Time, Top Tens, and Tastes

On Joystiq‘s post covering Time’s top 10 games of 2007, the writer and commenters repeatedly lambaste the magazine for putting Halo 3 at the top of that list. They are working under the assumption that a “mainstream” magazine simply reverts to default selections—i.e., what made the most money—when reviewing games. I find this an interesting response because it suggests that what I’ve often thought of as a somewhat unified “geeky blogosphere” may actually be more fragmented. That is, nobody commenting on Time‘s list seems aware that the list was written (and, I assume, the results chosen by) Time‘s resident nerd, Lev Grossman, co-writer for an entire geek culture blog for the magazine. Lev comments on his top 10 lists for comics and games on that same blog.

Granted, the top 10 lists for comics and games were a little more mainstream-oriented than in some previous years. The games list only includes first-tier titles, not downloads (Pac-man CE, Space Giraffe, and flOw might have been contenders, for example). The graphic novel list features four titles by Marvel/DC (five if you count Wildstorm, distributed by DC). Andrew Arnold, who handled Time‘s graphic novels list in some previous years, focused more on indie titles, perhaps as part of his mission to introduce new audiences to comics they would be less likely to find out about otherwise. Perhaps such a mission seems less pressing now, in a time when the magazine has abandoned its artsy comics blog in favor of an overtly nerdy blog—or perhaps this is simply a reflection of one man’s tastes versus another’s.

4 thoughts on “Time, Top Tens, and Tastes

  1. Yeah, Lev’s job is a thankless one. He’s representing the culture of nerds to the muggles, so his tone isn’t appreciated by many of the former, and his interests aren’t by many of the latter.

    As for the fragmented nature of geek culture, this chart is the best summation that I have come across yet:

  2. When I did a class presentation on the first geek research paper I ever wrote (2005), I put that chart on a slide. Never again. Everyone wants to read every little detail, and at least half the room wants to ask what furries are.

    Also: Kristina Busse uses the chart to suggest a sort of fannish identity politics (as part of explaining that there’s a difference from normal/mundane/muggle fans and fandom, I think).

  3. The little detail of that chart that I love most is that the furries are at the bottom of the pecking order in everyone else’s estimation, but at the top in their own.

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