Maddening Rankings

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We Americans love to rank things. I don’t have a problem when the rankings are quantifiable. When I see the “Top Ten Fuel Efficient Cars“, I know that it’s a reliable list because the vehicles were tested under controlled conditions.

However, when the rankings are based on opinions, I tend to discredit them. How can anyone take these rankings seriously? The pre-season college football polls are at the top of my list. No games have been played, yet! “Best Places to Live” is useless to most people. Most of us tend to wind up living in our hometown or we “follow the money” and go where we can find work. The criteria used in this ranking is very subjective. How about “Best Colleges“? It’s all relative. The Princeton Review ranks West Virginia University at the top of the party school list. Funny, the story isn’t on WVU’s home page! I’ve got news for you. Eliminate the strict religious schools (not the Catholic ones!) and the commuter schools (i.e. UC-Clermont, where I teach) and then try to a find a college where partying doesn’t happen. That place doesn’t exist!

The other day I heard that there are world and national players’ rankings for – hold on to something – Madden 2008 Video Game Players ratings. I’m not talking about the ratings of the NFL players in the game. I’m talking about the guys who control the remotes with their thumbs! I know that we’re a video game culture, but that’s a bit much. I heard that the #1 ranked player makes some money off this, but this is not exactly a career track that is recommended by anyone with a lick of common sense.

I am not a gamer. I don’t have the patience to learn nor the time to play. On the other hand, I’m not in the “Video Games Are Bad for Us” camp, but I do wonder who needs a life more: the gamers or the ones who rank them.

Wednesday, August 22: Thoughts on Citizen Journalism

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