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Entertainment > A Lousy List

A Lousy List

LISTS ARE PERSONAL things, not just grocery lists but favorites, top tens, even top 100s.  So when I see a list of the supposedly best this-or-that, I expect to have different ideas.

But when I saw the July 5/12 Entertainment Weekly (EW), with their "100 All-Time Greatest" lists, I got really aggravated.  Movies and TV shows, okay, it's EW, that's their bailiwick.  But novels?  Now they're out of their realm.

Someone once said that a camel was a horse designed by a committee.  The EW committee has produced a true dromedary.  Tolstoy's Anna Karenina as the greatest novel ever?  Pul-eese.  Add to that that the novel many more knowledgeable observers would list as #1 -- James Joyce's Ulysses -- didn't even make EW's list of 100!  I'm not alone in believing the #1 spot belongs to Joyce's masterpiece.  In 1998, the Modern Library (ML) ranked Ulysses first on its list of the 100 best English-language novels. Yet it gets not even a nod from EW.

Aldous Huxley's great novel Brave New World was 5th on the ML list.  The EW list omitted it too!  Another masterwork left off the EW list:  Mikhail Bulgakov's The Master & Margarita which many believe is one of the greatest novels of the 20th Century. 

There are other idiocies.  Number 10 on the EW list of greatest novels is Charlotte's Web.  Now, I have respect for E.B. White (esp. his "The Elements of Style" with Wm Strunk), but give me a break! The best they could give Twain's masterpiece The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was 62nd place.  Heller's Catch-22 listed at 85th (it was 7th on the ML list).

Cervantes' great novel Don Quixote, called by World Library the "best literary work ever written," appears nowhere on the EW list.  Omitted.  Ignored.  Not even honorable mention.

I would say that EW needs to stick with what they know, movies & TV.  They rank "Freaks & Geeks" (at #59) higher than "Beavis & Butt-head" (at #71) and I am unable to argue with that.

Extremely unable... 


posted on July 12, 2013 10:37 AM ()


I have to admit I'm another non-fan of Ulysses, although I do admire moments in it. I preferred his short stories.
comment by drmaus on July 13, 2013 9:43 AM ()
I can just picture the 30-somethings sitting around a conference table gushing 'Charlotte's Webb - It's so awwwwwwsome!'
comment by troutbend on July 13, 2013 9:37 AM ()
comment by kevinshere on July 13, 2013 6:38 AM ()
Ed is always nonplussed by my train of thought -- I'll bring something up and he doesn't know how I got there.
comment by tealstar on July 12, 2013 9:58 PM ()
Your mind is an olio.
reply by steeve on July 13, 2013 9:06 AM ()
Jondude is absolutely right. They probably rank Despicable Me as a great
comment by elderjane on July 12, 2013 5:41 PM ()
Their movie list wasn't as bad as their attempt at listing the best novels, tho' they omitted my all-time favorite, "Dr. Zhivago."
reply by steeve on July 12, 2013 7:14 PM ()
Remember EW's audience. It is the drone TV-watching couch potato class. I am surprised they would rank anything by one of the great Russian authors in their top 100. I think their audience is more Disney-oriented.
comment by jondude on July 12, 2013 3:32 PM ()
It just ticks me off that they'd even go there...
reply by steeve on July 12, 2013 7:12 PM ()
I have two of J. Joyce's works at 1 and 2.
comment by jondude on July 12, 2013 3:30 PM ()
The other being "Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man" I presume...
reply by steeve on July 12, 2013 7:07 PM ()
I basically do not like great works of literature. I found Ulysses BORING. Yes, I could follow the stream of consciousness -- BORING. Mine is much more exciting.
comment by tealstar on July 12, 2013 3:14 PM ()
That's how I feel about the film "Citizen Kane" which always gets listed as the greatest movie ever. I've tried watching it but couldn't stay with it. I read Ulysses in Jan. 1966 while sitting in my cab at a cab stand awaiting passengers. As for your personal stream of consciousness, I'm not sure I'm ready for that yet.
reply by steeve on July 12, 2013 7:11 PM ()

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