Sunday, August 7, 2011

Quirky lists

One of the best ways to judge a person's character in the internet age is by reading the lists they write in online profiles. For those of you who are new to the international network ('internet', for short), this was not always so. In the nineties, getting-to-know-you question-and-answer lists circulating via electronic mail ('e-mail') on the intra-planetary lattice, or 'worldwide web', were mostly concerned with whether or not you ate the stems of broccoli. Hence their ability to convey to the reader the character of the person responding to the questions was quite limited. Because of social networking sites and web logs ('blogs'), more accurate assessments of character, such as delineating between wrong and right types of white Melburnians, are now possible. The wrong type of white Melburnian takes the act of list writing literally. To them it is just a list, not a work of art. Lists of interests displayed on the web profiles of the wrong types normally look something like this:

Hot showers
Watching movies
Going fishing with my Dad
Sleeping in
Catching up with friends

There's nothing wrong with this list of interests except that it's just a list of interests. Therefore it could not have been written by the right type of Melbourne white person, whose list of interests look more like this:

The donuts at Footscray station
Making lists
Frankston savers
Breakfast burritos
Marieke Hardy
World's End Press
Going off on tangents
Bad puns

White Melburnians believe a list of interests should be used to reflect intellect, cleverness, self-deprecation, humour, worldliness and competence. If you are about to write your own list of interests, remember that one of the most important features to convey is cleverness, but done in a cautious way so as not to totally overwhelm the reader with how clever you are. This is best accomplished by inserting into the list something self-referential like 'awesome alliterations'. The trick of list writing is to make the whole construction of the list appear effortless but expend a great deal of effort to accomplish this - which is a central feature of white Melburnian culture.

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