Monday, November 17, 2014

Top ten lists of top ten lists

Ten must be a magic number. Because I've sensed a pattern of tweets and "news" sites of hooking readers in by the promise of a top ten list. And it works. I inevitably get sucked into pages that promise to give me a list of the top ten foods to eat or not to eat, the top ten islands I can't afford to buy or the top ten celebrities that have aged ten years in the past decade.

I imagine some researcher or psychologist told marketers that ten is maximum number of things the ADD public can focus on before rushing off to the next list of ten. For the heck of it, I Googled "top lists of lists" and sure enough there were a plethora of top lists of top ten lists. One, Listverse, ironically, had not ten, but a dozen list of top-ten lists of top ten. They included:

  • Ten bizarre things people did with corpses
  • Top ten notable residents of Broadmoor Hospital
  • Ten secret Ninja tools we never hear about
  • Ten more notable people who died from AIDS
  • Ten lightening-fast facts about the Flash
  • Ten reasons the moon landings could be a hoax
  • Ten ways politicians are holding back future technologies
  • Ten creepy tales of interdimensional travel
  • Ten recovered treasures that really weren't worth the effort
  • Top ten snipers in history
  • Ten stars who struggled for years with mental illness
  • Ten arguments for gun control
Not to be outdone, the New Yorker has a list of the hundred best lists of all time. I don't think it is a very good list because I could only get through item ten before I lost interest.

I would be remiss if I left TopTenz off my list. They had notable lists that included:
  • Ten foreign movies where Americans were the bad guys.
  • Fifty women famous for being naked (because ten wouldn't be enough)
  • Top ten foods the Pilgrims probably ate at the first Thanksgiving.
  • Top ten absurd overreactions by schools.
  • Ten great cheating queens and their many love affairs
  • Top ten bizarre sleep disorders.
  • Top ten visions of the world in 1000 years
  • Top ten geniuses who were shockingly horrible people
  • Top ten worst Batman villains and why they were lame
  • Top ten over the counter medications that will get you higher than marijuana.
If you just want a site with all the top lists sites in one place, go to Alltop

The sad thing about this post is that I didn't make anything up. So I'm just going to sail this ship away before it begins to list anymore.


Helen Baggott said...

Am I the only one to check there was a dozen and not twelve in the list?


Time said...

Actually I noted the irony in the paragraph before the list. But spoken like a true proofreader!