Recently the Onion, America’s foremost satirical print news source, has been including list format articles in its daily teasing of pop culture, politics, and sports. Three articles in the past week have been deliberately repetitive assemblies of supposedly bland topics. Although graphic compilations like "In God We Trust: The All-Time Sexiest Dimes" is not exactly the heighth of biting wit in this day and age, perhaps the overall tone is a potent dig at the nature of listed online content in general.
The Onion has made the Huffington Post one of their re-occurring targets in recent years. The staffers of the free funny paper have been poking fun of Huffpo’s bloated content base and general tendency to overwhelm. The video below may mark a bit of a segue from mocking Huffpo’s aggressive content aggregation to their use of lists.
The Onion's article "The 7 Most Unbelievable Autocorrect WINS" is a bit more pointed. Just based on the name, it is a transparent polar opposite of compilations that exist on websites like Buzzfeed, which use the list as a fun way to compile material. In some extreme examples, like Bleacher Report (which has also been lampooned by the Onion) and Cracked.com, lists are the majority of the content on the site. And who is to blame: the writers for compiling or the readers for enjoying them?
Image Credit: The Onion
List articles streamline both the reading and writing processes by bringing a certain order and organization to a given subject. Ironically enough, latter halves of the entries in the Onion's list articles editorialize so much obnoxiousness that one gets the sense that the staffers are straining to maintain the same level of irony from entry to entry. Still however, the rather heavy-handed point remains essentially that "Haha lists are silly."
This new-fangled internet is an echo chamber, and the more people like me shout into it, the deeper we dive into it. And then someone comes along and shouts at us for shouting. It is a sad and chaotic maelstrom of opinions and opinions of opinions.