A NEW YEAR comes, and with that a faux clean plate. But just before the dial switch, we were all inundated by a seemingly never ending orgy of "best of" lists.
Chalked with hyperbole and irreverence; blogs, twitter, magazines and online media outlets who endow themselves with "tastemaker" monikers espoused the loves of the year.
Most of these lists where "best of" lists, and not the more truthful, "favorites" list. A big difference in meaning.
Now, a best of list of athletes is probably measurable. And so is a host of other things in which quantifying makes sense. But in the arts, the only true purpose these lists holds is consumerism or elitism.
Because, "best" is nonsensical in arts. Unless you specify it, and in that specification, it is quantifiable it is meaningless.
If best meant theatrical sales, than you have a measure. If best is "rotten tomatoes" ratings, then you have a measure.
If best is personal, than its favorite. And that's what it all comes down to. Of course, none of us has the time to view 30,000 productions, so, we watch the most accessible or ones that have been picked out.
Best in the arts does serve a purpose. Award shows, to bring in more business. Or, helping individual careers to obtain more opportunities because of a certain popularity that comes with providing more value than the average. That's it. Nothing more. You cannot quantify the ephemeral, until you actually can.