December 17th, 2009 / 2:26 pm
Snippets

Of course ‘Best Of Year’ or ‘Top Ten’ lists are stupid: does that mean they have no value? Do you yell at Polaroids?

65 Comments

  1. Justin Taylor

      I don’t know that they’re stupid. I certainly don’t think they have NO value. This site alone generated at least four (counting my list of lists as one) in the past week- of all books, of poetry books, of movies, of etc. I like reading lists like those. They remind me of things I’d forgotten about. They provide a sense of the sheer scope of the year/decade/whatever. They make an attempt to judge resonance, and give us a sense of perspective on our own enthusiasms. You loved something–or thought you did–back in March, but by December it had either been forgotten about or eclipsed by stronger work. That’s how it’s supposed to happen.

  2. Justin Taylor

      I don’t know that they’re stupid. I certainly don’t think they have NO value. This site alone generated at least four (counting my list of lists as one) in the past week- of all books, of poetry books, of movies, of etc. I like reading lists like those. They remind me of things I’d forgotten about. They provide a sense of the sheer scope of the year/decade/whatever. They make an attempt to judge resonance, and give us a sense of perspective on our own enthusiasms. You loved something–or thought you did–back in March, but by December it had either been forgotten about or eclipsed by stronger work. That’s how it’s supposed to happen.

  3. Lincoln

      I truly do not understand why so many people freak about about lists. Lists are great. They remind you of the books you read and the ones you meant to read.

  4. Lincoln

      I truly do not understand why so many people freak about about lists. Lists are great. They remind you of the books you read and the ones you meant to read.

  5. brandi

      Those lists made me spend $23.00.
      fuck yo lists

  6. Blake Butler

      that’s what i’m saying. it seems really popular that people get pissy and irritated by list making: i’ve read countless rants against them in the past week. but i love lists. and i think they are a nice way to spread what is admittedly and by definition a limited picture of tastes. that’s why they’re fun.

  7. brandi

      Those lists made me spend $23.00.
      fuck yo lists

  8. Blake Butler

      that’s what i’m saying. it seems really popular that people get pissy and irritated by list making: i’ve read countless rants against them in the past week. but i love lists. and i think they are a nice way to spread what is admittedly and by definition a limited picture of tastes. that’s why they’re fun.

  9. Blake Butler

      i mainly don’t get the argument, “how can you know what’s best?” when really it’s just like you said, a reminder of what you liked, and maybe hope to spread.

  10. Blake Butler

      i mainly don’t get the argument, “how can you know what’s best?” when really it’s just like you said, a reminder of what you liked, and maybe hope to spread.

  11. Blake Butler

      i guess i mean ‘goofy’ or ‘insular’ rather than ‘stupid’

  12. Blake Butler

      i guess i mean ‘goofy’ or ‘insular’ rather than ‘stupid’

  13. Lincoln

      Yeah I’m not sure the deal is here. I guess an extension of the persistent relativism these days that makes people think every opinion is as good as any other and any kind of hierarchy of art is a moral sin. It seems pretty obvious what these lists are, and they are not the etched in stone definitive best books, just someone’s opinions of the best based on what they read. A similar complaint I see that always kind of baffles me is people freaking out that a list by an American publication of films or books will have a bias towards works made in English. This stuff should be obvious from the outset, not something really worth complaining about.

  14. Lincoln

      Yeah I’m not sure the deal is here. I guess an extension of the persistent relativism these days that makes people think every opinion is as good as any other and any kind of hierarchy of art is a moral sin. It seems pretty obvious what these lists are, and they are not the etched in stone definitive best books, just someone’s opinions of the best based on what they read. A similar complaint I see that always kind of baffles me is people freaking out that a list by an American publication of films or books will have a bias towards works made in English. This stuff should be obvious from the outset, not something really worth complaining about.

  15. Blake Butler

      exactly.

  16. Blake Butler

      exactly.

  17. Stu

      I think some people just hate lists because it is fashionable to do so. That’s the only reason I hate lists. And yes, I yell at Polaroids. I dislike photography and its soul-stealing wickedness in general.

  18. Stu

      I think some people just hate lists because it is fashionable to do so. That’s the only reason I hate lists. And yes, I yell at Polaroids. I dislike photography and its soul-stealing wickedness in general.

