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.