If there’s one thing Milwaukee is good at, it’s appearing on dopey online lists—or “listicles,” if you’re nasty. Yes, there’s something about the Brew City that makes it a perennial go-to name for lists of 10 Cities Millennials Can’t Stop Kvetching About, 15 Cities More Full Of Themselves Than Portland, or 300 Cities That Start With The Letter “M.” Normally, Milwaukee Record’s Monday morning Tracklist feature tries to combat arbitrary online listicles with lists that actually, you know, contain some insider knowledge, but today we wade into the shallow end of the pool and present a list of other lists.
1. 11 Cities You Wouldn’t Expect For Tech (Verigent)
Surprise was part of this listicle’s click-friendly DNA—Boise? A tech town? I wouldn’t have expected that!—but Milwaukee’s #1 spot was downright flabbergasting. Why? Maybe because it was based on absolutely no evidence whatsoever. Soon after everyone and their mother (and the Milwaukee Business Journal) shared the shit out of this list, Journal Sentinel reporter Rick Romell did some—gasp!—reporting, and found that Verigent relied on nothing more than “anecdotal news articles,” “online buzz,” and other online lists to compile its “tech city” list. The Business Journal, in return, sheepishly played the “Well, at least it created discussion!” card when confronted with the non-evidence.
2. 14 Underrated Places You’ll Really Want To Move To (BuzzFeed)
BuzzFeed may be king of listicles, but sometimes even the king likes to take time off from “30 More Full House GIFs That Prove You Were A ’90s Kid Without Cable” and phone one in. Take its 2014 “underrated places” list, which lumps Milwaukee in with such non-underrated cities as Eugene, Oregon and Athens, Georgia. “The unsung gem of the Midwest,” sighs BuzzFeed about Milwaukee, “this little city offers everything from an eclectic music scene to the House of Harley-Davidson.” Music and Harley-Davidson? Who’s ready to move?!
3. America’s Manliest Cities (Combos)
When it comes to judging a city’s rugged masculinity and/or its hypothetical balls, we typically turn to America’s number one “The Snickers are all gone”-vending-machine-snack, Combos. Yes, the pretzel-and-cheese-like-goo purveyors gave Milwaukee a #19 spot on their 2012 list of “manliest cities.” It’s hard to determine what’s more confusing: Combos’ criteria for its rankings, or the fact that Milwaukee landed at #8 the year before.
4. The 20 Manliest Hotels In America (Men’s Health)
Fuck Combos. When it comes to outdated and stereotypical guy shit, Men’s Health magazine is the hands-down, supplement-gobbling expert. So who are we to argue with its inclusion of The Iron Horse Hotel on its list of “manly” hotels? But argue we shall: Yes, the hotel is a gorgeous local gem, and its biker-friendly vibe and proximity to the Harley-Davidson Museum are certainly dude-tastic, but should the word “boutique” be anywhere near a Maxim-esque list of “manly” things?
5. The 10 Most Sinful Cities In America (Motovo)
When it comes to bottom-feeding websites that crank out useless city-based listicles, one has to stand in awe of Motovo. “Starting conversations about cities” is the site’s motto, though it may as well be “Hey, we mentioned your city. Just click on this shit already.” In 2013, one of Motovo’s “Content Managers” got high, watched Se7en for the 8,000th time, and crafted a “sinful cities” list based on the seven deadly sins. Milwaukee landed at #6, due to things like strip clubs per capita (Lust), cosmetic surgeons per capita (Pride), and, um, percentage of physically inactive residents (Sloth). Sadly, the question of “WHAT’S IN THE BOX?” was never addressed.
6. The 10 Most Exciting Cities In America (Motovo)
Like most Motovo lists, “The 10 Most Exciting Cities In America” is dumb, but there’s a method to its madness—namely bars per square mile, populations diversity, music venues per square mile, and more. But putting Milwaukee at #7 for 2014—more exciting than Portland, Oregon, and almost as exciting as New York City—seems more pandering than scientific. File this one under: “Really?”
7. Top 10 Cities For Trick Or Treating (Zillow)
Real estate website Zillow loves to pull some serious Freakonomics by drawing bizarre conclusions based on real estate data. For its recent “Trick-or-Treat index,” variables like home value, population density, “walkability,” and crime data were used to anoint Milwaukee as the 16th best city for Halloween candy-junkies. With variables like those, Milwaukee could easily score a sweet spot on almost any list: The 25 Best Cities For Selling Girl Scout Cookies, the Top 10 Cities For Impromptu Street Hockey Games, etc.
8. The Top 25 Most Uniquely American Cities And Towns (Newsmax)
Want to get on the good side of a right-wing website? (Yes, of course you do.) Just get voted as the nation’s “Most Patriotic City” by the Paralyzed Veterans of America, and you’ll sure to be considered for a list of “uniquely American cities and towns!”
9. Cooking Light Best Cities Awards (Cooking Light)
In the wake of the 2014 Wisconsin State Fair and all its death-defying food stuffs, it’s amusing to think that an organization priding itself on healthy eating would consider Milwaukee a “great city.” And yet there Milwaukee is at #8 in Cooking Light’s 2007 list of “best cities.” Beans & Barley and our many farmers’ markets are lauded, along with our “low percentage of population with diabetes.” Peanut Butter Bacon Bison Burgers and “Dynamite Sticks,” sadly, don’t merit a mention.
10. America’s Craziest Cities (The Daily Beast)
There’s semi-sound listlicle methodology, and then there’s semi-ridiculous listcle methodology. In 2010, The Daily Beast got cute and ranked America’s “craziest cities” by adding up psychiatrists per capita, stress, eccentricity, and drinking levels. Incredibly, Milwaukee came in at #4 (we have 10 psychiatrists per capita!) For further proof of our innate insanity, The Daily Beast gave a shout-out to that guy who ate more than 23,000 Big Macs. That guy, of course, lives in Fond du Lac.
Honorable mention: Best Venue To See A Show (Alternative Press)
Reader polls don’t qualify as listicles, but it’s worth nothing that in 2011, Alternative Press readers named The Rave the “best venue to see a show.” Like, in the entire country. For live music. Go figure.