The 2012 In/Out List

Jan 03, 2012

Washington Post writers Dan Zak and Monica Hesse will be online Tuesday, Jan. 3 at 1 p.m. ET to discuss The List, Style's guide to what's in and what's out in 2012. They welcome your questions, additions and passionate dissent.

HAPPY NEW YEAR, BLESSED CHATTERS. The List has been rolling out for almost a week now -- on our Tumblr, on Twitter, on our Web site, in Express, on Fox 5, at the Newseum, and in print. Sick of it? No? Neither are we. It's time to air your grievances, question our tastes, predict the future and bury the past. We must leave no socio-cultural stone unturned.

Why do all the fun chats have to happen on Tuesday? My head is going to explode!

Steady! Yes, Gene Weingarten's chat is going on simultaneously. We warned him that our chatters will chatbomb his chatters. So feel free to dip into his chat, submit a question that celebrates our chat's superiority, and then come right back here!

I chat on Wednesdays, usually. Please come by tomorrow. We might not be your real family, but we will love you just the same.

I have never ever once stood in line for a midnight showing movie premiere, but am seriously considering going to opening night for the Hunger Games wearing a mockingjay pin


But the dress in the trailer better not be her Girl On Fire gown, for real.

Genius. Also Kate's uterus and Tebowing. Who came up with those?

Monica came up with Pippa's bum / Kate's uterus. She is the resident Anglophile, and covered the royal wedding. Tebowing was just in the ether, I think. Achenbach helped us craft the "Hunting the God particle" side of the item.

Also, the answer to "who came up with that" is most often, "Our sleep-deprived sub-psyches."

I was in Belfast in Northern Ireland this summer and the city was gearing up for a huge 2012 Titantic festival. The ship was actually built there and we often heard the quote "she was fine when she left here"

In the car on NPR, we heard a British company advertising a recreated Titanic voyage launching from London to New York this spring.  Someone needs to get on this. Also, perhaps one of you would like to ask Dan about his non-ironic love of James Cameron's "Titanic."

It is an epic romance whose scope and visual effects have not yet been matched. And it will be re-released in 3D in April. I'll never let go.

Did you deliberately make this year's list easier to understand? Last year's choices seemed much more obscure, but I actually understand a lot more of this years. Did all of our complaining have an effect? Why are tigers out?

You saw Charlie Sheen speak of his Tiger Blood, and yet you still ask why tigers are out? (See also: Tiger Moms, Tiger Wives).

We never purposefully make The List easier or harder. Our goal is only to make it fun. We've heard from several people this year who thought that it was more get-able this year. Maybe y'all are just learning. And, of course, one person's "easy" is going to be another person's inscrutable.

Nice job by the WP naming them the in breed for 2012. Did anyone who worked on the list ever own a Mal? They are hard headed strong willed dogs that should never be owned by first time dog owners. You should have named the brainless easy to train goldendoodle or labrdoodle as the the dog for 2012 for condo dwelling progressives n 2012 since neither are capable of any original thought

I have a Malinois. They are indeed fearsomely intelligent. She may be typing this now.

I wonder whether he was even considered for your list. I mean, it seems like he is very "in" right now.

Michael Buble is Harry Connick Jr. Lite.

The only good thing to come out of Michael Buble is Michael Buble Being Stalked by a Velociraptor.

In for 20120: Madonna at the Super Bowl singing "Hanky Panky" Out for 2011: Hany panky at Penn State and Syracuse,

We decided not to include anything about Penn State, for taste reasons. Although we were chided by some readers for our "tasteless" item "Natalee Holloway / Natalie Wood."

It's a fine line between being tasteless and just taste-questionable. We try to err on the side of taste-questionable.

How did you choose the Belgian Malinois as the "in" dog of the year? Did it have anything to do with a Malinois being part of the Navy Seal team that got Osama Bin Laden? I have two Malinois...extremely intelligent and well behaved (mine are Therapy Dogs and Agility champions)

It had everything to do with the Navy Seal Team. That, and the fact that we were generally sick of seeing pocket dogs riding around in purses wearing rhinestone collars. We're predicting a rise and resurgance of the Big Dog.

What provoked you to OUT the passions of several once and future housemates, Dan Zak?

I lost several friends over the 2012 List. One is a publicist (OUT) and one started a line of snakeskin (OUT) handbags. I also have friends who've bought in Bloomingdale (OUT) and who are unabashed wonks (OUT). I will die alone.

If Pippa's bum is out, who would want to be in? #epicfail

There's no way I can possibly answer this question the way I want to and not get fired.

Though I cannot read Dan's brain, I can say that the way he cannot answer this question is identicle to the way I cannot answer this question, in a similarly fireable way.

Are you guys the first time that The List has been co-produced? Does that make it harder or easier? How hard is it to work together?

There have been co-productions of The List in the bast, especially back in its earlier days, when it was speared by Nina Hyde. Check out all the archives, here. Having two pairs of eyes means that we can cover each other's cultural deficiencies and talk each other out of bad ideas. Sometimes we talk each other out of good ideas. Sometimes we talk each other into bad ideas. Sometimes we are our own bad idea.

