The List: What's in and what's out in 2011

Jan 03, 2011

Washington Post writers Dan Zak and Monica Hesse will be online Monday, Jan. 3 at 1 p.m. ET to discuss The List, Style's guide to what's in and what's out in 2011. They welcome your questions, additions and passionate dissent.

Welcome to the live chat for the 2011 In/Out List. We're typing to you from 30 Rock (the cafeteria underneath, at least), having recently escaped the pancaked/mancaked clutches of Hoda and Kathie Lee, who invited us on the Today show to chat about The List (4th Hour of the Today Show: IN!) Hope you all had a pleasant New Year. We are now ready to accept your criticism and abuse. Let us proceed.

I am officially old at 36 because I had no idea what more than half of the items on both the in and out lists were! Depressing! Particularly since I remember poring over the list as a teenager and understanding ....

Sigh not. The List is meant to be instructive and prescriptive -- a mental workout for even the pop cultury-ist of brains. If you didn't learn something from it, what would be the point of reading?

Besides, we had no idea what half the items were and we wrote the thing.


I've been sofalising my whole life. Finally, I'm in!

Have you graduated to the bedpan phase yet?

DDP will never be out! NEVER! especially not to be replace with some cloying cherry-like product. Anecdotally, I see more people drinking DDP than almost all other soft drinks combined, in the haunts i frequent.

Look, this was my item, and as a former DDP acolyte, I understand how much it sounds like crazytalking.

But have you tried Cherry Coke Zero? I promise you, it is the next cult-building diet soda that people will grumble about vending machines not stocking enough of.

Cardigans, in or out for 2011?

I'm going to say IN, since I like to wear them. The bigger and rufflier the collar, the better.

I support old man wear and retro librarian wear all of the time. And cardigans are the perfect intersection between the two. They cannot be more In.

Good afternoon! As a resident of Congress Heights, I'm curious as to why it is considered "in" at this turn of the decade ... many thanks!

You need only click on the Congress Heights hyperlink on the List to see a blog devoted to chronicling the rise and whys of the neighborhood, which is one of the few lively AND affordable parts of the city. I have friends and acquaintances who are buying their first homes there. Of course, this = gentrification, so maybe it's not all such a good thing.

Plus, we're just sick of hearing about H Street.

How can there be so many things that are "out" that I've never even heard of? I'm pretty young and kind of hip, and I read the Post every day. Seriously--when were these things in?

We try to have a blend of accessible pop culture items, and random niche items that will mostly appeal to hardcore fans. Example: our classical music critic, Ann Midgette, was the one who recommended the two opera couples and Out and In. One couple had recently divorced; the other was having an adorable baby. Dan and I aren't personally up on the opera scene, but we liked having a shout-out to those who follow that sort of thing.

And if you're flummoxed about a particular item, let us know and we will expound with vigor.

What's the cut-off age on the skinny jeans... Please say 18.

I think there's a cut-off thigh size, not a cut-off age. I'm a relatively skinny guy, and my thighs are still too big for skinny jeans.

I only wear them when I feel that my ego needs a good humiliation.

Where can I find the list?

You can find it right here!

When will skinny jeans die (again)? Are they a flash in the pan or do they really have staying power?

We didn't even put them on the List because we did not feel their bad behavior warranted any more attention. And yet, that's all y'all want to talk about.

Do we think jeans will ever be out? Jorts were all the rage these past couple years. It feels like denim will live forever, in one form or fashion.

So nice to see you, Monica, in a context other than your Web chat. It's like meeting the prim girl from school in a nightclub. (I promise not to flex my biceps for you or do pushups in front of you on the dancefloor.)

I would still wear a dinosaur sweatshirt to a night club.

IN: Donovan Mcabb OUT: Donovan McNabb

That sounds about right.

Q: How do you tell a Hippie from a Hipster? A: Hippies smell like patrouli while Hipsters smell like a false sense of accomplishment.

This is accurate.

Accurate except for the fact that it is spelled "patchouli." Everything else is correct.

Will Dubstep gain popularity in 2011?

This is a question for our pop music critic, Chris Richards. Chris, are you out there? Tell us about the future of dubstep.

In: Outsiders, Luddism, Brave New World. Out: Insiders, Technology, 1984. P.S. Has Dan Zak had his head expanded (a la Kananga in Live and Let Die) or has Monica Hesse had hers shrunk (a la Beetlejuice in Beetle Juice)?

