Friday, December 09, 2005

Sit. Good Boy.

I have a cat. If I stand in the stairs down into our rec room with the door to the kitchen closed and call the cat's name, she'll race from wherever she is in the house and bump and bump and rebump her head against the door until I open it. Yesterday, on the mothership, Jerry asked his readers for lists of their desert island favorites, and as soon as I saw the offer I posted, which makes me as conditioned as my cat.

An acquaintance who works in sports talk radio once told me that the surest way to light up the phones was to revisit the Pete Rose in the Hall of Fame, Yes or No? debate, and while I'm a relatively new citizen of Blogoslavia, I've little doubt that asking for personal lists is a surefire comment generator. A quick flip over to S21 just now shows that 20 comments have been posted (two by me - I couldn't control myself twice).

The impulse to rank and list, hardwired in humans, diminishes everything not elevated to top tier (which makes it a valuable tool of the elevated, as earls and barons and K St lobbyists can testify). As soon as I had posted five or six albums I immediately thought of 20 more, and one, The Magnetic Fields' *69 Love Songs,* I felt badly enough for having left it off that I posted a second time to get its name into Haloscanistan. Still, here I am, someone who professes to question the legitimacy of hierarchies, gleefully, droolingly on cue like a behavioralist's dog, pooping out a list of must-have music within 60 seconds of being asked.

I am NOT criticizing the exercise. It's fun. I've got a list of stuff off everyone's lists I hope to soon land and listen to, and I have no doubt that everything everyone posted was sincerely offered. But is there wankery and posing and posturing and competitive name-dropping involved? Absofuckinglutely, which makes it like life. I just wish I'd taken a couple of minutes before I wanked, posed, postured, and name-dropped. So I could be more elevated than my cat.


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