On Year-End Lists

This is a comment I left at the chutry experiment, on a post about the virtues and deficiencies of year-end lists, and in particular lists of best web videos.

Top ten things I don't like about year-end lists:

1. They leave too many good things off.

2. They include too many things that don't belong.

3. They are a form of narcissism: hey, come admire my good taste!

4. There are too many of them and one tires of reading so many (this obviously doesn't apply to web video lists, of which there are only a few...[and here I self-promoted a little]).

5. They make me feel bad about having missed so many things that other people caught and loved.

6. They pretend to total knowledge--only someone who has seen every film released during the year should be qualified to compile a list of its best films, and no one has seen every film.

7. They almost always aim not for simple bestness but for representativeness. Your best music list has to have some mainstream pop to balance your esoterica. Film lists can't totally avoid Hollywood or you will seem like a snob. So the list is not so much a reflection of your true taste as it is a projection of how you would like others to see you.

8. They seem to spring more naturally from the minds of boys and men (see High Fidelity) and thus very well might be a tool of the patriarchy, which would totally suck.

9. They segment different forms of media in ways that reinforce existing aesthetic hierarchies...why not make a list of all of one's audiovisual media experiences of the year instead of keeping film in its special place?

10. They're just too, you know, listy.

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