Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Wikipedia, Arthurian tradition, Cthulhu slippers

My latest obsession on the web is the not-so-new Wikipedia, a free online encyclopedia for every topic under the sun. The trick is, anyone can make edits or additions to any entry. This sounds awful because someone could sabotage an entry, but because the site has so much traffic, any intentional or accidental flaws would be swiftly righted. Similarly, the plethora of readers includes many people who are an expert in one field or on one topic--as such, that person can make very informed additions to some entries. Furthermore, information from various parts of the media and high as well as low culture coincide in these entries in a way that would never be tolerated in the OED (god bless it). In an entry about King Arthur, for instance, the table of contents includes (1) the Arthur of history, (2) Earliest traditions of Arthur, (3) the Arthurian romance, (4) Arthur in modern literature, film, and television, and (5) other connections and links. Where else would you find references to Susan Cooper and Monty Python along with links to the like of "Timelines of British history on Britannia.com"?!

I use Arthur as an example, of course, because I'm currently reading Le Morte D'Arthur in English class. Honestly, as of now I find the writing quite stilted and rather dull; though the story's interesting, it's like a very dense plot summary of what should be a multi-book series all jammed into one book. I suppose the book's just famous because it's such an early telling of the Arthurian legend, and I nevertheless hold a great deal of respect for it because I love that type of chivalry and mythology.

Incidentally, I was recently reading some H.P. Lovecraft stories (At the Mountains of Madness and others); I especially liked the formulation of the Cthulhu mythos. So you can imagine my delight when I came across these Cthulhu slippers online. I'm most certainly going to buy them soon, though no one will understand their great significance. Sigh.

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