In addition to the plethora of infantile quizzes ("What Kind of Vegetable Are You?" etc.), my Facebook newsfeed is now clogged with equally inane lists derived from online publications ("8 Ways to Fall in Love Again After You've Been Dumped," "The 12 Best Nudist Colonies in the World" etc.). Some are about celebrities (mostly dead ones) such as "12 Mind-blowing Things You Didn't Know About Mamie Eisenhower."
Readers seem to be captivated by lists but do they ever wonder where the numbers come from? How does the list writer know there aren't more than eight ways to fall in love after being dumped? Was the author just lazy? Where do the "facts" come from? Is there a study going on at the University of Nonsense?
And how do you even research the twelve best nudist colonies in the world? Do you visit every single one of them from Timbuktu to Vancouver? And how do you judge them? Best cafeteria salad bar? Least annoying New Age music? Best poison ivy infirmary? On the plus side, extensive nudist colony research might be a good way to save on dry cleaning.
As for Mamie Eisenhower, the "fact" that she liked Ketchup on tuna casseroles totally blew my mind,
Since it seems so easy, I came up with a few lists myself. The hard part was finding a subject that had not already been done (what hasn't already been done on the Internet?), so I had to be super imaginative.
"9 Literary Passages You Should Never Quote to Your Lover During Oral Sex."
Why nine? Why not eleven? I ran of out of steam. Sue me. That any person in their right mind would stop in the middle of oral sex to quote literary passages (or anything else) is, of course, ridiculous, unless the sex partners are both obsessive Comparative Literature professors and even then it's weird. Number one on this list is "Anything by Kafka"; running a close second is "The Gulag Archipelago."
"8 Surprising Things You Didn't Know About Hitler's Taste in Interior Design."
Granted this isn't useful for anybody in the... well... entire world but so what? Admit it -- even though you may not be fascinated by the Third Reich's most insignificant minutiae, you might be interested to know that the Fuehrer did not care for 1."Throw Pillows" followed by 2."Embossed Wallpaper" and 3."Clunky Furniture." (Of course every serious student of German history knows about Hitler's legendary distaste for drapes and his affection for clown portraits.)
"11 Things You Should Not to Say at an Open Casket Memorial Service"
Number one: "Wow, who knew embalming fluid is better than Botox?" Number two: "Shit, we were halfway through a game of Words With Friends and I just got a 'Z' and an 'A'." Number three: "Sorry, I have to take this." Number four: "Do they validate?" And so forth.
"The 9 Most Influential Podiatrists in the World."
Given the fascination with podiatry that has recently swept the world's hippest centers of cool -- New York, London, Paris, Tulsa -- foot doctors are now superstars on the same scale as chefs, talentless rock stars with DUI convictions and celebrity hip replacement surgeons. Or am I wrong about that? Okay, I made it up. Call the list police. If it's on a list, readers will believe it no matter how mindless it is. This is clearly a list that people will be discussing around the Dr. Scholl's section at Walgreens. On which planet, I don't know.
"The 8 Most Fun Things to Do on Your Vacation in North Korea."
How many of your friends can say they camped near a demilitarized zone? (1). Or became Facebook friends with an interrogator? (2). Or spent a romantic evening searching for wiretaps in their hotel room? (3). Or ate at a 5-star restaurant with nothing on the menu? (4). Or enjoyed an enchanting afternoon snorkeling for landmines? (5). Or visited a barbed wire factory? (6) Or gone hiking at gunpoint? (7) Or seen a Dennis Rodman statue? (8).
I'm still working on my piece de resistance, "The 384 Dumbest Lists Ever." There might be 385 or more but who cares? I'm lazy.