Tag Archives: culture

Top Ten “Top 10” Lists of 2011

  • 10. Top 10 Underreported Stories of the Year I think this is an interesting Top 10 list idea to tackle, because “underreported” — aka not popular, not top — indicates that these stories are anything but Top 10. So I commend Time for making an intrinsically hypocritical Top 10 list that is actually surprisingly informative and insightful.
  • 9. Top 10 Ways to Make People Believe You Are Not Drunk. Also known as “Top 10 Ways to Ineffectually Attempt to Mask All Signs of Alcoholism,” this list tries really hard to insist that no one will ever notice, despite the fact that its overall recommendation for hiding the effects of alcohol is just to sit there and do nothing for the entire night (which in turn kind of defeats the purpose of social drinking).
  • 8. Top 10 Sweatiest Movies. It’s about time someone compiled a list like this. I commend author Kate Witteman for her gall in even making this pitch to her editor. It’s an absurd concept that actually hooks on to our collective cultural curiosity.
  • 7. 2011 Top 10 Movies for Grownups. This one makes the list strictly because it was compiled by the AARP. And let’s face it, that’s funny. It’s not even that all of these movies focus on characters over 60 years old; they’re just “movies for grownups,” which is an incredibly absurd and ridiculously vague criterium. Even Hugo and We Bought a Zoo make the list.
    Bonus: 2011 Top 10 Albums for Grownups, a list that is much more in line with “Stuff Only Mom and Dad Like.”
  • 6. Top 10 Secretly Badass Animals. I’d never seen a Mantis Shrimp before I saw this list, let alone heard of one, but I can say with great confidence that my quality of life has vastly improved now that I have. Also, wombats. Who doesn’t love a wombat? Neither wom, nor bat, yet somehow, still incredibly — and, apparently, badass.
  • 5. Top 10 Topical Sesame Street Characters. The fact there have been enough topical Sesame Street characters to justify the creation of Top 10 list of said characters is proof alone that despite all threats of economic collapse and nuclear fallout, the future is inherently a good thing, and we’re all going to be okay in the end.
  • 4. Top 10 Short-Lived Celebrity Marriages. Obviously topped off by the whole Kardashian fiasco, this list is especially notable because it is indicative of the world in which we live. Future historians would be well served to examine this list to gain a better understanding of our celebrity-obsessed culture in which there have actually been enough short-lived publicity stunt marriages to garner such a list. And yet gay marriage is still such a hot-button topic…
  • 3.Top 10 Memes. Another impressive cultural indicator. The irony here, of course, is that “Arbitrary Year-End Top 10 Lists” did not make the list of Top 10 Memes. In an even greater tragedy, neither did Admiral Ackbar.
  • 2. Facebook’s Top Status Trends in the US. Another major hallmark by which Future Historians will judge our lives. What really gets me is that despite the fact that I pride myself as being someone whose finger remains on the pulse of Internet trends, I have no idea what “lms” or “tbh” means, even though they were apparently the most popular Facebook status trends of the year. (mumble mumble god damn kids mumble mumble off my lawn)
  • 1. Google Zeitgeist 2011 Top 10 Google Searches. A worldwide ranking of our most popular Google searches, this is a prime cut cross section of our modern culture. Hell, it’s even hard to be disappointed that Rebecca Black tops off the list. But I’m especially impressed that the non-existent iPhone 5 made the top 10. What does it say about our culture when fictional science (science fiction?) permeates the heights of our news and obsessions? I’ll leave that one to the Future Historians.

  • Honorable Mention: Top 10 People Not Running for President, because neither Michelle Bachmann, Mitt Romney, or Newt Gingrich is included.

    The Detmold Child

    They had hit the sweet spot in scheduling their museum visit. The heavily hyped exhibition of ancient mummies had been up and running for a little over three months, but had about five weeks before shutting its doors. The crowd remained thick, shuffling past the boxed-in figures of the long-dead like customers in the lunchtime bank line. But the first two times they had tried to come, the woman with frizzy hair at the ticket counter had handed Steve tickets time-stamped for a five hour wait. Marie had pouted, disappointed, and pleaded that they had to come back. The fact they could even get in — he knew this was the best it was going to get.

    Ten feet ahead of them, a group of kids, maybe fifteen at the oldest, clustered together. They guffawed and loudly called out anything that they could think of: butts, boobs, gnarled facial features. Their alleged chaperone looked over them with a bemused smirk under his reflective sunglasses. Marie glared at that guy as much as she looked at the exhibits.

    “I didn’t know they did mummies in Hungary,” Steve said, hoping to pull her attention back by seeming interested.

    She snarled her lip up; he didn’t know if that was in response to him or the other customers. “Well,” she said, “this isn’t called ‘Mummies of One Particular Region.’”

    A fair point. He tried reading the description of a nearby couple, but only got so far as to find out they were the Baron and Baroness von whatever. Looking around the wall, he tried to find a clock. Taking his cell phone out to check would cause much more trouble than — what is this place, a casino?

    “Mummy tits!” Looking over, he saw the one in the garish Kobe t-shirt pointing and snickering, his words echoing above the muffled din of hushed museum mumbles. Everyone around him joined in, including the chaperone. Actually, three of them had ugly Kobe shirts on. That kid was just the shortest one.

    “It’s just disrespectful,” Marie said, trying to be loud enough that the man could hear without making it seem obvious she wanted the man to hear. Steve could only nod and shrug. She might have wanted him to do more, but, well.

    The biggest cluster of people gathered around a small case in the middle of the largest rooms. The warm lights broke through the corners onto the tiny brown shape with arms folded and legs hunched.

    Steve finally got in close to look at the face, wrinkled like a sloppy clay sculpture. Leaning into Marie’s ear, he said “It looks like Kuato.”


    “You know, the chest-baby from Total Recall. Kuato.”

    She didn’t turn to look at him before walking away, so he didn’t see what she did with her eyes. Another burst of laughter shot out from the obnoxious group ahead. He grabbed at his phone, but didn’t take it out of his jacket. He was trying.