The year-end list is an odd phenomenon. In the past, they were one-offs newspapers ran to fill space during the holiday doldrums. Because the Internet is basically an excuse to run slideshows and top tens, year-end lists take center stage. You’ve read dozens of these pointless and arbitrary rankings in the past week, so we present to you the most pointless and arbitrary year-end list of them all: The top ten numbers used in year-end top ten lists.
The bottom of our list begins with the top of everyone else’s. Writers are too eager to surprise people with their number one ranking. “Yeah, I thought Bellflower was the movie of the year, I’m different and surprising.” You’re also an insufferable prick. Sorry number one, you’d be lower than number ten on this list if it were possible.
When a list gets to number four, the writer is usually tired of the whole enterprise and has started to just toss things in so they can get the list over with. For a great example of this, see our number four ranking below.
Seven probably should come in at seven but because of superstition people generally hold it in higher regard. For that, we are docking it a place.
Take a look at nine above. Does that even make sense? No, because nine is the part of the list where the writer thinks they can sneak a personal preference in without having to fully explain it.
Ten usually rounds off year-end lists, but not this one. Ten is a middle-of-the-pack bore and we’re not afraid to say it to its face.
Right where it should be.
You know when you ask a parent who their favorite child is and they say, “I love them equally?” They’re lying, obviously, and you just know that deep down, their hatred for the least-favorite child inadvertently grows after having to lie for their unloved ass. This has nothing to do with year-end lists.
The bronze medal goes to six for its above average work throughout the year. The third spot is also the absolute highest a list writer will place something that has no business being in the top five, like six.
The second slot on year-end lists is usually the time when the writer opines on the year in general. This is where any observations about the past 365 days comes in becuase they have to spend all of the number one spot explaining why they picked such a crappy selection (see our number 10). Speaking of going off-topic, did you see Pizza Prints?
Is three the only one we have left? It is? Okay, that means it’s number one. Because that’s how every number one is selected–it’s whatever’s left.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 31, 2011