Discuss 'The List'

Dan Zak and Monica Hesse
Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, January 4, 2010; 11:00 AM

Washington Post writers Dan Zak and Monica Hesse were online Monday, Jan. 4 at 11 a.m. ET to discuss The List, Style's guide to what's in and what's out in 2010. They welcome your questions, possible additions and passionate dissent.


Dan Zak: Two thousand ten has broke o'er the land, and with it comes the sharp, minty-fresh odor of the new: new possibilities, new chances, new vows, new leases on life. How did you spend the first rosy-fingered days of the new year? I watched a "Jersey Shore" marathon. Monica was bit by her dog.

Monica Hesse: It's true, Dan. It's true.

We look forward to your berating, complaining and even your praise over how we did on this year's Ins and Outs. Be sure to hop on over to The List online to cast your vote in our polls. Right now Non-organic (but really freaking effective) household cleaning products are the item you all will miss most from the past decade. But there's still a chance for Pluto to come from behind. Go Pluto.


Northern, California : In: Selling/Trading; Out: Buying

Dan Zak: One of our discarded items was BUYING GOLD/STOCKPILING SEEDS.

Monica Hesse: Well, *we* liked it.


Fairfax, VA: Not a complaint, but what happened to Hank Stuever? I loved how odd his ins/outs were. I seemed to know too many on this year's list (or am I just getting more hip?).

Dan Zak: Hank nobly captained the List for the past seven or so years -- refining the dexterous art of staying a stutter-step ahead of even the sharpest pop culturists -- so he has earned a break. Plus, he has PTSD from book leave. You should buy a copy of "Tinsel: A Search for America's Christmas Present." Your tree's still up, so why not squeeze in one more xmas treat?

Monica Hesse: And yes, you're definitely more hip. Probably because you've been schooled on Hank's lists.


Washington, D.C.: Was Dmitri Martin ever really 'in'? Seems like you were stretching a bit on that one.

Monica Hesse: On only that one? Thanks!

I think that Demetri Martin was in, especially when his Comedy Central show premiered last year. There was a good six months where every time you got in someone's car, they would say, "OMG, wait until you hear this, it's so funny." And then they would play Demetri Martin.

And they would literally say "OMG," because this was also around when Juno was popular.

Dan Zak: We desperately wanted a Greek-American comedian item, and these are the only two Greek-American comedians we could think of.


Lansing, Michigan: What is on for women over 60 in 2010?

Monica Hesse: Um, men under 30?


New England: Too long a list. Looses something when it goes on and on (and on and on and on....)

Dan Zak: Your comment has the smug stink of a Patriots fan. OUT: Tom Brady is God. Your reign is over.


Madrid, Spain: The only good point in your list: LATIN MASS

Dan Zak: The List: Ad majorem dei gloriam.

Monica Hesse: Dan has informed me that those are all of the Latin words he knows.


Maryland: So. Do you know which New Year's party the Sahali's crashed?

Monica Hesse: Excellent question. I've put out a call to the Reliable Source gals to see if they've heard anything.

Monica Hesse: Update: Amy says no sign of them. So if any of y'all spot them, let us know.


Rockville, MD: I have celiac disease. Some people are really happy that you included it on the list b/c good awareness, but others, including myself, are upset about a disease being on an In fad list. Celiac disease is not a trend or fad and peanut allergies are certainly not out. Perhaps it would have been better to say that gluten-free foods are in and gluten (wheat, rye, and barley) is out! Although a gluten-free diet isn't a fad either - it is the only treatment for celiac disease!

Monica Hesse: We are sorry to have offended. Mostly, we are sorry to have offended only one half of the In/Out item, as we were really hoping to tick off everyone.

Can we please have an irate peanut allergy sufferer write in now? Thank you.


Arlington, VA: OUT: In/Out lists. Yawn.

Dan Zak: This is an out/in list, not an in/out list. Go back to bed.


Salisbury, Md.: I would like to see the words, "irrelevant" and "it's complicated" banished from conversation. I would like to see sloppy clothes like baggy pants and jeans that expose the thongs and underwear be replaced by clothes that show the wearer has self-respect.

Dan Zak: Baggy clothes have been OUT for several years now. They were replaced by skinny everything: jeans, ties, and so on. But now skinny is OUT too. A happy, tailored medium is IN.

Monica Hesse: Now that "It's Complicated" has been made into a Nancy Meyers movie, that's probably almost out, too.


Reston, Va.: Hi: Great list. So...Defriend...does that mean having it done to you or doing it is in, or both?? I am the first to admit I've been defriended, and I'm stronger for it.

Monica Hesse: We were referring to the general trend of paring down on Facebook, however it happens. Own your defriending, Reston.


Kenmore, NY: Did you get any help from your friends and family, or was 100% of the list made in the newsroom?

