“Lists today are a way of trying to get through the day, because we are losing a sense of time.” -David Viscott

As many of the columnists from our parent’s generation seem bent on spending all of their mental efforts giving us weird labels such as “Millenials,” and generally disparaging of our ambition and efforts, we seem to have turned to each other for advice, though primarily through websites like Cracked and Buzzfeed. While I’m totally in favor of supporting each other, these columns tend to be in the list format usually reserved for Cosmopolitan magazine, to which I object. And so, in the face of “12 ways life is different after College,” and “7 things you only understand if you’re a 90’s kid,” I present:

6 reasons why we need to stop putting things in lists.

1. It’s pretentious.

These list-format articles are always written with a sense of finality, as if what the author has to say is the only thing that matters. This is pretty typical of an advice column, but that was in newspapers with establish columnists who directed their advice at specific readers who wrote in asking about a problem. While websites like Cracked and Buzzfeed have some writers who write consistently, a lot of the time you’ll never have heard of the contributor before. So you’re not taking advice from an effective stranger—you’re taking advice from a complete stranger.

2. It’s misleading.

The list format leads the reader to believe that the article is complete and needs no additional points, as if every problem can be broken down into parts and solved a little bit a time. Yeah right, that’s totally not how the world works. You need to try to solve everything at once and drive yourself crazy, like everyone else. Otherwise you’re not doing it right.

3. It’s unrealistic.

These articles trivialize actual problems, often giving too little attention to serious issues (like who to take on the Zombie Apocalypse) and too much effort is put towards ridiculous garbage (like harassment.) Wait, I mixed those up. Or did I? Anyway, the point is that a lot of the actual advice is oversimplified because people would rather write about how to defend from a raptor attack.

4. It’s recursive.

You may have noticed the previous three points are pretty similar, which is very much characteristic of these list-format articles. Contributors tend to only address general issues and/or useless information, about which you can only produce so much grandiose rhetoric. At the point which a real problem might actually have reached a resolution, these posts pompously prattle on about proper pronunciations.

5. It’s tedious.

After reading a few of these points, most people just tend to skim through the rest to see if it’s worth reading. I’ve done it myself: you end up just reading the titles of each section and skipping down to see if the next will hold your interest. You know you’re one of these people if you missed the raptor attack and the alliteration.

6. It cuts off without a conclusion.

Kind of like this.


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