Nothing says another year is coming to a close like the sudden springing forth of Top 10 lists as if David Letterman developed split personalities. And Tourette's. At the same time. A good top 10 list is relevant, a little nostalgic and interesting. But a bad top 10 list? Now that's just good fun. I've taken the time to round up the worst top 10 lists of 2008 (in no particular order - what? I found 'em. You rank 'em). Feel free to add your suggestions in the comments!
1. Doctors Without Borders' Top 10 Humanitarian Crises. It's bad because it's just so sad. Plus it just feels weird to group Myanmar, Iraq and Somalia under a heading including the words "Top 10."
2. Giganews' Top 10 Things Started on Usenet. This list includes staples like IMDb, PGP and Snopes. And apparently we can blame Usenet for spam as well. This list is bad because if you actually know what Usenet is and how it spawned all of these things, you are officially a geek. And if you don't know what they are then you are probably one of those people who think the Internet was invented for sending baby pictures and eBay.
3. The Top Ten Worst April Fools' Day Hoaxes. Ever. Actually this list is pretty good but it's bad because the hoaxes are so cringe-worthy. Just go read number 1. You'll cringe. I promise.
4. Spamhaus' Top 10 Worst Spammers of 2008. It's like the F.B.I.'s Most Wanted list except that I think most of us would rather see these people dead than any of the actual "most wanted." This list is bad because it makes me all ticked off about pleas from wealthy Nigerians and ASCII snowball fights (Who still forwards freakin' ASCII anymore? You can find real photos of snowballs now! Not that I want you to send me those either.) and then reminds me how impotent I am in the face of all that Internet sludge.
5. The Top 10 World's Worst Pollution Problems of 2008. Off the top of my head I could only come up with four of the items on this list. Which means that there are six other huge polluters out there that up until now I had no idea about. Depressing.
6. Merriam-Webster's Top 10 Favorite Words (Not In the Dictionary). You want a list of the most overused slang terms of 2008? Here you go. (With the exception of "cognitive dysplaysia" - the feeling you have before you even leave the house that you are going to forget something and not remember it until you're on the highway - Where did that one come from??) Be warned, you may only use them unironically if you are under 13.
7. Top Ten Grey's Anatomy Quotes. Nothing against Grey's Anatomy mind you, I just don't like my pop culture parsed into inane sound bites. What does it say about our culture that we feel compelled to repeat to each other, "It's called thinking. Go with it."?
8. Esther Woolfson's Top Ten Birds in Fact and Fiction. I'm not impugning nature writing in general or Ms. Woolfson in particular but was this necessary? Really??
9. Time Magazine's Top Ten Everything of 2008. You get 50 different Top Ten lists covering everything from the Top 10 News Stories to the Top Ten Awkward Moments (Number 1 is Pres. Bush dancing while waiting for McCain. Because I know you were curious.) Actually these lists are kind of addicting but don't you think you're getting a bit greedy Time? What will other magazines have to write about? Spread the love! PS> Check out the Top 10 Best Animal Stories and ring in the new year with puppies and rainbows!
10. The Top 10 Weirdest, Creepiest, Freakiest Children's Television Shows. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends less than 2 hours of screen time a day for kids over two and none for kids under two. All parents laughed as they used the AAP's guidelines to prop up their tots so they could see the TV better. And yet... this is what they're watching? Still - how's a girl supposed to get a shower without the electronic babysitter?
And now a bonus: YouTube's Best of 2008. Watch them all or risk being culturally irrelevant!