Why the Observer Is Going All In (the Pink) on Power Lists


Just two weeks ago, the Observer poked fun at itself for overplaying its hand when it came to “Power Lists.” At the time, editors were reacting to lots of (not entirely flattering) attention paid to their Media Power Couples list. This morning, they followed up on those semi-serious listicles with another: 50 Media Power Bachelors. Tomorrow they will do some sort of female version, perhaps Power Bachelorettes. While we are grateful for the inclusion of two of our own studly bachelors on today’s list (Geoff Gray and Carl Swanson), we had to get to the bottom of this.

We asked Elizabeth Spiers, the salmon-tinted weekly’s editor, to explain all this. Here’s what she said:

Somewhere in the long history of man — probably somewhere late in the Pleistocene era — a bunch of Neanderthals lined up in a cave and decided to rank each other according to strength, virility, and ability to acquire high-status forms of shelter and tools. There were long debates — well, lots of grunting and throwing things, anyway — about the empirical rigor of the rankings and whether it was possible to quantify something as abstract and broad-based as status. So one enterprising Neanderthal drew stick figures on a wall and threw a spear at it to determine the frontrunners. The resulting list made them all completely insane and the course of evolution was derailed for a few hundred thousand years. And so it has been ever since.

Hear that, bachelors? Now you’re single and distracted. Happy Monday, sheesh.

The Free Agent List: 2011′s 50 Media Power Bachelors [Observer]