11.29.2004

A List that Doesn't Pat Itself on the Back

I'm usually not a fan of lists that you find in entertainment magazines or on TV -- "Top ____ Of All Time" type stuff that is more of a commercial than an actual examination of a particular topic. Not only do these lists extol only virtues in order to sell a CD (thanks Rolling Stone Magazine) or a DVD (thanks CBS and the AFI), but they also waste valuable space. They are an example of an obvious lack of motivation or energy on the producers' part to fill that space with something relevant. Here's the scene I see:

INT - The offices of a generic entertainment magazine

EDITOR
We need to come up with a cover idea for the December issue. Ideas anyone?

WRITER #1
How about a left-leaning expose of everything that we deem is wrong in America? We haven't covered it nearly enough during the Bush administration and should have something left in the tank.

WRITER #2
No way -- too tired from complaining.

WRITER #1
How about a Top 500 list? Let's poll everyone in the office for their opinion, throw in some trivia and come up with 50 pages of fluff?

EDITOR
Let's sell the remaining space in the magazine to advertisers who can prey on the weak-wills of our readers during the holiday season by combining our content with adspace into one confusing jumble!

EVERYONE
Hooray! We've whored again!


The above is just what happens in my head, I'm sure in real life things are different -- there might be three writers.

Anyway, I came across one of the few lists that is both fun and relevant. Film Threat is website dedicated to independent film, but still keeps its eye on mainstream Hollywood. They annually put out the Frigid 50 list that ranks people just by how not "hot'' they are -- like a reverse Hot 50 or Power 50. No, it's not a perfect list by any means -- while Ben Affleck is still a mainstay, some of the names on there were more like brief blips in their frigidity over the last year. Mostly it's just people who you wish would get over themselves... or be ignored by the media... or die. Don't forget to check out the "Extra Cold" featurette that summarizes some organizations and trends, rather than people.


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