Articles You Can Write When You’re Out of Time and Self-Respect

Half Ass Listicles That Are More ‘List’ than ‘Icles’

Let’s treat the irony here like the prize Weimaraner at a Dog and Pony show and put it front and center. Because this article is basically a listicle, right? I’m writing an article that’s really a list, and have done so in the past, so I’m basically writing an article shitting all over my own practices, like some sort of awful Human Centipede mobius strip.

But wait! I’m not spending some of the finite time I have on this planet to bitch about all listicles. The definition listed on Wikipedia states that a listicle is “a short-form of writing that uses a list as its thematic structure, but is fleshed out with sufficient copy to be published as an article.” When done properly, listicles can be informative and entertaining. I spent a very large chunk of the late 2000’s reading a lot of cracked.com. Early 2010’s? I don’t know, way before the company imploded in on itself and jettisoned all its best talent out of a t-shirt cannon.

I’m talking about the listicles that don’t pay enough attention to the bolded second half of the definition. The ones that just sort of string a bunch of images, or videos, or tweets together and then offer some sort of single-lined zinger that barely lands, and the whole things reeks of some underpaid, over-exhausted twenty-seven year old rubbing their last two brain cells together to get something that sort of smells vaguely of humor onto a document so they can publish the whole thing at 5:59 on a Friday and race out to their shitty 2008 Kia Sorento, drive back to their shoebox apartment, and get blitzed on White Claws and legal marijuana on their tiny balcony.

Like, don’t get me wrong, I’m glad they got paid for this dreck, but do they really want their name on it? I’ve taken massive dumps at work on a Friday afternoon too but I never fucking signed the toilet seat.

X Celebrity Did Y Mundane Thing

I’m not much of a celebrity gossip person myself, but I don’t begrudge people who are and I even get it, to a certain extent. We all have the stupid little things that brighten up our day and as long as they’re not harming anything there’s no shame in that. My thing is obviously bullshit stories on Reddit, so if your thing is hearing about the next woman Pete Davidson managed to trick into repeatedly sleeping with him, that’s cool.

What I fully don’t understand are the articles that are basically no more than a bunch of shitty paparazzi pictures of some celebrity doing something completely boring and mundane, but the article is acting like its some sort of revelation, or even a sign of Revelation. Like, the ones that just show a makeup-less Brie Larson in a t shirt and sweatpants walking out of a corner store, or Jason Momoa arriving at an airport, and the written equivalent of that TMZ voice-over having a full-body meltdown over the fact that they’re existing as people on this mortal plane. Bonus points if the whole point of the article is how they’ve ‘gotten fat,’ as if keeping the sort of physique superheroes are supposed to have isn’t both incredibly time consuming and bonkers dangerous.

“I Improved My Lasagnas With This One Small Trick!”

I search for a lot of recipes online, so my Google news feed on my phone is filled with tasteless crap like this. An entire 500-1000 words, all written to couch a single sentence. Usually an obvious sentence, too. I click on these things expecting something, not life changing because I have more self-respect than that, but at least…ingenious, maybe? Unexpected? Alas, after scanning through three full paragraphs I finally get midway through the fourth paragraph and find out the tips is something inane like, ‘Instead of plain ground beef, I use sliced meatballs!’ Like yeah, thanks Jennifer Dupris from San Jose, I never would have figured that one out by myself.

Even if they are good tips, they absolutely do not need to be in their own article. Even slapping that shit into a half-assed Buzzfeed listicle titled ’27 Cooking Tips from the Internet You’ll Never See Coming’ would be better. And speaking of curating the internet…

Articles That Literally Sum Up A Reddit Post and Some of the Responses and Nothing Else of Value Happens in the Article

I’m not even talking about all the times Buzzfeed or other agencies go into large, super-popular Ask Reddit threads and cherry pick all the good answers. Even those serve some sort of purpose, as some of those threads can get huge with thousands of replies, and having some one else sort through the actual good answers and serve them up to you can be easier than sifting through all the meta-references and karma farming bots.

No, what I keep seeing on my Google news feed lately are articles from Newsweek where a presumably paid human being is poorly summarizing a Reddit post instead of, you know, linking the actual post. And there is no link to be found in the article. I have clicked into a couple of these, hoping that somewhere in the mess of completely useless nouns and verbs and conjugation, I will find a link to the actual story almost always from r/AmITheAsshole or r/RelationshipAdvice or some other subreddit that has the juicy bits.

There is no link. There are plenty of random words that link to other Newsweek articles, but no link back to the actual story. They will even use the word Reddit. And they will have Reddit underlined. And you will think that it will take you to the actual Reddit page. You would be wrong. Instead, it brings you to a collect of other Newsweek articles where they have shamelessly summarized other Reddit posts.

They even collect some of the responses and list them out at the end. It’s exactly what I subject my husband to, except I don’t write it out and then email it to him, I just spit it all out through excited giggles and mouthfuls of breakfast. Fuck, man, if I knew I could paid for rewriting stuff other people wrote for free I would have been doing that ages ago.


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