I have long been amazed at the number of stupid T.V. shows that are made up of meaningless lists. The ultimate example of this is Rank. Each episode is basically a count-down from some number, I’m not sure if they start at 10 or 20, or what (I’ve not seen a whole episode), down to the number 1. Of course, the list (which is based on nothing except the whim of some T.V. producer) is padded out with celebrity interviews, and clips from movies and T.V. shows. And, the closer they get to the number 1, the more advertising breaks they seem to take.

Bill Maher agrees, and argues that the obsession with lists actually marks a fundamental shift in the U.S. economy.

America is no longer a manufacturing economy, or even a service economy — it’s a ranking economy. We rank things.