The Atlantic Wire has traditionally enjoyed lists
. But like slideshows (which have been branded a "scourge
of online journalism), lists have taken a bit of a beating as
they've become ubiquitous. For those who are becoming list-weary, we'd
like to point you to an article by More Intelligent Life's Jeremy Dauber
who not only notes the allure of the list, but writes an almost
stirring justification of them. Of course, he does take as his example a rather highbrow list to start with--1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die
. Here are a few of his key points in his defense
of lists, made--of course--in list form:
- Lists Offer Authority,
Even If You Don't Know Who Made Them - "The fact that I have no idea who
these people are [that made the list] or whether their opinions are any
good doesn’t matter. The list works its authoritative magic in some
large part by confirming my own knowledge and prejudices."
'Fight a Rigorous Holding Action In the Battle Against Cultural Entropy
and Chaos' - "A well-ranked list, however, can have all of the
intellectual heft of a graduate seminar without the pain of that final
paper, and at a much cheaper price."
- Lists 'Catalyse Your
Creative Ingenuity' - "Lists—like the Locus Science Fiction Awards, with
titles long out of print; or even the '1001 Movies'—send you into more
remote territory, far from the good people at Amazon and well beyond
Netflix. So you stretch."
- Lists 'Are Fundamentally Optimistic' -
"Lists give the impression of finitude, of the possibility of completion
and coherence. Yet the prospect of completing them seems designed to be
impossible...There is comfort in this—in what is always enticingly
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