Journalism, that once noble art, has been superseded by articles that all begin the same way. The (number) best (noun) ever.
The 21 best beaches.
The 36 best slices of pizza.
The 44 best movies.
The 18 best condiments.
The 61 best time timesheets.
The thing about such lists is that they're enticing.
Oh, I know. They get clicks.
And that's all that matters.
So eyeballs see web ads.
There was a time, and it wasn't that long ago, that the paucity of space (as well as its concomitant price) and the scarcity of channels was a small stop-gap against airing absolute crap.
But now cable channels and YouTube videos proliferate like rabbits infused with Spanish Fly.
There's more room for absolute garbage than ever before.
Worse, we get enticed by it.
And waste time--that one thing (besides compassion) that we have too little of.
The metaphor that's apt is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. An eddy of plastic garbage that's estimated to be as large as six million square miles--roughly 10% of the size of the Pacific Ocean.
This is what's produced each day and stored on hundreds of square miles of servers.