20 June 2008

Perks of the Job / The "ew" List

Some days my job can be pretty boring, like when I'm killing time filling in Tables of Contents for marketing books. On other days though, like today, the job just throws interesting things at me all day. First, I spent a good portion of the morning reading I.D. Magazine. This magazine was so interesting that it will get its own post in a day or so.

After running around, researching marketing stuff (in 2007, 1,486,836 Bostonians owned DVD players), and doing other biblioteque-ish stuff, I got today's serials. Being in charge of serials is pretty fantastic when someone accidentally sends two copies of Zoetrope: All Story, which is a fantastic magazine. Mark Mothersbaugh of Wes Anderson movies fame, yes plural, is the guest designer, which provides for numerous fantastic paintings and a funny rambling rant about design.

Also, this job allowed me to read Entertainment Weekly without dropping the $4 or whatever it is (technically, I was getting paid to read it, now that's a perk!) This issue focuses on what they called "The New Classics." This is an attempt to tell us what the best movies, albums, books, etc. of the past 25 years were, but really it's just a print version of VH1's "Top 100 (blank)". Regardless, lists are fun because they automatically trigger most people's agree/disagree switches, myself included. Here are my highlights and lowlights:

Best TV shows - Really, I was just happy to see Freaks and Geeks make the list at number 13. If you've never seen it, check it out. Judd Apatow knows what's up, and like The 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Anchorman, etc, Freaks and Geeks is proof. Freaks and Geeks shows that Apatow knew how to create real, interesting people from the very get go. Some of those faces look familiar, yes? Also, Arrested Development comes in at 16 and Saved by the Bell at 100.

Best Albums - Now this, I can totally get behind. Number 1 album of the past 25 years: "Purple Rain!" Purple Rain! Yes! Listen to that album, and I dare you to not go crazy when Prince says "Let's Go Crazy!" Lots of people joked that Prince's Super Bowl halftime show was stupid, but remember how a whole stadium of people who weren't there to see Prince sang along with him and his guitar during Purple Rain? Right. "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill" comes in at number 2, which is pretty bold only because I expected to see Thriller there, but Lauryn Hill seems like a decent choice. I liked seeing Kanye West's "The College Dropout" at number 4, but I have a hard time with that being ranked so high but Dr. Dre's "The Chronic" is 66. Seriously? The College Dropout doesn't happen without The Chronic coming before it. No way. Also, "Siamese Dream" at 91? That's a perfect album. Perfect. Starting with the album's opening drumroll, through the peaks and valleys of guitar and Billy Corgan's vocals, to the last note, every twist, turn, and sound is perfectly orchestrated.

Best Books - Of course I'm going to have a gripe with this category, though I shouldn't have expected much from Entertainment Weekly. Their website says it all: "ew" dotcom. Number 1 is The Road. I've never read it, but I've heard it's not even Cormac McCarthy's best book. The Goods: Stephen King's On Writing (21), Jhumpa Lahiri's Interpreter of Maladies (39), Lois Lowry's The Giver, and John Irving's A Prayer for Owen Meany (73). I for one think all of these books should be higher, but especially Owen Meany. The Bad: Gilead by Marilynne Robinson ranked at 85. Really? 85? Maybe the good people at "ew" were distracted by that gold sticker on the cover. (Though, to be fair, both The Road and Interpreter of Maladies also won the Pulitzer, but Gilead is better than every book I've listed here.

Best Movies - Now that I've gotten worked up about Gilead, I feel like making this brief. Pulp Fiction is number 1, which is kind of stupid. I was happy to see Rushmore at 22 and Waiting for Guffman at 79.

That's that. Other funny things from the issue include Rainn Wilson dressed as Xena. I later checked in new books, of which included The Branding of MTV: Will Internet Kill the Video Star? by Paul Temporal. Sorry Mr. Temporal, I'm afraid MTV killed the video star. Also, McSweeney's again publishes a pretty book, with One Hundred and Forty-Five Stories in a Small Box (pictured), with three collections by Deb Olin Unferth, Dave Eggers, and Sarah Manguso. What this picture doesn't show is the beautiful gold leaf highlights. When I publish my book (that's right I said "when!"), I hope it's beautiful like some of the McSweeney's books and journals.

1 comment:

zanderkan said...

I had a Freaks and Geeks revival last summer. Just got in the mood to watch the whole thing one/two days. It was nice. Now, every once and a while I have flashbacks of Jason Segel practicing to Rush, terribly.