Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Top 9 Reasons People Make Lists

9. Snark.
After all, lists have done wonders for the grocery industry.

8. Reference-makin' and name-droppin'.
As Susan Orlean put it in The Orchid Thief: "There are too many ideas and things and people. Too many directions to go. I was starting to believe the reason it matters to care passionately about something, is that it whittles the world down to a more manageable size."

7. Posterity.
Because after having an extremely engrossing conversation about the best movies to star or feature Treat Williams, you kinda want a format to summarize your thoughts in. (PS: The answer is Deep Rising.)

6. Informational precision.
Print, though not yet dead (as posited by Egon Spengler in Ghostbusters--which Rob, by the way, has yet to see in its entirety... a far greater crime, in my estimation, that my omission of Merkin Muffley from this list), is a cognitively taxing form of media. Mired in a rising swamp of terrorist threats, celebrity gossip, and a floundering economy, humans require information in increasingly bite-sized form. Bullet-points are an excellent way to navigate this globally-pervasive attention-defecit. In the future, one might predict that actual bullets will actually be used, with tiny, tiny engraved writing on them to convey messages. Like in Wanted!

5. Soapbox!
Lists provide the list-maker with a perfect forum for friend-pimping. Just yesteday, a good friend of mine, Rami Raff, was kind enough to write a very complimentary post linking to this site. Well, sir, no good pimp goes unpunished. If you're looking for a film site that gives you honest, witty reviews and musings on both blockbusters and arthouse darlings, you owe it to yourself to check out The Sickness' Cinema. The guy has a unique voice--he can do an acerbic thing, he can do a fanboy thing, he can do a touching thing--and it all stems from a genuine love of film. And that's something I respect. CHECK IT OUT, AMERICA.

4. Tradition.
Some of history's most time-honored documents are in list form. The Ten Commandments, The Magna Carta, and Schindler's List. Also, it is rumored that The Great Gatsby was originally conceived as a list entitled The Top Ten Ways In Which My Own Life Informs the Concept of 'The American Dream'.

3. Order.
Much to the chagrin of anarcho-punk bands everywhere, order is a human impulse. We did, after all, invent Pick-up Sticks... the game also known as Clean Up That Mess!

2. Frivolity.
It's more than just a will to combat entropy, though. It's the will to create it, too--in the form of debate. Making a list of opinions and letting people read them is basically sending out an open letter that says, "Hey! I dare you to disagree with me! If and when you do, let's throw down!" It goes without saying that intellectual debate is the cornerstone of so many human achievements... from the city of Athens to the U.S. Constitution to the United Nations. But brother, this is the internet. We don't need no stinking intellect. This is the land of uncited sources on Wikipedia, trolling and flamewars on countless message boards and forums--this is no place for intellectual debate. This is a place for frivolous debate! Give me the Worst 16 Haircuts Ever Invented, the 8 Least Intimidating Animals, for the 23 Greatest Films Featuring a Ragtag Group of Kids/Adolescents! Somewhere, Al Gore is gazing upon the internet and thinking, "Now I am become Diversion, distractor of worlds."

NINJA EDIT! Yeah, I put this one in late on Rob's recommendation. PEOPLE. We wanna hear from you. We want to hear if you think we're doing a good job, we want to hear if you think we're doing a bad job... if you have an idea for a list, let us know; if you think we make too many 90s references, let us know; if you think Rob is blowing this whole Merkin Muffley thing out of proportion, DUDE, I know. Talk back, dear readers, talk back.

1 comment:

Loris said...

i think rob trump is like a hobo cock in an orphan seal's mouth. and i want to smash that seal's head with my bat of pain.

peter mendie-seidleickiki, you're now on my list. asking for comments? till death do i part from my mission to own your soul.