Calliope Crashes understands you can’t have the internet without the listicle, as the entire web tubes would collapse without it. The world of the listicle breaks down into some basic categories. Food dominates listmania, with prep (5 Easy Lunches to Take to Work); inside information (3 Secrets the Steakhouses Use for Perfect Meat); new food that will change your life forever (4 Superfoods Doctors Eat to Prolong Their Own Lives); mystery ingredient (7 Ways to Use the New Indonesian Micro Condiments that Chefs Love); depending on which week it is, why you absolutely must or must not consume alcohol (8 Reasons a Glass of Wine Should Be Part of You Healthy Life or 4 Reasons Your Liver is About to Explode Because You Took the Advice of Our Last List) and of course a steady stream of dieting advice (6 Reasons Your Diet Always Fails Tubby).

Relationships come a close second with sex (10 Ways to Spice Up the Bedroom); sex (4 Ways to Get Her in the Mood); sex (3 Habits of Expert Lovemakers); and cheating (27 Signs He’s Having an Affair). Throw in some parenting, home improvement, and 5 Summer Movies We Can’t Wait to See, and you’ve constructed 97% of daily web content with people yelling about sports and politics comprising the rest. See the list, “9 Reasons People Yell about Sports and Politics,” for details.

Magazines have always done the same thing of course, but the volume of the web makes the list more amusing and obvious. How can we repackage the benefits of tofu for the one millionth time? Let’s combine it with a sex list! (6 Ways Tofu Can Reignite Your Passion). The article practically writes itself and begs to be linked (Hey Tom, thought of you when I read this, what with your high blood pressure and disastrous marriage and all). I can only imagine the afterlife employs similar methods (7 Reasons You Went Straight to Hell and How It Can Improve Your Waistline). Really takes the sting out of eternal damnation I think.

The list renders the complexities of life intelligible; wait, there’s only 3 Things I Must Do to Achieve Perpetual Bliss? I can handle that. If you can list it, you can manage it, improve it, conquer it, and enjoy it. After all, the Bill of Rights could easily have been called 10 Ways Your Nation Can Achieve a More Perfect Union (And Drive Her Wild in Bed). Franklin tried to get that last part added, but you know how Franklin was.

I prefer the lists that make some statement about taste (4 Greatest Love Songs Featuring a Ferret), what I like to call the High Fidelity List (5 Best Movies about Slackers Running a Record Store), but I’ve never understood the Desert Island List. You know the one: make a list of the essential music, books, and movies you would take to a desert island. But if you are stranded on said island anything you have with you will seem like a masterpiece. You will consume it endlessly, parse its every meaning, memorize each word and nuance. On a desert island you can get by with Gigli and Kenny G’s Greatest Hits because a starving man can’t be picky.

Now daily life is another matter. What do you need at the end of a tough week? What never fails to inspire, to amuse, to get your booty shakin’, to make you well up, to put the world back in order again? The things that never get old and deserve repeated consumption? If you comprise part of the group that never re-watches, re-listens to, or re-reads anything you can just move along. Godspeed. Maybe invest some time in finding the soul you have so clearly misplaced (6 Types of Friends You Should Always Avoid).

Of course such lists reveal much about a person, or so other people believe, and defending an item on the list feels like defending your character. For instance, I will watch Arthur anytime and anywhere. I’m not apologizing; I’m not even calling it a guilty pleasure. First, without Dudley Moore there would be no Monty Python or Saturday Night Live. He reinvented sketch comedy with his partner Peter Cook.  Second, John Gielgud puts on a clinic of how to own a comedic role without waving your arms in front of the camera. I’m looking at you, anyone associated with Judd Apatow. Finally, the movie was written and directed by Steve Gordon who died soon after of a heart attack. The first and only movie he ever directed. First movie. Perfectly constructed and paced with dialogue worthy of a Howard Hawks film. (5 Reasons that Guy Won’t Shut Up About the Movie You’ve Never Seen).

You get the picture. Your endlessly consumable entertainment becomes a wee bit personal. But we’re supposed to be listing here, so without further ado, the things I must have again and again to walk through this wicked world. Five of each in honor of High Fidelity.


  • Rubber Soul–Beatles
  • Being There–Wilco
  • Legends of Western Swing–Milton Brown
  • Separation Sunday–The Hold Steady
  • Dear Science—TV on the Radio


  • Raising Arizona
  • What’s Up Doc
  • Tootsie
  • Some Like it Hot
  • The Royal Tenenbaums


  • Murphy–Samuel Beckett
  • At Swim-Two-Birds–Flann O’Brien
  • Harry Bosch Novels–Michael Connelly
  • The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat–Oliver Sacks
  • The Complete Short Stories–Flannery O’Connor


  • The Simpsons
  • Breaking Bad
  • Arrested Development
  • The Brady Bunch
  • 30 Rock

The list is not exhaustive, and I reserve the right to amend it at any time. The list is all about wanting to feel a certain way and knowing just how to get there, not quality or importance or existential heft. You can create your own list and bore people with it at parties. Just leave mine alone (5 Reasons He Won’t Let You Near His List and Why its Ruining Your Sex Life).


Leave a Reply