Why I Love Wikipedia

Friday, October 9th, 2009

Wikipedia has democratized access to information, and that’s great. My love of Wikipedia, however, really comes from the areas where its ridiculousness shines through.

Obsession With Canon

In this portion of an article on the Saved By The Bell character Zack Morris, we can see Wikipedia’s collective obsession with canon for TV shows, movies, and more:

Mark-Paul Gosselaar appeared on the late night talk show in character as Zack in response to Fallon’s ongoing attempt to reunite the original cast. During the segment Zack explained that he and Kelly were divorced. The segment also implied he was still interested in Stacy Carosi. Whether or not this appearance is considered canon is unclear. [Link]

Wow.

Attention to Detail

This snippet from an article on astronaut Harrison Schmitt shows incredible attention to detail on both who the last man on the moon was and the difference between being a member of the armed forces and a civilian:

He is the last of the Apollo astronauts to arrive and set foot on the Moon (crewmate Eugene Cernan exited the Apollo Lunar Module first). However, as Schmitt re-entered the module first, Cernan became the last astronaut to walk on and depart the moon. Schmitt is also the first — and so far only — person to have walked on the Moon who was never a member of the United States Armed Forces (he is not the first civilian; Neil Armstrong left military service prior to his landing in 1969). [Link]

Now that’s nit-picky!

Random Laughs

I think my favorite thing of all about Wikipedia, however, is the random bits of amusing trivia I find. For instance, on the section of notable inhabitants of Contoocook, NH, we find this:

Rose Flanders Bascom, who was born in Contoocook in 1880, joined the circus and became a noted female lion tamer before dying of a lion mauling.

Or on the page for the M*A*S*H theme Suicide is Painless, there’s this:

Mike Altman is the son of the original film’s director, Robert Altman, and was 14 years old when he composed the song’s lyrics. During an appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson in the 1980s, Robert Altman said that his son earned more than a million dollars for co-writing the song while he only made $70,000 for directing the movie.

And let’s not forget the many hilarious images, like this one of the flag of the Benin Empire:

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Who knew an encyclopedia could be good for a laugh?

Looking for More?

If you want to find more great bits from Wikipedia, you could blow hours on the Best of Wikipedia.


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