Monica Hesse: Friends, family, random people on the street. We spent five hours in a coffee shop one day and harassed multiple baristas. This kind of ridiculousness takes a group effort.

Dan Zak: I grew up in Kenmore, NY. This is coming from a family member. They've been known to ambush my chats.

Monica Hesse: Would you like to give a shout-out to any particular family members' List contributions?

Dan Zak: My brother inspired the BACON/BACON item. He enjoys a good BLT.


Tampa, Fla.: Kanye West. . . . . OUT Taylor Swift. . . . IN

Dan Zak: An earlier draft had CRASHING ACCEPTANCES SPEECHES as OUT. We also had KANYE SCARVES/CIRCLE SCARVES, but changed that item at the last minute.

Monica Hesse: ...then noticed that we had no Kanye items, then had to add him to a poll.


Washington, DC: Please tell me leggings aren't really out. They are the best thing ever.

Monica Hesse: I'm guessing that for the near future, you will still see more instances of leggings on the bodies of non-celebrities than you will see instances of pantslessness.

Dan Zak: Just wait, though. Casual Friday in 2010: Blazer, no pants.


Fort Valley, Va.: Out: The economic recovery is on track. In: The economy is off the rails.

Out: The future looks bright. In: The future looms.

Out: Pegged to the dollar. In: Unhinged from the dollar.

Out: Free market. In: Auction prices.

Monica Hesse: Well, I personally feel cheery now.

Dan Zak: Eh, this feels a little too last year. Bleak panic is OUT. What's IN is sweet surrender.


Wash DC: Is it the end of the decade?

Dan Zak: Here we go.

This argument is so tiresome, and it clogs many a comment section and e-mail inbox. There is a correct answer to this question: Yes, the decade ended at midnight Jan. 1. Most of the world measures the collective decade this way, and a decade is only defined as 10 consecutive years. We, as a people, have chosen to measure our decades like this for aesthetic reasons (the new millennium shouldn't start in 2000? C'mon). And yes, WE KNOW THERE WAS NO YEAR ZERO. But 2000 to 2009 is still 10 years and, hence, still a decade. Let's move on.


Rockville, Md.: In my family, we've been fans of The List for as long as I can remember...... I remember when I was little my sister reading it out loud at breakfast one New Year's morning years ago and everyone in my family arguing and laughing about it. This was maybe around 1985? How long has The Post done the in/out list? How do you decide who gets to do it? How long does it take to put together?

Monica Hesse: The first one was from 1978 or thereabouts, created by the indomitable Nina Hyde. In the 1990s, it bounced around to various folk (Marc Fisher, Robin Givhan), before landing with Hank almost a decade ago. He bequeathed it to Dan and me because a) Book tour--see above--and b) He hates us.

We started gathering string -- sending out emails, flipping through magazines -- in the middle of November, then spent the last week of the year breathing The List.


Ashburn, Va.: I second that Latin Mass is In. Pretty shocked to find it on your list, though.

Monica Hesse: Because? We don't judge. We just observe.

Dan Zak: Res ipsa loquitur.


Monica Hesse: Dan = lying. He clearly knows more than one Latin phrase.


Reston, Va.: Why steer clear of "newspapers" out, "twitter" in. Or, print journalism "fatalism" out, re-purposed "content delivery" in. I already asked Monica and she says all of the SM stuff is passe.

Monica Hesse: Now, now. I didn't say it was "passe," I said that it wasn't new. Twitter was founded in 2006, and began going gangbusters in 2008. It's already commonplace, and thus had no place on a preview list for what would be newly in for 2010.


Washington, DC: In: Yemen Out: Iraq

In: Water Out: Oil

In: having a voice Out: having a choice

In: Gilbert Arenas Out: Tiger Woods

In: full body scanners Out: shoe removal

Dan Zak: Yes, the Yemen is very IN now. Y'all should catch up with our colleague Sudarsan Raghavan's recent stories from Yemen (but not til we're done chatting!).


banished from conversation: E!E!O!O!: please banish it!

Monica Hesse: We give up. You have mentioned something either so Out or so In that neither Dan nor I have ever heard of it. And believe me, we Googled. Enlighten, please?


Centreville, Va.: Crocs? Stupid little ornaments for Crocs? Maybe answered my own Q.

Monica Hesse: Crocs were on our "Good Riddance" list for the entire decade. It pained us to mention them at all.


Centreville, VA: If "Glee" is in then why is "Journey" out. On my XM sat radio, Steve Perry is getting tons of airplay

Dan Zak: I'd argue that GLEE is OUT. GLEEKS are IN though, and so is JANE LYNCH. But the show? Trainwreck (c'mon hate mail!). And the fact that Journey is getting tons of airplay means it's OUT (for a while, you couldn't stumble down 18th Street in Adams Morgan without hearing a clot of drunk maniacs screaming to "Don't Stop Believing"). Although Steve Perry's "Oh Sherrie" will never, ever be OUT.

