will be everywhere. Magazines, television, radio, websites - they will all have some kind of countdown listing the best of something, and most of them will be be viewer/listener/reader choice. This is where they go wrong. They give you too many choices, which is why the lists become so long and unweildy, thus losing their impact and importance.

Solution? Limit the choices. One. You get one. The ballot has one line. One favorite album. One best song. One good book. No, not even that. Let's get really specific. The best song that most of your friends didn't hear because they only listen to top 40 radio. The best book written by a guy who has five letters in his first name. Seriously. And why stick to best? Why not worst? Worst movie you paid to see. Worst book made into a movie. Worst tv show that made it past five episodes. Worst actor on Saturday Night Live. Dumbest story that led off the evening news. Dullest politician of the year.The possibilities are endless, and so exciting!

Of course I will take up the mantle here. Never let it be said that I'm not a trend setter. Or a trend killer, depending on how this goes.

So, in the spirit of year-end polls and as a way to give me something to blog about when I have nothing to blog about, I present the first of many, many, very specific best of/worst of lists for 2003.

Oh, wait. I need you first. I need a list of topics to make lists about. Keeping the above in mind, that is. I guess we could say that this will be the first list, in that it will be a list of the best things that a list could be made about from 2003.

Oh, hell. You know what I mean. I hope. I'm going to lunch.


Have you ever checked Lists of Bests (www.listsofbests.com)? Pretty cool stuff.

On a more pedestrian note,my list is
Rainy Day Rules
1 no painting the dog

List Examples:

1 - Best Song Of 2003 That Does Not Include The Words, "Baby", "Check", "Girl", "Boy", "Gimme", "Uh", “Ooo”, “Oh”, A Grunt Of Any Kind, Or Any Number From 1-99.

2 - Best Sci/Fi Book of the Year Who’s Author Has At Least Three Different Vowels in Their Name. Co-authors do not count.

3 - The Most Idiotic Soundbyte Of 2003 Spoken By A Prominent Public Figure Who Is Not A Government Official Or Currently Serving In Any Public Office That Was Caught On Tape.

4 - Least Useful Electronic Item Introduced In 2003 That Actually Did What It Was Advertised To Do.

5 - The Top 10 Most Obviously Self-Congratulatory Ego-Stroking Award Shows Of No True Worth Of 2003.

6 - Top Ten Movies Of 2003 That Were Not Sequels, Based On A True Story, Or Adapted From A Story, Book, TV Show Or Any Other Medium Other Than An Original Script.

7 - 2003’s Funniest Sumbitch On The Internet With The Word ‘Geek’ In His Or Her URL.

8 - The 20 Sexiest Men And Women Of 2003 Who Have Not Had ANY Face Or Body Work Including, But Not Limited To; Facelift’s, Tummy Tucks, Hair Implants, Botoxing, Collagen Injections, Liposuction, Nose Jobs Or Tooth Caps.

9 - 2003’s Top 10 Worst Animals To Keep As Pets In A Small Apartment In A Big City.

10 – Best Homemade, Green-Tinted, Freely Distributed Movie Downloaded Off The Internet Of 2003.

How about the "Top Ten Lists of 2003"? That would be really zen.

I nominate myself for #8. All natural, baby.

Maybe that should be the "Top Ten 'Top Ten Lists' of 2003"

How about a self-tribute - Top Ten Scathing Posts or (Brilliantly Witty Posts) - then you can be just as arbitrary as VH1 or EW without worries. Or go with statistics; compile a list of the posts with the most comments, etc.

Or (in honor of recent newscasts) Top Ten News Stories Pushed Back by (Scott Peterson or MJ or the California gubernatorial race or whatever).

Let's recognize the hardest working people in the entertainment business:


Best/worst blog trends of 2003

Steve, are there ten hookers in Anchorage?