We have never had a List-related fight. I did, however, have a dream last week that Dan broke into my apartment in the middle of the night, gently shook me awake, and said, "Monica, it's time to work on The List."

That's what happens when one chases Ambien with Jack Daniels.

No real comment other than, Hooray for Today's chat lineup. From Boz to Barry and Weingarten and now you two, today has been a murder's row of chats! Sadly, 2012 can only get worse from here.

It's like Fleet Street here. Remember, please pop in on Gene and tell his chatters how better it is over here.

ICONIC. EVERY PERSON, PLACE OR THING is NOT iconic. The word became the most over-used descriptor I think I've ever heard. Please stop the madness. Ack!!

I would have completely supported this Out, in the great tradition of "random," "awkward," and "epic fail" as overused cultural terms.

Our Steelers will be "hunting the God particle" this weekend!

My Buffalo Bills found that particular particle a couple weeks ago. If the Bills can find it, the Steelers can find it.

I can't understand why the internet can't be used to let the people decide what our representatives can't seem to get done in congress. 1.) A budget 2.) An oil pipeline. 3.) medical insurance 4.) what to do to handle union benefits and 4.) creating jobs 5.) getting rid of government departments that are not doing their job.

You'd trust the Internet to solve the world's big problems? The only thing the Internet can agree on is what day Caturday is.

(Caturday is every day.)

Are you seeking interns?-- no, really. Maybe I could help out with next years list.

We beg for assistance from our smartest friends every year. We then crush the dreams of said friends when they suggest items that we summarily dismiss. If you think you can handle such disappointments, then we welcome your assistance. Keep in touch by following Monica and Dan on Twitter, or through the Style Tumblr.

Dragons are IN! It is after all the year of the Dragon. Then again, I live in Asia and folks are a leeeetle attuned to these things. Also, since it's such an auspicious year to be born, expect an avalanche of little dragons to cause this hemisphere to implode.

We thought about having a Dragon item this year, both because it's the Year Of, and because "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" came out in English just now.

Alas, we had a Dragon Tattoo item -last- year. Sometimes we're too IN for our own good.

So have you ever actually eaten it?

Tastes like Quinoa.

Did you guys break Gene's and Gene's chats so we would have to talk to you instead? Will ever get discussion software that doesn't keep getting stuck?

I think the chat portal can't handle two Genes chatting at once -- especially because between the two of them they have three Pultizers, whereas between Monica and me we have three mini bundt cakes from Corner Bakery.

Another way of saying that is that between the four of us, we have three Pulitzers.

Come on! What dogs are most commonly found on death row AKA at the animal shelter? Pit bulls and Chihuahuas. Therefore both dogs should be considered the "in" dogs every year until their numbers at shelters dwindle. Hmmph.

Well, yes. But by that logic, we would have to put Lindsey Lohan in every year, too, until someone stepped in and saved that girl from herself.

Also, Emma Stone is the new Lohan, but is Emma Stone already OUT? "The Help" was a bit much...

Looking back at all the lists, I noticed that more often than not, the Washington Post has put Bruce Springsteen on as Out rather than In. I know you two didn't write all those lists, but it's something the Washington Post has to answer for!

Case in point: 1984's List. Sorry 'bout that. Monica and I were less than 2 years old at the time...

It's possible that we should consider some List rule, whereby a person that appears on the OUT side of a List more than two times is, in fact, IN. I Mean, if we keep talking about them...

Out: Higgs boson In: Bos'n hugs

We're not quite sure what this means, but okay!

I'm not even done reading it yet and it's already out?!!? I racked up all those overdue library fines for nothing :( Hopefully 1222 will be less than 1000 pages long and I can finish before it's hipness expires.

It's okay. Financially supporting your local library through fines is a very IN thing to do.

This is an In and Out that Monica Hesse supplied, and I thank her for it: In: Chunky Monkey Ice Cream. Out: Sandusky Slush (bananas, chocolate, and peanuts) Ice Cream. We Pennsylvanians will miss our Sandusky Slush (I forgot why, but they took it off the market for some reason), but thank you Ben and Jerry for coming from Vermont to rescue us.

I don't even remember doing this. Have I just been wandering into random ice cream parlors and muttering at things?

I saw you guys at the Newseum. It looks like you have fun working together. Unless you hide your hatred well.

Monica is impossible to hate. It is only possible to envy her, in an adoring way. (Awwwww...)

Our relationship is based on mutual admiration and bundt cakes.


Any IN's for 2012 that didn't make the list? Each of you must have something you fought hard for...

Off the top of my head, "Class warfare / Drone warfare" didn't make it. I'd wanted to do something about Beyonce's firstborn, but we decided against it. We also wanted to work "Homeland" into the List somehow. Also canned for various reasons: Ann Taylor / Talbot's, Sex addiction / Power addiction, QR codes / Geolocation, Mustard oil / Pumpkin seed oil, Dropbox / SugarSync, Family reunification videos / Dog reunification videos.

