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viewpoint

Ranking the spineless, copycat rankers

| Wednesday, November 7, 2018

At the beginning of the “Dark Knight,” a group of five or so men dressed as Batman attempt to break up a drug trade dispute in a parking garage. They put up a valiant fight with their average weapons against ravenous dogs but it was not until the Batmobile and the real Batman’s superior fighting skills arrived that the enemy was detained. Interestingly enough, Batman actually fought the other impersonating Batmen even though they only wanted to help. Is it not noble to want to fight crime, Batman? Although everyone knows they wanted to help, Batman seems to have a problem with their stealing of his artistic intent.

Now I am not saying I am Batman, even though no one has actually seen me and Batman in the same room at the same time, but I understand his predicament. See, my column at the Observer for the last year has been ranking things. I have ranked the Holy Trinity, emails from Father Jenkins, things my white friends like, Danish words and so on, and I pride myself on the sheer absurdity of not only the rankings but the fact that I give off the aura that I somehow have dominion over such topics on if the Son should be higher than the Holy Spirit in a power ranking.

If you look up rankings on the Observer’s website there are sparse ranking columns from before 2017. Of course, there are many sports columns that rank college football contenders or NBA MVP finalists, which I have no issue with. In Viewpoint or Scene, however, there are one or maybe two columns a year that rank pop culture, like ranking Girl Scout cookies, Bond movies or the like. In 2017, I thought I found a niche in an untapped theme and began my first ranking with “Screw it, we are ranking the halls.” Since then, I have a ranking almost every two weeks on the absurd topics I mentioned above and much more. I felt I had a unique twist to normal Observer columns and I could be described as the ranker, the one who takes the seemingly unrankable and categorizes them.

Inevitably, the Batman copycats came. This year, on September 13, Charlie Kenney ranked the campus breakfast sandwiches a week after I ranked the campus bathrooms. That’s all well, there is usually one ranking a semester anyways, and Charlie had to put in a lot of time to try all these sandwiches. But then more than a month later, Lucy Collins put together her top-five bad guys for movie villains a day after I ranked American regions. In an increasing rate, Jordan Cockrum ranked the Starbucks Fall menu the next day and only three days after that did Claire Rafford rank Spotify playlists. The issue is at a boiling point, and I felt after my friends pressured me with each successive column, I had to mount a response.

I do not know any of these other authors at all, and — for the most part — their columns were entertaining. I especially like the less-serious articles the Observer puts out, but I have to remind everyone who the real Batman is. So I will do what I know how to do best, and rank them in different topics:

Favorite to read

1. Ranking the Campus Breakfast Sandwiches
2. Ranking the Spotify Playlists
3. Top-five bad guys
4. Ranking the Starbucks’ fall latte menu

I love what Charlie did with the sandwiches because it gave a personal Notre Dame filter to rankings, and it is not such an easily thought of topic, but he put the effort in. Spotify playlists were similar and I wouldn’t think to rank them. Although that column expanded my musical knowledge, it was a little too niche to be ranked high. Top-five bad guys is a good topic, but I just did not feel there was enough content to warrant a whole column, and the use of a gendered pronoun in the title does not sit well with this Portlander. Lastly, Starbucks menu rankings is the equivalent of bleach, both from the taste it leaves in my mouth and the high pH.

Ranking the last names of the impersonators:

1. Cockrum
2. Rafford
3. Kenney
4. Collins

There is nothing wrong with the name Collins, but it is a little too bland to be pushed ahead of the other three. Kenney is good, with a twist on the more common male first name. I really do not have a reason to like the last name Rafford but it flows off the tongue easily, is not extremely common but still easily pronounceable. Cockrum should be obvious, anyone would love that strong Scottish name origin.

Ranking the “Ranking Writers” on originality:

1. Davis Gonsalves
5. Jordan Cockrum
5. Lucy Collins
5. Charlie Kenney
5. Claire Rafford

Oh crazy, everyone but me is tied for last. I do not claim to have invented rankings but I do claim to have popularized them. Call me Henry Ford for inventing the assembly line even though Karl Benz actually invented the car. I think these other rankings are good for The Observer, but when the impersonating Batmen asked what separates them from the real Batman, he simply said, “I’m not wearing hockey pads.” There is a quality jump that needs to be addressed, so that when you read your next ranking column in this publication, you remember who will always be number one.  

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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About Davis Gonsalves

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