Monica Hesse: The state of Glee's In-ness or Out-ness got more discussion than just about every other item on the list.


Centreville, Va.: Starbucks?

Monica Hesse: Are you buying?


Astoria, N.Y.: I love "Modern Family."

Dan Zak: It's impossible not to. If any of you haven't seen it, get thyselves to Hulu.


"irate peanut allergy sufferer" here: Yeah, I'm a little tired of these fake peanut allergies ruining the snack tables at various functions. Chex mix without peanuts is really just cereal and pretzels...good with milk, mediocre with beer.

Monica Hesse: Oooh, fighting words.


Astoria, N.Y.: After you went to press, did you have a "doh!" moment, having forgotten to include a real humdinger?

Monica Hesse: None that stick out, but we did lose one of our favorites at the very last minute. We'd had: OUT Julia and Julia/IN Taylor and Taylor.

Then on New Year's Eve, Taylors Swift and Lautner broke up. Damn you, Taylors.

Dan Zak: We were also forced to change our first item at the last minute. Damn you, editors!


Rockville, Md.: No offense - but I never felt like a loser if some of Hank's items made no sense to me. Yours however - a little. Make them more obscure next year. I'll feel better.

Dan Zak: Agreed. We're going to show our editor this one.

Monica Hesse: Yup. We tried. But when Dan and I were laughing hysterically over something that no one else got, well, we kinda assumed we were the insane ones.


Rockville, Md.: Is every mention real? I must be very out as I know only 1/3 of the list.

Dan Zak: I love this question. Yes, every mention is based in reality. The List likes to be educational. It's supposed to make you run to Google. If everyone knew what we were talking about, our List would be pointless.

Monica Hesse: The List is a demanding master.


Please tell me leggings aren't really out. They are the best thing ever.: In answer to this, I quote the late great Ogden Nash:

Sure, deck your lower limbs in pants. Yours are the limbs, my sweeting. You look divine as you advance, Have you seen yourself retreating?

Leggings are a privilege, not a right, as someone once said about spandex.

Dan Zak: Parsley is gharsley.


Los Angeles, Ca.: Out: Cell phones

IN: Land phones

Dan Zak: As long as they aren't hamburger phones.


More Latin for Mass: Ad deum qui laetificat juventutem meam.

That's the first altar boy response in the latin mass after the priest says "Introibo ad altare dei".

I still remember that after almost fifty years.

Monica Hesse: Dan, take notes.

Dan Zak: Ad hominem?


Bethesda, Md.: Question Jay Leno on the "Good Riddance" list, since as NBC reminds us ad nauseum, he's now on in prime time at 10.

Thanks for the Web version with explanatory links to hopelessly obscure pop-culture referents (including "Panorama", which appears to be something only known in San Francisco) -- and it's good practice for The List's authors to master HTML, since dead-tree newspapers are likely to be OUT in 2010 (hope I'm wrong).

washingtonpost.com: The List - What's In and Out for 2010

Dan Zak: The fact that the prince of darkness is on in primetime (and garnering poor ratings) is evidence that he is OUT.

We List authors can hyperlink like no one's business.

Monica Hesse: Paradox of List-making: Often when things seem to be the most "In," it's a sure sign that they're really "Out," or soon to be.


Enlighten, please? : "EEOO" is what Rachel Ray squaks (so out) whereas Melissa d'Arabian (in) would plesantly recommend olive oil.

Monica Hesse: Wait, isn't that EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil), not EEOO, which sounds suspiciously like a broken verson of Old McDonald?

Dan Zak: Martha Stewart says Rachael Ray is OUT, so she's OUT.


Centerville, Va.: Emily Blunt? My wife cried to see that she was "out" but reluctantly agreed. Our fave movie of 2009 is "Sunshine Cleaning." Saw the premiere in Boulder and the screening with scriptwriter from Richmond at the DC Shorts and film fest here.

Monica Hesse: Have you seen An Education? Rosamund Pike is really yummy.

And Emily Blunt's out status should not preclude your wife from lurving her. I do.

Dan Zak: "Sunshine Cleaning" was bad, man.


Out: What's In: In: Paradoxes

Dan Zak: This may be the closest a List item has ever come to creating a black hole.

Monica Hesse: Aren't black holes out?


Speaking of princesses: My wife and I were trying to come up with the next Disney Princess. I suggested Eskimo, she suggested Hispanic. Isn't Jasmine Hispanic?

Monica Hesse: Jasmine is Middle Eastern. Duh.

Next up...two princesses?