  19. JW Veldhoen

      ~Tallywhacker.

      Yell, Yes! No bed-rolls or dilutions, no sight-vamping! Why tally? *whck*
      Better to read only tha dead.

  20. bruiser brody

      i shake polaroids

      lists are fun and i’ve spent some money on books after reading about them in said lists

      lincoln says it quite well above

  21. JW Veldhoen

      ~Tallywhacker.

      Yell, Yes! No bed-rolls or dilutions, no sight-vamping! Why tally? *whck*
      Better to read only tha dead.

  22. bruiser brody

      i shake polaroids

      lists are fun and i’ve spent some money on books after reading about them in said lists

      lincoln says it quite well above

  23. Tim Jones-Yelvington

      I like that they’re goofy. They are fun. Fun should be valued.

  24. Tim Jones-Yelvington

      I like that they’re goofy. They are fun. Fun should be valued.

  25. Tim Jones-Yelvington

      only $23? You need to read more lists.

  26. Tim Jones-Yelvington

      only $23? You need to read more lists.

  27. Joseph Young
  28. Joseph Young
  29. Blake Butler

      those are wonderful.

  30. Blake Butler

      those are wonderful.

  31. drew kalbach

      those are great, thank you

  32. drew kalbach

      those are great, thank you

  33. Sabra Embury

      I like polaroids because of their high contrast exposure and cropping. Lists for the same reason. They tap into an essence and reveal what could easily be overlooked in a clusterf*ck of stimuli.

  34. Sabra Embury

      I like polaroids because of their high contrast exposure and cropping. Lists for the same reason. They tap into an essence and reveal what could easily be overlooked in a clusterf*ck of stimuli.

  35. ce.

      i only dislike lists about once a year, which is around December. really, i don’t dislike lists at all, so much as the super saturation of them at this time of the year.

      i do try to appreciate them for the reasons Lincoln said–remembering what you read and what you meant to read. it’s just that there’s so damn many of them at this time of year. it gets to a point that i don’t even like to make them for groceries, but then i forget the damn milk and have to go back to the store, and what’s worse than that?

  36. ce.

      i only dislike lists about once a year, which is around December. really, i don’t dislike lists at all, so much as the super saturation of them at this time of the year.

      i do try to appreciate them for the reasons Lincoln said–remembering what you read and what you meant to read. it’s just that there’s so damn many of them at this time of year. it gets to a point that i don’t even like to make them for groceries, but then i forget the damn milk and have to go back to the store, and what’s worse than that?

  37. Brian Foley

      Life is hierarchical. There are individual degrees in space for each separate thing that lies in relation to your orbit. Likewise, there is a difference between a pinprick and being beheaded.
      Mostly lists are useful to reinforce whats important to you as an individual, even if you disagree with what a list you’re confronting. It is also always good to have more recommendations of movies to watch.

  38. Brian Foley

      Life is hierarchical. There are individual degrees in space for each separate thing that lies in relation to your orbit. Likewise, there is a difference between a pinprick and being beheaded.
      Mostly lists are useful to reinforce whats important to you as an individual, even if you disagree with what a list you’re confronting. It is also always good to have more recommendations of movies to watch.

  39. brandi

      add $75 to that

  40. brandi

      add $75 to that

  41. darby

      the problem with lists is that they are linear

  42. darby

      the problem with lists is that they are linear

  43. Lincoln

      Well, you get double this year due to the end of the decade thing.

  44. Lincoln

      Well, you get double this year due to the end of the decade thing.

  45. ce.

      yeah. i’ve noticed. i’m trying to be a good sport about it.

  46. damon

      I spent about 60-70$ this past week due to htmlgiant lists. If nothing else they spread the good word and get money into the hands of people that deserve to be paid for their work.

  47. ce.

      yeah. i’ve noticed. i’m trying to be a good sport about it.

  48. damon

      I spent about 60-70$ this past week due to htmlgiant lists. If nothing else they spread the good word and get money into the hands of people that deserve to be paid for their work.

  49. ce.

      much obliged for those, joe, especially today.

  50. ce.

      much obliged for those, joe, especially today.

