Saturday, July 17, 2010
Let me warn you upfront, this oneâs a bit rude.
So I was just being a vain fool late at night and decided to do a Wikipedia search for my name.
Now hereâs the thing: a lot of my blog entries have been cited in Wikipedia entries â some under my real name, âDemetrius Romeoâ, which I was still using when I started blogging, some under the name Iâm more commonly known by, âDom Romeoâ.
Imagine my surprise when, reading through the list of results to the âDemetrius Romeoâ search, having passed entries for Tara Moss and Akmal Saleh that link to this here blog, I got to the 13th item. Itâs between entries for the New York City Balletâs Spring 2009 repertory and A Midsummer Nightâs Dream.
Thatâs pretty funny.
But I knew what it was about â when I interviewed Graeme Garden for the first Goodies reunion tour of Australia, he commented about campus life at Cambridge University, where he cut his teeth in student revue, by making a joke about being a member of the Cambridge University National Trust Society. Think about it as an acronym.
There it is in the Wikipedia entry, under the âSpoonerisms and acronymsâ heading, in the âLinguistic variants and derivativesâ section. The references is footnoted as number 81. The 81st footnote sends you to the Graeme Garden interview on this blog.
But the best thing in this Wikipedia entry is the âSee Alsoâ section. It re-directs to another entry, for âScunthorpe Problemâ. The âScunthorpe Problemâ is the internet phenomenon of spam filters preventing messages getting through because they include certain innocent words that contain a combination of letters that constitute a banned word. âScunthorpeâ, the name of a town in North Lancashire is one such word that causes spam filters to block a message. In fact, in 1996, residents from Scunthorpe could not register email addresses with AOL, because of that special combination of letters contained in the name of their town. Penistone in Yorkshire gave rise to similar problems. So did Lightwater in Surrey, and the Lancastrian town Clitheroe .
But my favourite part of the entry carried the title âNews articles damagedâ. Turns out a news site run by the American Family Association (AFA) automatically censored articles. So a piece on sprinter Tyson Gay defaulted to being about Tyson Homosexual. Other vulgar words would similarly be replaced by safer alternatives. So âassâ, for example, would become âbuttâ. Which is fine, until you want to talk about clbuttical music, or a politically motivated killing, better known as a buttbuttination.