The Year End Re-Discovery List

Remember Joe Exotic?

He is a former zoo owner, convicted felon, and the central character of the popular Netflix show Tiger King.

In the month of March, Joe and Tiger King were the talk of the town. The series was discussed, dissected, derided, and meme’d on every corner of the internet. You couldn’t escape it; The world could not get enough Tiger King… or so it seemed.

After its initial ascendency there has been little chatter about Tiger King. Joe Exotic may live on in Tabloid headlines, but nine months after its premiere the series and its bleached haired protagonist are mostly forgotten.

I’m not saying this to kick ol’ Joe while he’s down. Lord knows he has enough problems. I say it because Tiger King is precisely the type of ephemera that will be championed in the coming wave of “year in review” lists.

For those unfamiliar, “year in review” or “best of the year” lists are an annual traditional where some savvy critic, likely residing in Brooklyn or San Francisco, tells you what the most important movies, television series, and albums of the year are.

I’m usually an avid reader of these “year end” lists. But this year I’m less enthusiastic.

Do Joe Exotic and his redneck cronies really need more time in the spotlight? Or is there content we can endorse that has proven more enduring?

This year I want to pose an alternative to the traditional “year end list”. I call it:

“The Year End Re-Discovery List”.

It is simply a list of things which once meant a lot to you, that you fell in love with again during the past year. I’m talking about:

The band you adored as a teenager; that still rocks when you’re 30.

The black and white movie; that holds up 50 years later.

The classic book that gets better with each read.

Why rediscovery?

We overvalue discovering something “new”. We’re tantalized by the fresh single, the viral blog, the sticky meme. This phenomena is so common, psychologist have a term for it: The Appeal To Novelty Fallacy.

There is nothing inherently wrong with valuing new things. However, this bias towards “newness” can cause us to overrate things that seem relevant or entertaining at the moment but have little to no lasting value.

I believe that “re-discovery” is the antidote to the “Appeal To Novelty”.

A piece of art you “rediscover” is one that endures after its novel luster has worn off.

It’s something so exceptional that it begs for a revisit. Something that aces the test of time, and inspires long after its initial release.

Works like this are rare. But that is precisely why they mean so much to us, and why they are worth sharing with the world

2020 was a year that reminded us of our volatility. I see no better way than to cap it off than a celebration of the forces that continue to fuel us, in good times and bad.

Getting listing my friend!