If either of us had fought passionately for any of those, I think the other would have conceded. It's the ones that we're meh* on that usually end up on the chopping block.

* Meh is a very OUT word.

I love Michael Fassbender, and am thrilled that he's "in" this year. But do you think he's at risk for, uh, overexposure? What are the odds he'll be "out" next year?

He's overexposed, genitally, in "Shame" of course. He's only got one movie slated to open this year, so he might dodge the bullet. P.S. I am stunned that we're not getting more noise from outraged fans of Gosling, Adele and Ovechkin. Where are you guys? Chatting with Gene & Gene?

Gene and Gene don't care about Ryan Gosling, let me tell you.

Star Trek Pizza Cutter

No, but this contraption is now very, very IN. Warp speed, pizza, into my stomach.

Out: Anthony Weiner hasn't tweeted in months. In: Come on, back, Anthony. If you behave yourself, you still have things to say.

If he behaves himself, are you really going to be paying attention to his Tweets?

I would like to hope that the automobile industry "Put an end to the UGLY CAR" in 2012

Hmm. What ugly cars do you speak of? We had a jettisoned item about cars: Pimped-out cars / Murdered-out cars.

I wonder if the chatter is speaking of the boxes-on-wheels that litter DC's neighborhoods this year. Those, and -- has anyone else noticed a preponderance of pumpkin-colered vehicles? Orange car paint. It's everywhere.

That's what my cats said.

Don't let them be the boss of you. You are the one with opposable thumbs.

Out: Beat Poetry In: Erotic Beat Poetry If you could, please write an erotic beat poem about each other. No, don't beat each other (unless you're into that), write a beat poem.


Play me like a harmonica.


Dan, please report to human resources.

Yeah, right, saying the "Titanic was fine went it left right" is like Rex Ryan saying the Jets were fine when they left New Jersey....


So, no "hanky panky" makes the list? Got it. "Just want a little spanky". In or out?

No idea what this means, so I'll take the opportunity to share that we really wished we could have a rhyming item this year, but ultimately gave up. We tried to make Putin / Gluten work for a really long time.

What's your biggest list regret? I remember seeing all the past lists on Tumblr - anything you were way off-base on?

My biggest regret on this one is calling Michael Caine OUT. That was foolish I think. As some commenters have suggested, Michael Caine will never be OUT. Although Christopher Plummer is definitely INner, so we're not entirely wrong. I have no regrets before 2010, though, because those Lists were crafted by others.

Sometimes it's hard to tell how on- or off-base we were until later in the year, when there's a little hindsight and perspective. Plenty of the goslings were upset because of our inclusion of their hero, Ryan, on the Out list. Still, I'll stand by it -- I'm willing to bet that RG mania will have simmered by August or September.

OUT: Weiner's caucus IN: The Iowa Caucus. Thoughts? I mean...not that honey badger cares, know.

I see what you're doing that.

In my mind, the Iowa Caucus couldn't be more OUT. So. Sick. Of this presidential campaign. But you should read the Post's coverage of it!

Ditto. Onto New Hampshire.

The Ravens are actually holding the God Particle.


Which flower is IN for 2012, and which is OUT?

I have tasked Ellen McCarthy, who writes our wedding column, with digging up the answer to this question. Unless you were asking because you were planning to send us some. In that case, Monica prefers tulips and Dan prefers lilac. (Dan, coincidentally, is wearing a lilac-colored sweater).  Both would prefer bundt cakes.

Addendum: Ellen says that flowers in "bright, clashing colors" are IN, and quotes Aphrodite's Wedding:

"Try grouping together corals, peaches and oranges."

I began a #List2013 for you earlybirds on Twitter, in case anyone out there cares.

Thank you.

As a funny Twitter acquaintance tweeted recently: If the Mayas could foresee the future, there'd be Mayans.

In you want to know what is in our out, It all depends on the senses in your snout. Do you puke when he hear Putin, Or do you vomit when you eat gluton.

Please reconstruct this as a limerick, or that poetic form that Gene is always using. Can someone go ask him what that is? "Dactyl" might be involved.

Higgledy piggledy

Dan Z and Monica

Have drafted a list

For what's cool and what's queer.

Tired and weary they


Now vow to not mention

The List til next year.

Dan, I am going to take this in place of your beat poem, and cancel the HR call.

I was right with the movie until she dropped the necklace overboard. You just don't do something like that. You sell it and fund an art school named after your long-lost lover.

The Jack Dawson School for Sleeping Above Your Class.

Okay enough. Thanks for chatting, kids. Remember to peruse the List archives, follow our Tumblr, read Arts Post, and subscribe to the print edition. We're also hosting a Tumblr meetup tonight. So come caucus with us, not with Iowa. God bless America.

In This Chat
Monica Hesse
Monica Hesse is a staff writer for the Post Style section. She frequently writes about culture, the Web and the intersection of the two.

Read the The Web Hostess Archive .
Dan Zak
Dan Zak is a reporter for the Style section.
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