Oh, my head is exceptionally small. But my shoes are so pretty! Did you see them?

And my head is exceptionally big. It looks even bigger in photographs. I can't wear hats. Literally. Plus, my hair is grotesquely long and misshapen right now.

I'm saddened by the many comments here complaining about how the post's list is too obscure or has too many things on it that people have never heard of. To them, that makes it terrible but I think that makes it better. Such rage -- is this just people afraid that the list makes them feel old? (it makes me feel old, but it also stirs my curiosity. isn't that what it's supposed to do?) Or is it because so many of the comments on the post web site are just outraged in general?

Last year, we had people tell us it was too easy. A gal can't get a break.

I do think it's interesting that people's gut reaction, when they don't understand something, to say "That's stupid."

People, if you don't understand something, we have placed easily clickable links to take you to sites that will explain everything in wondrous detail! Le sigh.

People just like to be angry. They need to take a breath and realize that it's just a List. And that they're wrong if they disagree with us.

I assume meat is out. What in? Dessert? Would Palin approve?

Sarah Palin is making a giant S'more for the whole country.

I guess I need to add myself to the "out" list since I didn't recognize or understand about 90% of your lists.

You're not alone. The List is deliberately opaque. Also, what use would the List be if you knew everything on it? Don'tcha wanna learn something about trivial things?

I do, Dan. I do.

Finally the cult following of Joel McHale has been lauded on your list. My brother and I love "Talk Soup" and I'm getting him into watching "Community". Are there any other "in" comedy?

Community was really terrible at first, but then I checked back in a couple months ago and it's become this dadaist pseudo-masterpiece about the Herculean struggle to get through a weekday.

I think "Raising Hope" is surprisingly endearing, in terms of comedies that premiered this fall. Different kind of funny than "Community," though. More of a "drunk mom" kind of funny. But better, since the drunk mom is played by Martha Plimpton.

I saw a lot of kids with mohawks last summer. Are they in/out/never in/never out?

The mohawk trend shall rise and fall with Puck's changing hair on "Glee."

Except we're pretty sure that "Glee" is Out.

Please tell me that unemployment is out and jobs are in...

Last year funemployment was out. I think funemployment has gotten less fun since Jan. 1, 2010. And the only person who can tell us if jobs are in are Obama and Boehner (Oboehner? Boehama?).

Out: publishing The List on on December 30. In: honoring The List's divinely-ordained place on Style page 1 1/1.

Oddly, one of the things we learned when retyping 30 years worth of List archives (Yes we did. Retype them by hand. Please go look through them) is that The List has not always landed on January 1. Back in the 1970s and 1980s, it could fall any time in the last week of December. Sacrilege!

Unless your home life is a tad askew, no one was holding a gun to your head and demanding that you read the List online. But please do look through the archives (which are in a drop-down menu on the main List page). It's tremendously amusing. From the 1978 List: OUT: Farrah Fawcett curls. IN: Princess Leia coils.

Out: Obama wasting time on a Hawaii vacation. In: Obama getting needed rest on a Hawaii vacation.

Even more in: sending us on a Hawaiian vacation. I'm pushing for a Live from Honolulu version of the List next year.

In order for us to do the live chat from Hawaii next year, you should all buy a print subscription.

It seems that baldness went out with the passing of Yul Brynner. Is there any chance that us cool bald guys will be back "in" this year?

As long as White House chef Sam Kass is in town, baldness will be in. Behold.

Wow, those ballerinas kicked zombies out of being in. That must have been some interesting battle.

In the past five years, with the vampires/werewolves/zombies rigamarole, we have officially exhausted every supernatural being in existence. And with "Black Swan," we have finally realized that there is nothing scarier than a starving girl who needs a sandwich and could pirhouette you to death with her sinewy legs.

We'll never look at a hangnail the same way again.

Glad to see NKOTB on the list, but would they be "out" if BSB wasn't attached to the end?

I think both groups need each other to be in. We love the acronym NKOTBSB. They're touring this year. (I may or may not have danced to "I Want It That Way" when 2011 was only minutes old.)

That, Dan, is because you have The Right Stuff.

Not that I wouldn't be happy to see Betty White spend some time away from the limelight(and I was a fan back to the Password days), but what has Ann Meara recently done that suggests shes "IN" this year ?

Have you seen her YouTube series with husband Jerry Stiller?

She will out-sass Betty White, any time, any place.

Are "In and Out" lists still in?

