One of the things I always hated doing when I was at The Toronto Sun was typing out those annual year end lists. It always seemed so phony and arbitrary to me. The lists would generally only reflect headlines from the last months or so, not the entire year. And the so-called “entertainer of the year” title was always an embarrassment. The title means nothing, it usually goes to some faddish nonentity and nobody remembers who or what was singled out when it comes time to do it again 365 days later.
Still, people like to read lists. A back page essay in Time drove this home for me a couple of weeks ago, especially as I stayed with the clever column until the very last line. In their annual “Ten Best” issue, the item counted down to the No. 1 thing about lists: “people will read anything after a number is placed in front of it.”
For example, Here are my Top-10 reasons why Top-10 lists suck:
10. They force you to remember back to last January or February when you can’t even remember what you had for lunch yesterday.
9. One more look at the Britney crotch shot and I’m going to vomit.
8. You know as you read them that this was just some lame do-it-in-advance idea designed to give the writers and editors a week off.
7. Why would you want to celebrate, say, the “Best New Show” in a season when Cavemen is in contention?
6. Sad reminder that there just won’t be any more Sopranos episodes.
5. Eggnog hangover has blotted out any memories of last season.
4. Sick, sick, sick of lists now that shows like MuchMusic’s Listed have already scraped the bottom of every list barrel.
3. Just opened a much more disturbing list—my post-Christmas Visa bill
2. Simply refuse to retype the name of any one of the dum-dum celebutants who continue to drive while impaired, drop babes, or spent 30 minutes in jail cells. It just promotes an even more disturbing offshoot, the business of slagging these skanks on bitchy, self-aggrandizing celebrity web sites. Go away, all of you!!
1. These lists are less interesting to read than my new book: “Truth and Rumors: The Reality Behind TV’s Most Famous Myths” (available now through Buy your copy today!