From Al Capone to the listicles

Al Capone (1899-1947), the infamous boss of an efficient organized crime empire, was officially called ”public enemy number one” in 1930 by the Chicago authorities. As we know, ”there is nothing new under the Sun”, even in the Roman times Cicero used the notion of public enemy (host publicus). The Chicago Crime Commission released a list of twenty-eight men labeled ”public enemies”, and Al Capone’s name was on the top of the list. He also leads the list of the The 17 most notorious mobsters from Chicago, as he managed to combine the characters of a mobster as a pop star. It is not surprising that history.com published a listicle with the title 8 Things You Should Know About Al Capone. Totally accidentally, an article in magazine of the University of Chicago (written by the linguist Arika Okrent) nicely explains that listicle is a literary form, similarly as limerick or haiku. If you see a number in the title of the listicle, you already know an important information about the quantity you suppose to receive. You could decide, yes, I am ready to spend a specified affordable time to know her list. Probably still number ten appears most frequently in the titles, other numbers are selected to make a little more fun. Listicles provide ordered lists, so in the title announces that ”The best of”, ”The most of “, or the ”The worst of” something or somebody will be listed. Our brains like the flow of linearly arranged items, so we buy it.

Here is my first haiku:

Three lines – one listicle 

Our brains like lists
the number of items known
oh, the end is here.

4 thoughts on “From Al Capone to the listicles”

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