Through the years, "lists" have routintely be labeled OUT by this very List. Troll the archives and you'll see that the List has always been both monstrously self-conscious AND winningly headstrong.

It's very meta that way, meta being a term that is definitely Out.

Are Dandies Out or In?

Conspicuous dandyism -- which may be a redundant phrase -- is OUT. And annoying as heck. Natural, organic dandyism is actually just called "class." Or "grace."

And yes, tweed riders. You are out. One ride was enough.

Out: Bipartisanship In: Political Corruption Investigations

As evidenced by one of our items, we want censures to be OUT. The real way to teach a lesson to a corrupt Congressman is to spank him in the middle of the chamber. Swift, embarrassing, stinging. Unlike censures, which are ponderous and ineffectual.

What were your favorite additions that were submitted over readers during the last few days?

I was a fan of Out: Natalie Portman In: Olivia Wilde, mostly becuase we'd considered a similar item.

All of the reader-submitted suggestions can be found here.

I like all of the submissions that reference right-wingers, left-wingers and Jesus Christ. There's a segment of the WaPo reader population who will use ANY forum as a stage to air their socio-religio-political grievances.

"Monica Hesse : People, if you don't understand something, we have placed easily clickable links to take you to sites that will explain everything in wondrous detail! Le sigh." Unfortunately my paper copy of the Post doesn't come with hyperlinks.

Are you live-chatting with us via your print copy? If not, then you are on a computer. If you are on a computer, you have access to our hyperlinks.

Right. The people who have no Internet access take the time to call us up and tell us we are stupid over the phone. Which we appreciate infinitely more.

OK, just so I am clear: Vanilla Ice is still "out", right?

The answer to that depends entirely on how surreal you found his home renovation reality show to be. I personally feel it worked on many levels.

I hate to be all McHale-ier than thou, but I reject the previous poster who claims to be all about all things tall and lanky but doesn't even know the show hasn't been called "Talk Soup" since it was relaunched with McHale. So. As an atheist follower of McHale and watcher of The Guild, am I dangerously close to being hip all of a sudden?

Yes. If you get much hipper, you will have to be Out, since that's the way these things work.

Shaving your head so that you have no hair is not the same as Baldness. (If you don't get that check out Curb Your Enthuisiasm).

Google image Sam Kass. In some photos, you will clearly see head stubble, and you will clearly see male-pattern baldness.

This is why I firmly believe men should just start shaving their heads in their late 30s. Just go ahead and beat nature.

Women, too.

Thanks for including that. I now understand what Lady Gagas shoes reminded me of.

They're ridiculous. Even for Gaga.

Are outies in or out? Is outing still in?

In the span of nine words you're asking us about both belly buttons and public homosexuality?

Or maybe just the bellybuttons of gay celebrities.

Hi Dan and Cupcake - I thought the list was great! Having, you know, been at the office during the 4th hour of Today, some of us missed it. Can you give us a link?

The link is  here.

Dan is the pretty one. I am the one, as we have already established, with the great shoes and the tiny head. Hoda and Kathie Lee are the ones who appear to be completely sauced.

I hate being on television. We're on our best behavior here. The Post's PR person had to coach me to be nice and inoffensive. Our item about the 4th hour of the "Today" show isn't exactly intended as flattery. (Speaking of which, did that item make sense to anyone? Theories? Questions about it?)

I was so glad to have graduated to reading the list on-line instead of trying to figure out the meanings from the printed version - thank you hyperlinks! Of course, I was too lazy to Google anything that wasn't hyperlinked. Please explain "Brobdingnagian".

Oh, fine.

"Epic" is a lazy and overused term to describe anything amazingly brilliant.

"Brobdingnagian" is a term coined by Jonathan Swift to mean, essentially, "Epic," except it's a word that actually sounds epic and important.

Let's bring it back. Help us.

In: Belly buttons


Not sure I would describe these as trivial, pop-cultural events. One might as well say that dying in a gas chamber is "out" and dying face down in the mud is "in." Can you explain their inclusion on the list?

The centennial anniversary of World War I is coming up, and we're expecting we'll soon start to see a rash of great movies and books celebrating the silent generation. We are excited.

My problem with "Community" is that it is opposite "Big Bang Theroy." Is a comedy about nerdy Physics professors and a waitress in or or out?

I've watched snippets of "Big Bang" in passing. It feels like a slightly more verbose "Two and a Half Men." I'd rather someone punch me in the face than force me to watch shows like that.

