"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Songs of the Pioneers song from TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper column, cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, for readers in 150 countries.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The 10 worst lists

What is the penchant for all these lists you keep seeing? I don't think we can blame it on David Letterman. I'd like to blame it on the Internet, but it's only made it worse.
It seems like every day, Yahoo or someone comes up with the "Ten safest cities," "The 10 unhealthiest states," "The 10 best small towns to retire in." Literally, the lists just keep going on.
Edmond was so excited that it was listed as one of the top suburbs, or something like that. I can't remember, because all those lists are meaningless when they just appeal to egos. For instance, one magazine recently listed the 100 most powerful women. So? If you haven't caught on to that yet, it's all about making money with advertising, not editorial judgment or any standards that mean anything.
Now Consumer Reports' list do mean something, because products are tested and rated. That makes more sense, just like the data you can get on which intersections have the most accidents, etc. And for business, The Journal Record's annual book of lists of everything from colleges to hospital and beyond is an essential for facts and research on the economy. On the borderline is U.S. News & World Report's ranking of colleges across the country. Does anybody really pay attention to those when choosing a college? But students do pay attention to "Rate My Professor.com," and those evaluations are probably more accurate than the official ones we have to do every semester.
Once I think about it, these lists probably go back to the Old Testament, the book of Numbers to be exact. Want to be bored, start reading all those "begats." The tradition is continued in our national census every 10 years.
But I've still had enough, so I thought I'd come up with the 10 worst lists we need. Let's see:

  1. The dirtiest toilets
  2. The rudest children
  3. The most annoying TV commentators (weather "men", etc.)
  4. The worst micromanaging bosses
  5. The most obnoxious college football fans
  6. The slowest traffic lights
  7. The noisiest neighborhoods
  8. The most snobby people
  9. The biggest blowhards
  10. The most hypocritical politicians
I bet you can already nominate entries, can't you. I probably shouldn't have ranked them--too much competition.
Oh, I left one off...a list of the 10 worst lists.

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