One of the traits that separates humans from animals is our innate ability to reason, solving complex problems using a mix of logic and creativity. That, and our opposable thumbs.
Logic has helped us through some tough scrapes over the years. We solved the whole "Im cold and this meat tastes terrible" dilemma by rubbing two sticks together. We solved the "Im hungry and my feet are sore from all this damn foraging" quandary by domesticating animals and developing agriculture. We solved the "I cant remember how that story ends" conundrum by creating alphabets and writing things down.
But while logical minds were definitely an asset in our survival, logic also has an interesting side-effect a relentless compulsion to make lists.
Our love affair with lists probably started in Sumeria more than 4,000 years ago with the Ur-Nammu Law Code and blossomed from there. Now we have the Ten Commandments, the Seven Deadly Sins, the Bill of Rights, the Billboard Music Charts, Dave Lettermans Top Ten Lists lists for just about everything.
And at the end of every calendar year, we get slammed with year-in-review type lists of every description. Being a holiday season and quiet, the media cant run enough "Best of" or "Worst of" lists. A lot of it qualifies as filler, but for the reader its a trip back in time, and digs up a lot of subjects that might be worth a second look.
Many of the lists were bombarded with in the New Year relate to the entertainment industry in some way. As a music fan, I check out The Onion A.V. Club site every year at this time to check out two features: The Best Albums of 2002 and the Least Essential Albums of 2002.
Because of the alternative nature of this publication, the first list usually contains albums and artists youve never heard of, some of which are not too bad although the reviewers do come off as elitist, smug and pretentious.
The second list is good for a laugh, especially if you went out and bought any of the albums dubbed "Least Essential" last year.
The E! Network is tabloid trash, but theres no denying that it takes our obsession with celebrities to a new level whether its a new high or a new low depends on the viewer.
In its Replay 2002 E! Online has a Year In Review, and polls for Entertainer of the Year, Breakout Performer of the Year, Best Dressed, Best Undressed, and the top movies, CDs, news stories and celebrity stories of the year.