Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Why our generation is smarter and overall better than everyone else's

What defines our generation? Touch screen cell phones, 3-D movies, motion gaming, the ubiquity of laptop computers, web chat, and Facebook are all technological advances that we will look back on as the things that came to power during the rise of our generation.

But, like, fuck all that.

The most important and by far most under-appreciated invention that has come to pass over the last ten years is Wikipedia.

We use Facebook about a tenth as much as we use Wikipedia. Think about how dumb that is, kinda. Not that Facebook is a waste of time. But Wikipedia is a knowledge universe unparalleled by any other knowledge source ever attempted in the history of mankind. It is an always accessible encyclopedia that not only branches out in terms of the width of what it covers but also it updates with time so that there is no need to, I don't know, purchase a whole other set of 24-28 volumes of encyclopedias costing several hundred dollars whenever a technological generation passes.

Also, it's not just an Encyclopedia. Since the content is limitless, there is just exponentially more made available that isn't necessary but is nice to know. You can creep on your favorite celebrities and put an honest effort into trying to find out why the Kardashians are famous. You can look up your favorite sports team to gain a solid background on them. Nick Dietrich could follow on the great joke I thought up to become a gigantic Lakers fan but continue to know nothing else about popular culture or sports. Wikipedia could aid that effort.


Random things I've decided I want to know for the purpose of this post:

How many home runs Kevin Millar hit in 2002.
How much money that shitty Batman movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger made.
Who lost the election to Arnold Schwarzenegger in California and what year he was elected.
Who had the most decisive Presidential victory in the history of America (other than George Washington)
Whether Friends or Seinfeld had more episodes.
On what day did Britney Spears shave her head?
When did Stephen Colbert's show first air?
What year the Sears tower was built.
Something crazy I never knew about the Lion King.


Now I head over to Wikipedia, if I can't answer one of those, I can't answer that. I'm just puttin' this juggernaut to the test.

...not on there. Good start.
107.3 M North America, 130.9 M internationally, (238.2 M)
Closest candidate, Democrat Cruz Bustamante (31% of vote)
James Monroe in 1820 (231 to 1 over John Quincy Adams)
Friends had 236, Seinfeld had 180.
February 17, 2007.
October 17, 2005
The same guy who did the score for The Lion King also did the score for Batman Begins and The Dark Knight (Hans Zimmer)

That took like ten minutes in total.

And Kevin Millar hit 16 home runs in 2002. I just had to look on ESPN. That cost me another 50 seconds.

The point is, I can know anything I damn well please. All I have to do is look it up. It's on the internet somewhere, probably on Wikipedia, maybe somewhere slightly more specific. I feel like the kind of instantaneous knowledge is something completely new that we have yet to fully appreciate. That's why the internet is so great. But if Wikipedia didn't work out, we would be just not as intelligent. If the apocalypse happens, and ten people survive, they will be alright rebuilding humanity if they can access Wikipedia. It has everything on it. Everything. It will have everything on it until everything ceases to exist. I think it is arguably the greatest creation of all time. OF ALL TIME. It sounds absurd, at first we liked Facebook more, but now we don't. We realize Wikipedia is great. But of all time? Think about it, a single website that contains about 80% of all known things in the world. It's in one place. You can get there instantly. You search by typing in six letters as opposed to wandering around the Dewey Decimal System. You can seamlessly hop from page to page for hours because of the hyperlinks. Nothing has ever done what Wikipedia has done as well as Wikipedia has done it.

That is this generation. Instant knowledge, superior literacy, and constant change that only saps like us could handle. Facebook is a good proprietor of what we're about. But damn, Wikipedia is such a bigger deal.

And what do people say about Wikipedia? "Anybody can put anything they want on there, so it's not a legitimate resource."


For funsies, I, about one paragraph into this post, went onto Wikipedia and searched the word blanket. There's quite a bit of information about blankets there, you should check it out. I picked a paragraph and inserted a quip that I can't remember but involved defecating on blankets by the shitscums who vandalize Wikipedia. The rest of this post later, IT'S ALREADY BEEN CORRECTED. Some guy got mad at me. He told me not to do it again. It's fixed. Presto.

That took like ten minutes. Don't act like Wikipedia doesn't have the best security *blanket* around.

Wikipedia is celebrating it's tenth birthday this year. It's a ten year old project that is the end-all be-all source for useless and non-useless information alike. I don't think there was a single concept that was in my Psychology class this semester that I couldn't have found on Wikipedia. But it's still growing, though it's relatively set in its ways. You won't see Wikipedia with a new layout. Wikipedia doesn't have to appeal to you. You just have to understand that it's important and helpful and so you use it. It's not going to fail, because people will always need to know stuff.

You could become so smart, if you just used your time wisely on there. Wikipedia is an easy sidetrack in addition to being a clever informational source. You could spend hours poring over bands and discographies, trying to figure out whether your favorite pop-star writes her own lyrics. There's a lot of stupid shit on Wikipedia. Matt Millen has a page. Matt Millen isn't important. You know what else isn't important? This blog. Let's keep doin' this shit until we find ourselves on Wikipedia.

So here's to Classic Brian, the pursuit of recognition, and being part of the greatest and smartest generation of all time. You may know more than me right now, but I know everything that Wikipedia knows. The only thing separating me is one little click.

--Eliot Sill


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I like this post. I like Wikipedia. I like being better than other generations. I like that you mentioned me.