Recently, I was contacted by a webzine to which I have been a rather infrequent contributor as of late regarding any “decade lists” I would wish to post.
I have to admit, at first the concept interested me. I started to think about all the rankings I could give things. Top ten movies, top ten albums, top ten TV shows, concerts, moments, newsbytes, socio-political or scientific breakthroughs. Anything.
I gave it some long hard thought. I sat with an open word document for a few hours pondering what I should rank. Being something of a purveyor of pop-culture, the idea should be an incredible opportunity for me. Here we sit, perched on the edge of another epoch and I’m caught speechless.
Of course, heading on a brief outing to Barnes and Noble and merely looking at the magazine rack, many powerful and name brand publications seem to think that their opinion is the end-all-be-all of the first decade of this fledgling millennium. Entertainment Weekly, for instance, published their top 100 in entertainment (obviously) for the decade. This ranked everything in one large bundle. I suppose this is the easy way out of the problem. Put everything into one place in a sort of loose yet obvious numbered system and make your readers debate amongst each other as to which particular thing should have been placed where in their opinion.
This is the coward’s way out. I could probably tell you a hundred things in pop-culture within the 20-ought years that would rank up there for me. Shit, I practically have. I’ve been blogging (and some of you have been reading) for eight of those ten. I guarantee that there were more than 100 rants in my catalogue over that time, most of them about pop-culture. So, there we have it. I’ve already done what Entertainment Weekly did, though in no particular ranking or order.
I’ve probably recommended ten albums. I’ve probably reviewed ten movies with a 5/10 or higher on the Bidula’s Last Word scale. I’ve probably told you about 10 or more video games which rocked me. I’ve definitely told you of more than ten socio-political moments that moved me. I have, more than anything else, told you of more than ten personal moments when I was particularly moved, overjoyed, saddened, awakened, broken, reassembled, stripped for parts, reconditioned, and resold.
Ten years ago today, I was a first quarter art school student with a head full of ideas as to where I would be by the end of the decade – I thought I would be doing something incredible, creating for a living. Ten years later, here I am, with the same hopes for the end of the next decade but with a much more realistic perspective on what it takes to obtain that goal.
Ten years ago, the computer I used to connect to “the internet”, not much more than a collection of lists of other sites and moving .gifs of construction people eternally shoveling in their little yellow triangles, was a horrible mess of a machine compared to the fine laptop on which I am now writing. Ten years ago, there was no real blogging. Hell, ten years ago, there were barely frames and flash. Ten years ago, there was no Xbox. Ten years later, life seems so much different when we look back.
Ten years in the eyes of pop-culture is much more than a decade. It’s almost two lifetimes when you think about it. The very nature of the “pop” aspect limits things to their run of mainstream glory. Judging simply by the events involved, thinking back to where we were when this or that happened, it doesn’t seem like that far back. Take a moment to think about where exactly you were ten years ago. Think about where you were, what you were doing, and what you were anticipating in the terms of what came next. Go ahead. I’ll wait.
See what I’m talking about? Mindblowing, isn’t it. Top ten movies in the ought-decade? How does one really put that down on paper? I mean, look at 2000 alone: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Chocolat, Finding Forrester, Almost Famous, Battle Royale, Gladiator, High Fidelity, The Perfect Storm, O Brother Where Art Thou, Snatch, X-Men… And that’s just a few. Granted, not all of them would be in my personal top ten, but still, right there, you have 11 movies I think are awesome out of one freaking year. Don’t even get me started on music or anything else, we’ll be here all night.
Great movies come out every year. To limit the field to so few would be ridiculous. Why do you think that IMDb has a “Top 250 of all time”? Sure, they narrow it down to a top ten at the end, but there are still 240 other movies that get props because they’re awesome.
For the decade, I would probably be able to do a top 25 for things. Hell, I might just do a top 25, maybe even a top 50, maybe even a ranking in no particular order, but it’s going to have to come with massive amounts of research.
I could never classify an entire decade worth of entertainment within 10 anything without giving respect to the tons of decent efforts that may have come up short of the elusive 10th slot. We won’t do that here. Within the next few weeks look for the best dozen or more of the decade. Originally, I had set out to make this a rant about how decade lists would be nearly impossible. The more I sit here in my late night mind set, the more I think it can be accomplished as long as you don’t limit a number and you don’t lump everything together.
Sure, I’ll do the decade lists. Just don’t hold me down to a number. 10 for 10 just ain’t enough. There’s a lot of stuff out there, and I’m just now scratching the surface. Expect updates.
Keep fighting the good fight.