10 worst things about Top 10 lists

OPINION

  • This is not a Top 10 list about the best uses for ice cube trays.
This is not a Top 10 list about the best uses for ice cube trays. (Bob Fila/Chicago Tribune…)
July 25, 2013|By Katie Killacky, @katiekillacky | For RedEye

1. Writers resort to lists. We learn in third grade how to organize our thoughts so that we don't have to number topics. So, in a way, Top 10 lists are just an example of poor writing. The author doesn't have to transition paragraphs and can just jump from thought to thought.

2. Example No. 1 is always underwhelming. See Ex. 1.

3. They're too much work. Sometimes you have to scroll through slideshows that take way too much time to load. But you sit there. You do it. You take 20 minutes out of your day to see each and every picture and caption because you can't just stop at No. 3. The ads are just as annoying. "Wait, Lipton Iced Tea is one of the must-see movies of the summer?"

4. They prey on the insecure. If you need a list to come up with ideas to attract or keep a man, you're already out of luck. More often than not, these tricks will lead you down an embarrassing and disingenuous path. This also holds true for any list that tells you how to maintain a friendship. If you need tips for that sort of thing, either you suck or your friends suck. There's no nicer way to say it.

5. They're deceiving. For example, pick up an article titled "Top Ten Mexican Restaurants in Bucktown." It's usually every Mexican restaurant in Bucktown. Why doesn't the author just say "I'm writing an article about the Mexican restaurants in Bucktown?" Or be clearer and say "I've been asked to write a column about the Mexican restaurants in Bucktown and have ranked them in the order of my own personal preference." Which brings me to my next point ...

6. The authority is always anonymous. Who the hell decided these were the best Mexican restaurants? The culinary genius in his cubicle whose editor assigned him this despite the fact that he eats nothing but Twizzlers and Pop Tarts? By the way, this is the same chap who is leading your mission to attract and keep a man. He also manned the security system in "Jurassic Park." That's how I picture him, anyway.

7. They're irresistible. "8 Uses For Ice Cube Trays You Never Thought Of"? I can think of only one: ice cubes. I never thought about using them for anything else. But now that I'm thinking about it, dagnabit, you're RIGHT! Even with a gun to my head I couldn't think of one other use, let alone seven. MUST. CONTINUE. READING!

8. They're predictable. "The Top Celebrity Republicans" are recycled year after year, and any mug shot list with Gary Busey included is more outdated than Angela Lansbury's girdle. Now, put Angela Lansbury's mug shot on a list and you've got my attention.

9. Rarely will you learn new information. "33 Recipes That Use Cream Cheese"? If you're like me, you put it on everything anyway. "9 Gifts For Dad When On A Budget"? I mastered those when I was 7. "30 Signs You Were Born In the '80s"? Dude. You should just know this.

10. Case in point. This list sucks and I have officially wasted precious moments of your day. You're welcome.

Katie Killacky is a RedEye special contributor.

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