Created By: Surenity on May 28, 2012 Last Edited By: Surenity on November 13, 2013

Contemporary Myopia List

In many Greatest X's of All Time lists, current works dominate older ones.

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So someone's putting together a "Top 100 of All Time" list (be it movies, songs, TV shows, etc.) But what's this? Seven out of the top ten are from the last five years? Will they even be on the list at all ten years from now? What about the Trope Makers and Trope Codifiers dwelling down at #50?

This is when the organizers of a "best of" list tend to favor current examples over classics. This may even be more likely to happen to a list formed by people's votes, as people will generally vote for whatever is freshest in their minds. Granted, a current example might just be that good, it may have earned it's place on the list. But there's a danger that the choice may have been made because of it's current popularity rather than it's quality or timelessness. It is difficult to asses just how seminal a work will be on a genre until enough years go by.

Occasionally the opposite bias may happen as well, where a list might be skewed toward only classics, ignoring newer works which may be just as good or better.

Compare and contrast Older Is Better.

Should We Have This?? I know there's a danger that it will attract complaining, but I think it's a real phenomenon.



  • While perhaps not contemporary by everyone's standards, it is rather telling that the glut of the entries on Rolling Stone Magazine's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, around 40%, are from the 1960's, with nearly 30% from the 1970's. The 1940's and 50's received less than 15% combined, and it didn't go any earlier than that, while the subsequent three decades received what was left, suggesting the writers were probably of the Baby Boomer generation.

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Community Feedback Replies: 13
  • May 29, 2012
    I agree that it's a real phenomenon. It's a kind of bias that's really hard to get rid of. (I think the opposite is also true, though, where an older person writing a "best of" list will overlook contemporary work in favour of the classics, implying that modern work can't be good just because it's modern. Perhaps "Generational Myopia"?
  • May 29, 2012
    Maybe we could include that as well, when the opposite bias happens. We could list them separately when we include examples.
  • May 29, 2012
    Could be an interesting trope, yup. With some more work I think it's good to go.
  • May 29, 2012
    Related and contrast Older Is Better?

    By the way, it seems that there is no Newer Is Better. I wonder why.
  • May 29, 2012
    It seems tropeable to me. As to complaining, would it be effective to include a note not to whine while adding examples?
  • May 29, 2012
    ignore this comment
  • May 29, 2012
    The BBC and NPR both have "best" lists, sometimes from some kind of experts and sometimes voted on by their listeners, that, if my memory holds, tend to skew noticeably in era, one way or the other. NPR listener voted on lists skew old, as one would expect given their demographic.

    I'd say this is a related trope to snubs and skews on such lists against particular genres or sometimes just based on best seller status (it's popular so it sucks).
  • May 31, 2012
    Puella Magi Madoka Magica received much critical and public acclaim for being a dark, serious and mature deconstruction of its genre, having ostensibly raised the bar and set a whole new standard. Many of the people singing its praises are completely unaware that a decade earlier, Revolutionary Girl Utena did the same thing and then some, not merely deconstructing the Magical Girl genre but giving the same treatment to most everything that could be found in Shoujo Demographic shows.
  • May 31, 2012
    It happens with music as well.

    MTV and related stations sometimes do homage to performers whose careers might have begun in the 1960's, even the 1950's. But even though the group or artiste might have a significant body of music from the 1960's, this was ignored as in the opinion of MTV, VH-1, et c, there was no music prior to the introduction of videos in the late 1970's. Early film just did not cut it. I recall an MTV "tribute" to Steve Winwood that completely managed to skip over everything he'd done in the sixties with various groups, ie the Small Faces, Traffic, et c.

    The same with a critcal review of Fleetwood Mac - the producers were firmly of the opinion the band only began when those two vacuous blonde bints were brought in to front it, and all the 1960's blues stuff done by john Mc Vie and Mick Fleetwood was ignored totally.
  • May 31, 2012
    This is more specifically about lists though. Maybe someone should actually make Newer Is Better.
  • November 12, 2013
    Should we still have this trope? I could probably find more examples.
  • November 12, 2013
    As a video game Counterpart of Madoka Magica (within context of this trope. the two are completely different other than that), Spec Ops The Line YMMV page has an Older Than They Think bullet about games that deconstructed shooters before spec ops. Said entry starts with critics praising Spec Ops for deconstruction the genre despute the fact that Haze attempted it in 2008 and other games did before then.
  • November 13, 2013
    I think this is more of a Useful Notes thing than a trope, even if the tendency is very real.

    Unless we consider best-of lists to be fiction :-)