The Year in Review: Lists

Dear The Bloggers:

I understand the desire to emulate print media. It can be fun to write in the style of a columnist, assume the authority of an Op-Ed writer, and issue judgments about taste or politics in the voice of a successful journalist.

I also understand that you see journalistic types producing year-end lists, and that seems worthy of emulation too. Your model music reviewer or humor columnist or political analyst cranks out a Top 10 or 100 for the year, or the Cheers ‘n’ Jeers of the Yeer, or something like that. You want to be part of it, and as a self-identified journalist you feel it’s an obligation to carry through what you’d call a “meme”.


There is a reason for the “End of year list” phenomenon in journalism. The ink-stained wretches who are living out your dream want to spend a week with their families around now, and all but a skeleton crew of hard core news types do. The feature writers and columnists and reviewers all turn in their stupid lists around Dec. 20 and go off to open presents, drink, and reconsider their career choices. The lists suck, and they know it. It’s the lowest form of journalism. The only reason they exist is to give these poor bastards a breather for one week a year. Then it’s back to turning in the column and banging out the news for another 51 weeks.

So this year, feel lucky that you’re unpaid, and stop aping the survival behavior of exhausted journos. Your lists aren’t any better, and you have far less reason to dump them on us.