The Top Ten Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Read Top Ten Lists

Ten Commandments IMG_1125

Ten Commandments (Photo credit: OZinOH)

It’s the end of the year (not the end of the world as a bored media would have you believe) and that means Christmas, New Years, and top ten lists. The latter is certainly one tradition we could all do without. Top ten lists have spread like herpes on the Internet and it’s time we put a stop to them. Here are the top ten reasons why you shouldn’t read top ten lists:

  1. They are exclusionary and elitist – By definition, some will make it on the list and others will not. The ones that do are often just current media favorites or the most popular celebrity at the time they wrote the list. It is insane to think that, for say all the actors in the world, there are only ten worthy of note. I am fairly certain that the one-hundred-thirty-seventh actor in the world is still pretty damn good.

  2. They are used by PR companies to promote their clients’ agendas – If you see a list of the top ten gifts for women and at the top of the list is chocolate, you can pretty much guarantee that this is actually an advertisement paid for by a chocolate manufacturer. I’m not being cynical. This is literally the state of journalism these days.

  3. They are used to promote the writer at expense of others – Whenever you see a “worst of” list, that is just the writer dumping on other people’s work. It is one thing to do a negative review of something if that is your regular gig, but it is a totally different thing to gather up a bunch of things you don’t like and put them in a list just to promote yourself. Unless you’re REALLY catty about it.

  4. They are often sexist – Lists like the ten sexiest celebs or the ten best bods are inherently sexist and objectify the people on them. It doesn’t matter that they are often getting publicity out of it. They are demeaning to everyone and they make regular folks like me look awful in comparison.

  5. They are just cliché trite filler – When you get down to it, it’s just some overworked writer trying to fill column space at the end of the year with a no-brain cop-out of a piece that no one will remember in two weeks anyway, so she can home and spend some quality time with her cats.

  6. They are waste of time – No two people reading the same list will agree on the content and/or ranking of any list, so they spark unwanted and unnecessary debates over useless trivia and that’s what sports is for.

  7. They are meaningless – In an age where the latest tech gadget is obsolete before you buy it, a list of the year’s best will look quaint and dated if it has anything older than three months on it.

  8. They often judge and rank things which are highly subjective – Who is to say this was good and that wasn’t. I can’t count the number of times I have seen something reviewed as terrible turn out to be passable or even great, or vice versa.

  9. They are just someone’s opinion – Like figure skating, it’s all up to the judges. Nowadays, that could be anyone from a seasoned professional journalist to some twelve-year-old with a grudge.

  10. I am not on any of them.

Also, I have not had any caffeine for four days, and I may be hallucinating.

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4 comments on “The Top Ten Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Read Top Ten Lists
  1. wwfd301 says:

    I appreciate the pingback. Although I am still trying to figure out if you are slamming me for making a top ten list. But since you made a top ten list of why one shouldn’t make a top ten list, I am thinking that you were not putting me down. After all, I passive-aggressively wrote my list of passive-aggressives! I like your list and I do love a good top ten list as well. =) Have a great holiday!!

  2. indytony says:

    I was trained as a pastor, so instead of top ten lists, we were taught to compose “3 points and a poem,” so my comment is this -

    1) You use good grammar and language that isn’t dumbed down.
    2) I agree with nearly everything you said.
    3) I’m not on any top 10 list either.

    I must say, for whatever reason
    That in this cheerful holiday season
    I’m spending my time writing comments to strangers.
    Obliviously whatsoever to any of the dangers.

    (We were never taught the poem had to be good.)

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