With exquisite timing, Google today released its year-end Zeitgeist report, revealing “our collective consciousness” as expressed through our searches. The list of our top-ten news searches of the year provides a delightful preview of what we can expect when those dastardly news editors finally stop filtering the news and let “us” decide what we need to know:

1. paris hilton
2. orlando bloom
3. cancer
4. podcasting
5. hurricane katrina
6. bankruptcy
7. martina hingis
8. autism
9. 2006 nfl draft
10. celebrity big brother 2006

via Rough Type

This itemization has caused many commentators some dismay. With my anthropologist’s beanie on, I find this top ten to simply represent a very concise slice about where attention is directed. This means it’s interesting for what it overtly shows and what is tacitly underneath.

The ten pieces here are at turns lurid, idealized, sad, fatalistic, personal and trivial. It doesn’t seem to me to be a very profound comment on the Zeitgeist to be dismayed at the shallowness implicit in the averaging factor of a google top ten! Although a top one thousand would be more to the point, this thin slice shows the Zeitgeist to be summarily conflicted about matters of youth, identity, fate, and mortality. Good Jungian take with a puella/puer in the top two spots.

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