“Mere access to the courthouse doors does not by itself assure a proper functioning of the adversary process.”–Thurgood Marshall
There is a disturbing trend in western culture. It is the information-conveyance equivalent of mechanically-separated meats. I am talking about the “list” format: the act of turning information into an easily digestible paste. Though I tire easily of “dumbing-down of humanity” rhetoric, consuming information through lists does make people dumber. Worse, it’s becoming a staple of communication. Found in everything from self-help books, sermon-series, and even the most noble of correspondence: the internet web-log–the list format seems to be here to stay…at least until some easier way of staying “informed” comes available. Twitter?
I had no problem with this trend when it was relegated to sites who, fueled by either a sense of necessity or irony, built their reputation on hackery. Some sites even made good use of the format by employing it to veil the unearthing of deeper social commentary. Cracked.com, I’m looking at you…but those were the salad days of socially-conscious trivial pursuits…they’re gone now, aren’t they Cracked. But now that sites to which I once turned for inspirational prose– like: Thought Catalog–are using this trope, the entire interweb is turning into content that looks as though it was cut and pasted from a reddit comments thread. Shitty behavior, interweb, shitty behavior. So now, without further word-count padding, three reasons why blogging in lists is hacky:
1) The Reasons for “Something Being Something” is a Number Much Higher Than These Lists Let On.
I’m not going to bog this post down with dry scientific facts followed by long bibliographical evidence to prove my point. Why? Well that’s just not the way we do things here at the Guild. Plus, you are a well-informed reader, a person of the world who would be insulted by any attempt at pandering. And rightfully so. The fact is, science has shown time and time again that 98% of all lists that highlight “why something is a certain way” should have a count of: 346 reasons. Now I’m not suggesting that everyone begin making their blog posts long enough to accommodate this well-documented number. That would be insane. I am suggesting that almost any blog that has not logged in around 150 reasons for “something being someway” have barely scratched the surface of their topic. It’s akin to performing open-heart surgery having only read the directions on the back of a low-dose aspirin bottle. Am I suggesting that the bulk of bloggers are irresponsible? If the child-proof cap fits…click, click, click–cuss, cuss, cuss–then get a hammer.
2) Most of These Lists Use A Trick favored by the Hair-Band Music Industry Known as: “More Filler Than Killer”.
This, of course, is problematic for a couple of reasons. The first being: we are busy people–evolution, through the mechanism of natural selection (and 24hr. news-cycles), has shrunken the part of the human brain that was once tolerant of “filler”. This is not 1983 when, droves of people in the throes of a coke-binge, would run out to their respective Pontiac Fieros, squeal and swerve down to the local Tower Records (Google it), and hand over 10 sweaty American dollars in exchange for the latest Quiet Riot cassette tape in an attempt to control their loin-deep hunger for Slade covers. No, this is 2000something (I’m told). We have YouTube, and an insatiable need for “killer”.
The second is more existential, at least for me. You might find yourself thinking (and rightly so): “pats0, how could it both be true that most blog-lists are more filler than killer, and most bloggers neglect to include the bulk of reasons for why “something is how it is”–as you intelligently, nay, heroically pointed out? To which I would respond: “Good question; when was the last time someone pointed out that you are smart and that your hair looks beautiful in the screen-light of your chosen reading device, sir?” That usually works. So let us move now to reason three–the most reasonable point to which folks point when looking for reasons…
3) Most of The Killer Reasons Given by the Majority of Bloggers aren’t Even Apropos of the Alleged Heading and are Only Interesting Because They’ve Been Massaged with Hyperbolic Speculation.
I know this must seem like an exaggeration. Things aren’t always what they seem. Like when John Hinckley Jr. attempted to assassinate Ronald Reagan. We all assumed it was because Hinckley had it out for confused American heroes. Turns out it was done in order to push anti-American assault-weapons bans that would eventually be over-turned by the son of the, then, Vice-President. This was meant to polarize politics severely enough to render the constitution a useless document. That, in turn, would lead to the replacement of the constitution with the by-laws adopted by Yale’s secret society: Skull and Bones. A society whose alumni include: both aforementioned Bushes, 85% of the most influential members of The Bilderberg Group, Every Shift-Manager of Chic-Fil-A, and Osama Bin Laden’s great-grandfather who, it is said, proposed to Alex Jones’ great-great-grandmother who was the acting faculty-liaison at a bloodletting ceremony in the light of a Connecticut full-moon 30 feet below the Quad of the New Haven campus. Hinckley, you nefarious son-of-a-bitch.
So that just proves: things aren’t always what they seem. The verifiably scientific facts don’t lie: Hyperbole informs EVERYTHING! Even the thing you’re thinking right now: “This seems like an exaggeration.” Does it? Or has your own propensity toward blowing things out of proportion been so over-developed that small things become big, and smaller things become more bigger, over-lapping in to perpetuity, like an ill-advised Groundhog Day sequel–Groundhog Day 2: Ground Hogger? That well never runs dry…
I’m aware that there are parts of this blog that seem problematic. This will naturally lead you to the conclusion that I am contradicting myself here. That is your right. But it is my right as a writer to ask you to kindly leave my blog now…(first, be a dear and click the “like” button). Now leave…but come back for the next post…you’re going to “like” that one too…I have 150 reasons why, but you’re not supposed to be here right now so what’s the point?