The thing I hate most about listicles is the fact that I can’t help but read and write them. So, like a fresher waking up in their own vomit, the best way to express my disgust is, ironically, to produce exactly that I am disgusted with: more vomit. Accordingly, here is a listicle of the top 8 things I hate about listicles.
They’re Addictive: You’ll tell yourself you’ll have just one listicle before you go to bed. But 40 articles later, you’re rocking back and forth at 3am with bloodshot eyes trying to figure out “What possible illuminati member are you?”
Slide shows: The day I consent to slideshows is the day my degree inevitably takes me nowhere and I end up in a dingy office cubicle that I leave only to sleep, excrete and watch company PowerPoints on the importance of teamwork. That day is not today.
Nobody asked: Upon noticing a Buzzfeed article in my newsfeed, I can’t help feeling that nobody asked which “26 face swaps will make you feel ridiculously uncomfortable” or wondered “Which Ousted Arab Spring Ruler Are You?” or even needs to know “How obsessed with poo are you?” And that’s another thing…
Hyperbole: Obsessed, ridiculous, awesome, hilarious, the best, the greatest. If these are words you happily apply to lists of actors with firm jaw lines or images of cats stuck in bread, then I dread to think what your reaction might be to the Multiverse Theory or the Second Law of Thermodynamics.
Side-bar Ads: You know what, I think Betty from Rumford seems like an alright lass. And for a sixty-year-old to keep her skin in such great condition is only testament to the determination and care for detail she has employed all her long life. Yet it is for this very characteristic that numerous practicing medics hate her. For she has developed, between knitting and feeding pigeons, a cosmetic super-pill that surpasses all the current scientific boundaries of skin care. I am appalled that the government has not drawn more attention to the selfish bias within the medical community; leaving only flashing, disjointed, sidebar adverts to spread the word that Betty intends to share her scientific breakthrough for only your security code.
Pop ups: If I wanted to watch porn, I’d be watching porn.
Ridiculously long lists: This is the correct use of hyperbole. The idea that I have the time to comprehend 28 of “The Most WTF, LOL And OMG Viral Videos Of 2015” is ridiculous. Yet, like any addict, soon you have spent all your time and resources trying to find out what the most WTF, LOL, and OMG videos were. Before you know it, you’re failing to meet your rent and within three weeks you’re pouring through bins trying to find two AA batteries for your portable phone charger in a desperate attempt to discover what “The 19 Best Autocorrect Fails” were.
In-text adverts: A site hosting an ad that intrudes into the very text of an article is like when a friend has a friend you don’t like. The one who turns up late to the pub and interjects with suggestions like “let’s go get some birds.” Assuming they are not a budding ornithologist, all you can do is carry on regardless and hope they go away.
Published in The Gryphon, January 2017.