To Rank or Not to Rank—Can’t We Just Enjoy Stuff?

2019 subjectively seemed like a short year. So much happened in such a small period of time politically, artistically and emotionally. Often times, near the year’s end, publications and individuals feel it best to rank moments of the year, attempting to highlight which ones were the best or most memorable.

The gravity of this process becomes a bit more complicated knowing that 2019 is the last year of the decade. This has resulted in think piece upon think piece ad nauseam desperately arguing which performances or works of art are the best of the decade. Many video games graced the scene this decade, but who reigned supreme? There were plenty of quality breakout performances in TV and streaming shows, but which one un-objectively topped all others??

Image Source: “GIPHY Arts”

 

While I enjoy publications and websites like Vanity Fair, I couldn’t help but feel disappointed to see what looked like a culled list of culture rather than my normal articles: “The Ten Best TV Shows of the 2010s” and K. Austin Collins’ “The 30 Best Movies of the 2010s”, not to be confused with Richard Lawson’s “The 10 Best Movies of the 2010s” (emphasis mine). 

Image Source: “Official GIPHY channel of Awkwafina

 

Don’t get me wrong, rankings are interesting reads and should be done occasionally. I watch award shows every year with my friends, and I love seeing critics' perspectives on pop culture (and I love offering my own)!

However, I think that there shouldn’t be this pressure to rank multiple good and fun pieces of art against each other to be "the best of the decade." There’s frankly no objective way to rank pop culture over even a month, let alone ten years. Even the most sage of critics have life experiences that color the way they consume art—K Austin Collins, for example, rates a Coen Brothers film as one of his 30 best-ranking despite widespread criticism of the Coen Brothers’ character development. Does this mean his evaluation of the movie is wrong? Who’s to say? I think we’d be better off celebrating art rather than constantly trying to rank it.

Image Source: "Martin Lopez on Pexels"

 

Bottom line: maybe Get Out’s hypnosis was more terrifying than Hereditary’s car accident to you. Maybe you resonated more with Kanye’s “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” than Kendrick’s “DAMN”, or maybe you loved Breath of the Wild more than Undertale. But rather than clamoring over this to ultimately make a tiered list of creative work from the past ten years, maybe we should just enjoy things as they are: works of art.