Top 10 Linkbait Top 10 Lists We Could Have Done But Didn’t
We as humans extract some kind of perverse enjoyment and affirmation out of seeing items or ideas grouped together in numbers commensurate to the amount of fingers the average human has. We see these groups of items or ideas and we say to ourselves, “Yes, this is the perfect number of things to look at on a website in one sitting; yes, this is the perfect number of fingers to have. Good job, website. Good job, humanity.” Websites, conversely, enjoy top tens, because they attract views; views, it turns out, are how websites make money.
And so here are a list of 10 top 10 lists we would have done if we only cared about money, and not being nominated for awards and then not winning them.
One time-tested method of grabbing attention is to court controversy. There is a certain three-digit percentage of comics fandom whose reaction to the idea that Batman could be beaten by any man, animal, or deity in a fight would be akin to that of someone on the Catholic4Lyfe forums seeing a list of ten people less fallible than the Pope. That said, let's not go too crazy: the list would just be Goku at ten different stages of his development.
Boy, the comics internet sure is mad about an Oscar-winning Hollywood mega-star being cast in a blockbuster movie, huh? Anyway, let's capitalize on that rage by pandering to nerds' weird, fetishistic desires by listing some actors who, if it were up to fans, would be cast as absolutely everything, but who will never in a million years be Batman. It's your turn in the cowl, Nathan Fillion, Idris Elba, Richard Ayoade, Kevin Conroy, Jon Hamm, and/or Tilda Swinton!
On the flip side of the coin is this list, a companion piece to my 2007 article about why Heath Ledger is the worst possible choice to play the Joker. Here I will take some potshots at easy targets based on incomplete knowledge of their past performances, and you will laugh and laugh while picturing someone outside your own personal vision of a fictional character playing the role. Rob Schneider! As Batman, can you imagine? Wow! Pauly Shore, am I right? Wait, wait, what about Rob Liefeld? He's pretty popular to make fun of on the internet, right? Anyway, I welcome your accolades.
Look, you might think that all I did was troll DeviantArt for half an hour and save the first ten pictures of Batman I found before sending in an invoice and going off to play GTAV. False. You underestimate the amount of work that goes into a list like this: not only did I have to weed out all the drawings where Batman is, ahem, marrying Twilight Sparkle, then I had to Photoshop out all the watermarks and artist signatures, and then if I chose to credit or link back to the artist at all, I had to make sure I do so in such an inept fashion that it fails to benefit the artist in any way.
The world is full of terrible things, my friends: racism, sexism, civil war in Syria, an obstructionist Congress threatening once again to let the country default on its debts, superstorms, unprecedented income inequality. Holy cow. Some days it feels like there is no relief from this onslaught of stresses, pressures, atrocities and nightmares. I have good news: here are ten pictures I stole from the internet featuring Batman walking across a log with a character created by a guy who would probably rather take a lungful of sarin gas than know that these drawings exist.
More like $chadenfreude.
Jeez, being an introvert is hard, right? I mean, just reading a sentence written by another person probably depleted your energy reserves so much you had to go take a nap with all the shades drawn, I bet. Anyway, even though I'm going to try to succinctly but completely define your entire personality with ten sweeping bullet point generalizations, the fact is you are a special and unique creation whom no one understands and who is completely different from every other living being...except Batman, whom you are 100% like.
Remember the 90s? I sure don't. As an unfortunate side effect of having been born too early, I have a decade-long Nixonian-style gap in my recollection, as does anyone who was not born in the years that Full House was in production. Fortunately, I found a barista in his early 20s who was willing to tell me everything he remembered about Batman. The bad news is, this was only three items, so I padded out the rest of the list with information I found on the back of some Batman Forever stickers I bought at the peddler's mall.
Another cool way to grab people's attention is to make bold, objective claims about subjective topics, such as the relative worth of a fictional character. I think we all agree that the ideal Justice League would just be seven Batmans, but for some reason the suits at DC keep insisting on putting dumb other characters on the team. And so there are dozens of options for me to choose from for this poorly-researched, distressingly uninformed list. These lists are similar to watching Family Guy in that the challenge is to see how far in you can get before it gets, like, super racist.
Okay, let's start: #10, Vibe.
Oh f**k, it's harder than I thought.
If my decades of training as a pick-up artiste have taught me anything, it's that sometimes you gotta go neg if you want to seal the deal. Life isn't always awesome (Batman); sometimes it's terrible (Aquaman). People want to see this reality reflected in their top ten lists. The good news is, I have decades of jokes from every comedian who has ever seen an episode of Super Friends to crib from. You've heard them, but you only ever want to hear them. They comfort you. You welcome them. I repeat them, you embrace them. “He talks to fish,” I say. “That's so lame,” you repeat to yourself, nodding gently. Miles away, someone else reads the same joke at the same time. He nods. A continent away, the same. She nods. I nod. We all nod together. Yes, we say. Aquaman talks to fish. So lame.
Soon, you laugh. I laugh. Together, we laugh. All of us laugh together. Hahahah, we say. One by one, the stars above us blink out of existence. We've done it. We've done it.