Tom's Take: 8 Reasons Why Lists Are Listless
Illustration by David Norby © Style Media Group
Hey, Internet list-makers. Enough! Every time I log on, there’s a link to another list: “26 Underrated Shows You Aren’t Watching Right Now”…“15 Struggles of Being Clueless in the Kitchen”…“23 Times André 3000’s Style Was ‘Swoon Worthy.”
Please, will you just stop…please?
I’ll give you eight reasons why.
8 / We know what you’re doing. Making a list is just a blatant attempt to get people to click on your website. Clicks add up, and the more you get, the more you can charge Ad Choices to post some stupid pop-up like, “1 Weird Trick to Powering Your Home on Belly Fat.”
7/Lists say more about their writers than anything else. Honestly, your list is “29 Times Dragons Had a Better Sex Life Than You“? Just the fact that you’ve thought about a dragon’s sex life at all...and then researched it (at least I hope you had to research it) means you probably played way too much Dungeons & Dragons as a kid. Should have gone outside more often, dweeb.
6/They demonstrate a needless overthinking of things. “13 Ways to Make Your Bed More Comfy“? Really? I have three: blanket, pillow, me.
5/Your food suggestions are more unappealing than you think. Like, “19 Delicious Homemade Snacks That Put Bagged Chips to Shame.” First of all, nothing puts lime-flavored Tostitos to shame. Nothing. Secondly, that photo you included of your baked Parmesan zucchini chips? They look like something that might have flaked off the back of a mangy dog’s neck.
4/They waste enormous amounts of time at work. Sure, it may only take a few minutes to click through “25 Reasons Bill Nye Was Your Best Teacher Ever.” I may even agree with a few of them (he does kind of look like a pre-beard Abraham Lincoln). But these damned lists—they’re like lime-flavored Tostitos: Once I get started, I can’t stop. So after Bill Nye, I’m clicking “14 Reasons Your Cat Owns You” (they really do seem to have the power of mind control), “24 Times Full House Was Perfect” and…dang, is it 5 o’clock already?
3/Overuse of the adverb “ever.” “Ever” is highly subjective: Say you compose a list of the “19 Worst People Ever,“ and your #1 is Adolf Hitler. Well, sure. We would agree on that. But at #18 you put Alan Thicke? Why?! Too good for Growing Pains? You know, for some people his Tahiti Village infomercials really did lead to a second honeymoon in Vegas. Secondarily, grown-ups should refrain as often as possible from ending any sentence with the word “ever.” In fact, it should really only be used by those under 10, and then only in reference to ice cream, rides at theme parks and/or the latest movie from Pixar.
2/Sometimes they’re so dumb, they make me mad. I’m looking at you, “10 Dumbest Things of All Time.” Yes, that’s an actual list. It includes “toilet roll hats,” “diet water” and—to be fair—“this list.”
1/They still suck me in. I know they won’t help me grow as a person. I know there are better things I could be doing with my time. I know it’s my turn on Words with Friends. Still, if I’m swiping through the screen on my mobile phone and I see “24 Struggles No One Understands About Working in a Call Center”…I’m sorry. I’ll be back in five minutes…and probably with a great new way for using belly fat to make my bed more comfy. •
Catch Tom on the Pat and Tom Morning Show on New Country 105.1, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter @kncitom.