The Top 9 Reasons not to Write a Top 10

Maybe you already know this…

(In no particular order of preference)

  • How much do you really know about something?
    In fairness, as much as an expert you may be, you hardly know everything about one thing. In fact anyone who claims to do this doesn’t really suit my take on anything. But even if you do suggest that you do know everything about anything, do yourself a favour, exclude the word ‘definitive’ and any of its synonyms.
  • Are you not just showing off?
    So we get the idea, you know a lot. Congrats. Is it necessary for you to boast about it now? Really, like, well done with spending hours combing whatever field it is that you claim to know so much about. But for you to suggest that these are the best or most important or most significant, and so early in their lifetime, is a little pretentious. How can anyone tell how important anything is until probably at least ten years later? If you look at lists for the best album of the year for example, they’re always full of tripe. Where are the albums I thought were great that weren’t included on this list and why are the albums I didn’t think much of included? If you ask me, you can only really tell if something is good if it lasts, and with music for example, you really only know how good it is if you can still hear it being played on the radio ten years later. Would you like proof? Here is the list for the top 10 selling singles in the UK for 2001. Yes, that’s right Bob the fuckin’ Builder and Who Let the Dogs Out (and yes, I know the Top 10 songs of the year is a poor reflection on the quality of music, this list of number 1’s from the sixties is much more drool-worthy)
  • How can you decide that something is the best?
    I respect the fact that you know stuff and that you may have a wide berth of knowledge on a particular subject. But, do me a favour and get off your high-horse and suggest that something is worth one’s time rather than stating somewhere  along the lines that, by the power invested in me by the sun that shines from my almighty arsehole, I declare this list to declare what is the best. It would be fairer and more appropriate if you suggested that, by the power invested in me by the sun that shines from my almighty arsehole, I declare this list to declare what I think are worth your attention, or something like that.
  • Is one of the most fantastic traits of human character not the fact that we are all different?
    Isn’t this post a perfect example of this? I don’t like Top 10 lists and I don’t really agree with the institution of them. With that, I will add that they aren’t going to go away. I don’t plan on going away to quickly either, but I do have only five more reasons after this and you can rest assured that I don’t plan on saying much on this once I’ve had my say. All to often, Top 10s neglect the fact that we have our own opinions and our own experiences doing things. Travel is one area where I’ve seen gross injustice paid to the magnificent and not so magnificent. Music and films are probably just as unlucky. Maybe if the writers would write a little more in the first person then this would change my take on this.
  • When does anyone have the time to do all of this?
    I often wonder when do people get the time to, for example,  read or listen to music all year, but then have time to analyse and assess the best of the best. Sure, if there is a really small amount of high quality product to choose from then it’s probably an easy enough human effort. This is far from the reality. What I’m giving out about here is the obvious lack of human interaction with what is actually being decided on. I like to think that the person deciding on what is the best is an ordinary person who gets out and enjoys life, interacts with other people – preferably non-top 10 list compiling people – and doesn’t spend every waking minute consuming ratable product whilst systematically analysing, reviewing and giving it a rating that is not effected for a particular taste/distaste for whatever it is that is being reviewed. Remember the music nerds in High Fidelity? Imagine them in real life.
  • Does objectifying something not take away from the overall quality and vitality of things?
    By saying something is the best there is a complete lack of respect for all the rest produced. In sport this isn’t a problem because sport is supposed to be competitive and is objective by nature. But with so many other things, like music, literature, travel, art, it classifys quality work as bad, or worse than the contents of whatever top 10 they are in. This doesn’t have a possitive effect at all. I don’t care if you have categories and very valid reasons for deciding the best of whatever it is your best ofing, it doesn’t have a positive effect. There is no room in a top 10 to show how much energy and vitality a community or scene has by showing its top 10. The entire idea of a top 10 is to show the best and ignore those who are working under the radar, innovating, building, experieincng, sharing, teaching, and however else it is that communities grow. Top 10s only drive the focus towards those that already have enough focus while the poor misfortunates battling away for success are ignored. For example, look how badly the top universities selections have effected our impressions on university education.
  • Do top 10s not limit the variety available?
    If you never looked at anything but Top 10s, which I have done, or if you go to top 10 lists to help you decide what’s what in terms of catching up on quality music or literature (for example), which I have also done, you would be given a very poor impression of the standard out there. You are basically looking at someone’s idea what is the best, without really having an idea of what the competition is like. Top 10s on their own leave no room for the underground movements or secret locations that, for me, are really special places. They give the impression that there is nothing else out there and that if you don’t experieince these then something in your life is missing. You could call it cultural snobbery. More importantly, they promote a real lack of imagination and encourage people to compare their hit list of whichever ones they’ve done. Personally I’d rather compare wet paint and dry paint.
  • Have you not realised that the notion of a top 10 is has-been of a tried and tested means of failed congratulation?
    For all the top 10s, what’s the point of singing and dancing about being included on one list when it turns out that another list which covers the same thing has completely neglected to include you? It’s not much of an achievement if one person (or whatever put the list together) thinks your great and them someone else doesn’t. You’re either good/great or you’re not. Or else what? You probably still have to get on with doing whatever it is you’re doing.
  • Have you ever not been included on a top 10 list?
    I haven’t and maybe I’m bitter about this, so bitter that I have decided to publicly decide on the despicability of all top 10s. It’s quite likely I will never be included on one. It’s fair to suggest that I should really be a little bit more open minded about this, but then again at the end of the year I really do grow tired of seeing so many top 10s that I lose sight of what’s actually good and bad, without actually being given a valid picture of what is actually worth my time. Am I bad for not being in a top 10? Am I good for being a grassroots movement of my own? Does anyone else care?

Happy New Year.

4 thoughts on “The Top 9 Reasons not to Write a Top 10

  1. Haha I’ve been grumbling about top ten lists for the last couple of weeks as the year came to an end. Although I guess it could be okay if its some kind of news round-up which provided some new or little known information. Otherwise, too true. Happy New Year mate!


  2. You could, you know, just not read any top ten lists and not begrudge the people who might enjoy making them.

    Or you could just start off the year bitter and miserable instead.


  3. Top anything lists, however, are traffic magnets because: 1. They generate controversy, and controversy = traffic (clever writers may even intentionally court controversy for the sake of the “how dare you rank Justin Bieber above Guns’n’Roses” hits, and

    2. Internet readers’ short attention spans reset after each new bullet point, so lists get longer visit statistics. owes it’s existence to these two facts.


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