Spring Hill, Fla.: WHEN will you declare ALL flip-flops (rubber shower sandals) as OUT! OUT! OUT!! Every 50-year-old fat person with a dieing grip on their supposed youth are wearing the things to nice restaurants, parties, etc. Yes, yes! I know we ARE in Floorida.

Monica Hesse: Flip Flops worn to anything other than the beach or the park have never been in and thus can never be out. But your righteous indignation is noted, and approved.


Arlington, Va.: Speaking of Crocs, did you see Mario Batalli wearing his ugly tangerine ones (with just-as-ugly matching socks) to the White House on the (too-long) special Iron Chef last night?

Dan Zak: Crocs somehow made there way here from an alternate universe where up is down and right is wrong.

Monica Hesse: Note: "ugly" is a superfluous adjective in this instance.


Arlington, Va.: Is "The Princess and the Frog" really "in"? I watched it a few days ago, and Disney must be really glad that Pixar's going to save their animation department's bacon.

Monica Hesse: It was in enough at DC theaters this week. Sold out at all three movie theaters I visited over the long weekend.

Dan Zak: And the merch is moving. One of our editors couldn't even find princess bedsheets for his kid.


Dumfries, Va.: Don't you think it was hypocritical for WaPo to criticize Kathy Griffin's comment New Year's Eve when the What's In/What's Out referenced "Slutty Strawberry Shortcake" and "Slutty Rainbow Brite"? The Washington Post hit a new low with that.

Monica Hesse: But have you even seen the re-imaginings of Strawberry Shortcake and Rainbow Brite? Like Dora the Explorer and the Sunmaid Raisin gal, they've gone from being pudgy, cute kid dolls to...sorta slutty teens. Google "Rainbow Brite new look" for evidence.

Dan Zak: "The Washington Post hit a new low"? Give me a break. Also, where did the WaPo criticize Kathy Griffin? Furthermore, in Kathy's defense, she said absolutely nothing vulgar. Watch the clip. OUT: Puritanical overreactions.

Monica Hesse: Oh, snap. OUT: saying "Oh, snap." I shame myself.


Springfield, Va.: I know that this shows painful ignorance of a significant cultural touchstone, but what is the slutty Rainbow Brite/slutty Strawberry Shortcake reference?

Monica Hesse: See kerfuffle above.


New York, NY: Can I bribe you to be "IN" next year? It may help my struggling career.

Dan Zak: Please send a headshot and resume.


Arctic Circle, DC: Slutty Rainbow Brite: Thank you for helping me pick out my Halloween costume 4 days into the New Year.

Monica Hesse: See? We do it for the kids.


Washington, DC: OMG! (thanks, Juno). I am just catching up with the chat now and want to say Amen to your 'a-decade-is-10-years' defense. I've been saying that since 2000, but you put it way more eloquently than I ever could. Enough with the I'm-so-smart-because-I-know-there-was-no-year-zero people!

Um, are hyphenated phrases used as adjectives in or out?

Dan Zak: Those are IN, simply because I like to use them. Em dashes also remain IN - for the same reason.

Monica Hesse: Similarly: colons. Way in.


Really out: Can we just declare all the 'Real Housewives' series out?

Dan Zak: The Real Housewives of New Jersey were the closest thing to IN, but even they were blown out of the water by The Jersey Shore. Does anyone from NJ want to defend their homeland?

Monica Hesse: I still watch New York, and I don't care what any of you say.


Out: Respiration: In: Tattoos reminding you to breathe.

Monica Hesse: Strike that, reverse it, and you're good.


Out Item: Lists. We're old enough to decide what's in and out for ourselves, thanks.

Dan Zak: OUT: Taking the time to comment on something you think is OUT.


Rockville: Flip flops?

Ought to go to Vietnam or other countries in the area. They love them or their own variations.

And I love gluten.


Dan Zak: Gluten is delish.

Monica Hesse: But do either of you have Celiac Disease?


to the celiac--: Treating a disease isn't out and never is. Pretending that eating wheat gluten is bad for you when you're not a celiac disease sufferer is. Big difference.

Monica Hesse: Yes. The "I'm allergic but really I just mean I don't like it" stance is way lame.


Richardville, Colo.: What In/Out items are on your personal lists that don't have mass appeal and didn't make the Post list?

Dan Zak: I liked PUNDITS/ORACLES, and "FAIL"/"NO HOMO," until we were informed by a hipper colleague that "NO HOMO" was IN years ago.

Monica Hesse: I liked SCIENTOLOGY/DAHN YOGA and a bunch of Twilight-related stuff that I was wisely forbidden from including.


Dan Zak: Okay enough. Got further thoughts or story ideas? E-mail us. I'm at zakd@washpost.com, Monica's at hessem@washpost.com. And though it feels OUT to say it: I also do the Twitter thing @MrDanZak, if you're into that.

Monica Hesse: Happy New Year, all, and thanks for stopping by.


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