Are all previous lists now listicles?
As an expert in the field, Sir Gutbloom, can you pinpoint when did lists become listicles?
Guz Puz

Dear Mx. Puz,

In order for a list to become a listicle it has to be “ported” onto The Tubes. This is a technical process that involves full-stack coding and UX design (don’t worry, I’m just trying to add some buzz words so that this post gets some “views”).

In practice, this means that you can repurpose any old content as a listicle. For example, in my post “In Hell They Eat Mayonnaise” I took a threadbare metaphysic of condiments and turned it into a listicle, giving it new life and splattering it like a hippo across the Internet.

You’ll notice that I just gave myself a plug in the paragraph above, but, aware that nobody ever clicks on links to old articles, I’m confident that I can use the definition of listicle included in that post again here. To understand listicles, we turn to Humpty-Dumpty:

“But what is a listicle?” asked Alice.
“It’s another portmanteau,” said Humpty-Dumpty,
“just like slithy and mimsy.”
“But what does it mean?” asked Alice.
“Well, the two words are lips and testicle,
you know what testicles are, don’t you?” the old egg said with a lear.
“I’m afraid I don’t,” said Alice.

Now, even though I have used that quasi-joke three times on Medium, I’m not really sure what the point of it is. I guess I’m saying that listicles are like licking testicles… in order. Yes, a listicle is like licking testicles that have been numbered first with a magic marker or something. It’s not as funny as I thought. Maybe I should stop repeating it.

I used that same listicle definition when addressing a REAL LIVE LISTICLE EDITOR FROM BUZZFEED. You can see it in my response: Un-Oh, Katie Notopoulos, Urine Trouble. Don’t worry, you don’t have to read that either. She certainly never did, or else I would be hippo-splattering at Buzzfeed right now.

So, anyway, the short answer is “yes”, any list becomes a listicle when ported to the Internet. That said, a little massaging to make it more palatable to millennials is always helpful. For example, if you were going to port a famous list like the Decalogue it might look like this:

  1. I am the Lord your God
    No, I’m not delusional. Really. I am the Lord your God. What more proof do you need? Didn’t I just deliver you from Egypt?
  2. You shall not make for yourself an idol
    Not out of cheese, or gold, or decoupaged pictures of celebrities. The little plastic cows you get from Agway are really close to the line. I mean, they’re fine, but if I catch you offering them a soda cap full of water I’m calling sin on that. Really, why do you have to push it? You’re going to have a calf made out of brass, put it on the piano, and call it a sculpture? Are you trying to keep up your end of the bargain, or is this a joke to you?
  3. Do not take the name of the Lord in vain
    Vader, that is. Don’t take Vader’s name in vain, and don’t say “I find your lack of faith disturbing” when talking about whether there are more potato chips left in the bag. JUST KIDDING. It’s my name I don’t want you to take in vain. The Vader stuff is funny, tho, amirite? Nothing makes the Cherubim laugh like when I bust out the Vader voice, point at the Sun, and say, “don’t be too proud of this technological terror you’ve constructed.”

Unfortunately, Medium’s limited formatting makes many listicles hard. I’d like to make of listicle of “to do” items for Julius Caesar, like:

I. Ask the King of Bithynia for cab fare
II. Scold some pirates
III. Weep at the foot of a statue of Alexander
IV. Have statue taken destroyed when nobody’s looking
V. Cross the Rhine
VI. Cross the Rubicon
VII. Cross Pompey

Etc., etc. you get the idea, but it doesn’t work because Medium doesn’t support Roman numerals. I’d also like to do “Ten Things Isis Regretted About Reviving Osiris” but there is no hieroglyphic support either.

Medium doesn’t have the best listicle support, which is why its not Buzzfeed. Only Buzzfeed is Buzzfeed. That’s for the best, I think.

I hope this helped. I can’t imagine that it did, but thank you for your question.

A single golf clap? Or a long standing ovation?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.