What is it nowadays with top ten lists? Click on any news-based site and you’ll find at least a dozen of them on the front page. I’m struggling to come up with a reason why. Why not “Top Nine” or “Top Eleven”? Are we too spoiled that we refuse to read a meager nine? Maybe we’re too attention deficit to make it through an extra nomination? More likely than not it’s just a natural occurrence in a country operating under the base 10 numeral system…
I think it might be one of those things they teach in journalism programs to help writers pump out more crap.
I can see it:
Editor: “Jones, I want material on my desk by lunch. Got it?”
Author: “But sir, it’s 11:50AM — that’s only ten minutes from now?”
Editor: “I’ve got a job to do. I don’t care what it is.”
Author: “Yes sir, consider it done sir.”
And thus, another list is born…
Ok, I’ll admit it. I’m addicted to them. Give me anything condensed to a list and I’ll read it. It’s kind of like the cliff notes version of something that I otherwise wouldn’t read. There’s a real sense of gratification in it for me personally, because I can read so many in such a short amount of time. It tricks the mind. It makes me feel like I’m being productive when I’m really not. To add, it’s a lot easier than reading a book. My thoughts on books? [CENSORED] books. Books suck. Give me a top ten list instead.
Even though I’m a slappy for anything in a bulleted format, these compact-compilations aren’t without their flaws. After all, I wouldn’t be writing if I didn’t have something to bitch about. So without further ado, let me take a minute to set down my pom-pom’s and share with you the Top Ten Reasons Why Most Top Ten Lists Suck.
10. They Always Save the Best for First
On every list, the first mention is always the entry with the most bang. Most of the time you can just skip everything else after you read it. If you’re like me, you’re already beginning to pick up on the writer’s bias at this point, and have begun formulating a smart-ass comment for the forum in your head. This rule applies to all top ten lists except for this one.
9. They Never Appeal to the Cynics
Most people get pissed off at the title and click on the article for the sole purpose of bashing the writer’s mom, or posting something about Ron Paul for President in 2012. Start calling the bastards out. Either you start posting stuff with some substance or we start bashing. Make a choice.
8. People Don’t Care About the Topics
50% of these lists are wasted on topics like “ways to find a job” or “ways to get active”. Yeah right, like anybody actually wants to work these days with all of the public assistance programs out there. As far as getting fit goes, people that want to get fit are out getting fit right now, not sitting around formulating a plan for it.
7. The “Experts” are Always Wrong
Most of the time, the list is littered with a bunch of expert opinions. Who the [CENSORED] cares about experts? Everyone’s an expert these days. I think what they actually mean when they use the word “expert” is “some guy I talked to at the urinal next to me when I was on lunch”. First they tell me I’m supposed to eat more blueberries and cheese, the next week I’m going to develop impotence because of all the cheese and blueberries I ate the week before. Make up your minds. Adding the word expert to your piece doesn’t add to your credibility, dumb ass.
6. They Discriminate
As mentioned in the beginning of the article, it’s likely that not every reader originated from a country that utilizes the base 10 number system. Being the big salad bowl that we are, or whatever other PC term they use now to describe the ethic mix, I’d say we’re being kind of insensitive. Lawyers, take notes. It’s time to make some serious changes…
5. They’re Harmful to Our Youth
After conducting a formal investigation of the matter (on Wikipedia), I’ve concluded that people stopped reading around the time that computers were invented. This is an alarming trend. People need to read more, not less (like I should talk). Consequently, the majority of people you interview could name more social networking sites than congressional members — I’m one of them.
4. They Don’t Attract Male Readers, Duh
Authors are going to have to do a better job of connecting with their male audience. Whatever happened to market research? It’s common knowledge that guys don’t go on the internet to read top ten lists, or anything else for that matter; they go online for the sole purpose of expanding their porn libraries – I am one of those too.
3. They’re Not as Effective as YouTube
As effortless as it is to blow through 10 Easy Ways to Get Rich Quick, it’s even easier to go on YouTube and watch the video version of it. Of course if you’re like me, you just end up getting side-tracked watching videos of people draining baseball-sized cysts. If you’re not hip to the jive, this is what we in the community refer to as “The Weird Part of YouTube” – don’t end up there, trust me.
2. They Employ Guerilla-Ad Tactics
Sometimes authors reel us in with a catchy title then slap us in the face with a corny video instead. You know what that means: “You can skip this ad in 9:59 minutes.” You’d have to tie me to a chair and duct tape my eyelids open to get me to sit through an online advertisement. Everyone wants to either sell me something, or change my opinion on an issue that I’ve already made up my mind about. Back off you scaly bastards. I’ll shop when I need to. I don’t need to change my mind.
1. There’s Never Enough Material to Complete the List
By the time the author gets to #1 he/she is usually out of material — really stretching it at this point. That’s the case here…today. I’m struggling mightily to at least come up with a couple of sentences to make it look halfway decent. Awfully anti-climactic, I know. I’m sorry to end on this note…
Oh well, lesson learned. Why stretch it to ten when you only got enough material for nine?
-Happy Blogging You Base-Ten-Loving Bitchers!