Thursday, May 14, 2015

10 Reasons to Stop Making Lists of Things and Calling Them Articles

Saint Stupid's Day Parade by: Evrik
1: It's lazy. I could expound on this idea. But since this is a list article I'm in lazy mode, so...

2: Breaking things down into little lists is awesome if, say, you're going to the grocery store, or organizing bills, but how boring it is to do to the otherwise interesting things in life. At this point (see item 1:) I could easily track down some quote about making lists and insert it here. This would flesh out the list, helping my list writing career blossom.

3: Being a smart ass about what other people do is far superior to making lists. I know some people enjoy their little lists. They must. I see the damn things all over the place. But those of us who are tired of seeing these lists, well... As for me, I'm going to make fun of you. Because it's really annoying to see so many ridiculous lists.

4: The obviously arbitrary nature of exactly how many items it takes to constitute an important list is ridiculous. It used to be, at the very least, always divisible by tens. Top 10, top 20, top 100, or something similar. But now, as the laziness has begun to completely take control, it's just wherever the writer chooses to stop on their list. In fact, the headline of this article might change shortly due to my emerging need to go buy some chicken nuggets, a 10 piece, by the way...not 6 or 7 (I don't actually eat chicken nuggets. But I'm in character I guess).

5: List writing makes you think you're really on top of things. Like, if  I write a top ten list, or, rather, let's say, since we're getting loose with our numbers, top 8 list of barbecue restaurants in Birmingham, Alabama, I seem, by virtue of even writing this list, as if somehow I am qualified to judge these things. This might be due to some erroneous comparisons drawn in our modern human brains between some of the more historically significant lists, such as the Periodic Table, or a list of American presidents, or, let's say, and the most important by far... a countdown on how many school days are left until Summer. When, probably, I took a very unscientific poll of people who already read the drivel I'm pushing. And, even more narrow, probably I get responses from my little poll from the very few people who read my stuff, and support my needs because they either know me, or have stock in my magazine, blog etc. 

6: Verifiable data is important, yet list articles are often just making shit up. Not everyone is just making shit up. But it's easy to nurse the numbers a little bit to sell something, It's an age old tradition. And usually these lists are done by someone who is either directly, or indirectly trying to sell you something. It's rare that you'll see a "Top Ten (or 7, whatever) Businesses That Poison You With Toxic Ingredients," or "Top Seven People in Our City Who Use Their Power to Manipulate Local News Outlets." Sure, you'll see a few of these. But it's usually something about home buying, happy food places, great cities, etc. You know, something seemingly benign... "Top 10 Scents for Hand Soaps." Jesus! I mean if you're the kind of person who reads an article to find out what your hands need to smell like... Actually, I bet a lot of intelligent people read articles to find out how their hands need to smell. It's probably a good way to fight certain effects of Asperger's Syndrome. So they, can read these list articles. But only them.
7: It's trivial! A lot of these articles are taking up space in papers, or on websites, in blogs, and even worse, in the minds of Americans, where other, more important information might be. Yes, I'm judging. We, Americans, all of us, have a responsibility to spread actual, important news. I understand strategy...the need for a newspaper or blog to acquire and retain readership and sponsorship. But hell, it's getting really bad. Of course, I've had a number of people who kind of dig what I'm doing offer to lend me their design talents to spruce up my old jalopy of a blog. But I don't know how to explain it to people sometimes. I...don't want to be you. I...don't want to be them. I...don't believe hero worship or your method of judging credibility has paid off so well. And doing whatever it takes to sell papers, or not piss off your advertisers makes for a greasy slide into Hell. And Hell is where you'll find numbered lists of what to eat.

8: It bolsters poor quality news outlets! Listen! I know citizen journalism and blogs have caused serious damage to an already floundering news community. That's one of the reasons I drive my jalopy of a blog. I will never try to pretend I'm a world changing journalist. If I stumble on something world changing, or work really hard and make a dent in my small part of the world, great! But I don't give a shit about making tons of people think I'm important. And, though a rare light will shine through, that's a big part of the problem with journalism today. Mainstream journalists have become far too self involved and self important. Perhaps they always have been, but they are certainly more observably so now. And people are seeing through their bullshit. What does this have to do with lists you might ask. Shit...I guess nothing. Lists are just so boring and vacuous I guess I start to spin out of control into real issues. Sorry... I'll get back to it. 

9: Top (insert number) list articles are freaking boring, cheapen the beauty of the mind, and require no in depth thought. The very nature of them is to break everything down into bite sized pieces and spoon feed targeted information to an already dumbed down society. They are the monkey throwing poop of communication. How many pieces of poop, and which pieces of poop are better. The top ten pieces of thrown monkey poop. Are you sure you want to be spoon fed now?

10: (See item 1: and just circle back around) I'm finished with this list!   


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