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The Worst Lists

50 Most Beautiful People
The Hill 
Is there anything less useful than this bloated vanity project? The apparent Republican bias only makes it more suspect.

The Worst 50 States in America 
How do you squander the potentially compelling idea of assessing the weaknesses of each of our nation’s states? You gather random stereotypes and Wikipedia-grade fun facts—then you surprise no one by crowning New York the least-worst state. 

Washington's Top 150 Golfers 
Golf Digest 
While we’re impressed that they tracked down the handicaps of 150 politicians, staffers, and lobbyists, this list is ultimately just a depressing reminder of how much politicking gets done on the green.

The Vanity Fair 100
Vanity Fair 
Any list headed by Mark Zuckerberg is bound to be excessively conventional. Some of the individual names might be unfamiliar; but, overall, the Vanity Fair list is an all-too-predictable celebration of money, power, and Hollywood.

The Power Lists
 The New York Observer 
 This parade of vapid lists—“NEW YORK MEDIA POWER COUPLES,” “MEDIA POWER BACHELORS,” “MEDIA POWER BACHELORETTES,” “POWER GAYS”—is seemingly never ending. Still, give the Observer credit for self-awareness: In August, they released a power list of upcoming power lists, including “the 150 most powerful children of people who have been ranked on power lists.”

This article originally ran in the November 3, 2011, issue of the magazine.