The folks at Feministing just posted a link to the blog Overrated List, a spectacular illustration of the principle that the most brilliant ideas are often the simplest. Overrated List draws its inspiration from well-known tool Christopher Hitchens, but I forgive it, because it goes on to be both funny and intriguing:
According to a 2006 New Yorker profile, Hitch once declared, apropos of nothing, “that the four most overrated things in life were champagne, lobsters, anal sex, and picnics.” Like all of Hitch’s opinions, this one offends everyone, for different reasons. Still, you can’t help but admit there’s something to it.
Now, thanks to the magic of the internet, we can all disseminate Overrated Lists of our own. The rules are simple. Each List contains exactly four (4) items. You only get one List, so take your time and make it good. While every List should be unique, try not to make yours too idiosyncratic (”the deli on my corner”; “stuff I am allergic to”). And keep in mind: overrated things are not just bad things (global warming and impetigo and Cleveland, for instance, would not make the cut, because they were never rated highly in the first place). In fact, most overrated things are good — just not that good, for crying out loud.
Reading the lists, which are cited only by first name, location, and age, is kind of amazing — they’re not only funny and thought-provoking, but they give insight into people’s minds with surprising clarity. My favorite list so far comes from an 85-year-old New Yorker:
- A hot bath
Kate and I were discussing this last night; she said “so far, I’ve only got Cormac McCarthy and olives,” and I busted out laughing. Neither of those is particularly dear to my heart one way or the other, but somehow the combination of the two caused a very “I knew I liked you for a reason” moment. I’ve sent mine in already and since it’ll be credited I don’t want to post it here, but second-stringers included Lord of the Rings, bacon, internet fame, and positive attitudes. I’d love to hear what you guys come up with (and when you’re sure you’re done, send it on to overratedlist at gmail!).