Sunday, 9 February 2014

Me? Ignorant? Rubbish. I’ve read more crap Wikipedia articles than anybody I know

Ah, how wonderful life was before the internet! Remember that? When people read for hours every night, hid their heads away in Encyclopaedias,  and spent hours retreating into dusky, pensive silence; when the women came and went, talking of Michelangelo...

No, me either. It’s tempting to suggest that because knowledge was harder to access before Google, people valued it more, made more effort to get it. But that’s not true, is it? You didn’t write something down every time you didn’t know it and look it up later. Most of the time you just ended up just not knowing stuff. 

This was knowledge before Wikipedia:   

YOU. (In pub). Hornets...
            FRIEND. Yeah.
            YOU. They... Like, nest in trees, don’t they?

A pause. Friend sips pint.

            FRIEND. No... I think they nest in flowers and stuff. Or something.
            YOU. You sure? I thought it was in trees.

Further pause. Friend sips pint.

            FRIEND. No, it’s definitely in flowers. The petals... I think so, anyway.
            YOU. Oh, right.
            FRIEND. I’m pretty sure.
YOU. Are you sure?
            FRIEND. Positive. I think...

Friend sips pint.

 FRIEND. Actually, you should probably look it up, to be honest.
YOU. Yeah. I wish there was somewhere I could do that.
FRIEND. Hmm. Well, you could always look it up in an “encyclopaedia”.

Both laugh.

            YOU. Yeah, I could, couldn’t I...
            FRIEND. I think they have them in libraries and stuff.
            YOU. Do they?
            FRIEND. Yeah. I think so, anyway. Or maybe you’ve got a friend who knows about hornets and stuff.
            YOU. (Thinking about it). Hmm... I can’t really think of one.
            FRIEND. No hornet-knowledgeable friends?
            YOU. Not off the top of my head, to be honest. (Thinks about it again). Besides, it just doesn’t seem really worth it, does it.
FRIEND. How do you mean?
YOU. I mean, going to all that trouble... just to find out something about hornets.
            FRIEND (After a long pause while they consider this). Nah. Not really.

Friend sips pint.