It's a time-honored winter custom: at the end of every year,
journalists gather around the hearth to concoct an array of annual
"top" lists. They range in length from a few items to a 100 or more
on everything from books to celebrities to kitchen products. This year
is a special occasion, as it also marks the close of an unnamed decade
spurring an extra-furious flurry of list-making, leading to some
extra-frivolous lists. The Atlantic Wire is here to help, as well as
partake, with a list of lists to highlight nine of the most wonderfully
absurd rankings of the year (so far). Stoke the fire, pour a hot drink,
and revisit some of the more ephemeral, intriguing, appalling or
forgettable things from the last decade.
- 'Moments When Life Went Off Script' Newsweek provides perhaps the most comprehensive set of top 10 lists (23 in total!) covering everything from the "History-Altering Decisions"
to "Sex Scandal Details." The comprehensiveness does, however, come at
a cost of some fuzziness in the concepts. How big is the difference
between "Worst Predictions" and "Overblown Fears"? One of the most all-encompassing concepts, "Moments When Life Went Off-Script,"
turns out to be a collection of YouTube video favorites, ranging from
Tom Cruise jumping on Oprah's couch to Miss South Carolina rambling at
the pageant. But then you get to #4: "Bush Reads 'The Pet Goat'" on 9/11, and the list veers away from entertainment.
- 'Ten Most Influential Internet Moments of the Decade' The annual Webby Awards are the Internet's version of the Oscars (or perhaps less flatteringly, the Grammys), created in 1996 for honoring excellence on the Internet. To honor the end of 2009, they rolled out a list of "10 Most Influential Internet Moments of the Decade."
There's no explanation for what constitutes an "Internet Moment," let
alone the "Most Influential" ones. But whatever it means, the list
includes such moments as "Google AdWords Launches," and "Google's
Initial Public Offering." It's a little difficult to understand why
"Facebook opens to non college students and Twitter takes off" is
considered a single moment, however, since they occurred over a year apart.
- Ten Brands That Won't Survive the Decade This predictive list compiled by Jon Ogg and Douglas A. McIntyre at
the blog 24/7 Wall Street selects those firms the authors believe will
be closing shop in 2010. As he writes "The brands on the 24/7 list for
2010 include companies that have been in trouble for years. Some have
been in slow decline and others were irreparably damaged by the credit
crisis. Most of these companies will be bought and the rest will simply
be closed." Newsweek, Motorola, and Blockbuster are perhaps the most
familiar to consumers, but are they really headed for the dustbin? Only time will tell...
- 'Top Fashion Scandals of the Decade' Mediaite's Brooke Moreland
makes a list that speaks for itself: "Oh, I know you love a good
scandal. How do I know this? Because everyone does. A good scandal
amuses us, indulges our schadenfreude and distracts us from other more
'real' and depressing news stories. And as someone who studies trends
and fashion news all day long, I can tell you the fashion world has
some good ones." Notable entry's include Winona Ryder's 2001 arrest for
attempting to shoplift some just over 5 grand in designer clothes from
a Beverly Hills Salks store, Miley Cyrus's provocative and icky
underage Vanity Fair photoshoot, and of course, "Sleevegate," when First Lady
Michelle Obama "dared" to wear a sleeveless dress.
- 'One-Hit Wonders' Thanks to the folks at Billboard,
we can now recollect the tunes that outlasted their creators. The
longstanding music-journalism magazine provides an offbeat 39 "One-Hit
Wonders" of the decade, defined as bands that reached the "Hot 100's
Top 10 with their very first singles, [but] none of these acts managed
to crack the Top 25 for the rest of the decade...hey, four minutes of
fame is better than nothing." Controversial entries include Gnarles
Barkley's "Crazy" in '06 and Macy Gray's "I Try" from way back '02. It's pretty difficult to argue
"Mambo No. 5" doesn't belong on the list, though
- 'Top 10 Peta Protests of the Decade' The 100+ year old United Press International,
leading provider of critical information to media outlets" focuses on one
of the media's favorite antagonists, the People for the Ethical
Animal Rights, aka PETA. The list
kicks-off with the highly visible "We'd rather go naked than wear fur
campaign," but eschews including a sample of the celebrity-filled
risqué ad campaign.
- '10 Worst Things About the Worst Decade Ever' Time's Andy Serwer
makes a compelling, if admittedly "overwrought" case in his article
claiming the "'00s" (as he calls them) was America's worst decade since
World War II. What better way to illustrate his point than by blowing
it out into a list of "The 10 Worst Things About the Worst Decade Ever." The list does highlight some truly awful tragedies, such as the 2004 tsunami.
- 'Top 10 Moments of the Noughties' Eschewing editorial
discernment for crowd-sourcing, the Australian "News Website of the
Year," polled its users to determine the moments of the decade,
nominating winners in the following 10 categories: "Celebrity, Sport,
War/Terror, Fashion/Design, Money, Technology, Pop Culture, Disasters
and Accidents, Sex/Life and Heroes and Villains." Unsurprisingly,
September 11 "wins" for the "War/Terror" category. Similarly, the "GFC:
Global Financial Crisis," secures the top spot in "Money." Overall, the
site's users have found the decade to be "Bad!"
- '1, Beckham. 2, Murdoch. 3, Britney's Ex. Will This Do?' The Guardian's Marina Hyde
skewers year-end lists by providing a few random entries of her own.
"Without wishing to sound unseasonal, reviews of the year are not so
much the first draft of history as the first draft of things you might
fillet out of the newspaper bundle along with those leaflets enticing
you to buy elastic-waisted slacks ... It is
perfectly possible that I have contributed to some of these reviewy,
listy things in the Guardian, and have thus spent some portion of time
fashioning my own unread - and in a roundabout way, rather expensive -
firelighters. Thus the circle of ignominy perpetuates itself."
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