By Purvis McGrew
We all love to read list stories, you know, those online articles whose pithy presentation of catalogued information is a constant threat of sucking you into the proverbial Clickhole. Who wouldn’t want to read “The Top 10 Scariest Restaurant Grease Fires” or “17 Sure-Fire Methods for Avoiding Jury Duty,” but did you know that reading list stories actually lowers your IQ?
1) Reading list stories is so easy, it makes your brain soft. Scientists and philosophers have long known that thinking about stuff makes you feel bad, but in 2011, some German psychologists discovered a way to trick the human brain into feeling good by breaking down information into small chunks that people can easily process and understand. Since the formation of list stories, our brains no longer have to work so hard, and subsequently they revert to a state of atrophy.
2) The information presented in list stories often serves no real purpose. It may seem useful to know “Nine Ways Somali Pirates are Different than Regular Pirates,” or “Eleven Disney Animals that May Have Gone Extinct,” but it actually isn’t.
3) The numbering system of list stories is totally arbitrary. Do you know why I chose the number six for the title of my article? Neither do I! But you better believe I’m going to think of three more items to complete this list!
4) List article subject matter is completely random. You see, each story topic is based solely on the writer’s interests and knowledge at a given time--whatever popped into his or her head at the time of writing. And how did the author come to acquire such interests and knowledge? I’ll tell you how--through a series of accidents and random events that resulted in his or her existence and through the subsequent array of indiscriminately accumulated knowledge and life experience that culminated in the writing of each individual list story. And what are you supposed to make of that? Absolutely nothing, that’s what!
5). List stories are a form of manipulation. Do you know why content providers choose to provide content in list form? Because they attract more clicks! And you fell for it! Sucker!
6) Follow much? Do you like to say, “Bah Bah,” wear a wool coat, and eat grass? Well, you should. Because you’re a dumb ass!
Well, that’s it. I’ve concocted the six reasons I promised in the title. Are you still with me, or did your mind and clicking finger wander off to some other emotionally-uplifting but otherwise mind-numbing form of content? If you’re still here, congratulations! You are now stupider than when you started.
Purvis McGrew is senior editor of the Daily Brass.