Monday, December 31, 2007

Why Do People Hate Top Ten Lists?

Isaac Chotiner at The Plank cites the following paragraph by Manohla Dargis. [my additions indicated]
[10] The whole point of a Top 10 list, a friend recently scolded me, is to number them. (I was declining to do so.) [9] My friend was wrong, but only because Top 10 lists are artificial exercises, [8] assertions of critical ego, [7] capricious and necessarily imperfect. [6] (I have a suspicion that the sacred 10 is meant to suggest biblical certainty, as if critics are merely worldly vessels for some divine wisdom.) [5] More than anything they are a public ritual, [4] which is their most valuable function. [3] I tell you what I liked, [2] and you either agree with my list (which flatters us both) [1] or denounce it (which flatters you). It’s a perfect circle.

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