Saturday, December 15, 2007

Time for Top Ten Lists Again

This is the time of year for Top 10 lists: movies, books, video games, TV, electronic gadgets, and just about every other category anyone can think of, from the sublime to the ridiculous.

Of course Time magazine is a big part of that trend, with its usual lists. However, this week, in the December 24 issue, the last-page essay, "The Power of 10," by James Poniewozik, caught my eye. Poniewozik's essay consists of ten "guesses" as to why we're so fascinated by top ten lists. Here is his list, with my brief comments:

10: "God Made us Do It" (See the Ten Commandments).

9. "Numbers Rule!" (Ask any English teacher or promoter of Power Point presentations).

8. "They're Web-Friendly" (Bite-size, opinionated, easily searchable).

7. "Branding, Branding, Branding" (Definitive and catchy are in).

6, "Because That Other Guy is a Moron" (Lists are great to challenge authority).

5. "Because we Crave Justice" (Someone has to decide what's good and bad. "Every day is judgment day").

4. "To Remember (and to Forget)" (Our chance to see what's held up over time).

3. "Because the Universe is Random and Senseless" (We need to impose order and structure).

2. "Because Life is Short" (Lists allow us to assert our identities).

1. "Because if you Put Numbers on it People Will Read Anything, However Trite, Trivial and Insipid, From Beginning to End" (No additional comment needed).

Inspired by Mr. Poniewozik's list, I simply must post my own Top Ten List for 2007. Come back here tomorrow!

Source: Time, Vol. 170, #26, December 24, 2007. p. 96.

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