February 7, 2009

Those "25 Random Things About Me" lists are not random.

There is a pattern — a formula — expertly extracted here.


Wince said...

Sounds like a good place to go if you are trying to hack someone's password.

S.K. said...

Here's what I put down. Because ignoring it doesn't make it any better.

Shanna said...

The NYtimes and the Washington Post have done articles on this. Why on earth do they care? Although I wish I'd done the "make something up" one. But I'll admit one of mine was that I usually ignore lists like this (not the first one).

Host with the Most said...

Love the lists. Love 'em

Have read over 50 of them on friends, enemies, etc.

Love 'em.

Amy Harmon obviously doesn't "get" facebook. Ann doesn't get Facebook either; hell, she barely gets Twitter.

Amy's article is written in the the cool, elitist form that we've come to expect from the New York Times.

Which means 3 things:

1. Yawn

2. Amy Harmon won a Pulitzer Prize but is still an asshole.

3. The Times just doesn't "get" the majority of Americans. Which is okay, nut they should really stop talking as if they do.

Assholes.(That last one was gratuitous).

Freeman Hunt said...

I never read these from my friends on Facebook. I either know them well enough that I'm not interested in some contrived list about them, or I don't know them at all and so don't really care.

People in the comments here should come up with lists of 25 truly random things about themselves.

Freeman Hunt said...

If the 25 things are truly random, the lists should probably end up being more mundane and boring than contrived lists.

Freeman Hunt said...

Here are 25 truly random things about me:

(1) I bought oranges, bananas, blueberries, and strawberries two days ago.
(2) I am eating a banana.
(3) There is a Coke can on my desk.
(4) There is an orange piece of paper on my desk.
(5) I went to the park today.
(6) I need more lamps.
(7) Nevermind--this is too boring. That's why I don't read or write these lists.

vnjagvet said...

These lists sound like Just another version of those dratted form Holiday Letters you get from "old friends" around Christmas each year.

blake said...

OK, let's see.

1. I don't know if I like Randy Newman's scores better than Thomas's.

2. Terriers are not my favorite dogs but my favorite dog was a terrier.

3. My fiction is organized by author, so the number of books I've read on any given shelf is widely variable.

4. I was an expert in Greek mythology in 2nd grade.

5. My girls all have Greek middle names. Example: Amalthea. But it's middle names so they can hide that if they want.

6. All my children's first names were very popular in the year they were born even though I knew very few people by those names growing up. They're also very popular dog names.

OK, done.

Jennifer said...

I have been truly surprised at the way this has refused to die. I haven't read a single one of these lists. I did, however, read the linked formula list and it cracked me up.

Ok, one of those things is made up. I actually did read the first list I was "tagged" in, because I didn't understand the use of the word tagged. I thought it said something about me. I guess if I were to write a list now, I would have to admit that I am a narcissist with no interest in my friends.

Paddy O said...

This is the list I put together for Facebook a week or so ago:

1. In one day, I shed 10 billion skin flakes. This amounts to approximately two kilograms in a year.

2. I make anywhere from 1 to 3 pints of saliva every 24 hours

3. My slowest growing finger nail is on the thumb nail and my fastest growing is the finger nail on the middle finger.

4. The feet have approximately 250,000 sweat glands.

5. My face is made up of 14 bones.

6. I was born with 300 bones in my body, however now that I reached adulthood I only have 206 bones. This occurs because many of them joined together to make a single bone.

7. My thigh bone is stronger than concrete

8. My lungs move about 10,000 liters of air.

9. Close to fifty percent of the bacteria in my mouth lives on the surface of my tongue.

10. On average, one of my hair strands lives about five and a half years.

11. The pigment cells in my hair follicles have started to die.

12. My eye can distinguish 500 shades of the gray.

13. My cornea does not contain any blood vessels.

14. My brain is move active and thinks more at night than during the day.

15. Every square inch of my body has about 19,000,000 skin cells.

16. Every hour one billion cells in my body must be replaced.

17. My small intestine is about 2 inches around, and 22 feet long.

18. My aorta is the largest artery located in my body and is about the diameter of a garden hose.

19. My body requires about 88 pounds of oxygen daily.

20. Although now 6 feet tall, and about 210 pounds, I was once as small as a single cell. Though that was when I was very young.

21. My stomach has to produce a new layer of mucus every two weeks otherwise it will digest itself.

22. My eyes are the same size now as they were in late 1974.

23. My brain has about a 100 billion neurons.

24. 20% of the oxygen I take in is directed towards my brain.

25. I should be reading about Anglo-American Postmodernity right now.

Unknown said...

One of my friends did this one---at least partly in response to my declaration that I wasn't going to:

25 Generic Things About Me and 99% of Everybody Else on Facebook

Because I believe I’m not the only one on Facebook uninterested in littering the Internet with 25 more narcissistic – if even interesting – things about me, I’ve composed this list of 25 things about me that are more than likely true about you as well so you can help me stop the madness while doing little work of your own.

Rules: Modify and use as you see fit.

