Things I know you would like

I think Stuff White People Like is an incredibly funny site. But it would work just as well if it was called Stuff Yuppies Like.

Today's nice-article-I-wish-I-had-written is The Charms of Wikipedia. Now how can I get Spellcheck to read it?:

The steady influx of top-hat-and-spatted sources elevated Wikipedia's tone. This wasn't just a school encyclopedia, a backyard Encarta—this was drinks at the faculty club. You looked up Diogenes and bang, you got something wondrously finished-sounding from the 1911 Britannica. That became Diogenes' point of departure. And then all kinds of changes happened to the Greek philosopher, over many months and hundreds of revisions—odd theories, prose about the habits of dogs, rewordings, corrections of corrections. Now in Wikipedia there is this summary of Diogenes' provocations:

Diogenes is said to have eaten (and, once, masturbated) in the marketplace, urinated on some people who insulted him, defecated in the theatre, and pointed at people with his middle finger.

And yet amid the modern aggregate, some curvy prose from the 1911 Britannica still survives verbatim:

Both in ancient and in modern times, his personality has appealed strongly to sculptors and to painters.

The fragments from original sources persist like those stony bits of classical buildings incorporated in a medieval wall.

More here on the addictive nature of wikipedia. But as usual the astonishing Randall Munroe says it best.


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