As you probably know, this past weekend marked the 40th anniversary for Saturday Night Live. Comedy snob or not, you have to admit this is a remarkable achievement. (Yes you do.) Forget the debate about which era was best, which was worst, and whether or not the show should even be on the air anymore. It has a lot of issues but it’s 90 minutes of original comedy, every week. That’s crazy to me. It took me over a year to write five minutes of stand up material I didn’t hate. Forget about whether the show should be that long, it’s just not an easy thing to do.
And yet Rolling Stone has deemed some guy, Rob Sheffield, capable of ranking all 141 cast members in the history of Saturday Night Live. Lists like these are subjective, stupid and, of course, meaningless. And yes, I don’t agree with the rankings. I didn’t have to get past Norm Macdonald at #135 to know I didn’t need to read the rest of them. Whoever this guy is, he’s entitled to his opinion. (He might not even be behind the actual rankings, but his name is on them.) What I really take issue with is his mean-spirited, dismissive write-ups for some of the cast members.
Every single one of these people contributed more culturally to the world in one sketch than Rob Sheffield ever will writing hot take click-bait garbage like that article. (Not to mention his rankings of the best SNL Characters ever.) This is the kind of arts “journalism” that made me quit writing criticism. It doesn’t contribute anything to the world. And neither does the guy writing it.
But in the spirit of hot takes and jumping on a cultural event to garner site traffic, I now present to you my insanely lazy, ruthlessly quick ranking of every Terrible Rolling Stone SNL Article Writers ever!
1. Rob Sheffield
I don’t know who Rob Sheffield is and neither do you. Let’s check back in with him on the 40th anniversary of his SNL article.
Remember when I challenged myself to finish a rough draft of a book by the end of this year? Well, I figured publishing progress updates would help me stick to that pledge.
So, here goes update #1:
I haven’t started it.
I will be 31-years-old this April. You would think that would mean I’ve got my life figured out. Steady job, wife, house, kids on the way, etc. While I do have a steady job and I do have a girlfriend, I don’t feel anywhere close to feeling like I’ve got my life figured out. I used to think that was a problem. And that’s pretty much only because I kept telling myself that it was a problem.
It’s taken me this long in my life to realize the biggest obstacle any person has to overcome in their life is themselves. (Obviously I’m referring to us privileged ones over here in the developed Western World.) Lest you think this is turning into a new age blog about spirituality and finding yourself and all that, I’m simply writing about it because I’ve yet to meet a single person (out of those I know well) who has mastered the art of keeping themselves out of their own business. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then you probably haven’t yet realized how you get in your own way.
Only you prevent yourself from being better at your job, admitting your job isn’t right for you, recognizing and embracing the best parts of your relationships, and from changing the way you do these things. In fact, you’re likely the cause of most of your own hang-ups and problems.
Sure, there’s alpha male types out there who “know what they want” and strive for success and money and everything we’re told will make us happy. They probably scoff at someone like me and I think I’m just a pussy who needs to get it together. But they’ll never understand where I’m coming from. They’re not self-aware enough to think that maybe they don’t have all the answers. They don’t stop to think about what they’re doing and why. They aren’t searching for the same kind of fulfillment.
The problem with being too self-aware, is that you start to over think aspect of your life until you can longer take any amount of joy out of it. Your job, your relationship, your friends, your family. Everything needs to be thought through and back again until it all feels wrong to you. By thinking too much, we stop ourselves from enjoying the living we’re supposed to be doing.
And here’s the part where I tell you the magical answer that will solve all your problems: there isn’t one. The only solution is to recognize when you’re getting in your own way. That’s really the only reason I’m writing this. It’s catharsis for me because I realized I’ve been actively trying to stop myself from changing in ways that’ll make me better. It feels good to write it down. But I’m still trying to stop myself from clicking “Publish.”