U.S. News & World Report's annual ranking of colleges and universities has always been way more about the sales and marketing of the Alamo rent-a-car of American newsweeklies than about academia or college life.
But this year, as has been incisively pointed out by our friends at Slate, however lame, harebrained and Miss America Pageant-y the list has been in the past (not to mention that its progenitor is neither U.S. news nor a world report), this year's college rankings are even more bogus than ever.
We thought, therefore, that in this -- the pre-millennial year of lists upon lists -- that U.S. News could benefit from a salubrious assessment of its own placement in a journalistic meta-list. Herewith, Salon's ranking of the lamest lists in existence.
2. Us magazine's Top Ten Celebrity Superbodies -- Special All Buns issue, 1987.
3. Cosmopolitan magazine's "20 great ways to achieve orgasm by doing everything you can to turn your man into a woman with a penis, though of course none of this will ever happen and you'll end up sleeping with the pool cleaner," 1978.
5. Sen. Joe McCarthy's list of Communists who have infiltrated the State Department.
6. The ethnic food section of the Best of Missoula! issue, Missoula Magazine, 1990.
7. Time magazine's Top 100 People of the Century, endless.
8. Rolling Stone magazine's Top 100 Albums by Jimi Hendrix and/or the Doors, annual issue.
9. The Modern Library's list of the 100 Best Fiction Books, 1998.
10. This one.
* Note to U.S. News editors: Don't despair. We plan on playing with the methodology for this ranking next year, so -- just as Caltech shot from No. 9 in last year's U.S. News ranking to No. 1 in this year's -- we have confidence that your list's ranking will improve with time.