10 Feb 2011, Posted by Jason Liu in Backpages, 1 Comments
Personally, I always viewed myself as someone with generally normal views. Spending almost four years here in the Duke community has allowed me to encounter people with interesting perspectives that contrast greatly from mine. Though I reveled in learning and understanding other viewpoints, little did I know, that maybe I was the one with the abnormal views this whole time. My journey through Wikipedia has let me see that I am probably way out of the consensus of not just Duke but the world.
With Wikipedia, I found that the best way to see how important something is to society in general is to see how long the page for it. Longer Wikipedia entries indicate that most likely, more sources about the subject will be cited, indicating a larger general interest in said subject. Since Wikipedia is volunteer edited and submitted, long entries are easily prone to vandalism and such. Because of that, seeing the lack of errors and pranks in long entries is also a sign of importance because that means more volunteers are willing to make sure that the proper information goes out.
With that in mind, I decided to do some exploring in Wikipedia to learn about what the world considers more important than Evangeline Lilly, who played Kate on Lost. Lost if you did not know, is quite possibly the greatest show ever. So playing one of the most important characters on Lost has got to mean something right? Instead, I find a few surprises about how off my views were as compared to the world’s.
1. The fat acceptance movement: With obesity and heart disease rapidly increasing with no end in sight in this country, I thought people were in general pretty OK with expanding waistbands. We seem more likely to judge someone as too skinny these days anyways (Nicole Richie anyone?). Plus, the character Hurley on Lost was a definite fan favorite. One of the most entertaining characters on Glee is fat. I honestly would not have guessed that fat acceptance needed a movement, let alone a Wikipedia page, especially when all signs point to society already being reasonably accepting of body size differences.
2. Carlos Mencia: This comedian is more famous for sucking and ripping others off than for actually making people laugh. Considering how lame he is, how does he get a Wikipedia page longer than an actress who starred on a show with a large and zealous fan base? She even got positive reviews for her acting. The sky must be falling; Hell must be freezing over. Basic cable must be getting worse than it already is.
3. Ivan van Sertima: Most people do not even know or care who this person is. Courtesy of the random article link on Wikipedia, I discovered he is basically some hack proponent of pseudo-history who ended up teaching at Rutgers and even once testifying for a congressional hearing. One would describe him as a very good example of academia gone wrong. Evangeline Lilly knew that she was playing a fictional character when signed on for Lost. I would figure that people involved at Rutgers would have done their best to hide his Wikipedia page so that no one would know how embarrassing he was to the school.
Jason Liu is a Pratt senior. His online column will run every Thursday.