Paul/Alamut has been making lists of various sorts, and today he links a NYTimes article on new Gass essays, one of which deals with lists: "by filling blank sheets of paper with our wants, wishes, dislikes, past loves and the things that go bump in the night, we aspire to teach death a thing or two about the brilliant stuff of life." I suppose that motive lies behind even Book Magazine's list of the 100 best characters in fiction since 1900 (via Diablo G.), though this one verges on the silly. Is there any real differenceother than the obvious morphological onebetween Gregor Samsa (#12) and Joseph K. (#83)? Should Big Brother (#59) even count? Why are so many of the characters furry, and how did the Cat in the Hat (#39) beat out Grendel (#57)?
Someone else will have to answer these questions. I am busy with my dysfunctions. The problem never lies in the present: the present is fine, generally, except that you are too often in a state of fear over some lonely, poverty-stricken future that never turns out as badly as you anticipate. Something must be done about this.