Where was Bieber on the list? I'm not sure I can take another year of him being "in"?

I am slightly now ashamed that we called Bieber IN on the 2010 List, but he kind of was. He is most definitely OUT now, though. Him and his lesbian haircut.

"Justin Bieber is a girl" jokes are also out, though. It's just too fish and barrel.

Is there any chance that Kent Tekulve will be writing for the style section in 2011? I hear he's the best!

You've stumped us. Is this supposed to be funny?

Do we need to call you "Sweetie Pie" now in order to be "in"?

I will still answer to Cupcake. Mostly because I do not want to go by "Whoopie." There is only one woman alive who can make that work.

I'm waiting for Elaine May to be "in" again (with or without Mike Nichols)!

Ooh, Elaine May! Where is she? She was great in Small Time Crooks, like, a decade ago. Someone find her.

Out: Confused Dweebs who complain how obscure the List is. Also Out: Moralizing Dunderheads who criticize the Confused Dweebs for complaining.

Is anyone In in your world?

Well, when I read your "list" it was in the paper paper. At this point I can't be bothered to follow your links. It is old news now.

This is true.

We are so, so sorry.

No, I get it. Guys start going bald and then shave their heads as a fashion choice. Again, watch Larry David declaim against those who shave their heads.

Okay fine you win.

What do you think?

Hoda? Kathie Lee? Is that you?

This man looks nothing like  Dan.

Ohmygod I get that ALL the time. Non and William H. Macy.

Kent "Teke" Tekulve was only one of the greatest relief pitchers EVER! He's now involved with the Washington (PA) Wild minor league baseball team. And he's a really great guy!

Please welcome our special chat guest, Ken Tekulve's agent.

In: Being yourself. Out: Listening to people tell you what's cool.

Oh, I support this sentiment, despite the fact that it is a dig at The List. We see what you're doing there.

So you are wasting your time telling us that we're wasting your time. What a splendid life decision.

Holy cow - Hoda and Kathie Lee really DO seem sauced! They hardly let you guys get a word in edgewise. Is that what that hour is always like? Yikes.

In person, they were sparkly and lovely, and we left the set feeling vaguely disoriented and confused about what had just happened. Then we ate a giant cookie.

They kiss-hello. They do not kiss-goodbye.

How about "The Dougie" ? Some people I know (who can't really do it) are all about it. Or, is there another dance craze that I'm not aware of?

The Dougie is something that needs to be taught. As soon as you learn it, though, it's OUT.

A.Monica Hesse : The centennial anniversary of World War I is coming up, and we're expecting we'll soon start to see a rash of great movies and books celebrating the silent generation. We are excited. – January 3, 2011 1:44 PM _____________ I think you mean the Lost Generation. The Silent Generation was WWII and Korea.

Oy, mistype! The cookie is addling my brain. Thanks.

Dan writes about snow and diners? Are you kidding me? That's news?

That's literally all I write about. Snow and diners. That's it. Someone has to!

Okay, so we know that they're Out -- is the reason that they're not on The List becasue you couldn't find a counter-point "In" to balance their out-ness?

They were just too Out to be Out, since most of their hullabaloo happened at the beginning of 2010. We try to look at what's peaking right now and forecast for the future, rather than including stuff that's already been dragged through the mud on an Indian sari.

Speaking of baldness what's happened to Paul Farhi's chat? And why does WAPO-DOT-COM keep cancelling all the good ones (yours excepted, Monica)?

Hi Paul!

Also, let it be known that Dan does not only write about snow and diners. I know this because I have personally co-bylines stories about Jesus statues struck by lightning and wacky North Korean dictators with him.

Therefore, we have all of your news needs covered.

Will the Post acknowledge that in the House of Representatives regard for the concept of limited government is "IN," and overnight-pressured legislation is "OUT"? Julian Tepper Placitas, NM

Government ain't never gonna be limited. It's the government! It does what it wants.

This is weird. We keep composing that the Salahis are "out" but when we go to print, their names wind up over in the "in" section.


And with that, we're off. Thanks for chatting. We love you. Please continue to browse the List archives, submit your own items, comment, and so on -- year round -- at If you tumbl, please find me and Monica at the Style tumblr. If you twitter, follow us at @MonicaHesse and @MrDanZak. And Monica chats every Wednesday at 2 p.m. Sayonara.

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. He writes about snow. And diners. And the endearing wobbliness of the country.
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