  51. Tim Horvath
  52. Tim Horvath
  53. carl

      i get the purpose of lists and i understand that lists are supposed to be a re-hashing of sorts…my beef with lists isn’t so much with the lists themselves but the fact that every tom dick and harry has to then make their own lists and then the whole process seems watered down and redundant. also, i liked brian foley’s decade list. that seemed well thought out.

  54. carl

      i get the purpose of lists and i understand that lists are supposed to be a re-hashing of sorts…my beef with lists isn’t so much with the lists themselves but the fact that every tom dick and harry has to then make their own lists and then the whole process seems watered down and redundant. also, i liked brian foley’s decade list. that seemed well thought out.

  55. ZZZZZZIP

      ZZZZIPP TOOK MANY BOOKS OUT OF THE LIBRARY

      HE IS NOT MADE OF MONEY

  56. ZZZZZZIP

      ZZZZIPP TOOK MANY BOOKS OUT OF THE LIBRARY

      HE IS NOT MADE OF MONEY

  57. Best Lisps of 2009 « .the idiom.

      […] on HTMLGiant, Blake asthksth about the abundancthe of listhpsth¬†and sthomething about Polaroidsth; Jostheph […]

  58. Elisa

      Forget what people say. Blog posts that are lists get the most traffic so people evidently love them. Writers especially love the idea of a list on which they might find themselves.

      Don’t people love rants about lists just as much as they love lists though? Can’t we do both? I just “ranted” about a list (not really), not BECAUSE it’s a list, but because it was so funny-dumb:

      http://thefrenchexit.blogspot.com/2009/12/prepare-to-get-inspired.html

      P.S. Blake: I saw your talk about sentences. Good talk. I forgot what it was like to watch someone talk (vs. read). It’s different.

  59. Elisa

      Forget what people say. Blog posts that are lists get the most traffic so people evidently love them. Writers especially love the idea of a list on which they might find themselves.

      Don’t people love rants about lists just as much as they love lists though? Can’t we do both? I just “ranted” about a list (not really), not BECAUSE it’s a list, but because it was so funny-dumb:

      http://thefrenchexit.blogspot.com/2009/12/prepare-to-get-inspired.html

      P.S. Blake: I saw your talk about sentences. Good talk. I forgot what it was like to watch someone talk (vs. read). It’s different.

  60. mimi

      1) I love lists and love to make them.
      2) I like to read other peoples lists, however I do have my limits. The more well written a list, the more I like to read it.
      3) Other peoples lists can often remind me of:
      a) list(s) I want to make.
      b) thing(s) I want to add to my list(s).
      c) books I want to read, movies I want to see, etc etc etc.
      d) many other things I can’t remember right now.
      4) Writing a list can make me feel like I have:
      a) organized my thoughts (temporarily at least).
      b) “accomplished something”, however useful or not useful.
      c) “acted” efficiently.
      d) created something visually or artistically appealing (to me).
      5) Writing lists can make me feel many other things I can’t remember right now.
      6) It can be embarrassing to me to have other people read my lists. Most of my lists are:
      a) secret.
      b) hidden.
      c) stupid.
      d) two out of three of the above.
      e) all of the above.
      7) There are many other things about lists that I could say but I can’t think of them right now.

  61. mimi

      1) I love lists and love to make them.
      2) I like to read other peoples lists, however I do have my limits. The more well written a list, the more I like to read it.
      3) Other peoples lists can often remind me of:
      a) list(s) I want to make.
      b) thing(s) I want to add to my list(s).
      c) books I want to read, movies I want to see, etc etc etc.
      d) many other things I can’t remember right now.
      4) Writing a list can make me feel like I have:
      a) organized my thoughts (temporarily at least).
      b) “accomplished something”, however useful or not useful.
      c) “acted” efficiently.
      d) created something visually or artistically appealing (to me).
      5) Writing lists can make me feel many other things I can’t remember right now.
      6) It can be embarrassing to me to have other people read my lists. Most of my lists are:
      a) secret.
      b) hidden.
      c) stupid.
      d) two out of three of the above.
      e) all of the above.
      7) There are many other things about lists that I could say but I can’t think of them right now.

  62. mimi

      PS- Next time, how about a comment thread about comment threads.

  63. mimi

      PS- Next time, how about a comment thread about comment threads.

  64. mimi

      Not necessarily. They can be like a tree.

  65. mimi

      Not necessarily. They can be like a tree.