Thursday, July 9, 2009

A Theory of Lists

On the Anti- Blog, Beck Hansen interviews Tom Waits. As part of the conversation, they talk about lists. Since the pressure to list comes from all sides and in various forms, I found this interesting:

BH: I get asked to write "Best of" lists occasionally. An emphasis on ranking things. Having a hierarchy and having it be written in granite, written in stone.

TW: It's economic. So you can charge more.

BH: Yeah, it must be. But maybe it's just a need to have some order that's been established, and that everybody has been notified. I don't know.

TW: There's too much of everything.

BH: Maybe it's a millennial thing. It started around the millennium. "What are the best movies? What are the best songs?"

TW: Well, then there's the pressure of feeling that you need to have what has been already rated the best. A lot of people are afraid to explore their own peculiar taste for fear - that it would be uncool. Just like when you're a teenager you don't want to be caught with the wrong sports shirt, the wrong socks.

BH: I think there's a bit of that. Certain things haven't made it to the "List," so then they go into the category of guilty pleasure or something.

TW: My theory is that the innovators are the ones that open the door to things, and then behind them there's a huge crowd and they are trampled by the crowd behind them. And then you have to peel the innovators off the ground like in the movie, The Mask. Like a Colorform.

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