1. I've never sneezed with my eyes open.
2. It's easier for me to relax when I'm relatively stress-free.
3. Every square inch of my skin has over 20 feet of blood vessels in it! Isn't that wild?
4. My planet is home to millions and millions of other species integrated in a complex web of interdependencies. I call this the "biosphere".
5. I've never swallowed a whole cantaloupe or pineapple.
6. If asked to, I'd guess my head weighs somewhere between 6 and 12 pounds.
7. I consider myself social, but if I end up at a party where everybody is walking on their hands and speaking a language I don't even recognize, I might prefer to let others approach me first.
8. I laughed pretty hard the first time I saw that guy with the "get a brain morans" sign.
9. I'm actually not interested in trying to "prove you exist".
10. I'm so glad my arm isn't being torn off in some sort of agricultural accident right now.
11. In the past, I didn't really understand that it was wrong to poop in my pants, but since, I've been pretty good about not doing it.
12. I knew Madagascar is an island.
13. This one time I pointed my fingers at each other and brought them closer to my eyes and it was totally like there was a worm just floating there between them.
14. My pancreas is *supposed* to produce insulin, you dope.
15. It *is* an island, isn't it? Are you screwing with me? Tell me if you're screwing with me!
16. I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully.
17. I'd probably be shorter if my parents had malnourished me and kept me in this old chest that my great grandfather once owned.
18. There is no 18th random fact about me. (think ... get it? Ha ha ha, ROFLOL!!!!)
19. If I see a mime performing on the street tomorrow, I hope he doesn't eat me.
20. This one IDIOT HAD to either be STUPID or TRYING TO GET MY ORDER WRONG!!
21. I haven't been a Scientologist or anything really weird like that for a long time.
22. I've never seriously considered setting myself on fire like that monk in the picture from Vietnam.
23. If I had the opportunity to have dinner with any three people living or dead or receive a public flogging, I'd take the dinner.
24. If I'd certainly die without undergoing a somewhat risky medical procedure, I'd make my own decision regardless of what my family and friends say.
25. I read this list of 25 things a lot closer than any other.

Linus said...

I love it. The people who write or read the lists are narcissistic, boring and losers because they have enough free time to sit and write/read the thing. But then, people like the NY Times writer are narcissistic enough to believe that anyone (indeed many anyones) will give a crap about what SHE thinks about the lists, and that the time those anyones spend reading her clever (oh so clever!) article will be time well spent.

And the other folks who write the jokesy lists making fun of the other lists, they're just...what? Making an ironic metacomment about the foolishness of modern blah, blah, blah. Spare me.

Look, I'll just admit it. I AM narcissistic enough to think I have something interesting to say. I don't self-loathe because I write about my thoughts and opinions. Who does?

Also, to be honest, I laughed out loud at thinking about the hope that I am not eaten by a mime.

Ann Althouse said...

@Paddy Brilliant, but "23. My brain has about a 100 billion neurons" -- aren't you upset to think that the stimulus package has so many more dollars than your brain has neurons?

Ann Althouse said...

@mcg The meme so deserves that.

Ann Althouse said...

@mcg The meme so deserves that.

Ann Althouse said...

Speaking of narcissistic, I would love it if you would enumerate things about me that you know from my 5 years of blogging.

Host with the Most said...

Speaking of narcissistic, I would love it if you would enumerate things about me that you know from my 5 years of blogging.

1. Ann has a crush on the actress Penelope Cruz.

2. Ann enjoys getting a rise out of people by posting about "breasts".

3. Ann is not a very big friend of Glenn Greenwald. In fact, she despises his writing ability, particularly when he writes about her.

Kev said...

I guess I must be doubly narcissistic, because I posted 50 Fun Facts About Kev almost six years ago, before anyone was on Facebook (I'm still not on there, by the way).

Kev said...

Here's an obvious addition to Host's list:

4. Ann is not attracted to men who wear shorts.

Christy said...

I'm bummed. I have nothing "genuine and poignant about [my]self, such as untimely death of close relative or rare genetic condition." Unless you count my webbed toes?

theobromophile said...

The New York Times is pretending to understand a phenomenon that millions of people engage in by looking at a "representative sample" of six or seven, then arrives at its pre-determined conclusion? Shocking!

My list of 25 (or 21, because I couldn't come up with four more things that people didn't already know about me) didn't fall under that rubric at all.

I knew everything on one of my best friend's lists, but only knew about 3/4th of the stuff on my sister's list.

It was a fun thing to do, and reading other people's lists was even more fun, especially when there's cross-list discussion (Ayn Rand, chili, being a magnet for whack jobs, etc).

blake said...


4. Ann is not attracted to men who wear shorts.

Hmmm. Au contraire, a man who is particularly physically fit can get a waiver for shorts-wearing, particularly if the shorts are appropriate for the activity.

The "tell me 25 things about myself from the blog" is a trap! A trap, I tells ya!

Rose said...


Unknown said...

Wm. Shakespeare's Five and Twenty Random Things Abovt Me