This is THE definitive “Anything for a Weird Life” fully authorized Top Ten of 2022!
- Top ten lists are garbage. They mean nothing. (If you made one, I am not upset with you. I just think we should keep that in mind as we move forward. I find the above liberating. I hope you do also.)
- Despite the above, we need top ten lists to make some kind of sense of this “more than any human has had to process before” reality we stagger through each day. I can’t listen or see or attend everything. There was a point in human history where some people supposedly knew everything there was to know. I am not kidding. See? Thomas Young was the last one. Must have been nice.
- Top Ten lists cannot be objectively made in the Humanities because there is no inherent universal way to rank art. Canons and canon-making are about power and gate-keeping at worst and are intellectual parlor games at best. To walk through that door and admit the above is to be vulnerable. This is hard for folks who make their living being art experts or spend their time training students for the academy so that those folks can then graduate and get jobs training students for the academy. It takes some of the shine off one’s fancy pants degrees and accreditations.
- I have dyscalculia. So numbers, for me, slip around. Mathematical formulas disappear from my mind or are misapplied after a few repetitions. You use numbers and I am a little nervous, a little uneasy. I don’t trust them. I question them instinctively. I tend to over-tip.
- Still, I need numbers and limitations and “rules” to make art. The use of forms and patterns orders my writing as I push and pull against the sea of words in my head. I see patterns in words everywhere, like the ones I see when I stare for a long time at my friend April Camlin’s art. In a coincidence, the piece I chose to stare at and think about and link to above is called “Arbitrary Hierarchies.”
- There is also a pleasing aspect to a series or sequence. The fifth of ten is getting halfway, the sort of middle, the place where you can potentially shift or zig or zag, the peak of the mountain or the depth of the valley. Your choice.
- At any rate… I think about art, music, movies and the unique ability of the human spirit to express itself every single day. It is no problem if you don’t. Maybe your job as a surgeon or a firefighter or whatever keeps your mind on other things. But, all the sudden, end of year, everyone wants a list to order their buying and consuming, a way to be sure in their getting the “best” of that year. And, of course, every media outlet is happy to give folks just that.
- I don’t want to beat up on Journalists for doing that. They grind hard all the time, get no breaks, are underpaid, and deserve a moment of retrospection and, hopefully, rest as the new calendar year approaches. And, of course, news does not take a break. The (retired) pope just died! On New Year’s Eve! And Barbara Walters? Back to work, folks…
- But, yeah… what an impossibility. Top ten songs of 2022? Top ten movies? Top ten books? It takes a kind of mind I don’t have to formulate such things. What does the new have over the old? What does the aggregate opinion of one subset of folks (usually professional critics) have to do with your opinion and reaction to something? I like to have strong reactions to things. If a novel made me want to go live in a cabin in the woods and never speak to anyone ever again, is that good or bad? If a musical performance makes me feel like a hole has been ripped in the space-time continuum, should it win some kind of award?
- But anyways, like I was saying…
Top ten lists are garbage. They mean nothing. Happy New Year!