It's that time of year when the internet pours forth with top 10 rankings on everything from movies to moments to celebrity babies-to-be, and culture writer Dan Kois has written in the New York Times Magazine a humorous but earnest defense of the "top 10 list" trope. He wrote it -- of course -- in the form of a top 10 list. Though he quickly admits to the shortcomings of the form, he describes the importance of cataloguing our preferences both on a personal and a cultural level. Witness his reason number four, a description of his early love for the top 10 list while a high school student in Wisconsin:
If, as a child, I’d made a Top 10 list of the perquisites of being a culture writer, making Top 10 lists would have been No. 2. (No. 1: getting to see movies before they came out, instead of four months later when they finally reached Milwaukee.)
To make a Top 10 list, it seemed, was to join in a great cultural conversation — a conversation that, stuck in high school in Wisconsin long before the Internet, I desperately wanted to be part of. By freshman year I was making lists of my favorite records, the best movies of the year, the top 10 cars I most wanted to own someday, the five girls I’d never gain the courage to approach.
We may grimace for the rest of the week as we continue to click through slideshows of the top 10 Ryan Gosling memes of 2011. (Has that list been made yet? If not, dibs. Oh wait, it has. Of course it has.) But we'll give the form a little more credit having read this essay. Read his other nine reasons over on the Times website.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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