Tag Archives | Lists

Umberto Eco Explains List Mania

Italian author and semiotician Umberto Eco tells Der Spiegel about the place lists hold in the history of culture, the ways we try to avoid thinking about death and why Google is dangerous for young people:

SPIEGEL: Mr. Eco, you are considered one of the world’s great scholars, and now you are opening an exhibition at the Louvre, one of the world’s most important museums. The subjects of your exhibition sound a little commonplace, though: the essential nature of lists, poets who list things in their works and painters who accumulate things in their paintings. Why did you choose these subjects?

Umberto Eco: The list is the origin of culture. It’s part of the history of art and literature. What does culture want? To make infinity comprehensible. It also wants to create order — not always, but often. And how, as a human being, does one face infinity? How does one attempt to grasp the incomprehensible?

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The List of Lists 2009

As a Manhattan resident I subscribe to the peerless daily email newsletter Manhattan Users Guide, edited by Charlie Suisman. Today he published an excellent list of year end lists. Check ’em all out here, but for now here’s a taste:

100 Best Albums of the Decade [Rolling Stone]

Corruption Perceptions Index 2009 [Transparency International]

The Worst and Strangest Collectible Statues of 2009 [Comics Alliance]

Pictures of the Year 2009 [Reuters]

The 10 Best Books of 2009 [NY Times Book Review]

Top 10 Endangered Exports [Time]

The Worst Gifts on Earth [Esquire]

20 Rising Star Chefs 2009 [Food & Wine]

The 2009 Good Gift Games [The Morning News]

Top 10 News Stories of 2009 [Slate]

The Worst Album Covers of 2009 [Pitchfork]

Classics Off The Beaten Path in 2009 [NPR]

The Top 10 Stories You Missed in 2009 [Foreign Policy]

The 10 Dumbest Banker Quotes of All Time [The Motley Fool]

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